Showing posts with label the martian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the martian. Show all posts

Saturday, October 1, 2016

[Review] Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) - Sylvain Neuvel: Giant Robots and Outer Space




In SLEEPING GIANTS, a little girl finds an enormous robot hand made of metal in the woods and the military immediately grows interested in it.

What intrigued me: The tagline they used in promotion got me. World War Z meets THE MARTIAN? Um yeah, get on my shelf ASAP.

Perfect transitional read for people who don't like Sci-Fi

SLEEPING GIANTS is told through interview snippets and diary entries from multiple characters. All in some way connect to a mysterious man who is secretly in control of the operation to get the robot to work.  Most of it is actually dialogue, which I loved. 

It makes this way easier to read and hides the fact that this is a pretty heavy Sci-fi thriller with political elements. Especially for people like me who shy away from epic Sci-fi or political thrillers, this could serve as a nice transitional read to get more into the genre.

I definitely struggled a little with the tone of the novel. Most of the plot is told from the perspective of military officials and scientists who use highbrow language and complex scientific processes to explain things. Even though Neuvel tries to simplify all concepts and processes, I found myself zoning out whenever someone started talking about chemical elements. This is very minor though, because the story about the ancient robot hand will eventually suck you in and force you to keep on reading until your eyes burn. It happened to me. At some point the story just starts to become so gripping and you get so invested that it's almost impossible to put it down. 

Enchanting and thrilling

I was surprised to grow attached to the characters and their fate. Neuvel manages to paint multi-faceted character relationships by telling the majority of the interactions in retrospective. If two characters who aren't the mysterious interviewer and another character interact, it's always told after it happened and through the eyes of one of the people who were there. 

You'd think that format would get tiring after a while but it really doesn't. I'm so glad Neuvel wrote this almost exclusively in dialogue, because I'm sure I would've zoned out or even quit the novel altogether if that story was told in a classic way. Like this it's easy, it's handy, it fits the plot. I enjoyed this a lot and found myself unable to predict any of the twists, which is really rare. SLEEPING GIANTS is a very unique, almost experimental read that will surprise and enchant you.


Rating:

★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Following the events in SLEEPING GIANTS almost became an addiction. It's really impossible to put down and a fantastic thriller that you should read if you like conspiracies and aliens. It put me in the worst reading slump ever because it's so genius!



Additional Info

Published: August 8th 2016
Pages: 416
Publisher: Heyne
Genre: Sci- Fi / Aliens
ISBN: 9783453316904

Synopsis:
"A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?"(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read SLEEPING GIANTS?

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

[Review] The Martian - Andy Weir



In "The Martian" by Andy Weir, astronaut Mark Watney gets accidentally left behind on Mars and has to fend for his life until the next expedition crew arrives to save him.

Unfortunately, the next crew arrives in four years and he only has food and water for one year.

As you might know, I love everything related to space, so picking this one up was a no-brainer. I haven't read a novel set on Mars before and I am a huge fan of Sci-Fi novels that heavily build on facts.


Not a Good Choice for Non-Scientists

Even though Weir does his best to make everything easily understandable, the book mostly consists of the technical and scientific alterations Watney has to make to survive. If you're neither an astronaut, mechanic, or gardener, it will easily get tiring and exhausting to try to keep up.

I was hoping to see a book along the lines of "Ready Player One" just for space - a book that makes me feel like I'm an expert on something that I know nothing about. "The Martian" doesn't give me the notion that I know what's going on. I kept on reading, but actually understanding none of the processes, especially the chemical ones, that Watney tries to explain in detail. It's definitely not light reading.

It reads like a how-to book - just in case you get left behind on Mars. However, even if you couldn't care less how Watney splits rocket fuel atoms and mixed them with oxygen to create water, it's a fun read. I salute to Weir - it's incredibly difficult to write a book set in one place with a single character and keep it interesting.

I was hoping for a lot of flashbacks, for a little more plot to add more depth and sympathy for Watney.

The Sassiest Gardener/Astronaut You'll Ever Read About

Mark Watney is a really likable character. The first line already got me hooked and I caught myself chuckling over his frustration all the time. He makes the best out of a pretty much hopeless situation and always has a sarcastic line prepared. He's a cool guy and that definitely adds more entertainment value to the book!
Weir could have easily made Watney emotionally affected by it all, but the mere fact that he keeps a clear head and makes plans makes him insanely likable to me. I rooted for him from the start, because he's so eager to succeed.
...
I'm slightly disappointed with the POV changes. Weir tries to simultaneously tell the other side of the story, how the NASA is reacting to finding out Watney still alive. There is pretty much no structure to it and the second you've already sympathized with one of the side characters, there are time jumps. The pacing is really off, sometimes Weir chooses to skip months at a time, and sometimes he decides to describe redundant processes annoyingly detailed.


Rating:

★★☆☆


Overall: Do I Recommend?

Maybe. "The Martian" is a decent survivalist sci-fi novel set on Mars, with a chamber play feel. Certainly a must-read for chemistry savvy space adventure fans, but a little too difficult and packed with science for the average Joe.



Additional Info

Original Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Published: 14th September 2015
Pages: 512
Medium: Paperback
Publisher: Heyne Verlag
Cover: Heyne, 2015
Genre: Adult / Science Fiction
ISBN: 978-3-453-31691-1


Synopsis:
"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 & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he 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 isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next.


Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"
(Source: Goodreads)



 Have you read a good novel set in space lately?


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