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A. P. J. Jansen (Netherlands)
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Witches Incorporated: Book 2 of the Rogue Agent Novels
Witches Incorporated: Book 2 of the Rogue Agent Novels
by K. E. Mills
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book for young readers., 20 May 2010
I bought Witches Incorporated because wanted to try a fantasy book on magic. Moreover, the cover gave the impression that it would be a quite humorous book. Although I don't think that it is a bad book, neither do I think that it is very good. I may have missed something, but I have the impression that this book is written with young teenagers in mind. The characters are rather simplistic, as are the reasons why they do things. Although, the four main characters are two young men and two young women, their relations are decidedly asexual. Apart from this the story is quite nice, and there is indeed a lot of humor in it. So if you are less than 15 years old, then you might very well enjoy it.


Flood
Flood
by Stephen Baxter
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Boring, 20 May 2010
This review is from: Flood (Paperback)
Stephen Baxter likes to write books with action on a large scale. Flood is about the flooding of the earth to such an extent that at the end of the book of even Mount Everest is submerged. Although this does not lead to the end of humanity, the number of people that survive is very small, and their community is does not resemble our society in anything.

That the action of the book takes place on a large scale does not guarantee a good book. One needs to have some imagination to appreciate SF books, but they should have some internal consistency, and there is no excuse for the characters to be two-dimensional. I could not find much logic in the relation between the various episodes described in Flood however. Although the reason for the flooding is not made completely clear, there does not seem to be any relation with the heavy storms and rainfall in the beginning of the book. It is also not clear to my why most of the main characters are a group of hostages, as this has little relevance to the rest of the story. The attempts of millionaire Nathan Lomockson to save at least part of our current civilization also seems typical of the actions of a man that has more money than sense.

It seems that Baxter has written a follow-up called Ark. I for one will not buy it.


All You Need Is Kill
All You Need Is Kill
by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Original and fascinating., 19 May 2010
This review is from: All You Need Is Kill (Paperback)
Haikasoru is publishing a series of very interesting SF novels from Japanese writers translated into English. All You Need Is Kill tells the story of Keiji Kiriya, who has to continue fighting the aliens that are invading the earth even if he dies, because he is reborn again and again. At the beginning the story looks rather unpromising, but in each new iteration Keiji becomes a better soldier, and the chances of defeating the aliens seem to increase. It seems even possible that he can end the cycles of death and birth, but there is a price to pay. A very original novel that, different from most SF novels, pays more attention to the plight of the characters than technology.


The Lord of the Sands of Time
The Lord of the Sands of Time
by Issui Ogawa
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Very original time travel novel, 19 May 2010
Haikasoru is publishing a series of very interesting SF novels from Japanese writers translated into English. The Lord of the Sands of Time is an original time travel story in which cyborgs travel further and further back in time to defeat the aliens that are invading the earth. The book focuses not so much on the technicalities of time travel, but more on the plight of the cyborgs who become more and more alienated from humanity is they get more and more distant from their original era. Very original and strongly recommended.


The Devil's Eye (Alex Benedict)
The Devil's Eye (Alex Benedict)
by Jack McDevitt
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars A series that has run its course., 19 May 2010
Whereas the early books by Jack McDevitt like The Engines of God were fascinating and very original, the Alex Benedict series starts to become a drag. Only the Mutes are really interesting in The Devil's Eye, but the telepathic angle could have been developed more. The author just keeps repeating that they cause a strong discomfort in humans. Of course, the good guys save the day (i.e., the society on Salud Afar), although in a rather implausible way. It is slightly annoying that so much of the honor goes to Alex Benedict, as Chase Kolpath is really the main character. Why for that matter is the series named after Alex and not Chase?


Still Life with Volkswagens
Still Life with Volkswagens
by Geoff Nicholson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.30

5.0 out of 5 stars Very very funny, 18 May 2010
You should not expect an intricate plot and deep characters in this book and his predecessor Street Sleeper. The story is only an excuse to string together a series of absurd events happening to a bunch of unusual characters. In passing you learn a lot of interesting tidbits about the VW Beetle and its origin in Nazi Germany. All of it is incredibly hilarious.


Street Sleeper
Street Sleeper
by Geoff Nicholson
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strongly recommended, 18 May 2010
This review is from: Street Sleeper (Hardcover)
You should not expect an intricate plot and deep characters in this book and his successor Still Life with Volkswagens. The story is only an excuse to string together a series of absurd events happening to a bunch of unusual characters. In passing you learn a lot of interesting tidbits about the VW Beetle and its origin in Nazi Germany. All of it is incredibly hilarious.


The Food Chain
The Food Chain
by Geoff Nicholson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves to be be better known., 18 May 2010
This review is from: The Food Chain (Paperback)
This is a wonderfully absurdist book on the Los Angeles restaurant owner Virgil Marcel and his dealings with the London's Everlasting Club. The book alternately describes the story of Virgil Marcel and his family members, and the history of Everlasting Club. The book abounds with characters that have unusual ways to treat food and drink, a requirement to become a member of the Everlasting Club, which range from merely funny to gross. However, even the most absurd events are written in an almost matter-of-fact style, not dissimilar to the humor known from Monty Python.


Bourbaki Gambit
Bourbaki Gambit
by Djerassi
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Too much wishful thinking, 18 May 2010
This review is from: Bourbaki Gambit (Hardcover)
I read this book after Cantor's Dilemma, which I liked very much, because it gave a very realistic description of how science is actually done. The Bourbaki Gambit seems to have been written about the frustration that scientists are discarded when they become too old. The message is that this should not be done, because, as the book shows, old scientist can still have excellent ideas. The book however does not have the same realism as Cantor's Dilemma. First, I won't deny that old scientist can still have good ideas, but the problem is that, in my experience, they stop being scientist at a certain moment and become managers. Second, even if they do have good ideas there is almost a large amount of luck involved. Even scientist in their prime will not get good ideas simply by deciding to get good ideas, as is described in the book. Moreover, that the Bourbaki idea fails is not surprising. Even the members of the original Bourbaki group are no longer anonymous. In fact, people are only too proud to put on their CV that they are part of Bourbaki.


Pandora's Star (Commonwealth Saga)
Pandora's Star (Commonwealth Saga)
by Peter F. Hamilton
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment after reading the Night's Dawn Trilogy, 17 May 2010
I liked the author's Night's Dawn Trilogy very much, and was therefore eager to read more from him. The Commonwealth Saga was a bit of a disappointment however. The story takes place about three centuries in the future, but the society has changed very little from our Western society today. Of course, there have been all kind of technological developments, but they do not seem to have had much real influence. If you take away the technological gadgets, the whole story could just as well have taken place nowadays. That makes the book not very interesting for me. The Primes were also a bit predictable, and the plot is much less surprising than what's happening in the Night's Dawn Trilogy.


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