Category Archives: science fiction

Review: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

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(Young Adult)

There are some books that are meant to be savored. There are some whose characters begin to feel like your friends. There are some that keep you awake at night in terror and some whose themes stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. This does not fall into any of the above categories. I Am Number Four is a book to zip through, it’s one to enjoy but not to think too hard about. It won’t stand up to being analyzed, so if you can’t just relax and enjoy the ride, don’t bother picking it up.

Four is one of nine Lorien children who escaped with their guardians when their planet was taken over by the Mogadorians. Now on Earth ten years later, Four has taken the name John Smith and is hiding in small-town Ohio with his guardian, Henri. All he wants is to settle in one place, make friends, be a normal teenager, but it’s impossible. The Mogadorians are hunting him and his hands are starting to glow.

I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed this one and really it’s no wonder.

Plenty of action √
A romance subplot √
Compelling characters √
Superpowers √
Suspense √

What’s not to like? It’s not terribly original, but it’s fast-paced and kept me reading. As a matter of fact I started it Tuesday morning and had it finished before dinner that same day, unusual for me. It’s not a deep, thought-provoking book, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s like a Reese’s cup, not what i would usually choose, not good for me, but delicious.

I have to admit that one scene near the end had me in tears, much to my chagrin. I was bawling, thinking why am crying over this, but I’m a bit of a softy.

Will I go see the movie? Probably not, but I’ll definitely read the next in the series.

Lorien Legacies #1
448 pages
First published 2010

4½ out of 5 stars

Purchase at Amazon or an Indie bookstore.

I purchased my ebook and the above is my honest opinion.

Masked edited by Lou Anders

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Masked edited by Lou Anders

I loved this collection of superhero fiction. Some of the stories are flat out superhero versus evil villain, yes you know who’s going to win, but how does it all happen. Others are not so black and white, the moral line between hero and villain is not always that clear cut. Still other pieces are about people with super powers who are really still dealing with the same issues we all face.

In the intro Anders says:

The anthology you have before you is just that – an attempt to explore the superhero genre in prose form; not as a pastiche or a parody, or a bunch of writer slujmming it and having a lark at the genre’s expense,. but an honest exploration, with the integrity and level of storytelling that contemporary readers of comic books and graphic novesl, as well as fans of films like Iron Man and The Dark Knight, appreciate and demand. You know, “real” superheroes.

And they are real superheroes, with faults and dilemmas, loves and losses, friends and foes. There are fifteen stories in the collection, only two by authors I’ve read before, Mike Carey and Bill Willingham. I was going to tell a couple of my favorites, but as I look down the list I realize that I liked all of them, for different reasons.  Some stories are full of action, which seems appropriate, but others are about regular folks who happen to be extraordinary in some way, doing the best they can.

One of my favorite quotes:

Eventually, however, Marshall grew tired of playing second banana to megalomaniacs and Machiavells whose best laid schemes were, all too often, uncredited rehashes of old movie plots – hijacking a treasury plane, launching a solar-powered satellite weapon, threatening Silicon Valley with a massive double earthquake, perfecting a subspecies of flying piranha- so when the opportunity presented itself, he seized it, parlaying his deep-seated dissatisfaction and a modest poker win into a step up in the criminal underworld, adopting the Downfall persona and striking out on his own. To arguable success. (“Downfall” by Joseph Mallozzi pg. 245)

Here’s a list of stories and authors:

  • “Cleansed and Set in Gold” by Matthew Sturges (Most unusual way of getting a superpower ever.)
  • “Where Their Worm Dieth Not” by James Maxey (Is it ever really black and white?)
  • “Secret Identity” by Paul Cornell (What happens when your gay but your superhero identity is straight?)
  • “The Non-Event” by Mike Carey (Great crime confession)
  • “Avatar” by Mike Baron (A teenager decides to take justice into his own hands.)
  • “Message from the Bubblegum Factory” by Daryl Gregory (Wait ’til you meet Plex- creeped me out at first.)
  • “Thug” by Gail Simone (A man talks about how he became who he is.)
  • “Vacuum Lad” by Stephen Baxter (Apparently some people can live in space.)
  • “A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows” by Chris Roberson (Cool story about a protector who finds someone to eventually replace him.)
  • “Head Cases” by Peter David & Kathleen David (Just a talk in a bar.)
  • “Downfall” by Joseph Mallozzi (Can you ever truly get out of the game?)
  • “By My Works You Shall Know Me” by Mark Chadbourn (Okay, this one lost me a little. Sorry.)
  • “Call Her Savage” by Marjorie M. Liu (Can a woman live up to her legend?)
  • “Tonight We Fly” by Ian McDonald (Old men don their suits one last time.)
  • “A to Z in the Ultimate Big Company Superhero Universe (Villains Too)” by Bill Willingham ( a whole superhero/villain collection in one giant battle.)

Honestly, this a fun collection, perfect for summer reading. I’m passing my copy onto my husband, who I’m sure will enjoy it as much as I did.

[tweetmeme source= ”carolsnotebook” only_single=false http://carolsnotebook.com/2010/07/22/masked-edited-by-lou-anders/]

Published July 20, 2010 by Pocket
399 pages

Challenge: 100+

I received my copy from the publisher for review and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.

The Princess and the Accountant by Robert E. Rogoff

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“The Princess and the Accountant” by Robert E. Rogoff

In this short story, Rogoff takes a common fairy tale element, the quest to marry the princess, and reimagines it with a science fiction twist. Ralph is an accountant with the Royal Distribution Agency and has been for three centuries, when he tells his manager he’s quitting. He feels it’s his destiny to marry the princess, even though he has a middle-class genome, and the time has finally come for him to go to the palace. Many people try to stop him along the path, including the police, a war fighter a journalist, even a female tenant farmer who asks him to join her for a drink. He tells each his story and is allowed to pass.

“If this is your destiny, then it cannot be denied.”

It turns out it’s true, destiny cannot be denied. However, remember this isn’t a traditional fairy tale. It isn’t everyone’s destiny to marry the princess.

The sci-fi aspects here are pretty light, there are robots and new-fangled data sheets, but no technical details to bog down the story. I’m really enjoying these tales in Once Upon a Galaxy edited by Wil McCarthy, Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers. I’m glad I picked up the book when I saw it at the library.

John hosts Short Story Monday at The Book Mine Set. Head over there to see what he and others have been reading.

I borrowed my copy from the library and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.

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