John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire is the first book in a brand new series from the author of Old Man’s War. I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Scalzi’s writing. I really like most of his Old Man’s War series, but am not a big fan of almost everything else he’s done. He’s a really good writer who knows how to keep you turning the page, but after you’re done, you realize it’s pretty forgettable. And that’s the problem I had with The Collapsing Empire.
One of my favorite things as a science fiction reader is to not only explore new (imaginary) worlds, but to explore them from a different point of view. As a middle-aged white male living in the US, that means reading stories from people of different genders, ethnicities and cultures. So I was very excited to read The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (translated by Ken Liu). The story digs into the Chinese Cultural Revolution and I love the idea of a story from a Chinese point of view. So let’s check the book out.
Sometimes it takes me a couple tries to get going in a book. In this case, it was three tries over 5 months. I picked up Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice when it started hitting everyone’s radar in mid 2014. But after two months and two tries, I didn’t make it out of the first chapter. So I put it aside for a while while it garnered more praise and many, many awards. I finally picked it back up over the holidays and this time I made it through and enjoyed it. It’s an interesting book not only for its wonder story and characters, but it’s gender politics as well. It’s unlike other books that I’ve read and I’m now looking forward to the sequels. Let’s check it out.
While at the library, I pulled out Paul Melko’s The Broken Universe. I started reading it and it seemed familiar and new at the same time. So, I went and looked around and quickly realized that the book was the sequel to The Walls of the Universe. A book which I had read a few years ago. From what I remember, the original book was an interesting take on a kid having a universal transporter (Family Guy’s Stewie used a similar device in a couple of episodes). This sequel picks up soon after the events that ended the first book and ends on a cliffhanger which will (I assume) lead to another book. Let’s take a look.
Robert Charles Wilson’s Burning Paradise is a story about what happens if a paranoid’s worst nightmare came true. It’s a well written tale with some decent characters, but I had a hard time accepting the premise and that just sank the book for me. Labelled as hard science fiction, the main concept seemed so fantasy that it was hard for me to take the book seriously. Let’s check out what went wrong.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years of Doctor Who. For me, it’s only been 3+ years. I’m a late comer to the Doctor. I started with Steven Moffat and Matt Smith. It’s not that I hadn’t heard of Doctor Who before, but I just hadn’t started watching. But when I heard that they were starting with a new showrunner and a newly regenerated Doctor, it seemed like the perfect jumping on point. And I’ve been a fan ever since. Using Netflix, I’ve been slowly (very slowly) making my way through the 9th and 10th Doctors and am finding myself becoming more aware of the Doctor’s history. This is how I found myself sitting on the couch this past Saturday and watching the 50th anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor. Let’s see what happened. Spoilers Ahoy!
Just so there is no confusion, this review will be ignoring all the controversy about author Orson Scott Card’s beliefs. The review will look at Ender’s Game as a movie and as an adaptation of the popular book. In both views, the movie falls short. It fails as a movie and does not do a particularly good job in adapting the book. Let’s see where the problems lie. WARNING: Spoilers ahoy.