Author Spotlight – Iain M. Banks

Welcome back to the Dragons&Jetpacks blog! And sorry for the quietness as of late. You may notice we have had a facelift, and you’ll probably notice some more changes over the next few months. Any problems please let us know. Lets get 2017 kicked off with this Author Spotlight on Iain M. Banks, brought to you by moderator Nic, who has written this in conjunction with Jan/Feb’s Mod Pick – Consider Phlebas.

Continue reading “Author Spotlight – Iain M. Banks”

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Sir Lancer Recommends – Episode #4

Hello again Dragons and Jetpackers! Welcome to episode #4 of Sir Lancer recommends.

What I have for you this time is a Trilogy, and the start of another trilogy. First I am going to recommend a set of books which I read a couple of years ago. That would be the Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks. I was reminded of this trilogy as I have recently begun read The Lightbringer series by that same author, which is also looking like it will be fantastic. Continue reading “Sir Lancer Recommends – Episode #4”

Review of The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu ( by our member Niles)

205188721967: Ye Wenjie witnesses Red Guards beat her father to death during China’s Cultural Revolution. This singular event will shape not only the rest of her life but also the future of mankind.

Four decades later, Beijing police ask nanotech engineer Wang Miao to infiltrate a secretive cabal of scientists after a spate of inexplicable suicides. Wang’s investigation will lead him to a mysterious online game and immerse him in a virtual world ruled by the intractable and unpredicatable interaction of its three suns.

This is the Three-Body Problem and it is the key to everything: the key to the scientists’ deaths, the key to a conspiracy that spans light-years and the key to the extinction-level threat humanity now faces.

 

 

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The Three Body Problem is a hard science fiction novel by Chinese author Cixin Liu or Liu Cixin, I have seen it written both ways and I am not familiar with the Chinese protocol for names. It was the winner of the 2015 Hugo Award and was nominated for the 2014 Nebula Award, so it had to be good – right? Well, maybe at one time, but as of late it seems as if the awards – all awards – have become politicized and not necessarily the best entry is chosen. But that is a discussion for another time. At the very least, I thought The Three Body Problem deserved at least a chance to prove itself. While I do not think the novel was worthy of an award, I did find it had some merit and well worth the read.
 
The story takes place in China, and the beginning deals with the cultural revolution of the 1960’s. I must admit that I know very little of China’s history, or what life is like in China at all, and I found the history lesson fascinating. I could not see the relevance of these seemingly disjointed segments, but by the time the novel ended everything fell into place. In fact, the main plot line did not become evident until shortly after the halfway point of the novel. But after the slow start, things picked up fairly nicely and became more interesting to me.
 
The characters, with the exception of the astrophysicist Ye Wenjie and the police detective Shi Qiang, were flat and one-dimensional. The dialog seemed clipped and at times forced, but I am giving the author the benefit of the doubt due to translation restraints. I can sympathize with Ye Wenjie but cannot justify her betrayal. I feel her logic was flawed by equating a stronger civilization with a superior one. I did like the character of Shi Qiang. He was abrasive and somewhat uncouth, but he was very smart among all the scientists and felt real to me.
All things considered, I give this read 4 stars. As someone with a math and science background, I enjoyed the reading the hard science. I can see where it may not appeal to all readers, but I think there are enough other items that will appeal to lovers of the genre. The premise was believable and it was interesting to speculate how humanity would react to another civilization and how the people separated into different camps. I always thought humans would line up to protect their world, but I can see how some people may have become disillusioned with our society. I do not feel this work is worthy of receiving an award, but it still has something to offer sci-fi fans.
                                                                Niles P. Jacobsen

Author Spotlight – Patricia Briggs

Written by Member Hybrid Ceature

 

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Author Name – Patricia Briggs
Who Are They – She was born in 1965 in Butte, Montana. She writes fantasy and urban fantasy. She published her first book in 1993.
Bibliography –
Sianim Series
Masques (1993)
Steal the Dragon (1995)
When Demons Walk (1998)
Wolfsbane (2010)
Shifter’s Wolf (Aralorn Novels) (2012) (Compilation of Masques and Wolfsbane)
Hurog Duology
Dragon Bones (2002)
Dragon Blood (2003)
Raven Duology
Raven’s Shadow (2004)
Raven’s Strike (2005)
Mercy Thompson Series
Moon Called (2006)
Blood Bound (2007)
Iron Kissed (2008)
Bone Crossed (2009)
Silver Borne (2010)
River Marked (2011).
Frost Burned (2013)
Night Broken (March 11, 2014)
Fire Touched (March 8, 2016)
Silence Fallen (March 2017)
Alpha& Omega Series
Cry Wolf (2008)
Hunting Ground (2009)
Fair Game (March 2012)
Dead Heat (March 3, 2015)
Stand Alone Novels
Hob’s Bargain (2001)
 
How I came across her –
I found her via a Goodreads top urban fantasy series list. The first book I tried was Moon Called.
What is your favorite work by her and why –
The Mercy Thompson series is definitely my favorite, even though I’ve liked everything else that I’ve read by her as well. Mercy Thompson is just such a great heroine. She’s tough as nails but not some pumped up, ultimate kick ass goddess like a lot of UF series portray their heroines. She’s more down to earth and real despite being able to shape shift into a coyote. The world building and werewolf pack interactions and laws all blend nicely together. Mercy breaking all those rules and laws is even better. I like rebellion.
Mixing fairy lore and mythology in a beautiful blend.
What is your favorite character –
I’ve already gushed about Mercy but the cast of characters surrounding her are all interesting and entertaining in their own ways. From vampires to werewolves to fae to mythological gods. The characters are never boring.
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Something else interesting about the author –
Some people are like Slinkies. They aren’t really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to my face when I push them down a flight of stairs.” – Iron Kissed
I think that says it all.

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