- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 801 KB
- Print Length: 350 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0052UPOVS
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #332,880 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Little Machines Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
The opening story about an alternative Philip K Dick is great, in fact thinking about it there are a few alternative history stories in here and they are all good.
My favourite story is about a very strange and disturbing alien invasion and the survivor, it plays on all those classic B movie themes but without mocking and hits some very dark notes.
There are some stories that are not to my taste but enough that are for me to feel this is a good addition to my Kindle library.
Recommended if you want more but not the same of Mr McAuley.
Overall, 2 stars.
Story 1: The Two Dicks
This short story reminds me a bit of the Gonzo Journalism of Hunter S. Thompson, especially during Thompson's famous long ride with Nixon in a limousine one night. McAuley here presents a what-if alternate history, in which creativity and controversy have been suppressed. Slight but clever.
Story #2: Residuals
This one kind of grows on you. A modern myth of Area 51 style aliens. Convoluted but fun.
Story #3: 17 (VERY GOOD)
Very good world building. Great character 17 burning to be better and to get up and out. Very original. Really enjoyed it.
Story #4: Interstitial
A message-in-a-bottle story with some twists. Adequate and mildly stimulating.
Story #5: How We Lost the Moon (Great!)
A wonderfully realized story of runaway physics on the moon. Nicely constructed and written. McAuley does moons better than anyone else. See: The Quiet War series. Those books still echo in my mind almost every day. Brilliant.
Story #6: Under Mars
Slight story of bored youth working in a theme park.
Story #7: Hard Hack Area
Almost a short promo for a sci-fi conference.
The rest of the stories were pretty dull and long-winded, almost like money-per-word writing. Ugh.
They include a witty alternate history imagining a world without the novels of Philip K Dick, an account of a scientific experiment gone wrong which leads to the Moon being destroyed, the musings of a disgruntled worker in a Mars-themed theme park and a story about how bored people have become of watching cable TV programmes being broadcast by aliens.
What is common to all is that they are carefully constructed and follow their own internal logic. They are mostly small scale pieces, told from a mundane viewpoint, which re-examine some popular sf tropes from a jaded, 21st Century media age perspective. I found quite a few of them to be similar in that sense to the "social science fiction" of Frederick Pohl, although with a more modern edge.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Really enjoyed about 1/3rd of this collection. There is some excellent writing, and both entertaining and clever storytelling here. Another 1/3rd was fun fiction. I completely skipped roughly another 1/3rd as soon as it smacked of Alt History.
Negative note: I cannot stand historical fiction. Real history is too abundantly rich already - there are so many amazing stories to tell. Making up fake alternate history that never happened seems to me like one of the most masturbatory things a writer can do. I'm sure it was good for them, but keep it to yourself.
Interweaving a possible history, along the way of telling a real history, a'la Cryptonomicon - I am down with. Making up random history? Just annoys the crap out of me. So, if you relate, you will find some fluff in here.
For $2 or $3 bucks here on Amazon though you cannot go wrong. You will definitely get your money's worth.
Luckily for us he chooses to turn his attention to science fiction most of the time where his large talent for advanced speculation can continually delight and amaze us with what he comes up with, including a particular fondness for advanced biology. Plenty of strange aliens.
This is the exact opposite of a garden variety major publisher hugely overpriced volume. This is a fantastic price (e.g. 2.99 currently) and extremely high quality.
Little Machines : The Two Dicks - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : Residuals - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : 17 - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : All Tomorrow's Parties - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : Interstitial - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : How We Lost The Moon A True Story by Frank W. Allen - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : Under Mars - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : Danger: Hard Hack Area - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : The Madness of Crowds - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : The Secret of My Success - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : The Proxy - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : I Spy - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : The Rift - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : Alien TV - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : Before the Flood - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : A Very British History - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : Cross Roads Blues - Paul J. McAuley
I enjoyed some more than others, but none were poorly done or disorganized. Some were more character study while others were plots in motion. McCauley handles tech smartly and creates complex but belief-suspense-able plots. My favorite: "17" - reminded me of Elizabeth Moon's Kylara Vatta character.
McCauley is readable, tech-skilled, and entertaining. If you are looking for tech-smart sci-fi, give McCauley a try.
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