#RRSciFiMonth Review Bites

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi November is a month-long blog event hosted by Rinn Reads and Over The Effing Rainbow this year, created to celebrate everything amazing about science fiction! From TV shows to movies, books to comics, and everything else in between, it is intended to help science fiction lovers share their love and passion for this genre and its many, many fandoms.

ready player oneReady Player One by Ernest Cline
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Length: 15 hrs and 46 mins
Publisher: Random House Audio

Ready Player One follows the adventures of Wade who has the misfortune of living in a desolate United States in the year 2044. Despite earth sounding like a wasteland, years earlier a game developer created a large MMO known as OASIS that allowed user to escape into a virtual world, hiding behind their avatars. OASIS quickly expanded into an intricate freemium service that could be used for a variety of things, including attending public school. Most people regardless of income status have access to OASIS and a great deal of the population stays plugged in. It is so engrained in the culture that the name is synonymous with Internet. After the death of the developer (who happens to be an heir-less billionaire), the denizens learn that he has hidden a game in OASIS consisting of a series of riddles. The first one to solve his puzzle becomes the heir to his empire.

This follows the typical 80s teen RomCom adventure format, even going as far as to include the “boy meets girl” thing. I’m probably in the small majority here when I say that this didn’t do it for me. I’m all for nostalgia and nostalgia is probably the only reason I rated this as high as I did. Mostly this felt  ham-fisted to me, though. I’m not sure I even really enjoyed the plot that meandered along around all the 80s tribute. This was just one of those moments when I wanted to say, “It’s not you, book. It’s me.” Except I’m pretty sure it’s the book and not me. However, if you’re looking for something light and fun packed with plenty of 80s trivia and homages, this book will be right up your alley. This was the complete novel I’ve listened to by Wil Wheaton (I’d listened to a short story narrated by him earlier this year). He didn’t do too bad with this story.

7496c-new2-5stars

 

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir
Narrator: R.C. Bray
Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
Publisher: Podium Publishing

I’m almost the last person to read this book. Thanks to one of the recent Top Ten Tuesdays, I found out that I am at least still ahead of a few people when it comes to reading this book. 😉 After a series of unfortunate events during a mission to Mars, Mark Watney finds himself stranded on the planet after his crew mistakenly leaves him behind.  Now, he’s on a personal mission to survive on the planet for the next 4 years until the next Mars mission crew arrives on the planet.

There’s plenty of technical jargon in this that most people won’t even pretend to understand (and that’s okay!), but there’s not so much of it that readers are pushed away from the story. You get the sentiment–everything is fucked!–even if you don’t understand the science. Being a big science nerd, I definitely enjoyed this for the way Weir weaved the science and the story together. Now, admittedly, I can understand where this might get redundant. Given the type of story this is, like most survival story, this relies on everything that could possibly go wrong doing just that. That can get old as something breaks and Watney then proceeds to “science the shit out of it” until he gets a solution. I can also see where people might find it dry despite the humor interspersed in the story. R.C. Bray was an excellent narrator, though, and I’m sure his narration made all the difference. I won’t say that R.C. Bray is flawless, but his narration made it feel real, like this was a story being related to me by a friend who’d been stranded on Mars. Sometimes, that personable style of narration is more important than an immaculate narration.

ab28c-new4stars

Orphans of the SkyOrphans of the Sky by Robert Heinlein
Narrator: Eric Michael Summerer
Length: 4 hrs and 42 mins
Publisher: Audible Studios

This novel is actually two of Heinlein’s novella’s–Universe and Common Sense both published in 1941. A man named Hugh is the main character of this book, living on a generational ship with multiple levels. The inhabitants of the ship believe there’s nothing beyond the metal of the ship, believing their “journey through space” is an allusion to spiritual enlightenment. However, after Hugh encounters the “mutants” that live on another level of the ship, he learns that they are in fact on a ship floating aimlessly through space, a ship that went off some generations before he was born. Now, he wants to fly the ship, but will Hugh’s own people believe his story?

This wasn’t my favorite Heinlein book, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love the premise behind this one. I don’t read enough stories about generational ships. I found everything about this fascinating from the ship-based religion which is much like Christianity fused with various other religions. There were moments when you just wanted to smack the characters and tell them to take a chance. They’re so resistant to what Hugh tries to get them to see, but that can be said of real life as well. So, while I wasn’t over the moon about this story, I did really love the ideas it played with.

679d6-new3stars

17 Comments on “#RRSciFiMonth Review Bites”

    • I STILL haven’t watched the movie and I really want to. I’ve just been so freaking busy with work that by the time the weekend rolls around I just want to sit at home a detox from a long work week.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It definitely wasn’t you with “Ready Player One.” The book was really bad actually. Still not sure why so many people adored it. Guess I’m strange. . . and if that is why I disliked the book, then I’m actually okay with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love old 80s movies, even the RomComs, but this… not so much. LOL. I knew I was going to be the odd duck early in when I started struggling with the story. I only made it through because I was listening to it.

      Like

  2. I am also last on the Martian list.

    I am also with you in the meh on Ready Player One club. I was initially caught up in the nostalgia and, as my original review said, I’d given it like 5 stars 100 pages in. But then I wised up. Everything you say is spot on. There is no real story and lots of crappy character development in between the hamfisted 80s references. I suppose there’s some sort of meta irony in its 80s romcom style, but I’ll pass.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I started struggling with this book in the beginning. I thought it would get better, and it just never did. I almost quit at the convenient early EVIL AUNT DIES portion of the book. Smh.

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  3. You may think you’re one of the last to read The Martian, but I still haven’t read Ready Player One.

    That Martian is actually one of favorite books. I didn’t listen it to in audio, but everyone seems to recommend that – even if you’ve read it to go back and listen to the audio version.

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    • I bought the audiobook for The Martian because everyone kept recommending it, and I have to say that was one of the best audiobook recommendations I’ve had for the year. I highly recommend it! Ready Player One… meh… I don’t really recommend it all that much. Wheaton did an excellent job, but I just didn’t like the story. LOL.

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  4. Pingback: Teaser Tuesday & Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Book I Enjoyed Recently That Weren’t My Typical Genre/Type of Book | The BiblioSanctum

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