Book Review: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

On August 13, 2012, in Book Review, Cathy Russell, by Catherine Russell

The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, tells the story of the expansion of humanity into a seemingly endless collection of Earths. When plans for the “stepper” – a box of simple electronic components powered by a potato – appears on the internet, it seems little more than a harmless project for children. […]

Book Review: In Situ, edited by Carrie Cuinn

On August 9, 2012, in Book Review, Paul Weimer, by Paul Weimer

  The term Science Fiction applies if there is a science somewhere at the bottom of the fiction. Be it the “hard” sciences of  physics, astronomy and chemistry, or the “soft” sciences of sociology, psychology, anthropology, and biology lying somewhere in between, there is always an underlying science for the fiction to be considered science […]

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Lamentations of a Dipsomaniac’s Ghost: James Maxey’s Greatshadow

On July 2, 2012, in Book Review, Paul Weimer, by Paul Weimer

  On a tropical island inhabited by castoffs, treasure hunters and malcontents, a dipsomaniac treasure hunter, Stagger, and his supremely capable partner Infidel get into a deadly spot. While Infidel may be mostly invulnerable and superhumanly strong, Stagger unfortunately, is not. When the treasure hunter dies, his ghost does not move onto the next realm, […]

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Review: The Returning by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

On June 11, 2012, in Book Review, Cathy Russell, by Catherine Russell

If Bryan Thomas Schmidt‘s ‘The Worker Prince’ was Moses in space, than ‘The Returning’ contains the seeds of a new Exodus – blending the background of the original story seamlessly into the sequel. Readers may pick up the thread of the story quickly – whether or not they have read the first book. For decades, […]

The Chronicler’s Tale: Jeff Salyards’ Scourge of the Betrayer

On June 4, 2012, in Book Review, Paul Weimer, by Paul Weimer

A military unit outside of the boundaries of its Empire, messing around in client kingdoms and bordering polities. A motley group of soldiers and gritty veterans,  more than a bit war-weary. Some of those soldiers are burdened with dark secrets, and a mission and purpose unclear to anyone around them. Standard Sword and sorcery stuff, […]

Skill beats Will: Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops: Control Point

On April 30, 2012, in Book Review, Paul Weimer, by Paul Weimer

  The magic returns (or comes into being) to our technological modern day world is not a new idea in fantasy.  Rachel Pollack’s Unquestionable Fire. The novels of Alyx Dellamonica. The roleplaying games Shadowrun and GURPS: Technomancer hypothesize what would happen if magic erupted into the modern world. Other novels and stories ponder a return […]

Image of a Halfbreed Puca:And Blue Skies from Pain by Stina Leicht

On April 23, 2012, in Book Review, Paul Weimer, by Paul Weimer

  When last we left Liam Kelly, the slow revelation of who and what he was had left him if not in a happy place, at least a relatively stable place. True, he had lost much in discovering his true heritage, lost his wife, lost friends, lost (or should we say, walked away) from his […]

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Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

On April 2, 2012, in Book Review, Cathy Russell, by Catherine Russell

When I picked up American Gods by Neil Gaiman, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew only two things: 1.) It was cited as a genre classic and 2.) the podcast, Writing Excuses, mentioned a scene from the book where a god burned his fingers on a hot apple pie. And while I admit […]

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Knight to King’s Knight’s Six: Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

On March 29, 2012, in Book Review, Paul Weimer, by Paul Weimer

  I am going to start this review off on a note and structure rather different than other book reviews of mine you’ve read of mine at the Functional Nerds and say this right up front: Prince of Thorns, a debut fantasy novel by Mark Lawrence, is a contentious novel with a mostly unsympathetic sociopathic […]

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Review: Astronauts and Heretics by Thomas Marcinko

On March 26, 2012, in Book Review, Cathy Russell, by Catherine Russell

Thomas Marcinko’s new anthology, Astronauts and Heretics, treats the reader to seven highly entertaining and imaginative stories. The first story, Faith in a Higher Power, tells of a world where super powers are strictly regulated and many treat their ‘gifts’ as an addiction. Despite this, the tale is playful and upbeat. Next comes Whiter Teeth, […]

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Review: Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

On March 19, 2012, in Book Review, Cathy Russell, by Catherine Russell

Orson Scott Card‘s second book in the Ender series, Speaker for the Dead, takes place years after humanity’s war against the alien ‘buggers.’ Ender Wiggins, the former child hero of the Bugger Wars, has spent twenty years traveling from world to world, speaking for the dead – telling the truth about the lives of those […]

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A Russian Bear of a novel: The Straits of Galahesh by Bradley Beaulieu

On March 15, 2012, in Book Review, Paul Weimer, by Paul Weimer

Last May, I read The Winds of Khalakovo, and reviewed it here at the Functional Nerds. The Winds of Khalakovo is a secondary fantasy novel borrowing from cultures not usually invoked in fantasy–Tsarist Russia and ancient Persia. Throw in a pair of very different magic systems, very non standard cultural issues of duty and honor, […]

Review: Col Buchanan’s FARLANDER

On February 22, 2012, in Book Review, Jaym Gates, by Jaym Gates

Airships! Secretive assassin-monks! Fanatic cults! The world at stake! Don’t let the airship on the dustjacket fool you, this isn’t your expected steampunk novel. Ash is pursuing an official vendetta. He is a member of the Roshun, a secretive order providing protection services through the use of living ‘seals’ that die with their owner. They […]

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Rumballs on the eve of War: Michele Lang’s Lady Lazarus

On February 8, 2012, in Book Review, Paul Weimer, by Paul Weimer

The scene is Budapest, Hungary  in the late 1930’s. Hitler’s saber rattling over in Germany  is becoming more and more bellicose, and there is the scent of war in the air. The quasi-fascistic pre war Hungary is not the most pleasant of places, especially for a Jew like Magda.  The fact that she is not […]

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Review: Death’s Heretic, by James Sutter

On February 1, 2012, in Book Review, Jaym Gates, by Jaym Gates

So, I have to start this out with a moment of honesty: I’ve been biased against novels published by gaming companies for…as long as I’ve been buying books. There’s no particular reason for it, and I really should have known better, but I just didn’t see myself as the target market. I don’t know the […]

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Transcending Part of Speech: Kafkaesque, edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel

On January 23, 2012, in Book Review, Paul Weimer, by Paul Weimer

  Kafkaesque Adjective Marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity e.g. Kafkaesque bureaucracies. Marked by surreal distortion and often a sense of impending danger. In the manner of something written by Franz Kafka. There are precious few writers whose names have transcended their status as a proper noun. Dickens has become an adjective to […]

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Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

On January 19, 2012, in Book Review, Cathy Russell, by Catherine Russell

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card may possibly be the best novel I’ve ever read. That’s not a statement I make lightly. While my other favorites – Stranger in a Strange Land, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Death World – have all effected me in different ways, none has moved me as much as this […]

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Review: Rule 34, by Charles Stross

On January 18, 2012, in Andrew Liptak, Book Review, by Andrew Liptak

Charles Stross’s latest novel, Rule 34, is one of the notable books of 2011, a cyberpunk novel for the social media age. Gone is the notion of revolutionary computers and technologies just out of reach: this futuristic Scotland is a recognizable world that’s just around the corner, one that shows just how scary a high-technology […]

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Flying Unfriendly Skies: The Black Lung Captain, by Chris Wooding

On January 16, 2012, in Book Review, Paul Weimer, by Paul Weimer

  Captain Darian Frey has had some more reversals of fortune. Despite the encounter at Retribution Falls, keeping his beloved aerium fueled airship The Ketty Jay is serious business. His navigator is still weird and possibly inhuman, his daemonologist is still haunted by something he won’t talk about, his outrider fighter pilots are still a […]

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Review: The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling

On January 12, 2012, in Book Review, Cathy Russell, by Catherine Russell

      “The book does prominently feature three of the foundational touchstones of all things steampunk: giant airships, brass computers, and kinky feminine underwear.” ~ Bruce Sterling, Afterword, The Difference Engine   When I first delved into The Difference Engine, by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, I had no previous experience reading the work […]

Review: The Worker Prince by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

On December 21, 2011, in Book Review, Cathy Russell, by Catherine Russell

    The Worker Prince by Bryan Thomas Schmidt takes the Biblical story of Moses to the stars and beyond. When Prince Xander Rhii – Davi to his friends – graduates from the Borali Military Academy at the top of his class, his horizon looks clear and bright. Privileged enough to grow up in the […]

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The World as MMORPG: The Restoration Game by Ken Macleod

On December 19, 2011, in Book Review, Paul Weimer, by Paul Weimer

Lucy Stone works as a game designer in Edinburgh. Digital Damage is making a Massively multiplayer online role playing game based on dark ages Britain. With Zombies and other odd things.  Slaving away at this game, Lucy gets a call from her mother, a fellow émigré from a troubled region in the Caucaus.  Her mother […]

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