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D. A. MCCREADY (London, UK)
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Crux (Nexus Book 2)
Crux (Nexus Book 2)

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking sequel to Nexus, 19 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I picked up the Kindle version of Crux about 20 seconds after finishing Nexus, Ramez Naam's first novel and precursor to Crux.

The world created by Naam in Nexus and finely continued in Crux is thoroughly enjoyable as a thriller with great action and very film like drama. I cared about these characters, their journeys and development and had to know what happened to them (I still do and am looking forward to a 3rd novel in the series).

What sets this apart from most hard sci-fi is that while being very accessible in a ripping yarn sort of way, it's also positing and considering some very strong ideas about the near future of humanity. The character's journeys take us into a world on the threshold of change, in part created by the characters, and in other ways shaping the characters actions and beliefs. A world where the consideration of what it is to be human is examined in a nuanced manner all the while entertaining and thrilling but also still very much related to the time we live in now.

If you could slow your ageing would you? If you could strengthen your body and adjust it to your liking would you? If you could augment you brain through the use of technology would you? If you did these things at what point would you stop being human, becoming trans-human or even post-human? Do these labels really even matter? If two minds could be connected together would this be somehow evil or perhaps the most perfect of technologies, finally allowing people to really understand each other. What if one of those minds could control the other, making them become a slave? If you could re-programme someone to stop them hurting others, would that be right?

Very cleverly wrapping the ideas in his non-fiction book "More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement" around a solid plot and set of characters, even as a page turner I felt that I was thinking about the book when I wasn't reading it and wishing that the world and it's ideas would get here a bit sooner. Even with the downsides pointed out in the book, the upsides to my mind would be incredible.

Perhaps as importantly, I really liked the people I was reading about. Naam's wit and timing help to roll the story along. There's plenty of action and adventure and if you enjoyed Neal Stephenson's Reamde, then I'd say you're sure to enjoy Nexus and then even more so Crux.


Into the Darkest Corner
Into the Darkest Corner
by Elizabeth Haynes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a gripping read (insert own cliche as needed), 10 Feb. 2012
LIke many other reviews here, I don't normally approach crime fiction but came across this as a recommendation. I absolutely loved it and once I got into the story and characters I couldn't put it down. Dark and sad, shocking at times, while remaining life-affirming. It's a fascinating insight into the mind of an abused woman, I'll not forget it in a hurry.


Oceanic
Oceanic
by Greg Egan
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exraordinary Imagination, 1 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Oceanic (Hardcover)
Being a long time fan of Greg Egan's since his fantastic book Diaspora, I had grown a little dissatisfied with his more recent efforts up until Incandescent and now the brilliant collection Oceanic.

I would have to call this one of the best collections of short stories I've ever read. Thoroughly enjoyable, the stories collected within dive deep into hard sci fi while never losing the reader. Adventurous, while still making the reader think, yet always being firmly based in humanity and character.

Reading this collection is a pivotal moment. Any sci fi that deals with the expansion of humanity and doesn't deal with it in the way Egan does now seems old-fashioned and plain silly and evokes thoughts of 50s futurism and duck-and-cover absurdity. Greg Egans ideas are brilliantly simple to the point that once revealed to the reader it's hard to believe it isn't exactly what will happen.

I can't recommend this collection enough.


The Angela Test
The Angela Test
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, sweeping, satisfying album, 9 Sept. 2005
This review is from: The Angela Test (Audio CD)
This release from Iceland's Leaves was something I had been looking forward to greatly after having thrashed their previous album "Breathe". I was worried that they wouldn't be able to replicate it. I needn't have worried. Following where they left off with surging, mulitlayered anthems the album fails to maybe deliver on a radio friendly single to match the fantastic "Breathe" from the previous album, with the more obvious yet enjoyable "Good Enough" being the leading single instead, but perhaps if they are bold enough they could release third track "The Spell" a bass-grinding, driving, melodic and yearning piece that is the standout track for me.
The rest of the album soars and lifts, rocks out briefly with "Good Enough" then gently places the listener down at the end with "Should Have Seen it All" to wonder what's in the water in Iceland to bring us so many beautiful aural landscapes.
Leaves deserve to be bigger than they are, equal to Coldplay in many respects except perhaps the muscle of a large marketing machine behind them.
Try this album out, if you enjoy layered, musically textured alternative guitar based pop/rock with a hint of sad longing, then it's not to be missed.


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