Small Reviews (5) : Passage at Arms , 2001 - A Space Odyssey, Old's Man War, City Machine & Second Game

Today I am going to review some books I've read in the Science Fiction genre in this couple of years. Some of them are still in my mind vividly and some... well... no.

Passage at Arms by Glen Cook
I read this book in 2008. I remember being a confusing book with strange fiction regarding the navigation of the vessels and other scientific terms. Well for start this novel is set in the same universe as the Starfishers Trilogy (but is a stand alone book). This story is set almost all book aboard a Climber... a ship capable of ascending beyond hyperspace and attacking enemy vessels. To be precise is a Submarine in space. Imagine de famous movie Das Boot but in SF. Well to set you in the universe is simple. Humanity is at war against the Ulant and Ulant is winnig but at least we've got the Climbers. The one thing of this novel as I mention reminds me of a Submarine is the tension that engulfs the crew. I must say that's the good part. The SF not so much. This particular story is told in a point of view of a journalist. Why should you like? Well if you want a Military SF book then this book is for you. If you want a book were the tension and all about the characters then go right ahead. If you want a SF book like Peter Hamilton and such don't bother. 7/10

2001 - A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke (and Kubrick)
This book is a must have to anyone who loves SF. It's one of the classics and as you read you can figure it out. Of course the book is from 1968 and it's not so rich in terms of Hard Science as the books coming out today. Too much have happen in the world of Science and Science Fiction and this book must be read with an open mind because it was written almost 50 years ago. If you can do that then you are in for a ride. Excelent book. If you can read the book and then watch the film from Kubrick. This is one of the rare cases where the movie equals the book and each bring something different. I would advice reading both to enjoy it as I enjoy it. After all the book and the screenplay were written simultaneously. Clarke went for clearer explanations of the mysterious monolith and Star Gate and Kubrick kept the film mysterious and enigmatic with minimal dialogue in order to convey what many viewers have described as a powerful sence of sublime and munimous without specific explanations of events. There are some differences and I've found people who enjoy the book greater than the movie and vice-versa. I think they both complete themselves. Watch and Read. 9/10 (Together)

Old's Man War by John Scalzi
This writer was unknown to me. I've read some pretty good reviews and so I try the book. I am glad I did it. I remember reading Starship Troopers by Robert E Heinlein and loving it so I had to try this one. (I know this book also follows the structure of The Forever War by Joe Haldeman but I have yet to read it.) Well this book tells us the story of John Perry a 75 year old retired writer who joins the Colonial Defense Forces. When a person makes 65 years if wanted they must make an application to join the force. John and his wife Kathy join and after 10 years the application was accepted. Meanwhile his wife died. Perry as he joins the ranks of CDF is given a new body, based on his original DNA, has enhanced strenght and other carachertistics. This body also had a BraidPal - a neural interface that allows the user to communicate with other members of CDF. After receiving his training (some were taken from the United States Armed Forces Perry is shipped into a engagement with several sentient alien inteligent species. After several battles and as they confront another alien species called Rraey he is left for dead but saved by the Special Forces of the CDF called Ghosts Brigades led by Jane Sagan (look-alike from his dead wife Kathy). After being regenerated Perry tries to track down Jane and discover that she is using the DNA of his dead wife but Jane has no recolection of memories of why is doing it. Jane then enlists afterwards Perry and they battle Rraey again because they found that Rraey received a techonology from other species that give them great advantage. The end is quite good and leaves us wanting more. I must say that I enjoy this book greatly and I bought the next three books but I failed to read them yet. I will do it because I enjoy it. Unfortunaly I have 1300 books and so... Well let them be there. I will enjoy them. I know. This book receives a solid 9/10

City Machine by Louis Trimble
This book was a small book I read in a couple of days. I wanted a fast book and for that I use DAW yellow books. This one was not an exception. This book is set in a distant world colonized by humans aeons ago. They live in high cities like the Necromunda from Warhammer world. Big buildings that harbour thousands upon thousands of people. They are called City Machine. This technology has been lost through the ages because nobody can read the original language. Our main character Ryne a former Lower (from the lower part of the city) descended from the last persons who could read the old language and now he lives in the Middle. Higher you get, higher in the society you are. So the poor in the Lower parts and Higher the rich. Meanwhile he is contacted from a group of lowers led by Laszlo who locate the original City Machine and texts and wants a person who can read so he can build a new City Machine for the Lowers. But there is someone who doesn't want them to leave called the Coordinator (a bureacratic guy from the Middle city) Here the Coordinator have a plan to destroy Laszlo's. Ryne is undercover and blackmailed because the Coordinator have Ryne's girlfriend. The end was predictable and I didn't enjoy the book that much. Around 140 pages is to small a book to function that well. In my opinion the premises of this Hive Cities are great and he tried to give us a lesson of political about the unreachable Uppers, the bureacractic Middles that do the Uppers work and the poor Lowers who do all the dirty work. The writer has an opinion of Comunism and he's got no problem saying it. 7/10

Second Game by Charles V de Vet & Katherine MacLeanI read this book when I was on the hospital. It's a small Daw book as City Machine. This book is also good but didn't excel in any point. The story passes on a alien planet called Velda that have been discover by humans. After a warning with no contact the Veldians destroy the fleet that Earth sent. The narrator a chess champion learns that Veldians base their society around proficiency on a game called... Game. Basicly is chess but more complicated. This narrator goes to that planet and learns to play the Game and challenge all corners. He then says to anyone challenging him that he Beats him in the Second Game (thus the title) and so as a chess player he loses on the first as he learns he opponents weakness and in the second win. In the end he draws the attention of a high official and a proficient Game player. After the most difficult Game the narrator prevails but the official perceives that he is human and arrests him. Trobt (the High official) places him under house arrest and tells him of the Last Third Game. Trobt and the Narrator becomes friends and the Narrator also learns about the society and even a love interest. The end was not that predictable but was plausible. I read somwehere that this Second Game by Daw is a revision from another novel/story called Cosmic Checkmate. There are some differences but I am not to buy it because I didn't enjoy the novel that much. I also learn that a second novelette with the Narrator's descended called Third Game. 7/10

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