Categories
Book Reviews

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I was always interested in reading the 1968 novel by Philip K. Dick. I’ve tried many, many times. And when I finally got the audiobook version, I was really excited, thinking that having someone narrate this to me one the way to and from work will actually get me long enough in the novel to get me interested.

Boy, was I wrong. The narrator was the same guy who did Atlas Shrugged and I couldn’t get over the voice for the longest of times.
Then, the subject at hand, did not interest me in the least.
I love sci-fi BUT. Not this.

The Story

The Rosen Association manufactures the androids on the colony of Mars, but certain androids violently rebel and escape to the underpopulated Earth where they hope to remain undetected. Despite their realistic appearance and advanced intellect, androids are not treated as equals to humans. They are prohibited from doing many things, including emigrating from the colonies to Earth. Therefore, American and Soviet police departments remain vigilant, keeping officers on duty to track and “retire” fugitive androids. Similar to the androids, humans with mental disabilities, psychological disorders, or genetic defects, called “specials”, are also treated as sub-human; they are forced to remain on Earth and are prohibited from traveling to the colonies.

Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter for the San Francisco Police Department, is assigned to “retire” (kill) six androids of the new and highly intelligent Nexus-6 model which have recently escaped from Mars and traveled to Earth.

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Deckard buys his wife Iran an authentic Nubian goat with the bounty money.

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His supervisor then insists that he visit an abandoned apartment building, where the three remaining android fugitives are assumed to be hiding. Experiencing a vision of the prophet-like Mercer confusingly telling him to proceed, despite the immorality of the mission, Deckard calls on Rachael Rosen again, since her knowledge of android psychology may aid his investigation.

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“I like her; I could watch her the rest of my life. She has breasts that smile.”

Rachael wants him to abandon the case. She reveals that one of the fugitive androids is the same exact model as herself, meaning that he will have to shoot down an android that looks just like her. Rachael coaxes Deckard into sex, after which they confess their love for one another. However, she reveals she has slept with many bounty hunters, having been programmed to do so in order to dissuade them from their missions. He threatens to kill her, but holds back at the last moment. He leaves for the abandoned apartment building.

Meanwhile, the three remaining Nexus-6 android fugitives plan how they can outwit Deckard. The building’s only other inhabitant, John R. Isidore, a radioactively damaged and intellectually below-average human, attempts to befriend them, but is shocked when they callously torture and mutilate a rare spider he’s found.

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They all watch a television program which presents definitive evidence that the entire theology of Mercerism is a hoax. Deckard enters the building, experiencing strange, supernatural premonitions of Mercer notifying him of an ambush. Since they attack him first, Deckard is legally justified as he shoots down all three androids without testing them beforehand.

Isidore is devastated, and Deckard is soon rewarded for a record number of Nexus-6 kills in a single day. When Deckard returns home, he finds Iran grieving because Rachael Rosen arrived while he was gone and killed their goat.

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Deckard goes to an uninhabited, obliterated region of Oregon to reflect. He climbs a hill and is hit by falling rocks, and realizes this is an experience eerily similar to Mercer’s martyrdom.

He stumbles abruptly upon what he thinks is a real toad (an animal thought to be extinct) but, when he returns home with it, his wife discovers it is just a robot.

Phew. That was a mess.

I just didn’t like this book. The narrator was just so whiny. I don’t feel like the metaphysical questions that the book posed were brought to the forefront enough, and I never personally felt challenged to review my personal definition of humanity, which is what I think Dick wanted. I felt like there was a good idea for a story in here but it was buried in pseudo-religions that were not fully realized within the context of the story.

This was a huge meandering cluster of a story. The preoccupation with animals baffles me–and for how little it had to do with the story overall. And except for maybe Isidore, all the characters in general were extremely flat, with close to no personality traits. I couldn’t tell you anything about Deckard, except that he really wanted a goat.

1/5

Categories
Book Reviews

Orson Scott Card – The Call of Earth

{31518284-A00B-4E73-9B83-0773AE0E9931}Img100The Call of Earth continues the story of Nafai, his family, and the few other people selected by the Oversoul to leave the city of Basilica, and their former lives.

Book 1: Memory Of Earth

When the human refugees from a ruined Earth founded a colony on the planet Harmony, they determined that this world would not be devastated by the endless cycle of vicious warfare that had characterised human life from the beginning.

They didn’t try to change human nature. Instead they installed a powerful computer, called the Oversoul, and gave it the task of governing human affairs by subtly influencing human minds. That was millions of years ago. Now the Oversoul is growing weak, breaking down. It must be returned to Earth, to the master computer called the Keeper of Earth, to be repaired. The Oversoul must have human help to make that journey.

Categories
Book Reviews

Orson Scott Card – The Memory of Earth

855764._UY200_.jpgTitle: The Memory of Earth
Series: Homecoming
Number in Series: 1 (one)
Author: Orson Scott Card
Original Publisher: Tor Books
Originally Published: March 1992

Categories
Book Reviews

Everything About You by Heather Child Book Review

Freya has a new virtual assistant. It knows what she likes, knows what she wants and knows whose voice she most needs to hear: her missing sister’s.
It adopts her sister’s personality, recreating her through a life lived online. This data ghost knows everything about Freya’s sister: every date she ever went on, every photo she took, every secret she ever shared.
In fact it knows things it shouldn’t be possible to know. It’s almost as if her sister is still out there somewhere, feeding fresh updates into the cloud. But that’s impossible. Isn’t it?

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Book Reviews

The Left Hand of Darkness * Ursula Le Guin

From the Archives of Hain. Transcript of Ansible Document 01-01101-934-2-Gethen: To the Stabile on Ollul: Report from Genly Ai, First Mobile on Gethen/Winter, Hainish Cycle 93, Ekumenical Year 1490–97.

Of Ursula Le Guin’s Trio of Masterpieces—The Earthsea series (1968–2001), The Dispossessed (1974) and The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)—it is the latter which guards its secrets most jealously and which, perhaps, asks the most of its reader.

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Book Reviews

The SIX – Mark Alpert

If you’re looking for your next techie/sci-fi YA book fix, you’ve found your ideal match.  In short, The Six is about a group of terminally ill teenagers whose lives are “saved” when their minds are downloaded to combat-ready U.S. Army robots. The seventeen-year-old hero, Adam Armstrong, becomes the first human-machine hybrid — a hulking robot called a Pioneer — when his computer-scientist father scans Adam’s brain in such detail that all his memories and personality traits can be transferred to electronic circuits.

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Book Reviews

The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway Book Review

I read this little 300+ page book on a 4h flight from Athens and I loved every minute. I’m trying now to figure out why I loved it as when I’m trying to articulate the subject of the book in my mind, it sounds like an absolute mess.

I dreamed I was floating on a sea of breasts. Just coasting from one boob to another, completely free and unhinged from society. It was majestic.

Hear me out.

Categories
Romance Books

Bound Together – Christine Feehan

“Not happening,” he said, his voice low, terse. He was angry, but not at any of his brothers. At himself. He’d chosen a path and one by one they had followed him. His path had led straight to hell. “We don’t have time to argue. We knew walking into this it was a trap. Nothing has changed.”

Well, this book is not happening for me. I accidentally stumbled upon the last book in a series (again) and I tried, I really tried to like it.

Viktor, comes to the village of Sea Haven, and his arrival heralds a huge change – and imminent danger – for Blythe Daniels as well as the other residents of the community, including the Drake sisters.


Blythe met Victor while he was uncover tracking her step-father, a pedophile. They enjoyed a brief but happy courtship and were soon married. After killing her stepfather, Viktor had to disappear, however he left detailed instructions on how to get in touch with him. Unfortunately Blythe never receives his letter and thinks she has been forsaken.

After a five year separation with no contract, they meet again while Viktor is undercover. Viktor is ready to reclaim his wife. Blythe after being deserted and spending so much time alone is not ready to fall back into Viktor’s arms especially when she realizes he returned for a job, not her, plus he expects her to accept not only him, but his adopted family.

The book didn’t do anything for me except for some *cough* interesting *cough* scenes.

 

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Good bits: the novels seem to have quite a following and some people really liked them

Bad bits: cast of characters is huge. Almost half the book is spent describing horrific child abuse and rape.  The author in the past has said that she is trying to bring “These issues” and women’s issues to light but this is over the top. A romantic suspense novel is not the appropriate place for her to explore these issues.

And I really don’t know what women get off on men calling them Babe and Baby all the time.

1/5

About the author:

New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan has had over thirty novels published and has thrilled legions of fans with her seductive Dark Carpathian tales. She has received numerous honours throughout her career, including being a nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA and receiving a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times , and has been published in multiple languages and in many formats, including audio book, ebook and large print.v

Categories
Book Reviews

Unquenchable Fire by Rachel Pollack

I tried so hard to make this book work, but I stopped after like 45 pages. I usually try to give sci-fi a good third of the book before quitting, but this on is just too confusing. She takes so many basic concepts so far from their original meanings that it’s hard to get anywhere. I definitely love pushing boundaries, but some sacrifices have to made for the sake of comprehension.

DNF

Sit back and imagine if Nietzsche wrote religious fantasy. The basic plot is of a young-ish woman who has religious experiences in a future world where secular religion is considered pseudo, and current religion is based on parables/”Pictures” told by the Tellers. The Founders are similar to “real” saints. It was very distracting to have to read the many odd parables or random streams of consciousness about lions, snakes, and chocolate chip cookies

Categories
Book Reviews

Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse 5

I’ve read the book last week and I can’t say I liked it. One of the most widely read anti-war novels of all time made little to no sense for me.
The timelines jump from side to side and all I can think of is that the guy who must have written in might have been cray-cray.
The story jumps from the bombardment of Dresden in the Second World War to an optician and then to an alien zoo exhibit who was shagging a movie star with his massive dong for the entertainment of four-dimensional beings.