Lock In

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I know I like Scalzi stuff, but each series is so different that I like them all in different ways. I don’t think he’s written a murder mystery before, and this book was just as good as Old Man’s War, which is a pretty high bar. This book revolves around a murder being investigated by someone who can only interact with the real world via personal androids. Its different from anything else I’ve seen, and a unique idea is pretty rare these days.

Highly recommended.

Lock In Book Cover Lock In
John Scalzi
Fiction
Macmillan
August 26, 2014
336

When a new virus causes one percent of the population to become completely paralyzed in body but not in mind, America pursues a scientific initiative to develop a virtual-reality world for victims, with unexpected consequences. By the Hugo Award-winning author of Redshirts.

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Asimov’s Aurora

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This is the third and final book in the iBook Asimov Robots spinoff series. The first two were Asimov’s Mirage and Asimov’s Chimera. Like the second one, this is better than the first and has a nice flow to the plot line. The story also is easier to believe than those used in previous spinoffs such as the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series. Weirdly, this is the first of the books in those spinoff series to really use sex as a plot element. The other books haven’t been celibate, but they also haven’t been as in your face as this one. That was probably the weakest part of the book, because those parts felt clumsy and extraneous.

[isbn: 0743444604]

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Mona Lisa Overdrive

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This is the book which wraps up the Sprawl series (Burning Chrome, Neuromancer and Count Zero). Its a great book, with several separate story lines which are beautifully molded together by the end of the book. It also wraps up the confusing elements of the various other stories nicely. I really enjoyed it.

[award: nominee nebula_novel 1988; nominee hugo 1989; nominee prometheus 1989]
[isbn: 0553281747]

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Asimov’s Chimera

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This is the second book in the iBooks spinoff series based on Asimov’s robot mysteries and the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series. Overall it fits into the Foundation Series acceptably. This book is a mystery much like Mark’s first Mirage.

I think overall this book is better written than Mirage, and is certainly better plotted than the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series. The book is believable and entertaining, without having to suspend too much disbelief. I enjoyed it, although the book isn’t important to the development of Foundation Series overall.

[isbn: 0743412974]

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Neuromancer

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This book is a classic, and I first read it a long time ago. Its pretty clear in retrospect why it kicked off the cyberpunk movement, and I’m glad that the future it proposed hasn’t come to pass (yet). Despite being written in the 1980s the book isn’t dated, although it does make more sense if you’ve spent some time in Japan.

[isbn: 0586066454]
[award: winner nebula_novel 1984; winner hugo 1985]

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Asimov’s Mirage

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If I was to name one flaw with the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series, it would have to be that they’re not very good. They’re lackluster, have difficult to believe plots, very simple structure, and are overall poorly thought through. Its a similar sensation to that I feel when I read the tie-in books written after Harrison’s Bill the Galactic Hero series. I feel a little sorry for the writers in later books in these series, because I suspect their hands were tied by the poor decisions of previous authors (similarly to the mess that Bear’s Foundation and Chaos had to dig that series out after Benford’s tragically terrible Foundation’s Fear).

Robot City and Robots and Aliens were disappointments because I read Roger MacBride Allen’s Caliban series before them, and Caliban is ok. Not awesome, but ok.

I say all of this as an introduction to Mirage. I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve been wading through Asimov robot tie-ins from other authors for a while now, and some of them are not very good. That’s why finding Mirage was such a delight. Its well written, has a similar style as Asimov’s own writing, reuses characters and plot elements from previous tie-in books sufficiently to acknowledge their existence without getting bogged down by the poor decisions of those previous series. Its an engaging read, and I’m glad I stuck through these various series long enough to find it.

My only complaint with this book is that the epilogue is confusing and doesn’t align with my understanding of the end of the story.

[isbn: 0743475232]

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Buy Jupiter Short Stories

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This is another Asimov short story collection. The following stories appear in the book, although I have already read a couple as part of either the Robot short stories or the Nightfall collection of short stories.

To be honest these stories aren’t Asimov’s strongest. They entertaining, but they’re not as amazing as some of his other stuff. I guess its hard to be a genius all the time.

The following stories appear in this collection:

Buy Jupiter
1975
The Complete Robot
1982
Robot Dreams
1986
Darwinian Pool Room
Day of the Hunters
Shah Guido G.
Button, Button
The Monkey’s Finger
Everest
The Pause
Let’s Not
Each an Explorer
Blank!
Does a Bee Care?
Silly Asses
Buy Jupiter
A Statue for Father
Rain, Rain, Go Away
Founding Father
Exile to Hell
Key Item
The Proper Study
2430 A.D.
The Greatest Asset
Take a Match
Thiotimoline to the Stars
Light Verse

[isbn: 0575041994]
[awards: nominee nebula_short_story 1965 (Founding Father)]

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The Robot City, Robots and Aliens Series

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This series follows on from the Robot City series set in Asimov’s Foundation Universe but written by other authors. Overall that first series was weak, and I think the same is true for this series as well. There are a few here that are better than the others, but I’d only recommend this series for those who are obsessed with Foundation universe completeness.

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Isaac Asimov’s Robot City: Robots and Aliens: Humanity

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This book is actually the best one of the two robot city series (Robot City and Robots and Aliens). Unfortunately I had to wade through 12 not very good books to find it, and its still not stellar. I’d recommend giving both these series a miss unless you’re obsessed with completeness in Asimov’s Robot universe.

[isbn: 0441373860]

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