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1.7 out of 5 stars
47
1.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Thiz iz a in an intriguingly bizarre but ultimately rather tediouz novel. With all thiz Cern particle acceleration buzinezz in the headlinez at the time, it appearz that the author waz zimply jumping on the band wagon. Having once written a damningly harzh appraizal of a performance by my zon Crizpin'z dungeon-rock fuzion band "Wagon", for the local Church Timez, perhapz it'z more than a tad hypocritical of me to pick him up on having done zo (ezpecially conzidering that I neglected to mention my drunken leap onto the ztage, from an overhanging balcony). However, thiz iz bazically a Z-list author'z rather weak attempt to be hip and happening. That zaid, if you ever have problemz zleeping, it'z a great book to have on the bedzide table. Zimply pick it up and you'll be "catching a few ZZZz" in no time. I've had more fun watching rerunz of Z-Carz.
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VINE VOICEon 5 December 2008
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm sorry. I really wanted to like this. And it does have some good features. The book is really attractive, and with excellent monochrome illustrations. And the concept - the interaction between conscious entities that are 0.0000000000000000000000000000001 times the size of humans, and humans - is an interesting one. Some of the science and history bits and pieces are quite interesting and reliable, and some of the concepts that I think are supposed to bring humour are a little bit funny ("fat police").

But those aren't redeeming features, unfortunately. It should be noted that I haven't finished the book yet, so I don't know if all will become clear at a later stage. These good features ought to be set against the fact that the dialogue is dreadful - REALLY dreadful - most of the details concerning the bugz are frankly implausible - why should logic and harmony prevail at that scale? - a huge and intriguing epistemological question has been left begging. Why should their universe have so many features similar to ours - specifically, the classical era of Athens? Why should they need libraries? Why do they have individual memories and characters? If organisms are that size, then what possible connection can they have with organisms that are as big to them as - um, I haven't checked, but let's say a solar system is to us? Why would there be a one-to-one correspondence between Bugz and humans? And WHY should they be so obsessed with the letter Z? The characters and situations are hackneyed and the features which were presumably supposed to add elements of raciness come across as childish, whilst real relationships are under-conveyed.

This is not good fiction, and not good SF.
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VINE VOICEon 26 February 2009
There have been many exciting science fiction writers to such as HG Wells, Arthur C Clarke, Douglas Adams, Steve Gallagher, and Iain Banks. I therefore had high hopes for this novel written by David Jackson. Unfortunately it failed to impress me. A problem with science fiction, is that often the fantastic ideas and theories contained within a book overtake characterisation. In this novel, the central characters, The Ashcroft's seem one dimensional. Set in 2042 on Earth suffering food shortages, we find that at the start of time, the universe was dominated by particles called Bugz. These bugz interact with humans, but unfortunately there are also evil bugz.
Not a recommended book,
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VINE VOICEon 29 December 2008
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was sent this book via Amazon Vine to read and review, but with all the good will in the world I gave up reading what soon became a confusing and pointless excercise. Perhaps it would make sense to those who smoke funny cigarettes but I'm sorry to have to report I couldn't make head nor tail of what the story was or what the point of this book was.
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VINE VOICEon 6 December 2008
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I would normally, when doing any review, give a synopsis' of the item for the delectation of any potential purchasers but frankly for Bugz Contact ( Book Zero) i cannot be arsed. Other reviewers have already done a sterling job of this so repetition isn't really necessary and more to the point it,s all so tedious- reading about it all again will be doing no one any favours . Plus it saves me the tedium of writing about it .Everyone's a winner then.
I really wanted to like this book so all the above pains me some what. It,s sumptuously packaged with lovely charcoal illustrations .So much so it feels more like a work of art than a book . As a book, unfortunately Bugz is irredeemably dull. There is the basis of a good idea here and a lot of work and research has clearly gone into it but the book immediately becomes bogged down with boring scientific prose. It,s often not a work of fiction, more like a physics lecture.
The story rambles too , grinding wearily along with it,s monotonous narrative mirroring it,s monotonous characters .After 30 pages i was puffing out my cheeks in frustration .After 100 pages my head was nodding like a Tory peer on the back bench of the house of lords. After 200 pages i was dreaming of Halle Berry in naughty night attire and smashing the winning runs in the 2009 ashes series though to be fair i tend to do that anyway. Reading this book ultimately was more gruelling than cycling to work during a recent snowstorm and that was bloody hard work let me tell you.
Not good then. Some will love it,s quirky plot and rambling scientific exposition. After all you expect that to some extent with science fiction. However I feel it,s not too unreasonable to expect interesting things to happen . Vivid characters , exciting scenario,s , horrible alien species if at all possible but failing that some excitement....any excitement......please. Bugz Contact is about as exciting as a copy of The Watchtower but alas nowhere near as short. The illustrations are better though.
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on 27 December 2012
Not as dire as some think, but I still couldn't get past the first 100 pages. Could have done with some better editing and more zip. That aside it's read like a decent story that I would have stayed with but for the bad points below.

The biggest bugbears were the background pictures and the asterisks that pointed you to the back pages where terms were explained. Even when I bought it (50p from Waterstones) I wasn't sure if it was fiction or non-fiction and the prologue at the beginning didn't help that impression. It was only reading the story itself that I realised it was fiction.

If it's re-issued without the background pictures (the ones in between the chapters are fine) and the notes, it will sell and read a whole lot better.
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VINE VOICEon 23 December 2008
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I loved the illustrations and the layout of the book. Along with the blurb on the back I started reading it with anticipation: the forward was fascinating...but it was down hill from then on. It may be the start of a classic scifi saga and I wouldn't completely rule that out, this volume could be a lot of scene setting and background that upon completion of the entire series will be the soucre of much pleasure to fans. As it stands I wouldn't recommend the book to anyone.
By the by I found it rather odd that there were some rather strange gratuitous sexually references that didn't seem to be there for any reason at all and in my eyes would detract make the book less acceptable for some of the target audience.
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VINE VOICEon 5 December 2008
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Just what was the publisher thinking?

maybe the author should park up his plans for a series of Stephen Baxter style story arcs if this is anything to go by. Substandard sci-fi with vague charcoal drawings that look like a Broadmoor patient's bad weeks on lithium do not go together.

It really is not going to draw in the reader when pages are covered in this strange monochrome scrawl and grey shading, meaning that you have to go into another room or switch on a light to make out the text on the page.

Pretentious artworjk all the way through, and a story that quite honestly just grated with me and left me totally underwhelmed. Save your money or you will do as I did and throw this book into a corner after a couple of chapters.

Sci-fi reading should not be hard work. This was turgid.
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VINE VOICEon 19 January 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I wanted to like Bugz, I really did. As a hardback, it is a lovely book, and the artwork and design are excellent, and the timing of the book was obviously set to capitalise on the Large Hadron Collider inauguration.

Which is about as positive as I can be I'm afraid.

The premise is a good (if not original) one - that a form of intelligent life exists at the subatomic level, and these lifeforms (Bugz) can interact with our macroscopic world in a meaningful way. The book describes how an earlier golden age for these Bugz has passed, and how the (evil) black Bugz scheme to perpetuate their rule beyond the natural order. A quest sets out to find a lost saviour, and falls through some form of singularity into our universe, where the lost Bugz try to influence human life and develop a means to get home.

Which sounds all well and good, but there are major problems with this book.

1. All the Bugz and related terminology have names beginning with Z. This probably sounded like a good idea at the time, but gets very wearing. Likewise, related puns (Buggzist philosophy, a spaceship called the Zargo with its Zargonauts)also seem to belong to a children's book.
2. The characterisation is poor.
3. The science is confused and in places simply wrong. The nature of the subatomic particle Bugz is never explained. At one point the "mutant" W particles are introduced. These are later identified at the (real life) W particles that convey the weak nuclear force, but it is never explained why such a particle should be considered mutant. The Y and X particles that are also mentioned never fit into such a category. There are also silly errors regarding scientific notation and it is never explained what the arbitrary white and black Bugz division represents (not charge and not matter/antimatter from other references in the book, so what...?) And what are engineering and warrior Bugz?
4. The whole nature of what intelligent thought represents is also not addressed. How can the Bugz think? How do they store and process information if they are subatomic particles?

....and so on. In short, this is not a well thought out, "hard" sci-fi book. Space opera like Star Wars has more internal consistency than Bugz, and a better plot.

I don't like to be so negative in a review, so I'll end on a high note. While reading Bugz, I was reminded of A.A.Attanasio's The Last Legends of Earth, which is one of my all-time favourite novels. Partly this was because in Bugz one of the characters is called Zotl, the name of the enemy in Last Legends, and partly it was because Last Legends features a submicroscopic alien race "climbing" into our universe in a similar fashion to the Bugz, but Last Legends of Earth does this so much better.

Forget Bugz and track down a copy of Last Legends of Earth instead!
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VINE VOICEon 18 June 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The plot is stupid. I was going to use longer words, but that sums it up. Some of the human parts are OK, but the part where you are meant to believe in a society existing in sub-atomic particles made me want to hit the bottle. And don't get me started about the utterly infantile preoccupation with the letter z.

So, I gave up. There's only one other novel I have ever done this with and I have read hundreds.

Oh, it's very pretty. But I wanted to read a book, not view a catalogue for an art exhibition.
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