Review of Existence

ExistenceExistence by David Brin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was the first book I read by this author, so I will admit I wasn’t sure what to expect. Despite the initial slow pace of the book, the book manages to use that pace to build an intricate world and complicated world. As the plot progresses and deepens,using a nice balance of science fiction technologies, philosophy and slight hints of Darwinism. Honestly I must admit, there were times when the story had slightly strange, if not slightly humorous moments.

While the name definitely hides a lot, it reveals the fundamental question, “Are we alone in the universe?” Of course in the plot in this book we are not, despite the subtle,rational and quiet means the alien races choose for travel. Their chosen crystal vessels, are much more dangerous then they appear. Of course despite the danger, humanities natural curiosity is strong as they explore these crystals. As the story progress, with a much more brisk pace the dangerous nature of the crystals begins to unfold. With almost accidental luck, an older crystal is found. This one is much less malignant.

In contrast to this, adding a more human element to the story. Humans use technological, economic and political means to do both harm and good. Some more wealthy humans are hiding crystals in their lavish estates. Others with journalistic approaches, seek knowledge and truth about the some of the stranger incidents that occur.

OF course in the end, humanity adapts and modifies this crystal technology to explore the universe itself. Giving both warning and cure about the malignant crystal entities.

Review of Distant Star:Volume one

Distant Star: Volume OneDistant Star: Volume One by W. Brad LaJeunesse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To quote the back cover “Takes the space opera genre and adds a healthy dose of humor, humanity and the perils of relationships,” is an accurate description of the book. The book is equal parts humor as it is action, at least in my opinion. This book defiantly has a very quick pace that delivers humor, action, and character development as the back-stories of the characters are told throughout the book.

The book starts out with Grant and his engineer/friend/partner spot the Phaeton Saga as they navigate their way through an asteroid field. Lucky for them the Distant Star docks with it as their ship is slowly falling apart. They reluctantly enter the Phaeton Saga despite the lack of communication between the two of them.Grant and Skip make their way to the command bridge when they meet Scavengers (think space pirates) and Tabby. Tabby manages to help Grant and the unconscious Skip escape by fooling the Scavengers. Lucky for them Tabby is an apprentice engineer and manages to jerry-rig their engines so they can get away.On the way to drop Tabby of at home, Samantha Grant’s ex-bride to be places a bounty on them since she is vindictive about being left at the alter. They manage to land on Tabby’s home planet, unknown of the bounty on their head. Fortunately Grant’s family sends David before they can get arrested for a crime they didn’t commit. With a less then graceful escape David, Skip, Tabby, and Grant manage to get away from Tabby’s home world.The plot continues to unfold as Grant tries to figure out to do about the bounty on his head and Tabby’s past.

Eventually they manage to get the Distant Star back on it’s course to deliver it’s cargo. Grant, David and Skip find out about Tabby’s past. Eventually they arrive back on Earth after the Scavengers from before manage to wound Grant before David dispatches them. Samantha attempts to hide her actions against Grant and her personal vendetta against him. David is suspicious of her actions but lacks any tangible proof. After Grant is healed, David’s younger sister is kidnapped by the original owner of the Distant Star. A agreement is reached to exchange Tabby for her. Of course things go wrong as Samantha shows up in a veiled attempt to intervene. Samantha escapes along with the criminal syndicate that hired the Scavengers. With David’s sister rescued, and Tabby still along they continue their business. Mr Knox, Samantha’s father finds out about her plan from Grant’s father and decides to deal with his daughter.

I received this book from Goodreads giveaway.