Action Packed Series Starter. This is one hell of an action packed series starter for Mather, and one that despite a few similar general ideas (such as crippled communications due to space activity) with his CyberStorm series never gets quite as dark as that one can. Indeed, the darkest thing here is unfortunately all too common, but to reveal it specifically would be a spoiler (though even here, Mather manages to put a scifi twist to it in furtherance of his ultimate series objectives). The different types of action here are reminiscent of everything from nearly-every-Amazon-based-action-movie-you’ve-ever-seen such as Predator or Anaconda, just to name a couple, to more urban based ala Daniel Pyne’s Sentro Security or a Mission Impossible / Jason Bourne type. Throw in some elements similar to Deep Impact, as well as a few other elements of a few other popular tales that would be a touch spoilery to add here, and you’ve truly got a promising start to a potentially long series. This book is mostly set-up without ever truly *feeling* like it is mostly set-up – the action is tightly paced, as is the exposition, there is just *so much here* that by the end it is quite clear that this series is intended as a trilogy at minimum. Very much recommended.
If Douglas Adams Wrote “Men’s Fiction”. Take the hilarity and wit that *Douglas* Adams was known for in his scifi and apply it instead to a tale of three middle aged men each having distinct mid-life crises that all get wrapped up in each other… and you basically have this book. More of a “men’s fiction” tale that explores similar themes as the better known “women’s fiction” genre, but focusing on the guys rather than the gals, this is a wild romp with heart – and a relatively short read at under 250 pages to boot. Adams manages to pack quite a tale within that lower page count though, and the laughs are on nearly every page. Truly a more lighthearted and off-the-wall book that many may need in trying times. Very much recommended.
Mind-Bending Scifi Action. This is one of those trippy books that has enough mystery up front to draw you in, a lot of exposition in the middle to make you understand what is coming, and a balls to the wall back third to show off all that you now know within the context of the original setup. At 440 ish pages, it may read a tad long to some, but I felt the length was pretty solid for all that it was doing here. And the ideas it discusses are intriguing in a vein similar to Marcus Sakey’s Afterlife, where death… may only be the beginning. The backstory here was perhaps a well tapped a bit too often in the genre, particularly for anything of this form, and yet was still done well and was truly horrifying (though fortunately not too much of it actually “onscreen”). Overall the tale here was interesting and well told. Very much recommended.
The Master Ascends To Douglas Adams Level. I’ve long considered Jeremy Robinson to be the Modern Day Master of Science Fiction. With this book, he even manages to ascend all the way up to Douglas Adams level scifi insanity – while, like Adams, making the insanity completely work within the tale he is telling here. I’m not going to ruin any of the surprises or the hilarities, because both are awesome and deserve to be experienced without warning. But truly, for those fans of Adams – and he is among the more popular science fiction writers *ever* with his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy -… do yourself a favor and check this one out. Though this *is* one of the final books in Robinson’s “Infinite Timelines” Avengers Level Event, and thus you really do need to read at *bare* minimum Exo-Hunter first (as the story is told through the eyes of our hero from that tale), but also The Others and Flux, the other two books on this branch of the timeline. And as The Dark is referenced heavily, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to read that one before this one either. If you’ve done all of that though, you’re truly going to love how this book comes together – and you’re going to want to read them just so you can get to this book to see just how truly utterly insane (in the best possible ways) it really is. Very much recommended.
For this blog tour we’re looking at a strong tale remiscenent of both the X-Files and ET: The Extra Terrestrial where scifi is used more as setup for women’s fiction level family drama, but which is still strong enough to comfortably classify the book within the bounds of scifi as well. For this blog tour we’re looking at Light Years From Home by Mike Chen.
Space Opera Scifi For The Women’s Fiction Crowd. This is one of those books where you go into it expecting a lot of scifi… something. Drama, action, maybe comedy, whatever. Instead you get scifi as setup for more women’s fiction type family drama. Which is actually an interesting spin, but which will leave both crowds a bit perplexed. Overall though, Chen actually serves both crowds quite well, with enough of an off-screen hint of a backstory that he could come back to this world and give it the full-on Richard Phillips’ Rho Agenda-style trilogy of trilogies exploring just the stuff he left *off* the page in this book – and yet what he *does* put on the page is truly solid women’s fiction where brother and father’s disappearances set in motion chains of events that mother nor either daughter could have ever dreamed of. Most of the actual tale here is more about the two sisters and how their lives have changed since that moment 15 years ago – and how they can move forward. The climax, with the FBI hot on the siblings’ tails as they race toward brother’s ultimate redemption, is as taught as anything in scifi and is reminiscent of both X-Files (the author’s stated inspiration) and even ET: The Extra Terrestrial. Truly an excellent tale strongly told, and very much recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Light Years From Home by Mike Chen”
Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:
Avengers Level Event 2 Imminent! This book adds yet another compelling – and, by the end, truly powerful – character to the “Robinsonverse” being crafted by The Modern Day Master Of Science Fiction, Jeremy Robinson. We open up with an action packed scene showing off this character’s particular power in an awesome action scene, and we quickly get into an almost Scott Pilgrim vs The World vibe with a wide range of bad guys coming after our hero. We also get the clearest indications yet that the “Avengers Level Event 2” second crossover novel within the Robinsonverse is imminent, as certain characters appear near the 2/3 mark of the tale rather than just in the epilogue as is more normal in a Robinson book. And yes, we *also* get *another* cameo in the “after credits scene” epilogue. Truly an awesome scifi action tale, one with quite a bit of hilarity and a surprising amount of heart… and a surprising amount of F-bombs for an author not generally known for dropping them so casually. Very much recommended.
Update: After I wrote this review, Robinson officially announced his plans for what I call “Avengers Level Event 2”.
Preachy Philosophy And Just-Too-Far-Out-There Part V Mar Otherwise Stellar SciFi Novel. Outside of some hyper preachy philosophy in Part IV and a Part V that simply breaks everything previously established and shatters all possible suspension of disbelief, this book was truly a stellar scifi suspense/ action tale. One that should have simply ended with the conclusion of Part IV. You’ve got elements of Brett Battles’ PROJECT EDEN, James Dashner’s MAZE RUNNER, THE MATRIX, WATERWORLD , BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, Ted Dekker’s CIRCLE QUADRILOGY, and a jump-right-into-the-action opener ala Jeremy Robinson’s UNITY or (a bit more precisely) MASS EFFECT 2’s opening level. And these are all franchises that I personally LOVE. In other words, if you like scifi at all, this is going to be something you’ll want to explore. Even if scifi isn’t really your thing, the meat of the story here, of forced proximity creating a family-of-choice, secrets, lies, betrayals, and survival… those are all human elements that Riddle uses effectively to tell his story remarkably well. So well that were it not for the issues noted at the beginning of this review, this is very *easily* a 5* tale. As is, it is still a mostly solid, action packed book, and still recommended.
Excellent Adventure Starter. For those who like their adventures to be Indiana Jones type – including both going into the jungle and facing down Nazis – well, have I got a book for you. This combines that basic style with Grumley’s usual science/ science fiction bent to produce much more nuanced characters who have much bigger personal stakes than his “breakthrough” series, to great effect in the closing moments. About the only negative is that the final confrontation… isn’t really there. At least not what could have been the *really* cool parts. Still, while I’m not as intrigued about this new series as I was in BREAKTHROUGH by the end of its first book, I definitely want to see where Grumley goes with this. Very much recommended.
As always, the Goodreads review:
The Master Turns To Horror. With this book, Jeremy Robinson – The Modern Day Master of Science Fiction – again attempts a horror book… before bringing it back to the scifi action that is his bread and butter. He first establishes a loveable galoof of an anti-hero: an Army veteran who has PTSD from his experiences in Afghanistan who can’t quite fit in with his suburban civilian “normal” life. Then, he begins building in the mystery and the horror, slowly ramping it up to truly horrific levels across several different types of horror, finally culminating in a truly utterly horrific sequence that, arguably, hard core fans of Mass Effect who are familiar with Mass Effect 2 in particular may be at least somewhat jaded to. And then, the actual scifi action conclusion – almost as though Robinson has made us see hell, and now wants to leave us on a more interesting/ happier note. Long time fans of Robinson may see at least a few similarities to his 2010 “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God” retelling, TORMENT, though for me that particular book was so horrific *because* it was essentially a modern day version of that famous sermon (which was, in itself, essentially a then-modern retelling of Dante’s Inferno). For those like me who literally had nightmares for *years* after reading that book, I can tell you that this one isn’t anywhere near that bad – at least not in the same ways. It truly is utterly horrific in a couple of sequences in particular, and these new horrors may indeed haunt your nightmares for quite some time. But dammit, that is what makes Robinson the Master. 😉 Very much recommended.
DOES ANYONE KNOW WHO MARCUS SAKEY IS??? Ok, so this was a fun rib at a fellow author that Parks tossed into this book, and if you’re in the know, it was genuinely hilarious. I don’t know if Parks and Sakey know each other or have any kind of relationship at all, but it was hilarious regardless. And great levity in an otherwise pretty heavy tale that asks the classic trolley problem in a much more personal and yet global context: If you knew that one singular person was going to be the thing that ultimately tips global warming beyond repair and that billions of lives would thus be lost, could you kill that person? What if that person was your wife? Through the first 2/3 of this book, this is the primary driver and raises a lot of thought provoking questions, as Sakey’s own books tend to do. The back third goes more to direct action tale (as the back parts of Sakey’s own books tend to do), but the interesting connection here given the ribbing is that there are elements that *could* tie this tale to Sakey’s own Brilliance Saga. Whether this was the intent, this reader has no clue. But again, an interesting thought experiment. Ultimately this is a fun mystery/ action tale that mostly sticks to the realistic – even the exact scenario of the finality of global warming is plausible given the facts recorded in After Cooling by Eric Dean Wilson, which releases just weeks before this book itself does. If you’re looking for *purely* mindless action, eh, there are other books better suited to that. If you like “action with a brain”… this is going to be *exactly* what you’re looking for. Very much recommended.