Podkayne of MarsAuthor: Robert HeinleinNarrator: Emily Janice CardPublication Date: 10/1/09Publisher: Blackstone Audio[Goodreads | Amazon | Audible]Blurb (GR):
Meet Podkayne Fries, a thoroughly Martian Ms. who thinks that Earth is not really fit for habitation and that humanity evolved on the now-exploded Fifth Planet
Paddy has one goal in life; to be the first female
starship captain.She has her strategy all scoped out, and with her determination, looks and I.Q. she'll get there, never you doubt!
But all work and no play would make Poddy a Dull Girl, so when a chance comes her way to travel to distant Earth to Venus witrh her elderly uncle, Paddy jumps at it, even if it does mean having her loathsome little brother along for the trip. Travel, Adventure, the chance to cuddle up (in a nice way) with real spaceship officers and ruthlessly pump their brains- she'll have it all!
What Poddy doesn't know is that "Unca Tom" is more than her warmly supportive relative: he is also the Ambassador Plenipotentiary from Mars to the Three-Planets Conference (travelling not quite incognito enough) and that certain parties will stop at nothing to gain control of his vote -including kidnapping and doing terrible things to sweetly innocent Poddy Fries....
Review: So this was a bit ridiculous. I listened to all five discs rather quickly, as it started out as a fun space story. Then suddenly I was on disc four and thinking to myself, "Sooo, nothing much has happened yet." This book is about creating a world, setting the stage for what could be a cool story about a future female space pilot and then having the main character talk herself out of her ambitions because childbirth and mothering are the most important aspirations for women in the world and blahbitty blah blah blah. Thanks, Robert A. Heinlein, I definitely needed the reminder of how women should act. In case you're reading this review and wondering what kinds of awesome tidbits the main character shares in her journal, they are statements about hiding your intelligence from men, never letting a man see that you are better at anything than he is, and accepting that you should never have aspirations that will hinder your ability to find a man and reproduce for the good of the universe.
This book hints at so many possible plotlines and they go nowhere. The actual plot/action doesn't even start to occur until at least halfway through, probably further. Heinlein hints at a possible romance; it goes nowhere. He describes a lot of planets and governmental structures; it's all irrelevant. He spends the first half of the book on a space journey; it has very little bearing on the overall plot. The book ends more abruptly than any I've ever read. Honestly, this felt like the first part in a serialized story. (Ha! I just looked it up on Wikipedia
and the book itself started out as a serialized story.)
Emily Janice Card did a good job voicing the teenage protagonist and her 11-year old genius brother. The side characters, including one or two with southern accents, were distinguishable, which isn't always the case in audiobooks. I do enjoy her narrations but unfortunately, I always keep thinking about her father's politics and it takes me away from the story she's reading. I know this isn't the case for everyone but it IS the case for me, even if she doesn't share the same beliefs. (I don't know one way or the other)
Skip this one unless you're a writer who is looking for a world that was created and then just disregarded. There are lots of ideas to be had here! 2/5 stars
Author: Connie Willis
Publication Date: 6/25/07
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Theodora Baumgarten has just been selected as an IASA space cadet, and therein lies the problem. She didn't apply for the ultra-coveted posting, and doesn't relish spending years aboard the ship to which she's been assigned. But the plucky young heroine, in true Heinlein fashion, has no plans to go along with the program. Aided by her hacker best friend Kimkim, in a screwball comedy that has become Connie Wills' hallmark, Theodora will stop at nothing to uncover the conspiracy that has her shanghaied.Review:
I won't tell you what D.A. stands for, as it would ruin the story. I will tell you that this story has gotten me all excited to read more of Connie Willis
' books. In my mind, I always thought that she wrote inaccessible sci-fi (fine, go ahead and laugh at me), and maybe she does—I’ll find out soon enough. But this story was an absolute funfest to read. And it only takes about 20-30 minutes if you’re interested in that type of incentive…which I sometime am. (Anything to up my count. Damn you, Goodreads Challenge!)
Theodora attends a traditional high school at a time in the future when most kids are taught in online classes from home but her parents sent her to regular school to increase her chances of getting into The Academy. Students spend years trying to get perfect grades, taking classes on obscure space-related topics and learning random skills, all in the hope that they will get selected to go into space. Despite nearly every
student dying for the opportunity, Theodora has never had the desire to go so imagine her surprise when a school assembly is called and a representative is there to congratulate her on her acceptance. She never applied, so what the heck is going on?
It’s a bit cliché and reads like a less genius-ridden, war-minded Battle School and Theodora spends most of her time being a downer, complaining, and sneaking around, but I enjoyed where it ended up going at the conclusion. I only wish the story continued so I could see her develop even further.
This short story came to me as a recommendation from my query for 'YA in space' on Goodreads. Since you can't close a query, I will probably continue to get recs on it until I am 50 but you know what? That sounds great to me! I'll never tire of space stories. Kaethe recced this one to me, and a huge thanks go out to her for it. Even if it is does end up being whatever the female equivalent of blue balls is…in that it ends when I wanted it to go on for much, much longer. 4/5 stars
If you like this, you might also like Academy 7
by Anne Osterlund, the Ender's Game
series and Shadow
series by Orson Scott Card, Across the Universe
by Beth Revis, the new Starfleet Academy
series, and the Galahad
series by Dom Testa.
The Web of Titan (Galahad, #2)
Author: Dom Testa
Publication Date: 12/1/05
Blurb (GR): When the tail of the comet Bhaktul flicks through the Earth's atmosphere, deadly particles are left in its wake, and mankind is confronted with a virus that devastates the adult population. A renowned scientist proposes a bold plan: to build a ship that will carry a crew of 251 teenagers to a home in a distant solar system. Two years later,Galahad and its crew is launched. If their mission fails, it will be the end of the human race…
After triumphing over a saboteur bent on destroying Galahad, Triana and her Council are eager to avoid any further complications. But as Galahad swings around the ringed planet Saturn, they encounter a mysterious metal pod orbiting the moon of Titan. The teens prepare to bring the pod and its contents aboard, only to be faced with a another crisis: an illness that is beyond their medical experience. Dozens of crew members fall into a comatose state, only to awaken with strangely glowing eyes. To make matters worse, the systems of Galahad begin to fail. With time running out, can Triana and her shipmates escape the Web of Titan?
I see no reason why my first drunk book review shouldn’t be a young adult book about space. I love space stories…almost as much as I love Red Hook’s summer seasonal Wit ale. Their slogan for it is “Made with Ginger, but still digs Mary Ann.” LOL Sometimes I wonder who I’d be on Gilligan’s Island. Who am I kidding? I’d probably be Gilligan. That one guy on that show was kind of a babe. The Professor. Then again, I keep picturing him looking like Captain Kirk and look at that! I’m back on my space topic. This second installment in the Galahad series is decidedly less suspenseful than the last. It is funny to read a series when you know there are already two more books released so, going into it, I was thinking, “Welp, they obviously get out of this pickle.” It really diminishes the thrill of it.
As most of you probably remember (HA, yeah right!), I found the fourth one of these randomly in the library while Bird Brian, Eh?Eh!, Jackie the Librarian, and BB’s wife were perusing the bookstore upstairs. In case you guys are wondering, I am that drunk person who realizes that they have been staring off into space for five minutes and not remembering they were writing a review. I’ve already done that a few times. But I will NEVER spell incorrectly or type slow. Remember Mario Teaches Typing? Also, randomly, I remember being in keyboarding class in junior high when we listened to the OJ verdict on the radio. OMG, this isn’t even a review. We should just change it to drunk diary entries.
Today I saw so-and-so. He is such a babe.
Fine. Here we go,
The other day I read The Web of Titan. I was super into it because I have a female boner for space and all that it entails. All the teens are still on Galahad (duh) and this time, they are tasked to pick up a pod in open space near Saturn that the equivalent of the ISS launched. Earth( well the peeps on Earth) have been unable to contact the scientists there for a while so no one knows what will be on the pod. Geez, I don’t want to spoil anything. Do they catch it? I won’t tell you. Do they find a cat on it? Maaaaaybe, if they do catch it. (yes I know I kind of maybe just spoiled a tiny bit. It really doesn’t matter, though) OMG THERE’S CATS HERE. After a bit, people on the ship are getting sick and their eyes are turning orange and they are speaking some weird language. Want to know why? Then I guess you’ll just have to read this book, suckaaaaahs.
I will totally be continuing this series. It is not the awesomest thing that ever was but I enjoy a few of the characters (not all of them, some of them are really frakking annoying) and it is kind of like watching a dating reality show. All of them are going to start dating soon and lord knows I love reading about high school-age relationships…especially when everyone is a genius. (which they obvi are)
I’m just gonna post this without rereading it. I think it would take away from the effect if I tried to make myself sound better.
Shadow of the Giant (Shadow Series, #4) (audiobook)
Author: Orson Scott Card
Publication Date: 3/1/2005 (audio, book published 2000)
Publisher: Audio Renaissance
Blurb (GR): Bean's past was a battle just to survive. He first appeared on the streets of Rotterdam, a tiny child with a mind leagues beyond anyone else. He knew he could not survive through strength; he used his tactical genius to gain acceptance into a children's gang, and then to help make that gang a template for success for all the others. He civilized them, and lived to grow older. Then he was discovered by the recruiters for the Battle School.
For Earth was at war -- a terrible war with an inscrutable alien enemy. A war that humanity was near to losing. But the long distances of interstellar space has given hope to the defenders of Earth -- they had time to train military geniuses up from childhood, forging them into an irresistible force in the high-orbital facility called the Battle School. That story is told in two books, the beloved classic Ender's Game, and its parallel, Ender's Shadow.
Bean was the smallest student at the Battle School, but he became Ender Wiggins' right hand. Since then he has grown to be a power on Earth. He served the Hegemon as strategist and general in the terrible wars that followed Ender's defeat of the alien empire attacking Earth. Now he and his wife Petra yearn for a safe place to build a family -- something he has never known -- but there is nowhere on Earth that does not harbor his enemies -- old enemies from the days in Ender's Jeesh, new enemies from the wars on Earth. To find security, Bean and Petra must once again follow in Ender's footsteps. They must leave Earth behind, in the control of the Hegemon, and look to the stars.
Review: Oh, jeesh, where do I even begin? Okay, well I love Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. No one really annoyed me in those two books. I can't speak to the remainder of Ender's series because I got so bored listening to Speaker for the Dead that I set is aside for a bit. I've finished off Bean's series with this one and phew, thank goodness it is over because I don't think I could've read/listened to another one. Why do I keep doing it? Good question. Answer: Because I do enjoy OSC's writing when his characters aren't talking about religion, military strategy, or BABIESBABIESBABIES. And the readers for his books are absolutely fabulous. I wish I could just have them walk around with me and narrate my life. Then again, I'd probably be lulled to sleep a little too much. As you can see by the graph, my annoyances hugely increased from Book 1 to Book 3. (I listened to them out of order) It was only downhill from there.
NOTE: The 10% I don't find annoying don't really make appearances in this series--Ender and Valentine.