The Nerd Journals

Filling up journals as proof of my meager existence.

Tag: sci-fi

Artemis

4/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. Admittedly, though, my review may be a little skewed because I went through a tumultuous time in my life while reading this novel- the first half, anyway. By the time I got to the second half my messy life had calmed down a bit and coincidentally I enjoyed the book much more than I had previously.

This book is fun and modern in its story- I love the sci-fi tech and the city on the moon. I love that the main character is a female Muslim who is sex-positive and is doing less than legal things that I would more likely picture a male character doing. Jazz Bashara is an awesome character and she’s strong and independent with morals and values when they matter. She’s also looking out for numero uno (herself!) first and foremost. I really like Jazz, she seems mostly good natured and the type of woman I could throw a few drinks back with.

To make a million slugs (slugs = moon money), Jazz makes a deal with a billionaire to do some destruction to help him make even more money by taking over a contract. It’s a lucrative proposition that Jazz can’t resist. This story is about her destruction and what comes next.

If you liked The Martian I definitely recommend Artemis as well. I just wish it didn’t take me so long to find interest in this book. Halfway is just too long to have to read before a book gets exciting. Once again, however, that might just be because of my own things happening.

As a side note, I love the cover of this book.

The Running Man

5/5 stars

I went in thinking this book would be like The Long Walk by Stephen King (which I also really enjoyed) but I was pleasantly surprised that the books don’t have much in common at all, so don’t start reading this book expecting The Long Walk.

The country is in economic despair with the poor not being able to afford food or medicine and are controlled by “FreeVee” the mandatory to own (but not mandatory to watch… yet) television that airs game shows 24/7 to entertain the masses and keep their attention away from what’s happening outside their own windows- pollution so bad that it’s causing young children to die of lung cancer.

To afford his daughter’s medicine, Ben Richards tries out to be on a game show on FreeVee to win cash. Richards is run through several tests and put into a game show called The Running Man where the objective is to run from the Hunters who are out to kill him. He earns $100 for every hour he survives and a bonus for every officer or Hunter he kills along the way. Meanwhile, viewers can earn money by capturing Richards on video or giving a tip that results in his capture. It’s not an easy game; it’s rigged and no one has ever survived thirty days resulting in the prize of one billion dollars.

The Running Man is a very good book, fast pace and I couldn’t put it down. If I didn’t have to sleep between readings, I would have read the entire book in one sitting.

Landscape With Invisible Hand

3/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for sending me an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. I requested this book because I recently read Feed by MT Anderson and I enjoyed it so I thought I should give this book a chance, too. While I didn’t like Landscape with Invisible Hand as much as I did Feed, this book does have its moments.

This book started strong but got a little muddled along the way, as if it didn’t know what kind of book it wanted to be. It was sci-fi that toyed with a romance story that didn’t quite fit comfortably into the overarching storyline. A few things didn’t make sense. This book was also satirical touching on topics such as immigration, socio-economic divide, and it also made fun of the political logic that if poor people are so hungry, they should go get jobs instead of begging for food they didn’t work for.

I know what it’s like to be Adam for a lot of this book; the hardships of being poor and trying your hardest to bring money into your home to feed your family. A father who walks out on you and your family. Hoping for something that will come along and save you financially. I want to talk about the end a bit more since it was so charming for me, but I don’t want to include spoilers so I guess I’ll just stop here.

Overall, a decent book that I mostly enjoyed. I still might try reading more MT Anderson in the future.

The Blackout

1/5 stars

The only reason I am not giving this book 5 stars (it’s truly an amazing story) is because Jean M. Auel overly enjoys writing unnecessary sex scenes, especially when you consider that at least one of said scenes were about mammoths having sex, and our two travelers (Ayla and Jondalar) being intensely turned on by this. Wtf.

HOWEVER, if you skip past the sex scenes this book is beautifully written, incredibly descriptive and educational at points, and the heroine of the novel is absolutely stunning.

The Circle

3/5 stars

Took me forever to get into this book and then it finally became fast paced and interesting. Ended differently than I thought it would (which is a nice change of pace for books like this) but overall the ending left a lot to be desired- so many situations arose that really weren’t integral to the plot or ever touched on again. I was a bit disappointed in the lack of profound thoughts- felt like all of our society’s fears regurgitated into a storyline. Based on my opinion of Fahrenheit 451, I feel like this book is a book that Ray Bradbury would have enjoyed. This book was okay but I would never recommend it to anyone.

I’m hoping the movie cuts out a lot of the bullshit.

Unsouled

3/5 stars

I had a rough time getting through the middle of this book. The beginning was fascinating and the ending was exciting and hopeful but the middle just killed me to get through. I’m not sure if it was the book or if it was me (I moved while reading this book) but I had trouble. I don’t want this to deter anyone’s decision about picking up this book though, so if you are considering reading the third Unwind book after having enjoyed the first two I really think you should jump right in! However if you, like me, get a third or so through the book and have trouble I would recommend just quitting instead of slogging through because the ending wasn’t anything to write home about.

If I do continue with this series it will be after taking a break.

Unwind

5/5 stars

This is the type of book that I would love made into a movie. It’s very fast-paced and exciting, political and thought-provoking. This book had one of the most horrifying scenes that I have ever read in a book, and I have read all the Dexter books so I think this is quite the compliment.

Unwind is one of the better YA books that I have ever read and I’m surprised that it didn’t get as big as some of the other YA series in the genre have in the past (The Hunger Games, for example).

This book is very well written and I liked the characters and the battles they went through. The ending was satisfying but it still left me wanting more, which usually doesn’t happen for me. There’s many book series that I’ve started and never finished after reading the first book.

I am very impressed by Neal Shusterman and I plan to read more of his books in the future.

After The Apocalypse

2.5/5 stars

I know, I know. I always preface these reviews with “I don’t really like anthologies but–” Well, I decided to give this one a shot and I was very disappointed in most of the stories in this book. I read about two-thirds of the stories and skipped the rest. The ones I read I didn’t really like much. EXCEPT. EXCEPT!! The last story, which is coincidentally where the title from the book came from. The last story is a good one and it gave me such mixed feelings over the mother character when I realized what exactly happened. A very good story, a very poor collection of stories overall.

Feed

4/5 stars

I thought this book was a jaw-dropping realistic look at to where we as an American culture may be heading in the near future. I really think Feed is where we may end up- we’re already halfway there with our pocket computers that we use for hours a day that connects us to everyone and everything in a second’s time. I found amusement in the children of this story sitting in a room together and “chatting” instead of talking like how today children may be “texting” instead of walking.

The bombardment of advertisements is more prominent in the book than they are today but I don’t feel comfortable saying that the book was a huge stretch. Today was have advertisements in our music, on television, on billboards, in magazines, on my Kindle, in my TV shows (product placement), in my podcasts, when I walk into a store there is hardware on the shelves pointing to a particular product and the muzak interrupts my shopping to advertise Geico insurance to me. It’s insane, and it is very close to Feed.

I haven’t even talked about the plot of this book yet because honestly, the plot came second to me because I was so entranced by the culture of the characters. Yeah, there’s a plot but it’s not terribly great but it is good and it is thought-provoking. Most of this book is the entertainment culture of the future and I very much enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the “background noise” of the calamity that feels so much like the world we are living in today, right now, that I sometimes I wish I could escape from into my feed.

The only thing worse than the thought it may all come tumbling down is the thought that we may go on like this forever.

This is a very good book I would recommend to anyone who likes YA sci-fi.

Empty

1/5 stars

This book was bad and Suzanne Weyn should feel bad. A lot of people complained about how this book ended suddenly ended but honestly, the ending couldn’t come quick enough for me. All of the characters lacked personality; practically the only thing I knew about the characters were their names. I couldn’t figure out why anyone did what they did or felt what they felt since nothing was backed up with thought or reason.

The message itself, while being a little preachy, was a good message. Keep in mind that I also really liked the movie Tomorrowland, which was also good but a little preachy. I think if a movie is going to instill morals and values, saving the planet we live on is not something bad to teach.

But back to this book. It was bad and poorly written and I didn’t care about the characters or what happened to them. I don’t understand what the blurb for this book is about- I went into this book thinking it would be a fast-paced dystopian but instead it was really a pathetic little love story about pathetic little kids set in a dystopian world.

BOOO.

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