Thursday’s Things: #SciFiSummer

Image: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • 19 Science-Fiction And Fantasy Novels By Women Of Color – As the title suggests, not all of the books on this list are Sci-Fi.  Also, I’ve only read the first book, Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, but it was an excellent book.  It terrified me and made me think, which is exactly what I want in my Speculative Fiction.
  • Making Lists: Mindblowing SF by Women and People of Color – Here’s another much longer list of diverse books and authors, but this one is all Sci-Fi.  If you’re looking for ideas of books to try out for the Sci-Fi Summer challenge, definitely check this out.
  • Postcards from Space – Looking for some Sci-Fi postcards to write to all of your friends about the great fictional totally real places you’ve visited this Summer?  Look no further.
  • 8 Struggles All Science Fiction Fans Know Are Real – I do have to say that the real-life e-readers we have are far better than what was portrayed in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

#SciFiSummer 2018 Reading Challenge

SCI-FI SUMMERReading Challenge

For me, the Summer is the time of year for reading Science Fiction.  So, from June 21st (the official first day of Summer) to the 21st of September (the day before the Autumnal Equinox), I’m reading as much Sci-Fi as possible.  I’ve got a lot of it on my TBR shelves, and I’m inviting all of you to join me for some #SciFiSummer fun!  The sign-up is below, and you can post your intent to participate anywhere on the web that will allow you to share the link to your post.

Below are the levels:

  • Red Shirt – 1 to 5 books
  • Viper Pilot – 6 to 10 books
  • Jedi – 11 to 15 books
  • Time Lord – 16 or more books

I’m shooting for Viper Pilot this year since the #COYER Summer Birthday Bash overlaps.

Any book of at least 100 pages that is classified as Science Fiction, including any Sci-Fi subgenres, qualifies for this challenge.  That means audiobooks, physical books, ebooks, library books, free books, other borrowed books, anthologies, and graphic novels are all acceptable options.  You may also count any Sci-Fi book that counts towards another reading challenge.  On June 21st, I’ll post the link up for your reviews, and it will stay open until September 28th.

Are you up to the Science Fiction Summer challenge?  Link up your sign-up posts below:

The sign-up will remain open until September 14th, a week before the challenge ends.

 

Sci-Fi Summer 2017 Wrap Up

SCI-FI SUMMERReading Challenge

Today is the last day of the Sci-Fi Summer Reading Challenge!

We started the challenge on June 20th, the official first day of Summer, and agreed to read a certain number of Sci-Fi books by the official end of Summer, today, the day before the Autumnal Equinox.  Below are the levels:

  • Red Shirt – 1 to 5 books
  • Viper Pilot – 6 to 10 books
  • Jedi – 11 to 15 books
  • Time Lord – 16 or more books

I was successful in reading 13 books for the Jedi level, and I managed it with more than a week to spare.  I unfortunately didn’t get any reviews written, however.  While the review link-up isn’t closed yet, the last day to link up reviews is September 25th.  If you were a participant in the Sci-Fi Summer reading challenge, you’ve still got a few days to get those reviews posted!

            

Thank you for a great Summer filled with Science Fiction!  I might do this again next year 🙂

 

Sci-Fi Summer 2017 Reading Challenge

SCI-FI SUMMERReading Challenge

I enjoyed last year’s Sci-Fi Summer Reading Challenge so much that I’m going to do it again this year.   I’m also going to start using the hashtag #SciFiSummer across all of my social media accounts (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Litsy – just look for Fortified By Books to add me).

The challenge is from June 20th, the official first day of Summer, to the 21st of September (the day before the Autumnal Equinox).  Below are the levels:

  • Red Shirt – 1 to 5 books
  • Viper Pilot – 6 to 10 books
  • Jedi – 11 to 15 books
  • Time Lord – 16 or more books

Any book of at least 100 pages that is classified as Science Fiction, including any Sci-Fi subgenres, qualifies for this challenge.  That means audiobooks, physical books, ebooks, library books, free books, other borrowed books, anthologies, and graphic novels are all acceptable options.  You may also count any Sci-Fi book that counts towards another reading challenge.  The link-up for your reviews will open on June 20th and stay open until September 25th.

This year, I’m going to attempt to reach the Jedi level, despite successfully earning Time Lord status last Summer.  I just barely made it, though, and I’m sure the only reason was being out of work for nearly a week.

So, why not join me in a Summer full of Science Fiction fun?  Link up your sign-up post below:

The challenge sign-up will stay open until September 14th.

Sci-Fi Summer Wrap-up

SCI-FI SUMMERReading Challenge

Today is the last day of the Sci-Fi Summer Reading Challenge!

We started the challenge on June 20th, the official first day of Summer, and agreed to read a certain number of Sci-Fi books by the official end of Summer, today, the day before the Autumnal Equinox.  Below are the levels:

  • Red Shirt – 1 to 5 books
  • Viper Pilot – 6 to 10 books
  • Jedi – 11 to 15 books
  • Time Lord – 16 or more books

I was successful in reading 16 books for the Time Lord level, and I managed it with more than a week to spare.  I’ve still got a couple reviews to write, however.  While the review link-up isn’t closed yet, I wanted to share with everyone the amazing reviews that the other participants wrote throughout this Summer:

 

 

Thank you for a great Summer filled with Science Fiction!  I plan on doing this again next year, and perhaps by then I’ll be able to do a giveaway to go along with it.  The review link-up will remain open until September 25th, so if you were a participant in the Sci-Fi Summer reading challenge, you’ve still got a few days to get those reviews posted!

The review link-up will remain open until September 25th, so if you were a participant in the Sci-Fi Summer reading challenge, you’ve still got a few days to get those reviews posted!

Review: The Communication Room

Communication

  • Author: Adam Aresty
  • ISBN: 9780692664797
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Publisher: Vagabondage Press

Leonard Ackerman works at a remote army base trying to solve the greatest threat facing mankind. An alien invasion that has eroded our species down to very few numbers as far as Ackerman can tell. His base is compromised and Ackerman retreats to a laboratory he has never been inside, locking himself there with the enemy right outside his door. Inside the lab are thirteen telephones—from the American civil war through to Ackerman’s present day, about 100 years from now.

This laboratory seems to be some sort of closed experiment and Ackerman discovers that he cannot exit the lab until the experiment has run its course. The method and ultimate goal of the test is beyond his reach for now… but the first telephone rings and the only thing Ackerman can do is answer… – Goodreads synopsis

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

As soon as I start reading that an author is “award winning” in a pitch from a publisher, I tend to be suspicious about the book they’re trying to get me to read.  However, the idea of being locked in a laboratory full of phones from various points throughout time was too intriguing for me to pass up.

The only negative I have about The Communication Room is that it’s too short.  I think it would be an even better story if it were closer to novel length rather than only a novella.  Other than that, it’s a terrific example of the Science Fiction genre and would fit perfectly into an anthology, perhaps between two much shorter pieces.

For anyone interested in trying out some Sci-Fi, this would be an excellent choice.  It only takes an hour or so to read, so it’s not a huge investment.  Besides, I think this story just might get anyone new to Sci-Fi hooked and wanting more.  I’ll definitely be looking into reading more of Adam Aresty’s work and seeing what else Vagabondage Press has to offer.

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Review: Primary Inversion

Primary

  • Author: Catherine Asaro
  • ISBN: 9780812550238
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Pages: 384

The Skolian Empire rules a third of the civilized galaxy through its mastery of faster-than-light communication. But war with the rival empire of the Traders seems imminent, a war that can only lead to slavery for the Skolians or the destruction of both sides. Destructive skirmishes have already occurred. A desperate attempt must be made to avert total disaster. – Goodreads synopsis

I discovered Primary Inversion a couple years ago when I picked it as my “Blind Date with a Book.”  From the synopsis above, I didn’t think this would be a story told from a First Person POV.  I was expecting something more along the lines of “Battlestar Galactica.”  Instead, everything is seen from Soz’s perspective.  Soz is a woman, and a soldier, and that made Primary Inversion another difficult book for me.

I was reading Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins at the same time, and due to how much both books hit home for me, I ended up having to take a break from them to read something a bit more light-hearted.  Primary Inversion is an excellent example of the kind of mental breakdown many soldiers, including myself, have gone through.  While Soz’s mental health isn’t the only thing in the story, it stood out for me because Catherine Asaro wrote Primary Inversion nearly a decade before the subjects of PTSD and suicide rates increasing amongst Veterans began to make headlines as they came home from lengthy deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

As hard as it was for me to face myself in a Sci-Fi novel, I wish there were more books like Primary Inversion and “The Hunger Games” trilogy.  Reading about Soz and Katniss was like looking in a mirror, and that’s still a rare event for a woman who has been to war.

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Review: The Martian

The Martian

  • Author: Andy Weir
  • ISBN: 9781101905005
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Pages: 435

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him? – Goodreads synopsis

The Boyfriend bought a copy of this book for me back when we first saw the movie trailer.  I had heard of The Martian long before that but it hadn’t piqued my interest enough to get it at the time.  After seeing the trailer, I definitely wanted to read it before I saw the movie.  Now that I’ve finally gotten around to reading it, I still want to see it.

The Martian is a story in which we already assume the outcome.  We know Mark Watney is going to survive.  What kept me reading despite knowing that?  One, it’s hilarious.  As you can imagine, Watney has some spectacularly bad days, beginning with the day he gets stranded on Mars.  He handles it all with the kind of sarcastic humor required for impossible situations.  Two, I didn’t know HOW he was going to survive.  Every moment of uncertainty on his part had me on the edge of my seat, rapidly getting through the pages until I knew whether or not one of his plans worked.  I cheered for him when they did, and I felt frustrated for him when they didn’t.  Three, the book is organized into chapters that are broken down into short sections, which made it extremely easy for me to say, “just a couple more pages.”

This was supposed to be my “work” book, and while I mostly read it during my lunch breaks, I also took it home with me to read after dinner and during the weekend instead of the other books I was reading at the time.  I sincerely hope Weir has plans to write more books.

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Review: Welcome to the Future

Welcome

  • Publisher: Christina Escamilla Publishing
  • ISBN: 9780991529360
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Pages: 260

What will the future hold? Sometimes bleak, sometimes inspiring, these twenty tales seek to answer the very question that civilization has pondered for centuries. From a world where specialized eyes shape the way reality is perceived to fabricated simulations that are designed to allow full control over an augmented reality. This book takes you to the far reaches of the universe to the remnants of a forgotten Earth. In short, these twenty tales boldly answer the question of “what if” with a simple: Welcome to the Future. – Goodreads synopsis

I won Welcome to the Future during a #COYER challenge, and I was so happy I did since I was also participating in a book buying ban and had added the book to my wishlist nearly as soon as it was published.  I was particularly interested in it because one of the authors also has a blog I love to read.  However, that also made me hesitant to review it.  What if I didn’t like the book or, even worse, her story?

To get around the worry, I promised myself that I didn’t have to review it if I didn’t want to or feel comfortable doing so.  I don’t review every single book I read, though I try.  However, I had nothing to be concerned about since I wound up devouring Welcome to the Future in one day.  I don’t usually do that with short story anthologies.  I tend to dip into them for a story or two and then read something else for a bit before returning.  That’s mostly because I’ve never read an anthology in which every single story was phenomenal.  While I didn’t love all the stories in this one either, almost all of my favorites were front loaded.

If anything, that’s what I disliked about this collection.  I didn’t enjoy the last few stories, and if I hadn’t plowed through the book so quickly, that might have tarnished my view of it as a whole.  I feel as if the runner-up selections were tacked on at the end only to make the book a little longer.  A better way of organizing it would have been to spread them out amongst the gems of the bunch.  Putting that aside, Welcome to the Future is well worth buying.

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Review: Doctor Who – Snowglobe 7

Snowglobe

  • Author: Mike Tucker
  • ISBN: 9781846074219
  • Publisher: BBC Books
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Pages: 256

Earth, 2099. Global warming is devastating the climate. The polar ice caps are melting.

In a desperate attempt at preservation, the governments of the world have removed vast sections of the Arctic and Antarctic and set them inside huge domes across the world. The Doctor and Martha arrive in Snowglobe 7 in the Middle East, hoping for peace and relaxation. But they soon discover that it’s not only ice and snow that has been preserved beneath the Dome.

While Martha struggles to help with an infection sweeping through the Dome, the Doctor discovers an alien threat that has lain hidden since the last ice age. A threat that is starting to thaw. – Goodreads synopsis

Not long after I got hooked on Doctor Who, I bought every book involving my favorite tenth Doctor that I could find at the used bookstore.  When it came to choosing which one to start with, I looked at my TBR shelf on Goodreads and picked the first one on the list.

I wasn’t expecting anything fantastic, but now I wonder if the books are made from scripts that, while great, didn’t make the cut for one reason or another.  There are only so many episodes per series after all, and the majority of them link together in some way to form an overall story line.  So why not take the ones that didn’t fit and put them in another format for fans to enjoy during that excruciatingly long time between series?

Regardless of the reason, Snowglobe 7 felt like watching an episode, and that’s exactly what I was hoping for when I bought this and the other Doctor Who books I found.  This wasn’t my first Doctor Who story outside of watching the show, but my first was an audiobook narrated by David Tennant, so I couldn’t be 100% sure if it’s awesomeness was due to the format or the writer.  It was probably both, but it was also a different writer than Mike Tucker, so the only things I was truly certain of was that this book was about the 10th Doctor and Martha and the story involved some kind of dangerous alien species and a wintry environment.

If you’re specifically looking for a Doctor Who story but you want something new or don’t feel like re-watching the show, look no further than Snowglobe 7.  I have a feeling I’ll be repeating that as I make my way through my book collection.

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