Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Rob and Mark Show continues, but it converges with the continuing Jack Campbell show as one of my reviews is of Campbell’s latest installment in The Lost Fleet saga.

You folks know the drill by now, I give a bit about each book, insert the cover image and link to the review.

Mark’s review is one of those scientific examinations of a fictional world. In this case, Stephen Baxter is the author and the book is The Science of Avatar:

Mixing scientific facts with space exploration history, extrapolated to the Avatar universe and using the odd sprinkling of SF fiction to illustrate its points, this is a surprisingly entertaining book.

Though I’m not convinced that the target readership is big enough to make this book a best seller (but what do I know?), for fans of the film who want to look at the background behind the film using real science, this will be an interesting read.

Though there is science here, and that may initially put some readers off, it is written in such an accessible way that the book rarely lectures and mainly entertains. Thirty five short chapters mean that a topic or idea rarely becomes boring. Eight pages of colour images from the production drawings of the film help readers in understanding, or perhaps just reminding, what the spaceships, machinery and characters of the film look like.

As I said, the running theme here at the blog lately seems to be Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet so I’ll close out this little spate of posts with my review of the second installment of the sequel series Beyond the Frontier Invincible:

Jack Campbell has been writing novels following the exploits of John “Black Jack” Geary and the Lost Fleet for well over a decade. Invincible is the second installment of the sequel series, Beyond the Frontier and the eighth novel in the sequence as a whole. With all that said, is it possible for such a well-established series to surprise readers and shuffle its well-established status quo? Campbell answers that question with a resounding yes in Invincible.

What drove the story the most for me; however, was the introduction of the two new alien races. In a universe – prior to this installment – Campbell only hinted at possible aliens in the form of the mysterious ‘enigmas,’ but with the introduction of two additional alien races, the status quo has changed drastically. Perhaps readers who have been following the series through the previous seven books feel introducing these aliens may have taken too long, but the impact was still not lost on this reader. The aliens themselves, at least the manner in which they are described on one hand, seems a bit trite but on the other, the characters can only identify these alien species in comparison to creatures/animals they know and with which they are familiar. Like much of Campbell’s novel, this element danced a fine line between being hokey and believable, but in the long run, worked for me.


tmso said...

Dang, you guys are reading fiends. There is no way I can read that fast.

I would actually like The Science of Avatar. I'll have to check that out.

Thanks, guys!

RobB said...

I wish I could read faster! I see some of the other blogs and folks I tweet with and I seem to be a slow poke. I get through about a book a week. With the backlog I have, I wish I could at least double that.