Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Trespassers by Todd Wynn and Tim Wynn

Book received for free from authors; honest review written in exchange.

I really enjoyed this! Reading this book was, for me, like watching Men In Black. It was sci-fi with a serious enough topic/goal, but also flippant and fun and light.

Let's see... it's about a super secret branch of the government who is charged with keeping, you guessed it, aliens a secret from the rest of the world. And there are a plethora of aliens from which to choose. The problem is, of course, many aliens enjoy visiting Earth -- as a tourist destination in particular. Along w/ these tourists comes the requirement that these aliens be vaccinated and out crops entrepreneurs, striving to provide their customers with jen-you-wine (genuine) vaccinations from live humans. These entrepreneurs are, of course, breaking the law by doing so. Our world has provided the aliens with all the vaccinations they should need -- the richer more demanding visitors, however, prefer the fresher variety.

Thus, we have the trespassers -- aliens entering Earth, generally for a brief amount of time, for the purpose of securing a human, briefly, from which to draw a sample to make a vaccination. The whole story begins with one such trespasser making his attempt, the super secret federal government agency setting a trap, and the not-as-secret agency charged with *finding* aliens (which the super-secret agency ensures they will never do) all converging on one bright and sunny picnic'y spot.

And all kinds of wackyness ensues. Add to the general plot a few alien stowaways who are causing their own trouble on earth, a couple of brand new and eager-to-please members of the (super secret) team, an increasingly more depressed alien-hunter frustrated with his ever close-but-no-cigar hunt, and a couple of love-struck teenagers, one of whom is definitely not what she appears, and you have Trespassers.

A quick read, a fun read, a story that draws you in and holds you until it is good and ready to spit you back out.

FOUR AND A HALF of five stars. Very entertaining sci fi!

2 babies (smaller than minis ;))

Very cute and, from what other reviewers are saying, a cute Wodehouse parody-tribute. I haven't read any Wodehouse myself yet, but I intend to!

FOUR of five stars.

Some of the stories were great, some were ok, and a couple were pretty bad. But overall, a fine way to pass the day (stayed at home sick yesterday). This is definitely Chick-Lit or Rom-Com-in-Writing.

TWO AND A HALF of five stars.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

SUCH a cool idea. This book is set in the not-too-distant future.

Half of the book (every other chapter) is about "the City," where people who have died congregate. The city is big enough to accommodate everyone who needs to be there. But people are only there for a limited amount of time.... the citizens of the city posit that they are there as long as someone alive still remembers them, though of course they have no way of knowing for sure what the "rules" are of this apparent in-between place. They live out a sort of second life in the city, where they neither age nor procreate, but otherwise seem to live just as on earth, with loves, hatreds, anger, frustration, etc. However, there appears to suddenly be a rapid influx and then a complete falling away of the population of the city, and the remaining residents are trying to figure out what is happening.

The other half of the book is about Laura Byrd, a "wildlife specialist" who has been sent to Antarctica on an exploration expedition to determine how Coca Cola (her employer) will impact the environment if it takes from the melting ice in Antarctica to use in a new formula it is considering. She is there with 2 others, when they lose communication with their employer and the other 2 set off to find supplies and information. Thus, Laura is left alone and as time passes, her supplies run low, she continues to have no communication, and she has no idea when her 2 cohorts will return, if ever.

And.... I don't want to say more because how this all plays out is very interesting! Brockmeier has a lyrical writing style, with the ability to notice (have his readers notice) the interesting things happening around the characters, without losing sight of the characters and their development. The pace is not ... hasty. Rather, it is steady and almost calm. Yet, as the story progresses, the events become more urgent, and you continue turning the pages (well into bedtime) because you must know, as all the characters desire, what in the world(s) is happening!

It's a though-provoking piece, published nearly a decade ago, that brings up concerns of what is happening to the world around us and/or what COULD happen to the world around us if we're not more careful, without being preachy.  I would definitely recommend this to a patient reader looking for something a little strange, a little sci-fi, a little thoughtful.

FOUR of five stars