#BlogTour: A Quantum Love Story by Mike Chen

For this blog tour, we’re looking at a strong scifi book that will possibly cause a war within Booklandia. For this blog tour, we’re looking at A Quantum Love Story by Mike Chen.

Here’s what I had to say on the review sites (Hardcover.app, TheStoryGraph, BookHype, Goodreads):

Title Vs Genre Will Cause A War In Booklandia. This is a book where the title will quell any riots over the story… and yet so many places (perhaps because of the publisher? unclear there) classifying this as a “romance” for genre purposes… is going to spark those very riots. To be clear, this book does NOT meet RWA qualifications for a “romance novel” – and is actually all the stronger for it. (As is generally the case, fwiw.) Which is why the title is correct and speaks to exactly what you can expect here: a scifi love story, both with the characters and from the writer to the audience. This is a quirky, funny, heart bursting, extremely cloudy room kind of scifi tale that is going to take you less on a rollercoaster of emotion and more through a multiverse of various combinations of emotions.

Yes, at its base this is a Groundhog Day/ Edge Of Tomorrow kind of time looping tale. Which then builds into almost Terminator level time looping. Even certain elements of a Michael Crichton TIMELINE or a Randall Ingermanson TRANSGRESSION or even a Jeremy Robinson THE DIDYMUS CONTINGENCY. All while based in and around a “super-LHC” – which reminds me, make sure to check hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com a few times while reading this book, just to be sure – and its experiments.

Overall this book really was quite good and quite a ride – one of the very few where I knew I had to immediately begin writing the review as soon as I finished the book itself. That, to me over the course of *so very many* books and Advance Review Copies over the last several years, is one of the marks of a particularly good book – you’re just left in such emotional upheaval that you *have* to write to get the thoughts out of your own head. But don’t go into this book expecting a romance – it does NOT meet those “official” guidelines – and, again, is stronger for it. It absolutely IS a love story (and yes, “clean”/ “sweet” crowd, you’ll find this one perfectly acceptable), and honestly one of the better ones I’ve read in the last several years.

Very much recommended.

Note that the review on Hardcover.app, TheStoryGraph, and Goodreads contains an extra paragraph that contains a spoiler that some may find beneficial to know about – this site, BookHype, and BookBub do not support spoiler tags to hide such details.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: A Quantum Love Story by Mike Chen”

#BookReview: Tides Of Fire by James Rollins

Sigma. Is. Back. With Kingdom Of Bones, it looked like Rollins was delving too far into the fantastical and leaving behind the more grounded roots of this series. Here… the ties are more to the scifi than the fantastical, including The Abyss, Pacific Rim, Earthcore by Scott Sigler, and even… Mass Effect 3??? Yes, there is one particular scene roughly 2/3 into this tale that while not *quite* word for word with a particular moment in Mass Effect 3, is damn close – and the sentiments and reasons are identical within their worlds. (To be fair, in this particular situation… the wording is always going to be very similar, no matter where you encounter it.)

But more than the scifi zeitgeist connections here, this tale truly gets back to the real roots that make Sigma Force so special. We’ve got the historic and the scientific, and again, the scientific is at least more closely based on actual science this time around. But we’ve also got the camaraderie among the team, including having most of the team (minus Painter, Lisa, and newer team member Jason) together the first time we see them and having a bit of a mini-adventure then as the overall tale begins to pick up. Then we’ve got the Sigma Split, with the team breaking up to go their own separate projects to try to uncover and stop whatever is happening. Each of their specialties get highlighted and tested to degrees not seen in recent Sigma books in a fair amount of time, even Gray’s “special brain”. More akin to David Wood’s Dane Maddock Adventures in this particular point, there are even several callouts to other characters from prior Sigma tales and how those characters are still impacting the world even through the events of this tale.

And that epilogue… It sets up the 2024 entry into this series to be one of the most explosive in quite some time, and you’re going to want *that* book in your hands the moment you finish this one.

Very much recommended.

This review of Tides of Fire by James Rollins was originally written on August 12, 2023.

#BookReview: Aeon Burn by Matthew Mather

Solid Middle-Of-Trilogy Tale. This book is one of those that has basically one goal – tell a solid tale that picks up well from the opening book and sets up the final book to be MUST. READ. It does that job pretty solidly. It continues our various storylines from the first book, though it perhaps could have used a “Last Time, On…” bit at the beginning for some of the storylines that don’t get *as* much attention. But the two main storylines – in the Amazon and on a race through the US – are well done, the chapters nearly all end on the classic mini-cliffhangers that make you want to read the next chapter immediately (while skipping to one of the other storylines for the next chapter and thus making you wait to come back to the cliffhanger you just left). The reveals get more and more impactful, all while the overall situation continues to deteriorate in light of the events of the opening book. And yet… *so much more* is coming. Indeed, the only real weakness of the tale here is that while so much more is indeed coming and this book truly sets up the final book where those things, along with the major confrontation between our heroes and primary antagonist, will be resolved… because of the *timing* of those So Much More events, the ending here takes a much more expanded time scope than the rest of the tale before that point, which leaves one with a minor sense of pacing issues. Still, this is a problem even the great T2 trilogy by S.M. Stirling faced – and wound up working quite well. So we’ll see how this works out when AEON FURY releases next year.

A note here: This is the book that Mather had apparently mostly completed when he was tragically killed in a car accident in September 2022, and thus this is his last work. While it is always a high honor to be able to work such a book as an Advance Reviewer Copy, my thoughts on the tale itself above are *just* about the tale and how it was completed out by Dale Nelson, whom Mather’s family brought in to do just that. This book really does do quite an honor to Mather’s legacy, but my own hope is that Nelson’s name can be on the cover of AEON FURY along with Mather’s, recognizing his work both here and in that book. I do not know if FURY will be entirely Nelson (or some other author, potentially)’s work or if Mather had at least left some level of notes or perhaps even rough drafts of some of that tale, but to my own thinking the cover author there should perhaps read something like “[smaller letters]In Memory Of[/smaller letters][big letters]Matthew Mather[/big letters][smaller letters]Written By[/smaller letters][medium letters]Dale Nelson (or whoever it turns out to be)[/medium letters]”. But this is just my own thoughts there based on my own sensibilities, and won’t really actually affect that book in any way.

Final thoughts:
Overall, this book truly was a solid Book 2 of a trilogy, one that did a great job of extending the story from Book 1 and setting up an exciting conclusion in Book 3. The more complex emotions relating to this being its author’s final work only add a touch of extra “spice” to the feelings of a genuinely good book. Very much recommended.

This review of Aeon Burn by Matthew Mather was originally written on July 8, 2023.

#BookReview: Crucible by James Rollins

Can Even Sigma Defeat This Threat? Honestly, the best thing about this book is that Rollins ups the stakes *so much* that the threat feels *all too real* – even moreso than during the events of The Demon Crown. And yes, in part this is because I’m reading this book – where the science involved is fully realized Artificial General Intelligence – in 2023, when it seems we hear every day that this is truly just days away from actually being real. But also because of Rollins’ writing and what he is willing to put the characters we’ve come to love so much through. The team is actually split in *three* ways here, rather than the more typical two, and with each feeding on the other (as usual)… pulse pounding at its finest. Rollins truly makes you feel that even Sigma is actually being gravely threatened – and that is a true talent, after spending so many books showing them to be almost a John Cena type of organization, able to take any beating that comes their way and ultimately win anyway. Combining the science of AI with the history of the witch purges and in particular the Spanish Inquisition – which was still raging as recently as just 200 yrs ago – was truly inspired here, and works quite well – even moreso with the particularly shocking revelation in the end that ties all the way back to the very first words of the book. Truly one of the better Sigma books, but absolutely one that needs to be read at minimum in order as a trilogy with this being Book Three and The Seventh Plague and The Demon Crown being books 1 and 2, respectively. (Even if you don’t go back and re-read the *entire* Sigma story before coming into this one.) Very much recommended.

This review of Crucible by James Rollins was originally written on June 23, 2023.

#BookReview: Meganets by David Auerbach

A Needed Conversation. As someone also in tech at a megacorporation (though to be clear, not the same ones Auerbach has worked for) that openly seeks to employ several of the technologies discussed in this book, and as someone who finished this book right as Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter was being completed and Facebook announced that it was open to colluding with Twitter regarding content moderation… this was an absolutely fascinating look at my field and where at least one part of it currently is. But it is also written in a very approachable manner, one such that anyone who so much as uses any social media even casually or who interacts with their government virtually at all (if you see what I did there 😉 ) will be able to follow along with reasonably well. Fear not! No Discrete Modeling, Statistics, Calculus, or any other high level collegiate mathematics Computer Science majors are forced to endure will be required here. 🙂

And yet, this is also a book that everyone *needs* to read and understand. Auerbach manages to boil his primary thesis of what meganets are and how they operate into three very simple yet utterly complex words: Volume. Velocity. Virality. And he repeats these words so *very* often that you *will* remember them long after you’ve read this text. (Though I note this writing this review just 24 hrs after finishing my read of it, and knowing I’ll read at least 30 more books before 2022 is done. So check back with me on that after this book actually publishes in about 4.5 months. :D)

Indeed, really the only problem here – potentially corrected before publication – is that at least in the copy I read, the bibliography only accounted for about 15% of the text, which is fairly light for a nonfiction book in my experience, where 20-30% is more normal and 50% is particularly well documented. Thus, the single star deduction.

Still, this truly is a book everyone, from casual readers uninterested in anything computer yet who are forced to use computers in modern life to the uber-techs actually working in and leading the fields in question to the politicians and activists seeking to understand and control these technologies, needs to read. Very much recommended.

This review of Meganets by David Auerbach was originally written on October 29, 2022.

#BookReview: Moonless Nocturne by Hank Schwaeble

Excellent Collection of Darker Scifi Stories. This collection does a great job of spanning a wide range of scifi types and styles, from noir/ hard-boiled detective chasing a mysterious object to concerns about the space race/ nuclear testing to AI to haunted houses to mind-bending psychological thriller, and several others to boot. While Schwaeble uses “dark fantasy” on the cover to describe what is here, to me “fantasy” is more swords/ sorcery level, and the closest you actually get to that in this collection is some stories having a touch of the paranormal to them. Otherwise this is solid scifi/ horror, and great for those “mood”/ “seasonal” readers looking for something a bit darker/ spookier in October. Also great for fans of the Twilight Zone and Hitchcockian suspense, as these stories are right there in that vein. Very much recommended.

This review of Moonless Nocturne by Hank Schwaeble was originally written on October 8, 2022.

#BookReview: Being You by Anil Seth

Intriguing Look At Evolving Science. Thirty years ago, if you asked someone to show you the scientific basis for consciousness – human or otherwise – they’d have laughed in your face because the concept was that much of a joke. Now, Seth is among the researchers actually pursuing the inquiry – and they’ve made some solid strides. In this text, Seth lays out what we now know via evidentiary science and can also posit via a range of philosophical approaches. He readily explains how both prongs of research feed off each other, and his explanations are sufficiently technically complicated to speak with some degree of precision… without being so technically complicated that you basically need to be working in his lab to understand a word of what he is saying. (Though don’t get me wrong, even as someone with a BS in Computer Science and who reads similar books on consciousness, cognition, and perception a few times a year… this one was still technical enough that I readily admit I don’t fully understand it, even now.) Absolutely a fascinating topic and a well written explanation of it from someone actively engaged in furthering the field, and it is very much recommended.

This review of Being You by Anil Seth was originally written on August 31, 2021.