Science Fiction

StarPower and the Search for Black Hole Bill (StarPower #2)

Star Power Vol 2

Summary:

The search for new hope and old enemies.

In the aftermath of her battle with the Ninth Wormhole, Danica Maris learns The Star Power is unresponsive. With the help of her friends and colleagues aboard Space Station Sanctuary Six, she must discover a way to reignite the amazing powers bestowed upon her and rekindle the light of a friend trapped in darkness.

(Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This installment starts out a little slower than I think volume 1 did, but it quickly picks up as Danica Maris is onto more adventures.  In a sense, this story felt a lot like a bridge between the last storyline and the next.  The challenge of Black Hole Bill was interesting, but I found the subsequent story much more intriguing.

I also really enjoyed that we get to find out a lot more about each of the respective characters and how they interact with each other.  We get a much better sense of who they are as a group and what they want to do in the future.

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Graphic novel fans looking for something with a superhero flair as a standalone story.  It’ll be pretty confusing if you don’t start at the beginning.

Want to read the whole series?

  • StarPower and the 9th Wormhold (StarPower #1)
  • Star Power and the Mystery of the Zel Gux Dynasty (Star Power #3)
  • TBD (Star Power #4)

The Martian

The Martian

Summary:

A mission to Mars.

A freak accident.

One man's struggle to survive.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars' surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive. And even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, Mark won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark's not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills—and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength–he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.

As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive.

But Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This was a book I’d been meaning to get around to for a while, but it was when it was chosen for my book club that I decided to finally go for it.  Right off the bat I’ll say – I wasn’t expecting it to be funny! There were moments I was chuckling out loud simply because it was unexpected in the context.  I appreciated Mark’s sense of humor lasting throughout his struggles.  I particularly liked his “survived something that should have killed me” meal.

Weir does a fantastic job portraying urgency without creating suspense fatigue.  I find my main struggle with books like these is that I can only be nervous so long before I disengage so I don’t bring stress over to my real life.  Weir creates a compelling and fantastic story without me ever feeling like I needed to take a step back.  I will admit – having an engineering background I think I was more intrigued by the book than some others might be.  If you’re not interested in the “whys” of making things work, the book could get a little repetitive or long.  I’m not sure the nonstop optimism is completely realistic for a character in that scenario, but nonetheless this was a fun read that I enjoyed.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Anyone with a slightly nerdy bone in their body who also would enjoy some humor to mix it up.

StarPower and the 9th Wormhold (StarPower #1)

Summary:

One Woman Stands Vigilant Against the Void

Danica Maris is an assistant astronomer on Space Station Sanctuary Six until she is mysteriously chosen to wield the cosmic energy known as the Star Power. The light of the Star Powered Sentinels has returned, but she is shining alone. 

An ancient enemy has emerged from the ruins of the old galactic empire to extinguish the Star Power and enslave the Millennium Federation. Now, the last Start Powered Sentinel must stand against the approaching darkness and be a light in the void.  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This was a story that picked me up immediately and it only got better.  I love the depth of all of the characters and how each of the races has a full thought-out background.  Danica Maris is an unlikely hero who manages to rise to the occasion and be endearing at the same time.

The concept of the star powered sentinel also appeals to me having a love from anything to do with space.  It’s an interesting twist to hear how things the history/future of the universe came to be.  I like the mini background blurbs interspersed in the story.  I’d definitely recommend this series!

Warning: Contains repeated violence

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Graphic novel fans looking for something with a superhero flair as a standalone story.  

Want to read the whole series?

  • StarPower and the Search for Black Hole Bill (Star Power #2)
  • Star Power and the Mystery of the Zel Gux Dynasty (Star Power #3)
  • TBD (Star Power #4)

Her Smoke Rose Up Forever

Her Smoke Rose Up Forever

Summary:

These 18 darkly complex short stories and novellas touch upon human nature and perception, metaphysics and epistemology, and gender and sexuality, foreshadowing a world in which biological tendencies bring about the downfall of humankind. Revisions from the author's notes are included, allowing a deeper view into her world and a better understanding of her work. The Nebula Award–winning short story Love Is the Plan, the Plan Is Death, the Hugo Award–winning novella The Girl Who Was Plugged In, and the Hugo and Nebula Award–winning novella Houston, Houston, Do You Read? are included.

The stories of Alice Sheldon, who wrote as James Tiptree Jr. ( Up the Walls of the World ) until her death in 1987, have been heretofore available mostly in out-of-print collections. Thus the 18 accomplished stories here will be welcomed by new readers and old fans. ''The Screwfly Solution'' describes a chilling, elegant answer to the population problem. In ''Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death,'' the title tells the tale--species survival insured by imprinted drives--but the story's force is in its exquisite, lyrical prose and its suggestion that personal uniqueness is possible even within biological imperatives. ''The Girl Who Was Plugged In'' is a future boy-meets-girl story with a twist unexpected by the players. ''The Women Men Don't See '' displays Tiptree's keen insight and ability to depict singularity within the ordinary. In Hugo and Nebula award-winning ''Houston, Houston, Do You Read?'' astronauts flying by the sun slip forward 500 years and encounter a culture that successfully questions gender roles in ours.  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

I have very mixed feelings about these stories.  I couldn’t finish the book, but I did find some of the books extremely interesting and though-provoking.  All of the books creeped me out at some level, I just got to the point where I couldn’t handle the creepiness any more.  They all have quite dark tones that I think was not communicated well in the summary preview.

Those with stronger tolerances will love the mixture of stories and what they address.  Although all have a feminist theme, I don’t think they’re in the “traditional” sense, but rather challenge role stereotypes and the approach to how society operates.  I would read more of Tiptree’s stories if I came across them in the future, but I don’t think I’ll seek them out any time soon.

Warning: Contains repeated violence and sexual content.

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Science fiction fiends that are willing to go a little more out there than “mainstream” science fiction.