[ARC] Miniatures by John Scalzi

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Leggi questo articolo in italiano


The book Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi, as the title hints, collects the short stories by John Scalzi (best known for Old Man’s War, Redshirt, and other sci-fi novels).

Some tales are about aliens living among us with their own life style, others are about computer and everyday objects with their own personality and opinions.

I’m not a fan of John Scalzi, but these short stories are very good and funny, a mix of science fiction and humor (and cats).

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.


* Miniatures by John Scalzi ★★★★

*I read this book in english

[ARC] Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel

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Una mano gigante emerge dal terreno in Sud Dakota, e nsce di conseguenza un misterioso programma volto al recupero delle altre parti di quello che appare come un robot gigante.

Nel progetto sono coinvolti scienziati, piloti e militari, il tutto orchestrato da un misterioso personaggio di cui il lettore non conosce mai l’identità. La narrazione Sleeping Giants si sviluppa unicamente grazie alla trascrizione degli incontri di questo misterioso soggetto con i vari personaggi coinvolti operativamente nel ritrovamento e uso del robot.

Sleeping Giants parte bene con una storia avvincente e la scelta di una narrazione non convenzionale in cui pecca solo alcuni interventi di personaggi che escono dalla caratterizzazione costruita precedentemente. Onestamente trovo però il finale piuttosto affrettato e confuso, e così tanto orientato a costruire una serie.

Ringrazio l’editore per avermi fornito la copia necessaria per stendere questa recensione.

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A giant hand emerges from the ground of South Dakota, and consequently a secret program is born to recover all the remaining parts of what seems to be a giant robot.

In the project are involved scientist, pilots and military, but everything is subtly managed by a mysterious man, whose identity is unknown to the reader. The narration in Sleeping Giants develops thanks to the transcription of the interviews carried on by this man with the other people of the staff.

Sleeping Giants begins as an engaging story build on an unconventional narration where the only faults are some declaration out of character. In the end however it becomes too fast and confused, and maybe too much willing to set the idea of a series of books.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel ★★★☆

[ARC] Tin Stars (Descender #1) by Jeff Lemire

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Tin Stars è il primo volume che raccoglie 6 Capitoli della serie Descender.

Quando mi capita la possibilità di leggere graphic novel fantascientifiche ho sempre paura di incappare nella storia banale o già vista, ma con Descender non ho avuto questo problema.

Nel futuro i robot sono un elemento chiave della vita di tutti i giorni, ma, quando il pianeta viene attaccato da una forza robotica nemica, inizia lo smantellamento e la distruzione dei robot “amici”. Anni dopo l’attacco, su una colonia di minatori, si risveglia Tim, unico sopravvissuto alla morte degli abitanti della colonia e che scopriamo essere un robot che offre il potenziale per sconfiggere le forze nemiche. Una squadra di soldati mandati dal concilio si affretta al recupero, ma gli imprevisti incombono sulla loro avventura.

In Descender si sviluppa una storia credibile e avvincente, che prende le basi dalla fantascienza classica e integra diversi elementi (robot, alieni, space opera) in modo lineare e coerente.

Anche per quanto riguarda la parte grafica nulla da eccepire, la scelta di utilizzare immagini acquerellate funziona e dà risalto ai toni umani ed emotivi della storia: il robot che vorrebbe essere un bambino vero, lo scienziato e i suoi sensi di colpa, l’integrazione ormai impossibile tra la realtà umana e quella robotica.

Ringrazio l’editore per avermi fornito la copia necessaria per stendere questa recensione.

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Tin Stars is the first volume that collects  Descender’s issues #1- #6

When I have the chance to read sci-fi graphic novels I want something new and with a strong plot; Descender seems to have all this pros and it was a very pleasant read.

In the future robots are diffused in everyday life, but when the planets face the attack of an evil robot army the general feelings about robots change abruptly; bots are destroyed and dismissed. Years after the attack, on a mining colony, Tim wakes up, the only survivor of the colony and one of the last functioning robot that may have the potential to help in the war. A group of soldiers are then sent to retrieve Tim, but their adventure is not so easy.

Descender develops a credible and engaging story that takes its origin in the classic sci-fi and that integrates various elements (robot, aliens, space opera) coherently and linearly.

Also I liked the graphic component and the choice to use watercolors images works with the story, and in particular with the emotional components: the robot that wants to be a human, the scientist and his faults, the almost impossible integration between humans and robots.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire ★★★★☆½

Lord of All Things by Andreas Eschbach

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Il rapporto tra Hiroshi e Charlotte sembra voluto dal destino. Conosciutesi in Giappone da piccoli, lei figlia dell’ambasciatore francese, lui figlio di una lavandaia dell’ambasciata, diventano subito amici, attratti l’uno dall’altra. Lui da quella bambina capace di parlare subito una lingua sconosciuta, lei da quel bambino serio, capace di aggiustare le cose.

Il destino farà sì che Hiroshi e Charlotte incrocino i propri passi anche da adulti, avvicindandosi e allontanandosi, divisi dalle proprie scelte. Lei con un occhio sempre al passato, grazie alla sua abilità di vedere l’origine delle cose, lui con lo sguardo puntato a un futuro in cui la scienza colmerà il divario tra ricchi e poveri. Lei in balia di diversi amori, lui devoto all’unico amore della sua vita.

Lord of All Things è un meraviglioso romanzo in cui l’autore, tramite Hiroshi e Charlotte, parla delle ingiustizie sociali e delle potenzialità offerte dalla scienza, sfociando nel paranormale e nella fantascienza per spiegare il ruolo dell’uomo nell’universo e sulle nostre origini.

L’autore sceglie di non entrare eccessivamente nei tecnicismi, rendendo il romanzo appetibile a tutti i palati, e non ai soli affezionati della sci-fi, e coniuga diversi generi narrativi senza che la trama perda di coerenza.

E’ bella la costruzione della storia, ed è bella la storia di Hiroshi e Charlotte, che non manca di coinvolgere il lettore. Il risultato è un bellissimo romanzo difficile da dimenticare.

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The relation between Hiroshi and Charlotte seems to be meant. They met in Japan as children, she the daughter of the French ambassador, he son of a worker in the embassy laundry, and they become friends. He is attracted by that girl able to speak a foreign language easily, she by that serious boy, able to fix things.

The destiny makes Hiroshi and Charlotte paths cross also as adults, getting closer and further, divided by their own choices. She with a focus on the past, thanks to her ability to see the origin of things, he looking always to a future when science will be able to fill the gap between rich and poor. Charlotte and her many lovers, Hiroshi devoted to the a single person.

Lord of All Things is a wonderful novel where the author, by means of Hiroshi and Charlotte, speaks about social disparities and the potential of science, with paranormal and sci-fi elements to talk about the origin of humanity and it’s means.

The author choses to avoid technicalities, and this makes the novel suitable for any reader and not to the only sci-fi lovers. The novel also puts together some narrative genres without losing in coherence.

The overall novel is beautiful and hard to forget, and it is also nice the story of Hiroshi and Charlotte, able to engage the reader.

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Lord of All Things by Andreas Eschbach ★★★★★

[Series] A land fit for heroes by Richard K. Morgan

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Richard K. Morgan è autore di una serie di stampo fantascientifico che ho molto apprezzato incentrata su uno specifico personaggio, Takeshi Kovaks. Morgan è però autore anche di una trilogia fantasy nominata A land fit for heroes.

Per questa trilogia, più che per altre, penso che parlare dei singoli romanzi – prescindendo dalla serie – potrebbe fare più male che bene, quindi segue un commento della serie nel suo complesso.

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Richard K. Morgan is the author of the sf series about  Takeshi Kovaks that I liked. Morgan is also author of a fantasy trilogy named A land fit for heroes.

For this series I think commenting each single novel is not the better choice, so here follows a review for the whole series.

Continue reading

[ARC] The Squidder by Ben Templesmith

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La storia è ambientata in un mondo post apocalittico conquistato anni prima dagli squid, alieni tentacolari e Lovecraftiani.

Durante la prima invasione i militari avevano creato un programma di modificazione fisica per creare guerrieri resistenti, gli squidder, che potessero annientare gli invasori. Solo uno di questi uomini è sopravvissuto e vive come mercenario nel mondo ormai controllato degli squid.

Il suo incontro con una sacerdotessa squid, umana rapita da bambina per diventare ponte tra le due razze, segnerà una nuova possibilità per le sorti del pianeta.

La storia riunisce elementi visti altrove (rimandi Lovecraftiani, progetti per creare superuomini, l’unico onesto combattente che lotta contro un mondo corrotto) e ne viene fuori una graphic novel gradevole e ricca di azione, anche se dalla trama a tratti un po’ confusa.

Ringrazio l’editore per avermi fornito la copia necessaria per stendere questa recensione.

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The story is set in a post apocalyptic world, conquered years ago by the squid, an alien race with Lovecraftian features and tentacles.

During the first alien invasion the military created a body enhancement program to create strong warriors, the squidder, with the aim to kill the invaders. Only one of these men survived, and now he lives as a mercenary in the world now under the squid domain.

His encounter with a squid priestess, a human taken by the squid when she was a child and modified to be a medium between the two races, is the turning point for the whole humanity.

The graphic novel takes known elements (Lovecraft elements, projects to build superhuman beings, the last hero who saves humanity from a corrupted world) to produce a nice, action fast paced story with a plot that sometimes is quite confusing.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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The Squidder by Ben Templesmith ★★★☆

[ARC] Glory: The Complete Saga by Joe Keatinge

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Glory (Gloriana Demeter) is a character of the Image Comics, a superhero half amazon and half demon who has chosen to fight alongside human beings.

This by Joe Keatinge is a third version of the saga about this character; some elements change and also the graphic image of Glory is modified with respect to the previous versions being now more muscular.
I did not particularly like this comic since it did not engage me: I think the story is somewhat confused and missing some details; the graphic is not worth mentioning, some images are rough or not very refined.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* Glory: The Complete Saga by Joe Keatinge ★★☆☆☆

*I read this book in English

The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu

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Roen is an out of shape it programmer, uncool enough to try to meet girls – failing – in some discos in Chicago.
One night in his body enters Tao, an incorporeal alien who needs a host, otherwise he is bound to die for being unfitted to earth climate.

Roen will then understand how much human history is deeply linked to the alien race Quasing Tao belongs to: the most important and key figures in historical events had inside an alien to guide and help them. Quasing are divided in two factions with respect to their tolerance to human race; Roen becomes a secret agent for the Prophus faction (the good ones), helped by Tao.

The novel is engaging and a page turner, each chapter is introduced by a memory of Tao recalling human history through his eyes and his hosts, and Tao and Roen have different funny and serious dialogues (they happen as a sort of mental communication).
The characters are well described, especially Roen who changes greatly during the novel both in his way of acting and in his reflections about moral concerning Quasing actions.

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* The lives of Tao by Wesley Chu – ★★★★☆

*I read this book in English

L’incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Moebius

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The Incal is a complex book for structure and themes: in a future civilization, with the government contended between various political factions, the private detective John Difool receives from a dying Berg (an alien with the aspect of a bird) the light Incal, a sentient entity able to provide immense power to the one who owns it.
It will begin like this the various adventures of Difool to put through the Incal purpose and that will make the main character meet new friends.

The story is complex, both because of the political issues in the plot, both for the philosophical reasoning, that have the climax in the ending. The only recurrent element is the main character, not suited to be a hero but an honest representation of humanity always wandering for answers.

Concerning the graphic the book is wonderful and rich: the images are always realistic and very detailed; the illustrator skill comes out also in the evolution of Difool appearance during the story and in function of him having the Incal.

The Incal deserves some time to be read: going too fast some details could be lost (and I however am planning a re-read).

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* The Incal by Jodorowsky & Moebius ★★★★★

*I read this book in Italian

[ARC] Monsters! by Gustavo Duarte

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This graphic novel contains 3 stories by Gustavo Duarte:

  • Co!
  • Birds
  • Monsters!

Every one of them is characterized by the lack of dialogues, the whole communication is by means of the images that, illustration after illustrations show the plot.

The images are in light colors but with precise and well-defined borders, I liked a lot this illustration style, clear and rich in details.

The stories are very nice and fun, this is a book that must be read (or looked at).

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* Monsters! by Gustavo Duarte ★★★★★

*I read this book in English