‘More Westerns In Space’

Score: 4/5

I think I like these Murderbot stories because they’re just so like old westerns, but set in space. With an anxiety-ridden Murderbot instead of a ‘drifter’, planets/stations instead of settlements, and a constant feed of soap operas instead of... Well, OK, it’s maybe not a perfect simile.

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‘Loving These Murderbot Stories’

Score: 5/5

I may be becoming addicted to this murderbot and his love of soaps. It now bothers me that there aren’t dozens more of these available.

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‘More Murderbot, More Mayhem’

Score: 5/5

Back to my favourite murderbot. Still fun, engaging and a bit silly.

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‘What’s Really Going On’

Score: 3/5

I’m not sure what to make of this book.

Is it really the plain story it seems, or is it trying to say something deeper? It feels like it’s deeper, like it’s a metaphor, or like there was something else going on via a hugely unreliable narrator, but... if there was I just couldn’t grasp it.

I get the points about power, work and being trapped, I just felt I was waiting for something more.

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‘Fun, Not Too Serious’

Score: 4/5

In the middle of some dense reading, I took a break with this. It’s some light science fiction, not there to be taken too seriously, but fun enough. I thoroughly enjoyed it. A murderbot with a bad soap opera habit - what’s not to love?

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‘Fitting End To Series’

Score: 4/5

Well, the final Expanse book. It’s taken a lot of words to get here.

It’s a nice enough end to the series. Fitting enough. But really, I have such difficulty getting over the fact that some of our technology today is ahead of this mythical future. We have tiny cameras everywhere these but the lack of cameras puts these books firmly in the pre-2010 era. It’s hard for me to take their imaginative tech seriously.

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‘Interesting, Fun, And Short’

Score: 3/5

This is a short book with short chapters on popular philosophical questions. It doesn’t go into great depth in its answers but it tries to bring a flavour of the current state of philosophy to each of them. Interesting and fun.

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‘A Book Of Prologue’

Score: 4/5

Hmm. This book feels kinda like a cross between the Frontlines series (by the same author) and The Expanse. That’s maybe not such a surprise since the authors are all part of some writer club cluster, but it’s a little disappointing.

The slow, plodding aspects of The Expanse have migrated over, and this felt like a long book with entire chapters where little happened. (I had that same feeling reading The Expanse books.) Still, The Expanse has proved hugely popular, so what do I know?

Someone said authors should write a prologue for their books, to set things up and show how things came to be, but then they should discard that prologue before publication. The purpose, that author said, was to get everything straight in the author’s mind, and to get the explanations of how things worked out of the way so they didn’t make it into the actual book. Readers would have to pick up how things worked from the characters doing things rather than have it all explicitly explained, and that (apparently) led to better books.

Well, here’s the opposite. This book felt like it was entirely prologue, never getting to the actual story. To pick one unfair example: this series is called ‘The Palladium Wars’. By the end of the book, war hasn’t started.

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‘Another Stonkingly Good Book’

Score: 5/5

If you enjoyed ‘A Deadly Education’, this follow-up will not disappoint you. It’s also stonkingly good, and I am not looking-forward to the months-long wait before the third in the series comes out.

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‘Internally Consistent, Stonkingly Good’

Score: 5/5

This was thoroughly enjoyable! Superficially it’s easy to make comparisons with Harry Potter - incredibly powerful young magician goes to old school of magic, hijinks ensue - but it’s very different in tone and depth, and ‘hijinks’ is probably a mischaracterisation for both series of books.

What stood out for me was the internal consistency of the setting. With a lot of fantasy books it’s hard to see how some things came about, even if it’s ‘explained’ in backstory. Here though things are a natural consequence of other things, which are a consequence of still other things, and so on. It all fits, in a way that seems rare (to me) for science fiction and fantasy books.

Anyway, this is a stonkingly good book.

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