Nov 19, 2011

Back in Town.

Hi again! It's been days since I posted. That's because I've been reading full time. We have been a little sick, stranded at home and we've had much free time. So, this is the list of recent books I've read. I intend to write about them in future releases but, as you know, life is what happens to you while you're making other plans.

Here is the list:

Anderson, Poul - Brain wave

The Earth suddenly moves out of a field that has been constraining the intelligence of every being for thousands of years. Within weeks all animal life on earth becomes about 5 times as intelligent. The novel goes through the triumphs and tribulations of various people and non-human animals and groups on earth after this event.

Bacigalupi, Paolo - The windup girl

In a post-oil era, out-of-control mutations and the monopoly of huge food corporations with its GM patents have turned calories into the greatest commodity and the unit in which wealth is measured. In Thailand, and only there, a recovery plant varieties industry flourish under the patronage of a genius of biotechnology who has taken refuge there.

Bodard, Aliette de - The jaguar house, in shadow

An alternative history in which Mexico has become the world-leading Mexica empire, ranging from the ancient religion that requires human sacrifices and nanotechnology able to turn holy warriors into supermen.

Bradbury, Ray - Something wicked this way comes

Two 13-years old boys who have a harrowing experience with a nightmarish traveling carnival that comes to their Midwestern town one October. . The carnival's leader is the mysterious "Mr. Dark" who bears a tattoo for each person who, lured by the offer to live out his secret fantasies, has become bound in service to the carnival. Mr. Dark's malevolent presence is countered by that of Will's father, Charles Halloway, who harbors his own secret desire to regain his youth.

Tomorrow, more, I'll tell you about the rest of my latest readings, that are as follows: 

Brust, Steven - Tiassa (Vlad Taltos Series)

Butcher, Jim - Ghost story: A noverl of the Dresden files

Haldeman, Joe - All my sins remembered

Heinlein, Robert A. - Citizen of the galaxy

Hilton, James - Lost horizon

Hogan, James P. - The Genesis machine

Goonan, Kathleen Ann - Nanotech

Kelly, Jim - Plus or minus

Kowal, Mary Robinette - For want of a nail

Mieville, China - Kraken

Landis, Geoffrey A. - The sultan of the clouds

Martin, George R. R. - Fevre dream

Munroe, Jim - Everyone in Silico

Stephenson, Neal - Reamde: A novel

Sheffield, Charles - Between the strokes of night

Steele, Allen M. - The emperor of Mars

Stross, Charles - The Fuller memorandum

Swanwick, Michael - Stations of the tide

Tiptree, James - The girl who was plugged in

Vance, Jack - Trullion (Allastor1)

Vance, Jack - Maske Theary

Willis, Connie - Inside Job

Willis, Connie - Bellwether

Wilson, Robert Charles - Blind lake

Sep 6, 2011

Hugo Awards 2011 novella, novelette and short story: read online

You can read online this year winners and nominees:

Novella (the links in the title)

“The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window” by Rachel Swirsky

“The Lifecycle of Software Objects” by Ted Chiang

“The Maiden Flight of McAuley’s Bellerophon” by Elizabeth Hand

“The Sultan of the Clouds” by Geoffrey A. Landis

“Troika” by Alastair Reynolds
not available online, yet.

For the next year, if you want to read all the texts in contest, you can ask for the voter packet ($50) an electronic package of nominated works graciously made available to voters by nominees and their publishers.

“Eight Miles” by Sean McMullen

 “The Emperor of Mars” by Allen M. Steele (pdf)

“The Jaguar House, in Shadow” by Aliette de Bodard (pdf)

“Plus or Minus” by James Patrick Kelly (pdf)

“That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” by Eric James Stone

Short Story

“Amaryllis” by Carrie Vaughn (you can even listen online)

“For Want of a Nail” by Mary Robinette Kowal (en pdf)

“Ponies” by Kij Johnson

“The Things” by Peter Watts (listen to it here)


Aug 11, 2011

Jack Vance - Demon Princes

This is a five-book series which cumulatively relate the story of one Kirth Gersen as he exacts his revenge on five notorious criminals, collectively known as the Demon Princes, who carried his village off into slavery during his childhood. Each novel deals with his pursuit of one of the five Princes.

The books are, in order of publication:

  • Star King (1964). The antagonist is Attel Malagate, a renegade from a species called the Star Kings, who are driven to imitate and surpass the most successful species they encounter; with their contact with humanity in antiquity, they began consciously evolving into imitations of human beings. The bait Gersen uses to trap him is an undeveloped and fantastically beautiful planet whose location is known only to Gersen, which Malagate covets to become the father of a new race that can outdo both humans and his own species.
  •  The Killing Machine (1964). Kokor Hekkus, a 'hormagaunt', has prolonged his life by the vivisection of human beings to obtain hormones and other substances from their living bodies. But eternal life can be boring, and so he has converted the lost planet Thamber into a stage wherein he acts out his fantasies.
  •  The Palace of Love (1967). Viole Falushe, an impotent megalomaniac ironically fixated on sex. He was so obsessed with a girl in his youth, he created a number of clones of her in a vain attempt to get one of them to love him back. This novel contains some of Vance's most compelling and unforgettable characters, such as the mad poet, Navarth, who has a central role.
  •  The Face (1979). Lens Larque, a sadist and monumental trickster. In the course of the novel, the protagonist experiences some of the same outrages that motivated the villain to concoct his most grandiose jest, leading to one of the most humorous endings in all Vance's work.
  • The Book of Dreams (1981). Howard Alan Treesong, a 'chaoticist', who embodies elements of all the foregoing, and has the most imaginatively ambitious plans of all.

Great book but you know I really love Vance's writting so perhaps I'm not impartial.

Jack and Norma Vance

Aug 8, 2011

Alastair Reynolds - Century Rain

We are in Paris and it is the 50s. Wendell Floyd is an American who came to Paris to become a jazz musician. He still plays, with his partner André Custin but the mostly work as private detectives nowadays. They are hired to investigate the apparent suicide of a young american woman called Susan White. Although Susan is found dead outside her aparment, her landlord does not believe that she jumped.

The next chapter seems to belong to a completely different novel as we find ourselves in a very dissimilar Paris. The whole Earth is abandoned due to a nanotechnological holocaust.

In the mid-2070s, weather control nanomachines were released into Earth's atmosphere and oceans in an attempt to reverse global warming. In late 2076, some of these machines became sentient and stopped obeying orders. In response, more intelligent machines were released in an attempt to control them. By July 2077, a total of eight layers of machines had been released, but the weather continued to get worse. At this point the nanomachines started eating everything in the sea to fuel themselves. They then moved to land, and on 27 July, digested humanity. The only people to survive were those in space habitats. To add insult to injury, fifty years after the Nanocaust all linked digital archives were corrupted, although it is not known whether this was sabotage or an accident.

As a result of the Nanocaust and the Forgetting, humans split into two groups, the Threshers and the Slashers. Threshers believe that it should never be able to happen again, and reject the nanotechnology that led to the Nanocaust, preferring to stay on the threshold of dangerous technology, hence their name (a diminution of Thresholders). The Slashers do not believe they should be limited by what happened in the past and embrace new technology. Their official name is the Federation of the Polities, but they trace their existence back to "an alliance of progressive thinkers linked together by one of the first computer networks", whose symbol was a slash and a dot.

The Threshers control access to Earth (or what remains of it), the orbiting structure around it known as Tanglewood, and Mars, after a hard-fought war against the Slashers. The Slashers control the rest of the known universe, including access to an ancient portal network that spans the galaxy.

Verity Auger is in this Paris because she's an archaelogist but the dig goes wrong and one of her assistants is killed. She's accused of negligence and must stand trial but is finally manouvered into accepting a high risk assignment, without knowing what it entails. She is taken to a secret underground base on the Martian moon Phobos containing an ancient alien relic that opens a portal to a distant part of the galaxy. At the other end of the portal is an alternate-history version of Earth in the year 1959 - almost 300 years behind the present time - and that she is to retrieve a tin of documents that was left behind by Susan White, an earlier agent sent to "Earth Two", who died under mysterious circumstances.

Via Wikipedia and The SF Site

Via Locus Online:

Alastair Reynolds spent his childhood in Cornwall, England and Wales, before earning degrees in astronomy from England's University of Newcastle (1988), and a PhD from the University of St. Andrew's in Scotland (1991). He sold his first story to Interzone, "Nunivak Snowflakes", in 1989. His notable short fiction includes "A Spy in Europa" (1997), "Galactic North" (1999), and "Great Wall of Mars" (2000) -- which prefigure the future-world space opera of his "Revelation Space" universe, the setting of novels and novellas Revelation Space (2000), British SF Association Award-winner Chasm City (2001), Diamond Dogs (2001), Redemption Ark (2002), Turquoise Days (2002), and Absolution Gap (due October 2003 in the UK and 2004 in the US), which concludes the Inhibitors' story arc of Revelation Space and Redemption Ark. He lives in The Netherlands, where he works for the European Space Agency, and lives with longtime partner Josette Sanchez.Photo by Beth Gwinn

Alastair Reynolds Homepage and his new blog Aproaching Pavonis

Aug 7, 2011

Catherine Asaro - Sunrise Alley

From School Library Journal vía 

vía Dreaming About Other Worlds Blog
Samantha Bryton, a brilliant young biotech engineer working on machine intelligence, has retired because of unresolved ethical issues concerning how the industry uses her work. On the beach near her secluded cabin, she finds a shipwrecked man, and it quickly becomes apparent that there is something unusual about him. It turns out that the original Turner Pascal is legally dead, but he has been brought back to life in a technologically enhanced but human-appearing body by the shadowy scientist Charon, who uses illegal and amazingly advanced technology. Self-aware, independent AIs (called EIs if they evolve to that state) are extremely rare and prone to psychological instability, and Sam is one of the few people in the world who understands and can work with them. It is no coincidence that Turner has ended up on her beach in his attempt to escape from Charon. As they flee villains who want to acquire Turner's technology, the two try to unravel the mystery of the identity of Charon and the true nature of "Sunrise Alley," a secret society of escaped EIs who may pose a threat to humans. Through many trials and adventures, friendship and sexual attraction gradually develop between Sam and Turner (though she worries about his nonhuman characteristics and dubious legal status). The plot is an epic chase across a near-future landscape, enlivened by twists, complicated puzzles to solve, plenty of intriguing technology, and a strong element of romance. - Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

And here are my favourite reviews of the book:

Arthur W. Jordin (Smyrna, GA USA)This novel explores the legal implications of self-aware emergent intelligences who can pass the most stringent Turing tests (...) In many respects, this novel is similar in concept to the story "Jerry Was a Man" by Heinlein and other SF tales regarding civil liberties for non-humans. Asimov also addressed this subject in The Caves of Steel with R. Daneel Olivaw, the humanoid robot who acts as the partner of Elijah Baley. Unlike this story, R. Daneel displays all the aspects a sentient creature, yet is never invested with the status of citizen.

Cyber Malt
The story is about slicing a brain into a cybernetic conciousness.

Mrs. Baumann
This is a sci-fi romantic thriller all rolled up into one neat package.

But if you'd rather read the review of someone who didn't love the book that much, this one by Jesse Willis is both interesting and fun.

And if you want a somewhat more impartial review, you can find it here and this is an excerpt of the end of the article:

Sunrise Alley is an interesting look at the nature of what makes someone human. Exactly how much of a person can be replaced and have the result still be regarded as that person? With the exception of the somewhat weak nature of the romantic storyline and a wholly unconvincing and mostly extraneous memory-loss subplot that crops up late in the book, the book is well-executed, with a strong story full of intrigue, dramatic tension, and a fascinating exploration of what counts as human, or more broadly, what counts as a person.


Catherine Asaro is a Nebula Award winner for her novel The Quantum Rose (I didn't like this one), part of her popular Skolian Empire series. Her novels have three times been named the best science fiction novel of the year by Romantic Times Book Club. She has also won numerous other awards, including the Analog Readers Poll award, the Homer, and the Sapphire. She has an M.A. in physics, and a Ph.D. in chemical physics, both from Harvard, and has done research at the University of Toronto, The Max Planck Institute, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. A former ballet and jazz dancer, she founded the Mainly Jazz Dance program at Harvard and danced on both the west and east coasts. She has written eleven novels in the popular Skolian Saga, the latest being Schism: Triad, Book I (Tor, 2004), several fantasies, including The Charmed Sphere, as well as two near-future technothrillers, The Veiled Web and The Phoenix Code. She currently runs Molecudyne Research and lives in Maryland with her husband and daughter. 

Jul 23, 2011

Steven Brust - Vlad Taltos

Steven Karl Zoltán Brust (hungarian descent) is best known for his novels about the assassin Vlad Taltos.

There are currently 13 novels in the series although 19 are planned. In chronological order:

1. Taltos (1988)

2. Dragon (1998)
3. Yendi (1984)
4. Tiassa, section 1 (2011)
5. Jhereg (1983)
6. Teckla (1987)
7. Phoenix (1990)
8. Jhegaala (2008)
9. Athyra (1993)
10. Orca (1996)
11. Issola (2001)
12. Dzur (2006)
13. Tiassa, section 2 (2011)
14. Iorich (2010)
15. Tiassa, section 3 (2011)

The books are set on another planet (apparently) inhabited by dragaerans, who were created when the Jenoine (powerful race of extradimensial creatures) magically crossbred humans with various animals. Dragaerans average seven feet tall, with slender builds and very little muscular definition. They cannot grow beards and have very little body hair. Their lifespans are greatly enhanced, spanning several thousand years. They consider themselves "humans", but are called "Dragaerans" by Easterners who live in the Empire. In other lands, Easterners call them "elfs" or "faeries".

Magic exists in many forms: sorcery (gathering power from Chaos); pre-sorcery (sorcery that doesn't draw its power from the Imperial Orbit); elder sorcery (old and dangerous, presently outlawed). Witchcraft, used by men (although dragaerans consider themselves to be men and men to be sub-men) that use complex rituals to draw phisical energy.

The Great Houses are as follows (in order of their precedence in the cycle), with their two primary representative characteristics:

by ~Silversaff

* Phoenix—Decadence and Rebirth
* Dragon—War and Conquest
* Lyorn—Tradition and Duty

by ~samekh-mem

* Tiassa—Catalyst and Inspiration

by Katherine J. Grantham.

* Hawk—Observation and Inspiration
* Dzur—Heroism and Honor

* Issola—Courtliness and Surprise

by Katherine J. Grantham.

* Tsalmoth—Unpredictability and Tenacity
* Vallista—Creation and Destruction
* Jhereg—Greed and Corruption

by Katherine J. Grantham.

* Iorich—Justice and Retribution
* Chreotha—Forethought and Ensnarement
* Yendi—Subtlety and Misdirection
* Orca—Brutality and Mercantilism

by Katherine J. Grantham.

* Teckla—Cowardice and Fertility
* Jhegaala—Metamorphosis and Endurance
* Athyra—Magic and Philosophy


Vladimir Taltos is an Easterner who inherits a small peerage of the house of Jhereg and decides to make his own mark on  dragaeran society, for which he has no hesitation in leaving a trail of corpses in its wake as he makes his way to the top of the house of Jhereg. To achieve this he has only his skill with the sword, his skill in the art of witchcraft and a small flying scavenger and sharp tongued reptile called Loiosh. He began his career as a simple thug but as the books progresse he is more and more compared to Mario, the most famous and feared assasssin throughout the empire. Of course not everything is as simple as it seems and during the Vlad novels, although he begins his career as a cold murderer, he will face great moral issues that will make him rethink his way of life ... (and I much prefer him when he's a cold hearted son of a bitch than later when he grows a concience out of love but... )

Jul 17, 2011

Jul 16, 2011

Dance with Dragons Download PDF

17/07/2011 The link didn't work, now it does. Apologies. 
18/12/2011 It seems the link doesn't work anymore. If you leave me an e-mail address in a comment I'll send it to you ASAP. 

I've found this link :, downloaded and tested the pdf file myself. For those who don't speak spanish you have to click the link after the sentence:Aqui para descargarlo en PDF the link....

You'll be redirected to MediaUpload and there you'll see a counter that goes from 44 seconds down and you'll have to wait till it reaches zero and a grey button saying "Descarga normal" appears under the orange one that says "Descarga premium", "Descarga" meaning "Download" in Spanish.

Please check what copyright laws apply in your respective countries before you download the book and proceed accordingly. I'm assuming here that a backup copy is allowed everywhere and that what you want this pdf for. 

You can also download it here. Just look for megaupload at the end of the (spanish) post. 

Jul 6, 2011

Brent Weeks - The Night Angel Trilogy

There are three volumes in this amusing trilogy whose motto could be:

The perfect killer has no friends. Only targets.

And these are the books and you can find everything about them and the author here:

The Way of Shadows

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art. And he is the city’s most accomplished artist, his talents required from alleyway to courtly boudoir.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he’s grown up in the slums, and learned the hard way to judge people quickly — and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins’ world of dangerous politics and strange magics — and cultivate a flair for death.

Shadow’s Edge

Kylar Stern has rejected the assassin’s life. The Godking’s successful coup has left Kylar’s master, Durzo, and his best friend, Logan, dead. He is starting over: new city, new friends, and new profession.

But when he learns that Logan might actually be alive and in hiding, Kylar is faced with an agonizing choice: will he give up the way of shadows forever and live in peace with his new family, or will he risk everything by taking on the ultimate hit?

Beyond the Shadows

Logan Gyre is king of Cenaria, a country under siege, with a threadbare army and little hope. He has one chance — a desperate gamble, but one that could destroy his kingdom.

In the north, the new Godking has a plan. If it comes to fruition, no one will have the power to stop him.

Kylar Stern has no choice. To save his friends-and perhaps his enemies-he must accomplish the impossible: assassinate a goddess.

In the Official Book Review

The Way of Shadows is a big fat novel and I mean that in all good connotations of those terms. The world Weeks depicts in this novel is harsh: the protagonist is a killer-for-hire as is his mentor, his best friend is a male prostitute who serves both men and women, one Durzo’s closest companions, the enigmatic Momma K., is the head of a brothel, and ways of killing are spoken of very matter-of-factly. In addition, The Way of Shadow contains many of the elements of a solid fantasy novel: magic, murder, an über-powerful enemy pulling the strings, a nigh-omnipotent enchanted sword, and a chivalrous knight. By no means; however, is this simply a paint-by-numbers novel. In many ways, I would liken Weeks’s approach to some of the new fantasy authors who are embracing these standard elements of the genre and spinning them out with an entertaining voice of their own. 

Stealing his own books from Shawn Speakman's car

Entertaining. Rich plot. Harsh but not wantonly so. Fast paced style.

Brent Weeks & Terry Brooks

Jun 23, 2011

Dance with dragons is here (almost)

This title will be auto-delivered to your Kindle on July 12,2011. In two weeks! In just over two weeks I'll begin to tell you how the saga continues, and you'll be reading about the hardships and miseries of our favourite characters and, yes, I know which is yours:

Cersei Lannister

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