Ghost in the Shell — James Swallow

Basically, it’s just the film in writing.   Which, if you’re just wanting to read what happens in the film, then great, but personally i feel that this is just totally lazy on the part of the writer: or maybe this is all they were told to do by the rights holder???

The great thing about books, as opposed to film, is that you don’t have to pay for the sets, the extra cameras, the costumes, etc..   In a book the writer is simply limited by their own imagination and language skills, whereas in a film the director/writers are totally and absolutely constrained by finite resources such as finances, but also logistics, cgi limitations, the human elements of everyone involved (remember the pandemic and the disruption that caused to films and tv shows?) and many other things besides.   So to sit down and write a novel based upon a film, one would think a really good writer would have a fucking field day with it, but, with Ghost in the Shell, they didn’t.

Like is say, maybe this was the brief, and when someone throws a bag of money in the direction of writers and tells them what they want writing i would imagine they’ll get plenty of writers clamouring to take on such an easy task as this “novelisation” must have been.

At less than 2300 Kindle Loc points you’re pushing it to label this as a novel anyway.   At this length you’re seriously riding the boundaries between novella and novel.

I suppose they didn’t want to upset the film fans who only have attention spans of two hours.

So yeah, sadly, a total let down.   There could have been so much more background and detail that could have really added to the story.   A seriously wasted opportunity.

James’ Page

#scifi #cyberpunk #jamesswallow

Private Universe — Seth Rain

And so we finally come to the end of this rather enjoyable series.

It’s been pretty much full gas all the way and all the way through you really don’t get much of an idea who is on whose side and what their actual agendas really are until they suddenly reveal themselves and off we go again in a completely new direction.   It’s certainly been an interesting roller coaster ride.

And what a lovely ending, Seth isn’t afraid to kill lots of people that we like along with the ones we don’t: which we always like, don’t we?

I’m certainly looking forward to reading more from Seth in the future.   10 out of 10.

Seth’s Page

#scifi #cyberpunk #sethrain

Android State — Seth Rain

We begin immediately after the events of Messiah Online with Cardinal, having declared the UK an android state, telling all humans to leave the country or die.

Our protagonists, Blake (The Postman) and Lola, are determined to stop him, but how?   Has Cardinal become too powerful?

Once again, super good stuff and it’ll keep you reading until the end and, like me, you’ll go jumping straight into the last book in the tetralogy, Private Universe.

Seth’s Page

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Messiah Online — Seth Rain

And so we continue where we left of with Spectrum Worlds, the pacing doesn’t slow down at all and The Postman still has no idea who to trust and, even as a reader with my god like view of things, i still have no idea who is being honest and what their real agendas are in these books: which is what makes them so good.   Eventually things will come out in the wash and we’ll find out who is really pulling whose strings.

If you enjoyed the first book, you’ll enjoy this just as much.

But, between this and the last book in the series, there’s the penultimate book, Android State, which begins with all humans being told that they’ve got about 3 weeks to all get out of the United Kingdom or they’ll be killed on sight: should be fun.

Seth’s Page

#scifi #cyberpunk #sethrain

Spectrum Worlds — Seth Rain

The first book in The Cyberpunk Uploads series.

Having just been put through the ultimate in tedious and pointless interruptions to story flow and action scenes when i read The Heartstrikers series, to sit and read this book was an absolute pleasure.   Yes folks, if you really like a high paced, non-stop, story line then this just might be what you’re looking for.

On top of the fast flowing story it’s also a rather good story.   We essentially have a battle royale going between three groups: androids who hate humans and want to eradicate and/or enslave them, humans who want to do the same to androids, and then there’s the odd-ball androids and humans out in left field who think we can all live peacefully and happily together ever after.   Centre it all in the London of the future, known as Lundun, and shove our main protagonist, The Postman, right in the middle of all this is.

The most astute reader will get to realise by the end of the book that there really isn’t anyone The Postman can trust, android or human, everyone seems to have agendas and secrets and i’m really looking forward to learning more in the next book, Messiah Online, which i dove straight into without any hesitation.

Seth’s Page

#scifi #cyberpunk #sethrain

Voice of the Whirlwind — Walter Jon Williams

Voice of the Whirlwind -- Walter Jon WilliamsThe third instalment in the Hardwired Series.

A super good story and certainly no complaints on that aspect of the book, but the telling of it leaves a bit to be desired.   As in Hardwired, we are told a tale without any explanation as to the background, only for that to be revealed later on.

At 6% i found myself suddenly realising what’s happening in this vagueness that i’d been reading which left me with no choice but to go back to the very beginning and begin again.   Why Walter can’t just tell you what you need to know before you read it instead of sometime afterwards i have no idea. There’s a few other places in the book that i was left feeling like i’m going back and forward in time and feeling like i’m not quite sure where i am any more.

It is rather annoying because he is certainly a great crafter of story, with great characters and world building, but then goes and lets it all down by writing things out of sequence and all over the place.

But, it is worth putting up with this downside to enjoy a really good story.

And this officially ends the trilogy, although i believe that Aristoi is kind of set in the same universe with a fair few references to Nero, one of our favourite characters from Solip:System: so i may just have to dive into that in the not too distant future.

Walter’s Page

#scifi #cyberpunk #walterjonwilliams

Solip:System — Walter Jon Williams

Solip:System -- Walter Jon WilliamsI believe this novella was written as an afterthought to attempt to bridge a gap between Hardwired and Voice of the Whirlwind, thus creating a trilogy once a few things got ironed out in Voice of the Whirlwind.

Which i think is a bit bad because this book is a very much needed sequel to Hardwired whether or not there was another book to follow.

I’m definitely pleased it was written as it does finish off Hardwired and Nero’s escapades as Roon rather nicely.

Brilliant novella, and now i dive straight into Voice of the Whirlwind.

Walter’s Page

#scifi #cyberpunk #walterjonwilliams

Hardwired — Walter Jon Williams

Hardwired -- Walter Jon WilliamsThis is one of those books with lots of jargon that isn’t explained in advance, and so you wander through a world with nomenclature and terminoloy that means nothing to you until, in the case of the term “thatch” for example, you get over 60% of the way into the story before someone explains what the word means. I would suggest that it’s definitely well worth reading the bit at the back named “Panzerboy” before you begin as that helps a little settling in.

Other than the nomenclature/terminology issue, which i suggest you just deal with it and accept it for what it is, it’s a super good story that became a very much couldn’t-put-downer towards the end — which is kinda once i’ve figured out all the nomenclature/terminology — and i found myself diving straight into Solip:System without a pause.

It’s certainly got me wanting to re-read the series again in a few years time now i know what things mean before i begin.

So yes, indeedy, it’s certainly rather good cyberpunk and worthy of it’s praises as a classic of the genre.

Walter’s Page

#scifi #cyberpunk #walterjonwilliams

Mona Lisa Overdrive — William Gibson

Mona Lisa Overdrive -- William GibsonAs our story continues on from Count Zero we go off on a crazy ride round the world with a whole bunch of new characters and some of the old favourites as well.

And this story really does bounce around as our various characters all begin in different places doing very different things.

All in all a super good end to a super good trilogy.   I’ll definitely be back to read more William Gibson in the future.

William’s Page

#cyberpunk #williamgibson

Count Zero — William Gibson

Count Zero -- William GibsonLike the preceding Neuromancer, William makes you make some effort to keep up, and once again, it’s effort well repaid.

Adding insult to injury, this is the second copy i’ve tried of this book and they’ve both been rather badly edited.   I’m not sure whether the original book is like that or if it’s the fault of the copying it over into ebook format.   Anyway, i’ll judge it on the idea that the original doesn’t have all the punctuation and grammar faults and judge it as a damned good book, because, for all it’s faults in that area, it was well worth muddling through and making the effort for a really good story and characters.

Other thing to note: don’t expect to begin where you left off with Neuromancer either, because you won’t be.   Instead you’ll be thrown around here there and everywhere in between with general hints and a few characters from Neuromancer popping up and/or in or maybe just getting a mention in passing.

Anyways, all is good and i’m straight into Mona Lisa Overdrive.

William’s Page

#cyberpunk #williamgibson

Neuromancer — William Gibson

Neuromancer -- William GibsonWritten in such a similar way to the Hardwired Trilogy, in that it hops around a fair bit and you have to pay attention else you’ll soon find yourself lost in the matrix.   So i wouldn’t suggest even trying this book if you’re one of those readers who needs their words spoon feeding to them.

But for those of us who like to pay attention and use our brains a bit when we’re reading, this is a great book and certainly pays back your efforts.

Probably not a good book for amphetamine/coke addicts in recovery as the main protagonist is a full on speed freak.

It’s sooo good the first thing i did when i finished it — even before i wrote this review — is begin to read Count Zero.   I’ll see you there when i finish it.

William’s Page

#cyberpunk #sfmasterworks #williamgibson

Deep Ocean Blues — Yudhanjaya Wijeratne

Deep Ocean Blues -- Yudhanjaya WijeratneAn interesting little novella based in a deep ocean thorium mine with a human, an AI and a bunch of OctoPods as workers: OctoPods are cyborg octopuses in case you were wondering.

It mostly explores the same theme as Blade Runner, as in, what is it to be me.

I am left thinking that there’s at least a full length novel in this deep underwater world and the onshore world that supports it and squabbles over the rights.   There’s certainly a lot of interesting space for a novel or three to explore and fill.

Available in 2054 and also to read for free at Yudhanjaya’s website.

Yudhanjaya’s Page

#scifi #cyberpunk #yudhanjayawijeratne

Nova — Samuel R. Delany

Nova -- Samuel R. DelanyHaving previously read Babel-17 i was very much hoping this was just as good: so i did have very high expectations and it certainly had a lot to live up to.

So, yes, i did set out rather biased when i began to read this book, and while i have to say that it didn’t quite meet with my expectations with regards to Babel-17, it was still a very enjoyable read.

Samuel certainly has his own style, very arty, very high brow, and also very imaginative: Nova holds it’s place as one of the books which gave birth to the cyberpunk genre.   But where Babel-17 felt like a timeless read, Nova did feel a little dated to me, like it’s from the 1960’s or something.

But dated or not, it certainly has earned a deserving place in the “SF Masterworks” series.

Samuel’s Page

#scifi #sfmasterworks #samuelrdelany

Code Breakers: Beta — Colin F. Barnes

Code Breakers: Beta -- Colin F. BarnesBasically, it’s more of the same as Prequel and Alpha, which is all quite good and keeps one rivetted and moving along at a very good pace but, and here’s the thing, i just can’t handle diving into Gamma at the moment, it’s all become a bit too much.

Yeah, for now at least, i’ve totally overloaded all of my data banks and overheated my CPU’s with all this hacking, AI’s, post apocalypse chaos, everyone wanting to kill each other and take over the world, etc., etc..

So i’m off for some quiter paced reading for a while and maybe i’ll get back to reading Gamma and finishing the series sometime in the future, maybe not.

Colin’s Page

#scifi #postapocalypse #cyberpunk #dystopian #colinfbarnes

Code Breakers: Alpha — Colin F. Barnes

Code Breakers: Alpha -- Colin F. BarnesAfter the super lively prequel i was wondering if this could keep up, and i have to say that it more than matched my hopes.   This is all rather full on stuff, it just doesn’t stop steaming along full tilt.   I can’t remember the last time i read a book so fast, just didn’t want to put it down.

Back are our two wonderful protagonists from the prequel and this time they’re joined by Jerry.   Jerry’s lead a rather sheltered life in a nice big, clean, domed city, that is, until it all goes wrong one day and he has to leave and run off into the wasteland outside.

There’s also lots of other great characters added to the mix with lots of cyberpunky, post-apocalyptic, dystopian shenanigans to go along with them.   Yes, folks, we loves any kind of shenanigans at Kindle Worm HQ and this ones got several different kinds.

Full steam ahead into Beta: don’t go away, i’ll be back soon.

Colin’s Page

#scifi #postapocalypse #cyberpunk #dystopian #colinfbarnes

Code Breakers: Prequel — Colin F. Barnes

Code Breakers: Prequel -- Colin F. BarnesA quick and lively prequel for the main series, which i have dived eagerly straight into without a pause.

Characters are really well written and perfectly suited for this nuked out, post apocalyptic wasteland that the world has become.   I am so hoping the rest of the series holds up to what’s been suggested here because it looks like it’s going to be a rather good read.

Next up: Code Breakers: Alpha.

Colin’s Page

#scifi #postapocalypse #cyberpunk #dystopian #colinfbarnes

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom — Cory Doctorow

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom -- Cory DoctorowPublished a year after Altered Carbon this book takes a lot of the re-sleeving ideas from Richard’s book and instead of placing them into the realm of super warriors, criminals, etc.; Cory puts them into a future Disney Land theme park in an alternative dystopian future.

Having very much enjoyed Altered Carbon, i was left quite disappointed by the sequels, especially Woken Furies, and so it was rather nice to find a story like Cory’s that took some of the best ideas of Altered Carbon and spun them into a new Earth-side future that we can all begin to relate to because we’ve all heard of these real places.

No, this isn’t the blood and gore fest that Altered Carbon was, and neither does it have the amazing future-sex-drugs thing — they’re still smoking crack from crack pipes FFS.

But it does have the murder mystery and the loss of the intervening memories between back up and re-sleeving that Altered Carbon does, all wrapped around who gets to control various Disney Land attractions.

So yeah, if you’ve read any other Cory Doctorow books and enjoyed them then do give this a go, and also, if you enjoyed Altered Carbon, i’d bet a few pennies that you’ll enjoy this also, albeit a very much tamed down version.

There’s also a follow up novella: Truncat.

Cory’s Page

#scifi #cyberpunk #dystopian #corydoctorow

Obsidian Worlds — Jason Werbeloff

Obsidian Worlds -- Jason WerbeloffI only recently discovered Jason’s writing and i have to say that i’m really enjoying it.

Obsidian Worlds is a whole book full of short stories about random sci-fi things which i chose to read as inbetweenies between chapters of How Emotions Are Made.   It worked out really well giving nice little breaks to allow Lisa’s cutting edge science to percolate through my synapses, although, unfortunately, there aren’t enough shorts in this collection to cover all the chapters in Lisa’s book.   Ho hum, i’ll just have to find some other shorts to read.

So yeah, Jason has a Phd in philosophy and i think that kinda adds a certain flavour to Jason’s sci-fi, and i do like philosophers who chose to write stories instead of academic papers — much more fun for all of us.

Other philosophers who write stories that i recommend would be Aldous Huxley and Pascal Mercier.

Your Averaged Joe
The Cryo Killer
Falling for Q46F
Visiting Grandpa’s Brain
The Photons in the Cheese Are Lost
The Time-Traveling Chicken Sexer
The Man with Two Legs
F**king Through the Apocalypse
Bleed Me Silicone
Dinner with Flexi
The Experience Machine

Jason’s Page

#scifi #cyberpunk #jasonwerbeloff