Monday, April 25, 2016

Nanoreviews [books]: Station Eleven, Zer0es and Afterparty

Mandel, Emily St. John. Station Eleven [Knopf, 2014]

I really wanted to write a long-form review of this book, but every attempt fell short of how I actually feel about it. Station Eleven weaves together several character studies, taking place before, during and after a postapotalyptic event. Each story is completely absorbing, and they fit together brilliantly--glued together by Mandel's elegant prose. This was my absolute favorite novel of 2014, and the best postapocalyptic novel I've ever read. Score: 10/10.

Wendig, Chuck. Zer0es [Harper Voyager, 2015]

After watching Mr. Robot: Season One, I wanted to read a novel about hackers. So I picked up this techno-thriller about a group of precocious hackers assembled by the NSA and who have to find a way to overcome their differences so they can work together, Save the Cat style. Then there's a twist and the book abruptly veers off course into quasi-science fictional horror/thriller territory. Wendig can be a very fun writer, and Zer0es can be marvelously fun at times. Ultimately, though, the book drowns in its twists, turns and desire to be very "right now." In the end, Zer0es probably would probably work better as a comic or television series. Score: 6/10.

Gregory, Daryl. Afterparty [Tor, 2015]

Afterparty is a techno-thriller/urban fantasy mashup. It tells the story of a group of individuals who were part of a pharmaceutical startup whose last drug left them all with a personal "god" (i.e. a construct of the mind in the form of a supernatural being that advises and has conversations with the person in question). Now someone else has started making the drug, causing suicides and all other kinds of mayhem. To stop them, Lyda Rose breaks out of her Canadian mental hospital and rounds up her former co-workers--before the prerequisite psycho killer kills them all, that is. Sound like your kind of thing? It could have been mine, had the text been somewhat less contemptuous of religion (and religious people), and the "mind-bending" elements actually mind-bending. Philip K. Dick this is not. Score: 4/10.


POSTED BY: The G--purveyor of nerdliness, genre fanatic and Nerds of a
Feather founder/administrator, since 2012.