Showing posts with label Future Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Future Reviews. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Most Favored Author - H. M. Hoover (Part 2)

And the experiment continues. 

Return to Earth: a novel of the future (1980)   

I really enjoyed this novel, one of the few that features both adults and children. Typically, adults are secondary characters for Hoover. 

Galen is a colony governor while Samara is a corporate magnate's child. This one novel could easily be a Traveller campaign all on its own. Dolmen assassins kill Samara's mother, thrusting the child into the role only Elon Musk could want, sole proprietorship of North America. Galen on the other hand simply wants to retire in his sleep hometown. At the end of the day, Galen and Samara don't need to merely defeat Dolmen, they need to counter the dying earth mentality that gave rise to his group. 

I reviewed Another Heaven, Another Earth (1981) back in April of 2021. It's a good book, I gave it 4 of 5 stars. But I'll skip the link to AbeBooks as a paperback is selling at $25. Too rich for my blood. If you follow the link to my review, you can keep an eye on prices without being driven to that high price point. 

The Bell Tree (1982) is another excellent novel, set in Hoover's default universe... which is also no available at AbeBooks. Jenny and her father discover the fossilized remains of fearsome aliens. This particular book is loaded with all kinds of details about alien lifeforms which are core to the central plot. 

The Shepherd Moon: a novel of the future (1984) is a solid performer in Hoover's universe. The protagonist is Merry, the daughter of two explorers. She befriends Mike, a young boy from the Shepard Moon. Later, Merry and Sara join forces with Merry's grandfather to counteract their one-time friend Mike as he unleashes strange forces upon the Earth. 

This novel is special as it clearly states the time period, the 48th century, and highlights some of the fantastic accomplishments of man, such as the artificial Shepard Moon of the title. There are odd references to the spacefaring culture Earth has created, and it is not without its problems. First and foremost, every spacefaring human is following "The Plan" much to humanity and every individual's detriment. There are dark hints that this culture is crazy paper AI, with every possibility arranged for by some long-gone author. 

Ah, Orvis (1987). If you like robots, this one is for you. Orvis is my all-time favorite robot tasked with an impossible mission: Destroy himself. Here is the link to my 5-star review, but I'll give you a little taste of how crazy this final mission is. I have not goofed on my tenses, I believe that Orvis exists beyond the end of all time. This bot was designed for war and after one war, all of the Orvis class bots were repurposed for space exploration. Orvis went to Venus for ground exploration. Not only does he survive a hell-scape planet for a long period of time, but he survived an Earth return mission. That is insane. 

The Dawn Palace: The Story of Medea (1988) is one novel I have never seen. It is one of Hoover's few historical fantasy novels. 

I recently picked up a copy of Away Is a Strange Place to Be (1990) but have not reviewed it yet. So, of course, I have a link. Be careful with this link as I see some copies for 6 bucks and others for $50. 

This one is an odd title, Abby and her friend Bryan are slaves in an artificial world and must escape before they age out and are euthanized. Whoa... tough love there. 

Not all stories about children are for children, but I would still place this in the YA group. 

Only Child (1992) is a strange title for Hoover as she tends to be more poetic in naming. However, it is an excellent book. Cody was born on a spaceship, illegally. Again, that strange paper AI rears its ugly head. In this return to Hoover's default universe, Cody discovers that the crew of the ship plans to colonize a world after they wipe out the sentient insectoid population. 

I reviewed The Winds of Mars (1995) in May of 2021. I feel that this one is one of Hoover's weaker novels, but it has a bit of charm to it. 

Annalyn Court is the daughter of the President of Mars. Mars experiences both rebellion and war with our child protagonist in the middle of it all. If you were concerned that she won't be able to survive, Hoover introduces the punniest robot guardian into the mix: Hector Protector. It's all right on the tin, "Hector Protect Her". 

If you like the Xanth novels of this time period, this would probably be a good read for you. While I did enjoy those Piers Anthony books, the charm of these types of stories rubs off rather easily on a re-reading. 

Or so I thought when I gave Winds of Mars three stars. In retrospect, the dynamic between Hector and Annalyn was a little more nuanced than I expected on my first read. First, Hoover follows Annalyn's life much longer than you would expect for a 190-page book. Annalyn goes from childhood to young womanhood. Initially, Hector is almost a god-like machine, but as Annalyn's world becomes much more serious and dangerous, his ability to cope with defending her was challenged. Hoover builds this slowly from the beginning to the end. There were zero surprises when Hector fails in his task. Which shouldn't have bothered me. The message of the story was growing up and doing stuff for yourself, with all of the knowledge and care of your parental units. 

(I like the term parental units, it's wrong and funny at the same time.) 

Whole Truth—and Other Myths: retelling Ancient Tales (1996) is yet another book I have never encountered. It was Hoover's last title as far as I know. 

Here ends the experimental post on Marketing and Monetization 101. I won't delete these two posts as I am using them for reference for future reviews. However, I have this powerful feeling that it's poor Marketing and Monetization. I hope it puts the nail in the coffin of non-DriveThruRPG links. 

In a future post, I'll be talking about DriveThruRPG. Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Most Favored Author - H. M. Hoover (Part 1)

Just a few posts ago I said, "all most all of the ads are gone." From an informal poll, I discovered that no one really noticed my ads for AbeBooks and found them unobjectionable. 

In this post, I am doing a cross-content post, I'm building a list of books to combo with ads and reviews.  

When I was a child, my favorite author was H. M. Hoover. I was perpetually perplexed that Helen Mary Hoover was not a household name. In fact, I don't think I have ever met someone who knew of her. You can read her bio over here

I have reviewed a great number of her books and I have made it a mission to grab one copy of every book she wrote. And herein lies the problem: I don't know how many books she actually wrote. I have heard it could be as many as 20. I've only honestly encountered 15 of her books and was only aware of 17. So this year, 2023, I mean to find, read and review as many as I can get my hands on. 

The list below is broken into bits. If I have a review, the title will be a link. The image is an ad for a copy on AbeBooks. This is part one of a two-part post. 

Here we go:  

Children of Morrow (1973) - I have a copy of this, but I don't have a review. This is a good place to start as this is the only book with a sequel. 

I'm not sure why I don't have a review of this as I consider this an excellent book. It features a pair of children guided on a mission to escape their humble and primitive situation by a voice. Obviously, it features telepaths and other fun. 

The Lion's Cub (1974)

The Lion's Cub is one of her historical fantasy novels set in the Court of Nicolas I. I cannot even find a source for this book, so there is no ad. 

Treasures of Morrow (1976)

Again, we journey with Tia and Rabbit as they attempt to escape the Base. 

Again, it is embarrassing that I have a copy and have no review. This book reads a bit like a Tomorrow People episode. It is a quick read and very exciting. Somehow, I forgot that this was a sequel to her first book. Very often, her books read so quickly that it is hard to tell where one starts and the another ends. 

The Delikon (1977)

This one is my favorite, therefore that link is to my review. Page one starts with a hell of a hook: 

"Three children played in the garden; Alta was ten, Jason was twelve, and Varina was three hundred and seven."  

Strangely, like The Loin's Cub, it is not available. 

The Rains of Eridan (1977)

I like this review. There is an odd bug on this website. Anything I write on my 1999 iBook has a white background behind the text. It's annoying and I meant to stamp that out. As you can see, this review was written on that computer. 

This book features Colony Base III, on Eridan. The planet has a secret that is a good cause for not staying there. Or at least, good cause to be very careful when traveling in the wilderness. It will make an awful colony someday. 

If you play any sort of Sci-Fi game, Eridan is an excellent planet to dump a band of characters on. 

The Lost Star (1979)

This book is simply poignant. You can check out the review for the details. Lian is a very sad child with some very big problems. 

This Time of Darkness (1980)

You know what's dark? When a city is built around a surveillance system doesn't care for children and parents show even less care. It's dark enough to make 11-year-old Amy run away.  

They are pursued by the Authority, Crazies, and secretive Watchers on their quest to escape this dysphoria life and explore the great Outdoors. 

Again, this would be an interesting setting for a Sci-Fi RPG. 

We are almost half way there, so I am calling it quits right here. I will back again tomorrow. 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

New Reviews - Five Books

Last year, I managed more than 52 reviews. Most of them were sci-fi-themed as I reviewed a ton of Helen Mary Hoover's books. Technically, she is a young adult author but also ticks off science fiction and young women coming of age in bleak future tropes. I love them. I hope to finish up the last of her books this year. 

I've got a great start this year, having tackled 5 books in 15 days. Well, 5 novels anyway. I read a few more than that if you include gamebooks or science lectures. Back in 2016, I graduated with my Bachelor's in History. I would typically read a book a week per class. Each 16-week semester I would chew through 45+ books, not counting textbooks or articles, or other reading materials. Two or 3 books a week is a nice slow pace for me. It makes the content easy to digest.  

All but one of these are classics, being over 20 years old, and must-reads for the science-fiction or fantasy buff. The odd man out is Inhibitor Phase by Alastair Reynolds as it was published in 2021. 

My intention with this post was to have all 5 reviews done before posting. But that turned out to be more time-consuming than I anticipated. As I post more reviews, I will add more links. Additionally, I would like to rework the top page bar at the top of my blog to break down reviews into categories, so that Traveller Fans don't have to pick through fantasy books and vice versa. 

As a part of the digestion portion of these readings, I also plan to have a post about science fiction weapons that are terrifying. Niven, Pournelle, and Reynolds have stuff in their books that is absolutely insane and somewhat based on reality. 

In addition to all of this, I also have several new sources for books. I have my favorite two or three local bookshops, but those aren't available online. Abebooks is an excellent resource. I will be sharing each of these with you as a part of the review process. 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Image Resources for Future Reviews

I'm going through my shelves and getting read to review some older products. This is the first post of images needed to get that done. I have some classic books right along side some classic games. Most of the games are Mac OS 9 stuff.

In looking at some of the D&D stuff, I might not do reviews, I'm thinking about sharing how they have been worked into my campaigns. I mean, what more can be said about Deities & Demigods which hasn't been said to death?