Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Seppo Jokinen: Hervantalainen

A police procedural which happen at Tampere, my home town. There appears to be serial murderer at loose in a Tampere suburb, Hervanta. It seems that victims are people who have mistreated their parents. A very good book with believable characters and engaging plot.

Komisario Koskinen kirja. Taitaa olla aika monta osaa edellisen lukemani ja tämän välissä, kun ihmisten väliset suhteet olivat kehittyneet aika paljon sitten viime näkemän.
Tällä kertaa poliisit tutkivat sarjaa pahoinpitelyjä, jotka vähitellen yltyvät murhien tasolle. Uhreina vaikuttaa olevan omia vanhempiaan kaltoin kohdelleet, jotka nyt joutuvat itse rajun koston kohteiksi. Suurin osa uhreista on elämän kaltoin kohtelemia, mutta ei välttämättä kokonaan ilman omaa syytään. Välillä tapahtumia seurataan vielä anonyymin murhaajan näkökulmasta. Aivan loppu, ja se miten murhaaja sai tietonsa, oli ehkä hiukan kaukaa haettu, mutta omalla tavallaan ymmärrettävä. Kirja on erittäin sujuvasti kirjoitettu ja omaa hiukan yhteiskunnallisemman otteen, kuin aikaisemmin lukemani sarjan teokset. Teksti tuo hiukan mieleen Matti Yrjänä Joensuun kirjat, päähenkilö vain ei ole yhtä ärsyttävän hermoheikko, vaan hahmot ovat sympaattisia, uskottavia, hyvin kuvattuja ja ymmärrettäviä. Tämä oli sen verran positiivinen lukuelämys, parhaasta päästä dekkareita pitkään aikaan, että pitää harkita sarjan aloittamista ihan tosissaan, jos nyt sitten kaiken muun lukulistalla olevan mukaan ahtaa.

330 s.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, July-August 2014

A large double issue with fairly competent stories. Nothing really excellent, but all at least average or slightly over average.

Mind Locker • shortstory by Juliette Wade

A cyberpunk story with a lot of made up words and made up grammar. Very hard to understand at places. For example, what does this mean: “Nope, what I done’s sure not the Arkive”? Some kids who are trying to find something to eat and communicate by fancy computer text messages of some sort run into trouble. Or something, I really didn’t care (or understand). **
Who Killed Bonnie's Brain? • novelette by Daniel Hatch
A reporter tries to find out why a “brain in a pot” died (or was apparently killed). He meets and interviews several characters and eventually finds out the truth. The world is pretty interesting and well described, and there are some fairly interesting characters. The plot itself wasn’t really unusual or surprising. ***+
The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale • novelette by Rajnar Vajra
A group of some sort of “space cadets” take part in a bar room fight. As a punishment they must join a mission to a planet with apparently intelligent life, which has so far resisted all attempts of communication. Most life forms, especially the plants on the planet are extremely dangerous. One of the cadets claims that he will succeed in something dozens of scientists have failed: he is going to open the communications. Very much reminiscent of Heinlein’s juveniles - not as well and entertainingly written, but not too bad. Not great or unusual in any way, but readable in spite of somewhat irritating characters. ***+
Crimson Sky • shortstory by Eric Choi
A helicopter ambulance driver rescues an explorer in Mars. The patient gets an injection of ringer solution to his arm apparently subcutaneously or inside a muscle in a few seconds and that makes him stabilize. Rotfwl. ( it is infusion solution for intravenous use, and you need 500-1000 ml to have any benefit) The story had some extremely detailed descriptions of technology. Writing ok, but there is little actual plot.***-
The Journeyman: Against the Green • [Journeyman] • novella by Michael F. Flynn
Continues an earlier story. A pair of friends are drafted to an army which fights against green skinned men. The story apparently happens on a planet colonized by humans centuries ago, and some high tech relics might still be around somewhere. For most part the technology is medieval, but the green skinned seem to have muskets and primitive cannons. Little happens in the story. The bulk of the tale is taken by a very detailed description of battle, which at places seems almost like a transcript of a war game, interspaces with light humorous banter. The writing is pretty good, but again: where is the plot? ***+
Journeyer • shortstory by R. Garrett Wilson
An alien runs through a desert to collect an important medical herb which would save lives, especially his niece’s life. He takes a very different approach and strategy anyone has ever taken, and no one believes he will succeed or even survive. Guess what happens? A slightly too short, well written story with pretty strange and interesting aliens. ***
Valued Employee • shortstory by James K. Isaac
A young woman returns to her birth village. She has been living in outside world where everything is controlled by nanotechnology (?). She journeys back to her “luddite” village to turn them to accept technology “by any means necessary”. There are good parts in the story, but there was something in writing and/or plot which somehow irritated me- but I can’t really pinpoint what it was. ***-
Sadness • shortstory by Timons Esaias
Earth has been invaded. The invaders let humans live in peace in degree, but they impose some strange mixes of earlier human religions as mandatory belief systems. Up to and including those with human sacrifice. A sad, well written mood piece. ***
The Half-Toe Bar • shortstory by Andrew Reid
People have contacted a human civilization which has been separated for a long time. A group needs help from a black-smith, but some social norms cause some trouble: apparently it isn’t proper that women discuss such things, but the member of visiting group, who best knows what kind of help is needed is a woman. Nothing really special, an easily forgettable story. ***-
Hot and Cold • shortstory by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
A couple who travels together on a FTL ship has some severe problems with a black hole and an abandoned old space ship with unstable AI. They are forced to some creative measures to survive. A sort of problem solving story. A fairly nice as such. ***
Code Blue Love • novelette by Bill Johnson
The last surviving siblings of a family which suffers from severe cerebral aneurysms create as a last ditch effort intelligent self-modifying intravascular stents. They succeed very well, even though the discovery comes too late to save one of them. Or was it too late? Not bad story, and well written. However, I wonder of people would be _so_ brilliant after several brain surgeries and possible minor subarachnoid bleeds. ***+
Vooorh • novelette by Paula S. Jordan
Continues an earlier story. The background is described very scantily and the style of the story seems somehow to be pretty different from the earlier part which was slightly melancholy mood piece, while this goes more for action.
There are two groups of aliens which fight with each other’s. The evil ones are ugly crab like beings, while the good ones are more graceful looking beings, who apparently are something like a cross of seal and octopus. I wonder how the protagonist was able to be so sure who were the "good" guys - but naturally the ugly ones are always the evil aliens. It was kind of surprising how the rock salt was deadly poisonous for sea creatures. There were also a few things which were explained pretty poorly; I wonder for example, why the bad aliens apparently were able to influence police. The writing was pretty good though and the story was entertaining in spite of a few irritations. ***½