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  • Capt. Xerox 2:45 pm on March 2, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: review   

    On the web, there is something for everybody, such as book reviews about nudism as reviewed by nudists. Lot’s of scifi! http://t.co/vU9ccerE

  • Capt. Xerox 1:29 pm on February 29, 2012 Permalink
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    Loved this review that skewers Any Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, a novel which I have never had the displeasure of reading. http://t.co/QkbfIUY5

  • Capt. Xerox 5:03 pm on February 27, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , review   

    A page-by-page review of the novelization of Back to the Future? That’s ambitious and ridiculous all at the same time! http://t.co/YAj5qH6i

  • Capt. Xerox 2:29 am on February 20, 2012 Permalink
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    Just finished Ready Player One. Enjoyed it, but thought the 80s nostalgia was a bit too intense for “modern” readers. http://t.co/2UKwjACe

  • Capt. Xerox 11:17 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink
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    Don't be fooled by the title. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, is a science fiction book, not just a book about video games, although they are certainly very prominent throughout the narrative.
    I am sure that readers nostalgic for video games of the 80s will love Ready Player One, but wonder if it will resonate with a more modern audience.
    In brief ,the plot is about a contest among gamers to win the fortune of a deceased technology magnate by solving various riddles that he has left scattered about a futuristic version of the internet which is called OASIS.
    OASIS is a sort of a massive multiplayer online simulation game that is a a type of virtual reality universe which is completely immersive and difficult to distinguish from the real world. You could liken it to the holodeck from Star Trek.
    Our hero is a geek named Wade who is in competition with a horde of other gamers who commit themselves full-time to the quest of finding the clues for the fortune.
    The creator of OASIS, James Halliday, is a product of the video-game universe of the 80s so the gamers questing for his fortune immerse themselves in tech and pop-culture trivia from that time in attempt to decipher his clues.
    If you ever played D&D's Tomb of Horrors module, played the arcade game Joust or watched the movie War Games, then you'll be tickled that these, and many other touchstones from that era, figure prominently in this book. If none of those things mean anything to you, then Ready Player One may seem like a series of "in" jokes.
    Our hero's quest becomes complicated with a love interest with whom he is in competition with online as well as a conglomerate which is throwing a lot of money and resources at the contest in order to reap the profits of Halliday's fortune.
    I found myself doubting the plausibility of a VR universe as convincing as the one portrayed in the book, but didn't try to let it lessen by enjoyment of the story.
    Enjoy it I did, but to a point. While it was fun to relive some of those 80s moments, I thought the story was perhaps a bit too predictable.
    I'd heartily recommend it to anyone who's spent evenings spending quarters in the arcades of yore, but think the kids of today might find this one a chore.

  • Capt. Xerox 8:30 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink
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    I’m always intrigued by translations of foreign #scifi, such as this book by J.-H. Rosny Aîné, a Verne contemporary. http://t.co/uWudHxqf

  • Capt. Xerox 4:11 pm on January 20, 2012 Permalink
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    The indefatigable David Langford writes a roundup of #scifi #book reviews for the Telegraph. http://t.co/6qCfnF6i

  • Capt. Xerox 2:16 am on January 17, 2012 Permalink
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    The Darkest Hour is a new #scifi film that is being panned. My rule of thumb? Films released in January generally suck. http://t.co/UvJlIWhq

  • Capt. Xerox 4:28 pm on December 16, 2011 Permalink
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    So what did the New York Times think of The Hobbit when it came out in 1938? Read the original review to find out. http://t.co/0p7rFZXy

  • Capt. Xerox 5:04 pm on November 14, 2011 Permalink
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    An excellent review of ‘The Myth and Mystery of UFOs’, but only for those who don’t have short attention spans. http://t.co/jx8b59o7

  • Capt. Xerox 5:04 am on September 19, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , review   

    Oh, dear. This Salon review of Neal Stephenson’s new book accuses him of being, wait for it, “too accessible? http://ow.ly/6xVlh

  • Capt. Xerox 2:18 am on September 3, 2011 Permalink
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    I was so looking forward to Apollo 18. I loved the concept, but if the critics are to be believed, it stinks. http://ow.ly/6koiE

  • Capt. Xerox 9:54 am on September 1, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: review   

    What would you give to be able to never grow old? Be careful what you wish for, it might come true.
    In Drew Magary’s first novel, The Postmortal, he wonders what the world would be like if someone discovered a cure for aging. It sounds like it would be a great thing, but as the story unfolds, the reader quickly discovers it would be a nightmare.
    In the opening chapter, we meet our hero, John Farell, a lawyer who is paying a black-market doctor to have three simple injections which will keep his body from aging. He won’t be immortal, but as long as he doesn’t contract a fatal disease or get hit by a bus, he could potentially live hundreds or thousands of years.
    Eventually, the cure becomes legal, cheap and widely available. In no time, just about everybody is “postmortal.”
    The time and setting of the book is America of the near-future. As Farell ages, the book advances by decades and society gets progressively worse as a result of the cure. When a scientist discovers a sort of vaccine that prevents cancer and other deadly diseases, the world starts to go off the rails. The Postmortal is essentially a pre-apocalypse novel.
    The biggest problem the world faces with postmortals is the fact that most people get the cure when they are young and remain reproductively viable for much longer than normal. In other words, people can have as many babies as they want and it’s not unusual for someone to be married multiple times and raise multiple families. As for marriage, it seems that “until death do us part” is no longer part of the lexicon and people aren’t keen to spend a real eternity with someone else. The result is that divorce skyrockets and relationships are more dysfunctional in this future world.
    In many ways, The Postmortals is a story about the effects of overpopulation on the world and how it would lead to competition for resources that would ultimately lead to a breakdown of society. It might already be happening on Earth, but it’s happening over generations so we, as individuals, don’t notice it, but postmortals have the misfortune of living long enough to witness the decline.
    The hero of the Postmortal is not the most lovable character. He is a lawyer, which has negative connotations for many, but his career switch as an “End Specialist” makes him even less appealing. It seems that many people don’t want to live forever, so they call End Specialists to terminate their lives. Each person seems to have a unique request on how to do it along with different reasons why they want to die.
    At first Farell doesn’t pull the trigger on those who want to end it all. He’s there to act as a sort of official witness who interviews the clients and takes note of their final wishes. Eventually, the End Specialists have to carry out forced terminations where the government targets specific people to be killed. Farell is no longer just a witness, but now an executioner. He is conflicted about this turn of events and has to decide whether or not he should continue.
    The Postmortal is written in a first-person style and is formatted as a series of what appear to be electronic blog posts or journal entries. It’s a gimmick for the web generation, which I don’t think it’s entirely necessary. It doesn’t add or subtract to the story other than it indicates the passage of time.
    Magary has written a riveting book that will both fascinate and scare you and maybe make you glad that you will die some day before the world becomes an even worse place to live.
    Disclosure: An electronic review copy of the book was provided by Penguin USA.

  • Capt. Xerox 1:26 am on June 6, 2011 Permalink
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    Looking for some summer #scifi reading? Jeff Vandermeer reviews some noteworthy titles for the New York Times. http://ow.ly/5aCl8

  • Capt. Xerox 1:44 am on March 30, 2011 Permalink
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    The early reviews are very good for Source Code. I loved Moon, so have high hopes for it. http://ow.ly/4paEq

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