[ARC] Artemis by Andy Weir

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Andy Weir is the author of The Martian, a book that I liked a lot, where the author displayed his ability in the hard sci-fi genre, that is the science fiction deeply based on scientific and technical details.

Having the chance to ask as advanced reading his new novel I was very happy, but in the end I did not find it so engaging and fast paced as the The Martian.

The story is set on Artemis, the only city on the Moon; the main character, Jazz Bashara, alternates legal jobs (the porter) to less legal ones (smuggling forbidden goods from Earth); despite this she is not able to gain enough money to have a normal – non poor – life. One day a contact of hers proposes a criminal activity extremely dangerous but also extremely well paid, and Jazz accepts. Unfortunately, Jazz will be involved in a conspiracy about the future of the colony.

The novel is quite engaging – it contains a thread of thriller / action – but some elements did not convince me: Jazz is extremely skilled in everything (she is smart, brave and technically capable) but she is totally unable to use them in a useful way. The criminal plot is extremely naive in its development, and the conclusion is the top of naiveté (no further details to avoid spoilers). Concerning style and narration, overall I found excessive the infodump that continuously stop the narration, and stylistically weak the letters exchanged with the friend on Earth, and I did not like the jokes between the characters and toward the reader (sex jokes mostly).

I did expect more from this novel; it is nice but very much inferior to The Martian.

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


* Artemis by Andy Weir ★★★☆☆

*I read this book in english

Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon

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Di Pynchon fino ad ora ho letto solo L’incanto del lotto 49 – tra l’altro in inglese – in cui emerge una complessità generale: di trama, di espressione, di linguaggio.

Anche per questo ho scelto di leggere Inherent Vice nella traduzione italiana (Vizio di forma), anche se in questo caso la complessità della storia è più contenuta.

Protagonista del romanzo è Doc Sportello, hippy, drogato e investigatore privato nella California degli anni ’60. Sportello ricalca lo stile di quei detective portati al successo da autori noir, come Raymond Chandler, a cui però si sommano caratteristiche caotiche, riflesso delle droghe e dell’ambientazione del romanzo.

Tutto inizia con una richiesta da parte della ex fidanzata a cui si sommano altri casi da seguire: scorrelati all’apparenza ma con evidenti punti in comune una volta approfonditi, tra cui la Golden Fang – un motoscafo, un’organizzazione di dentisti o altro?

Il noir è caotico e arzigogolato, come le riflessioni dei personaggi annebbiati dalla marjuana o da altre droghe, e Inherent Vice vuole anche essere una ricostruzione della California nella fine anni ’60, tra hippy, ricchi imprenditori, polizia più o meno corrotta e la nascita di ARPAnet.

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Till now I read only another novel by Pynchon, The crying of the Lot 49 – in original language – from which a general complexity emerged: the plot, the expressions, the language. For these reason I decided to read Inherent Vice in the italian translation, but I have to state that this novel is maybe less complex for the plot side.

The main character is Doc Sportello, hippy, addicted and a private investigator in the California at the end of the ’60. Sportello for some way is like the detective made famous by famous noir authors, like Raymond Chandler, but with more chaotic features, direct consequence of drugs and the overall setting.

Everything begins after a request from Shasta, an ex girlfriend, then various cases add to the list: they are apparently stand alone issues, but they begin to show some common elements, like the Golden Fang – a ship, a dentist organization or something more?

The noir is chaotic and non linear, as the characters way of thinking for the thoughts and memories confused by marijuana and other drugs, but Inherent Vice more than a crime story is a description of California between the ’60 and the ’70, the hippies, the rich entrepreneurs, the more or less corrupted police and the born of ARPAnet.

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Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon ★★★★☆

[ARC] The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen

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Since being a child, Alex has visions that bring her living some historical moments, this fact distanced her from her peers who think she is quite strange / weird (Note. Alex does nothing to prove them wrong).

One day she is told the truth: these are not visions, but she has the ability to descend back in time by entering in one of her previous lives; Alex in fact has lived 56 lives because she, unique in the world, has the possibility to reincarnate after dying.
Then there is the conspiracy, the multinational corporation that seems good – but in truth it’s evil – that uses the ability to go back in time for evil purposes. Now another note is due: this fact that some people can go back in time must be accepted by the reader in faith, in fact the reader will not ever know how they are able to do this, he will only know that they can and that they also can teach it to other people.

In the end the novel is a great disappointment, a lot of elements are given without explanations (the limbo, the descenders, reincarnations etc.. ), the main character is insufferable, vexed by self-pity, scared but suddenly ready to face dangerous missions in the past.

Moreover it seems that the purpose of the whole novel is to fulfill the love between Alex and an unknown boy with blue eyes (she nicknamed Blue) she meets in every of each her previous lives (or so it seems, since of the 56 previous lives we are allowed to grasp a view of only three of them), in fact for almost half of the novel we follow Alex and Blue adventures, completely unuseful for the whole plot.

In the end the idea could have worked but the execution is not good enough.

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

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* The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M. G. Buehrlen ★★☆☆☆

*I read this book in English