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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rendezvous with Ramen (or Blob the Builder)
Very much in the realms of a hard science-fiction first contact context, particularly reminiscent at times of Arthur C Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, Housuke Nojiri's 2002 Seiun award winning novel for best Japanese science fiction novel considers a scenario where intelligent life originating outside our solar system is discovered and the impact it could have on our...
Published on 8 Oct. 2009 by Keris Nine

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars First look at Sci-Fi
This is the first book I've read with heavy science fiction elements, I did enjoy the story but I found the characters to be very poorly developed, often the narrative would be a little bogged down with scientific description and so character relationships are barely touched upon - I found Aki and Mark's relationship to be a big offender of this, it's not developed much...
Published on 19 Dec. 2012 by HGibson


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rendezvous with Ramen (or Blob the Builder), 8 Oct. 2009
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Keris Nine - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Usurper of the Sun (Paperback)
Very much in the realms of a hard science-fiction first contact context, particularly reminiscent at times of Arthur C Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, Housuke Nojiri's 2002 Seiun award winning novel for best Japanese science fiction novel considers a scenario where intelligent life originating outside our solar system is discovered and the impact it could have on our society.

The discovery in 2006 of a large tower protruding from the planet Mercury is the first sign that something unusual is happening (although it would seem from the prologue that preparations for what is to occur start back as far as 1424). It's first spotted by a young Japanese high-school student Aki Shiraishi as part of her astronomy studies, but fascinated speculation about its origins turn to fear as a vast ring is created around the planet that threatens to block out light from the sun. As disaster beckons in the subsequent years, Aki's long interest in the construct created by what become known as the 'Builders' takes her on the first manned probe in 2022 to investigate the phenomenon and, if possible, destroy it before it destroys the earth...

The huge amounts of speculation given over to scientific concepts can make Usurper of the Sun a little bit heavy and dry reading for certain passages of the novel, but only because Housuke Nojiri takes the time to consider the matter deeply, from a scientific as well as a from a human viewpoint. It takes in the nature of intelligence and communication - and how artificial intelligence may provide us with the means to communicate, and more importantly, 'think' about the universe around us on another level if we are to make any significant breakthroughs in how to reach beyond. What is marvellous is that the author is able to consider these ideas within the context of what remains a fascinating and often thrilling science-fiction adventure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars First look at Sci-Fi, 19 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Usurper of the Sun (Paperback)
This is the first book I've read with heavy science fiction elements, I did enjoy the story but I found the characters to be very poorly developed, often the narrative would be a little bogged down with scientific description and so character relationships are barely touched upon - I found Aki and Mark's relationship to be a big offender of this, it's not developed much at all and yet Aki frequently reflects upon it nostalgically as though the reader is supposed to understand her feelings.
I also feel the themes could have been explored further, the mystery of the Builders, the state of the Earth after the ring is constructed, the idea of A.I and the other degrees of intelligence, all of it could be expanded upon and delivered to the reader in a more interesting manner than how it's been written in the book. I expect the writing is a victim to the short length of the novel, detail in all areas is sacrificed.
Overall, pleasant but underwhelming.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ring around the Ramen, 17 Feb. 2011
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Andrew Swingler "Swiss" (Im From England!) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Usurper of the Sun (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this, and i was suprised just how far the story travelled, the book itself isn't overly long and this for me definitely added to my enjoyment of the story, it cracks along at a steady pace shifting through the pratoganists life and puts the breaks on when things get serious.

I often find characters in Science Fiction to be a little detatched and lacking a little personalisation, but Nojiri's pratoganist really comes across as this dynamic clever individual who from a young age clearly has her sights set on discovering the mystery of this strange phenomenon, the story developes well to, gaining meaning and thoughtfulness as it unfolds.

Anyone who reads science fiction would probably enjoy this novel, it runs a nice line between standard SF and hard SF without ever bogging the story down in weighty explanation. People who enjoy first contact SF particularly will enjoy the novel (not me normally) everyone else will appreciate the brilliant balance and competance of the storytelling.

Lovely book.
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Usurper of the Sun
Usurper of the Sun by Housuke Nojiri (Paperback - 21 Sept. 2009)
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