Saturday, May 26, 2012

Beyond Hades and hopefully back again

When I first really started reading, what children nowadays call reading chapter books, I began with fairy tales.  As soon as our school library had nothing new to offer, I went to work on mythology and while I liked the Greek and Roman myths, the Norse myths were a bit harder to understand. Well, I didn't get the Spanish fairy tales either. Alas! Our library only had two bookcases of fairy tales and one of mythology so I was soon out. A friend suggested science fiction which I turned my nose up at immediately but sometimes being desperate is just that. I picked up a copy of Space Cat by Ruthvin Todd. Needless to say I was hooked. BTW Amazon says you can pick up a used copy of Space Cat for about $144.00. See, I told you it was good! So how pleased was I to find today's book choice has elements of both mythology and science fiction? Strutting in my Sunday best pleased. And it didn't hurt that the writing was good as well.

Beyond Hades (The Prometheus Wars)
By Luke Romyn

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Luke Romyn (April 16, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0987214942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0987214942

Monday, May 21, 2012

Serious Superheros: "Wired" and "Amped"

Amped (the Wired sequel)

by Douglas E. Richards
Paragon Books (Wired, July 2011, Amped, March 2012)

Wired: Available at Amazon
Amped: Available at Amazon

What if our brains were able to use their full capacity?   How many new technologies and inventions could we come up with?  What great new strides could be made in every area of accomplishment?

"Wired" and the newly-released follow-on, "Amped" do an excellent job of exploring this universe, where Kira Miller, genetic engineer, discovers a way to do just that, and finds that such power has some unexpected side effects, both in her abilities, and in humanity's tendency toward putting ego first.  Everyone knows someone whose cranial resources are highly developed who has trouble functioning in normal life, mostly because they no longer listen, or are convinced they know everything.   They can get pretty obnoxious.  What happens when you magnify the effect by orders of magnitude?

We've seen, in recent years, lots of TV shows with characters that have strange and often magical powers, but Douglas Richards brings some new questions into the mix.  When everyone can be enhanced, and the Nietzchean tendencies towards pure selfishness are unleashed, how would we know who to trust?  What human could handle situations in which he or she could run rings around any competitor without having power corrupt absolutely?

Of course, everyone wants a piece of this pie, and Kira must decide on a way to trust others with her secret formula, but the government has got wind of it, and will go to any lengths, including publicly declaring her a terrorist, to get their hands on the formula and the scientist who made it.  She is, however, frustratingly difficult to catch.  Anyone sent to find her fails spectacularly, including  David Desh, a Special Forces hotshot known in government circles as someone who could track down anybody.   She's smarter and faster and stronger, and outsmarts them at every turn, eerily anticipating their every move.  Several who made the attempt never reported back, but then again, neither did David Desh.