04 March 2018

Irony and time travel

Science Fiction | Time Travelers | Gary Kuyper

I like this set of five stories better than the other Gary Kuyper book I read. Gary Kuyper has a fine appreciation of irony as applied to time travel stories, and this comes out beautifully in the five short stories that comprise this book.

In What Goes Around, an angry inventor tries to outdo the villain who stole his concept and tech. Made to Order has a military R&D team trying to beat the enemy by grabbing tech from the future, and an equally desperate enemy. Latent Images has an inventor make version 2 of a technology for 3D movie spectacles, or is it? What's the man really up to?  A Mammoth Error has both mammoths and errors, and the tech team blissfully unaware. Frozen Assets is a macabre look at the super rich who just want to freeze themselves into a future where their investments will pay for medical cures for their present health issues.

All in all, a very enjoyable read. You can get it here, for free.

Detecting in the crimefree far future

Science Fiction | Grey Enigmas | Gareth Lewis

An excellent mystery, with proper clues, a sci fi world in which a detective is resurrected (from death? incarceration? virtuality?) and tasked with solving a murder which should not have been possible. Alex takes up the task with a cheerful and endearing lack of penitence which not only disarms us but the stubbornly pro-law and order Theresa Patel, the closest the crimeless future has to a detective. The introduction of mind-bending tech is done so deftly, you don't even mind when 'ghosts' come in. The tech is far-out but the motivations for murder are everyday and human.

The pace is excellent, the suspects plausible, the backstories clear enough, and the climax and ending sufficiently unpredictable to keep our interest.

Recommended for people who liked Altered Carbon more for its concepts than the violence and sex. You can get it here. Unbelievably, this excellent story comes for free!

Why do alien abductions happen? Is Govt involved?

Science fiction | Volition: An Extra-Terrestrial Incident | JD Lowes


A fairly standard alien abduction story. Actually, it's more about the interactions between two of the four friends involved in the first abduction (the youngest one, physically challenged, was abducted). There is lots of dialogue between them, much of which could be cheerfully cut in half, but which actually makes them into more than cardboard characters. There are also aliens, govt officials who ought to know better, a number of characters who appear and then don't do much, a dog and a grumpy cat (who is there just for lulz).


The aliens are in contact with govt agencies, and exchange tech in place of being allowed to abduct people. It's not clear why that is expected to make sense.

There is a lot of whee-magic! in the story. References to pop culture movies abound. The alien is a mix of omnipotence and ineptitude. The various agencies indulge in a lot of jargon-speak. The motivations of the bad guys are never clear. The motivations of the good guys are a bit better placed. There are astounding amounts of naivete, and very little plot tension, which makes for a fairly shallow story, though with TV-level special effects.

There are also spelling mistakes, I regret to say. Rappelling is not repelling.

However it gets 3 stars because, while not great, it's not a bad book and probably better than some of the potboilers that actually see the light of paperback sales. All in all, a reasonable lazy Sunday read when you have nothing better to do.

You can get it here.