I finished reading Daybreak Zero last week and, like the previous book, Directive 51, I thought it was an interesting book, nothing spectacular, just an okay diversion. Initially, I wasn’t going to review the books, because they were just a wee bit above average. I went to my Library Thing page and I gave them a 3.5 bookworm rating.
This morning, as I was packing lunches, I realized that, halfway through Mira Grant’s Blackout and a week later, I’m still thinking about Daybreak Zero and Directive 51. Hmm, there appears to be more here than meets the eye. Books don’t usually keep popping into my brain days after finishing them. I’m fickle, and I move on easily. And I’m quite enjoying my current read. So, what is it about these books that my mind keeps working on?
Think of the memes that flood the internet, and how some of them really catch on and go viral. In Directive 51, the author has conceived of a meme that appeals to a large swath of the population, all of whom feel that mankind is the biggest blight on the planet and to save the planet, we must de-populate it as quickly as possible, destroy modern technology and return to an agrarian 18th century lifestyle. Through the use modern technology, (and yes, the irony is duly noted) the “Daybreakers” all over the globe develop nanobots and bacteria that work together to destroy all plastics and manmade materials. They coordinate the release of these materials all over the globe.
Stop for a moment and consider how much of our world is made up of manmade materials, and what would happen to each of us if this suddenly turned into a stinky pile of brown goo. What would happen to people with pacemakers and other implanted medical devices, and our food supplies, our clothing? Nothing would be immune; communication, entertainment, transportation, everything would be affected.
".......Jim Browder rubbed his porcine jowls, shoving so much flesh up toward his ears it looked as if he were about to peel his face off like a bag. “Non-replicating nanotech works just fine in industry, everywhere, these days, and has since the late twenty-teens. Replicating nanotech is a stunt that hobbyists do. It’s not hard to make nanos that make copies of themselves, and it’s not hard to make nanos that do something useful, but so far it’s hard to get them to do both because for any useful, creative purpose, they’d have to communicate and work with each other, and that’s very hard. But if all you want a nanobot to do is make nitric acid whenever it senses that it’s near an electric circuit—that’s what our weapons guys were looking at. They thought it was too unreliable, it would attack our own gear, and you’d never get rid of it once you released it. But if all electric machines are the enemy, forever, I guess that’s an advantage.”
“Why nitric acid?”
“Just an example,” Browder said. “Because you could theoretically synthesize it from air and wouldn’t have to have any other material available. But depending on what they intend to attack, and what they can expect to find near it, there’s at least a hundred other possibilities: fluorine gas, or hydroxide or peroxide ions, or a bimetallic strip that works like a battery. For sabotage, you only need nanoreplicators to reproduce in clusters around something valuable, and excrete a substance that attacks it. Achieving that is down at the college sophomore lab level these days.”
Hannah Bledsoe, from DHS, tall, handsome, dignified, with a deep red dress and pearls that seemed as much a part of her as her soft curly gray hair, looked up from her laptop. “And what are the biotes? Disease organisms?”
Browder grunted. “Sort of, but not against people as much as against artificial materials. The Daybreakers’ genetic-modification stuff that we’ve decrypted so far is all devoted to modifying ordinary decay bacteria, molds, funguses, any bug that eats dead stuff, to make engineered enzymes to break down long chains of carbon.”
Edwards said, “Pretend that some of us skipped chemistry class.”
“A lot of artificial materials—most plastics, for example—and the common fuels like gasoline and kerosene—have molecules that are built around a long, branching string of carbon atoms, with various other atoms attached on the side. The reason they usually don’t decay is because the carbon-carbon bond is fairly strong, and where there’s a long string of them, there’s not much—at least not much that a living thing naturally makes—that will attack the chain and break it into pieces small enough to digest. Basically the biotes are molds or yeasts, bacteria or maybe viruses, that turn synthetic materials and liquid fuels into sugars, fats, proteins—food that rots and spoils.”......"
These are ambitious books, not only does the author give us a dystopian future filled with heroic and human characters, he also tackles big issues. The sanctity of our Constitution versus the malleability of the document. Liberals and conservatives. Environmentalists and capitalists. Survivalists, preppers, hippies, tree huggers, the religious—no one is spared. These are not easy reads; both books took me a while to get through. They weren’t books that I was so absorbed in that I couldn’t stop reading, I only picked them up just before bed and read for a while, and yet, they’ve really stuck with me. I certainly never expected to pick up a dystopian science fiction novel, and suddenly be considering my feelings about the Constitution, politics, the environment and religion. And I certainly didn’t think I’d still be thinking about these books a week later.
I was disappointed when I finished Daybreak Zero that the story is continuing; but not because I felt let down by the story. The second book was heading in an interesting direction, the internet ‘meme’ that started it all, had become an almost sentient being, begging the question, “Is an individual responsible for all the chaos? Are things in the novel as they appear? Or are there nefarious forces at play?” Sigh….I guess I just have to wait and see, but I sure do wish I hadn’t discovered these books until 2013, when Wikipedia says the next book is coming out.
Personal note to the author:
Mr. Barnes, sir, with all due respect…crank it up,….I really need to know how this is all going to end. 2013??!!! Seriously??!! I mean, I like your style, and I’m glad I stumbled across your books, and I’m sure that I’ll now be checking out the rest of your bibliography, but it’s a looooong time to wait.
(and I've gone back to my page on LibraryThing to change it!)
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
I know...I should have stopped with the wedding picture a couple days ago, but what can I say? Memorial Day was a damn busy weekend, we had my birthday, wedding rehearsal, wedding, BBQ for the youngest high school graduation, the graduation.....whew! I was tired when those five days were over! This is a tiny little portion of the graduating class of the local high school. She's the one near the center with the red sash on.
When my youngest son graduated in 2007 from the same high school, my daughter asked me why a small number of the graduates were wearing white, while everyone else was in the school color. I told her it was because those students had maintained straight A's all through high school, and she responded, "I'm going to wear white when I graduate." And she did. We're very proud of her, 15th out of a class of almost 600, with a GPA of 4.37. She's going to be an elementary school teacher, and I know she'll be great!
Okay, I'm done for now. Maybe my next post will be a little more...bookish.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
I warned you--I'm the proud mom and mom-in-law, and since that 's new (the mom in law part, not the proud of my girl part!!) I'm determined to show some pics of the most fun wedding I ever attended. Here's the 'serious' part, before we all started dancing our feets off. Here's my daughter and her new husband, sharing their first kiss as Mr. and Mrs. My younger daughter is the maid of honor on the left. And my mom made the beautiful quilt that they are standing in front of as a wedding gift, all hand appliqued and quilted.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
I am a patient person. In my whole life, I’ve only walked out of three movies. The Trial of Billy Jack, Wild Bill with Jeff Bridges, and sorry George Clooney, but even your cutey-patooty factor couldn’t save Solaris for me. I used to slog through every book I ever picked up. No matter how painful. But in the past few years, I’ve come to the conclusion that time’s a’wastin’ and there are way too many books out there to waste my time on, well, crap. However, being a patient person, and due to the overblown hype that “Fifty Shades of Grey” received, I stuck it out for quite a while. Alas, I wasn’t strong enough to finish. I hardly know where to begin…..
I picked this one up, mostly due to the above referenced hype. I heard about it all over the place; good grief, even on national news shows. One day I was talking to a neighbor who asked if I had read it. She has a lingerie shop and said her customers were constantly asking her if she sold it. She figured she’d better read it and stock it soon. I know the book has been called ‘mommy porn’, which made me go….’huh?’ What does that even mean? So, I bit the bullet and began the book.
I don’t read romance novels……ever. I don’t care what color the ruffles are on the bodice of the heaving bosom of the heroine. Nor do I care about the particular shade of steely gray eyes the rapscallion hero has. That said I was willing to give Fifty Shades of Grey a fair shot. Suspending disbelief, and patiently ignoring the flowery language and stilted dialogue. (I did mention…I’m a patient person…right?) I found I had a sort of internal dialogue going throughout the reading of the book:
Hmm… if I ran into the author, what would I say first? Maybe -- “Seriously babe, if you’re going to pretend to be an American author, maybe you should read some books actually by American authors and become a wee bit better versed in the vernacular.” Or possibly, “Umm…those publishers that told you that you could write? Yeah…those guys? Who apparently have an unlimited budget for advertising crap and convincing the world its art? They LIED!!” “Hey, I’ve got an idea, since you’re British, what say you set this book in Great Britain? Or are you too embarrassed to think that British people would behave this way, but tickled pink to think we Ugly Americans are this crass?” “Wow… anything for a buck?”
As you can see…I was, shall we say, less than impressed…
The internal dialogue continued, directed at the ‘fans’ of the book.
“Good God…you women should be ashamed of yourselves. Seriously???!!!!??? Domination/Submissive?? Okay, so it exists, I get that…and I can do the whole *shrug* different strokes for different folks, non judgy thing…but Seriously????!!!!!??? A young impressionable, naïve young woman with possibly the worst self esteem issues ever, meets older wildly wealthy and totally cuckoo bird nuts guy, and signs herself over to him? Eats what and when he says? Wears what he says to? Speaks when spoken to? Obeys in all things? Including all forms of kinky weirdness? Wow…we’ve come a long way baby…."
Yeah, okay, I’ll confess. I was OFFENDED by this crap. And I am pretty hard to offend. I think the last time I was really offended was over 10 years ago when I went to see Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. And it isn't the kinky sex stuff that offended. It was the master/slave crap. Do what you want in the privacy of your bedroom/dungeon....whatever...consenting adults and all that. Hell, have a threesome with a parrot, I don't care! Nope, my problem was the whole ‘contract to give total control of one’s entire life to someone else’. Sheesh….
I am not a wild eyed feminist, heck, I’m the most traditional person I know. Married for decades, four kids, one just newly married. A cat, a dog, a house in the ‘burbs. Geez, I even drove a station wagon for years. I helped raise at least 5 dozen kids over the years in my home based daycare, so I could stay home with my own kids. Yeah…I’m that boring. So my disgust for the book doesn’t come from any deep seated feminist values. Nope, my total and complete feelings of *gag me*, come from the fact that I actually respect people and I expect to be respected in return. This ‘book’ is poorly written, badly plotted, stereotyped and clichéd up the whazoo, but mostly, it is just downright disrespectful of ….well…everyone.
I'm stunned that this book is the first of a trilogy...just when I thought the world couldn't get any nuttier, some chick makes a gazillion bucks writing this tripe. Sigh....maybe I'm just jealous that I didn't think of it first....
I gave it a shot, I made it to page 241 before I decided the book needed wings, as I threw it across the room…My advice, don’t waste your time, I’m pretty sure there are some plain wrapped magazines in the back of the newsstand that probably have better stories in them, and you’ll at least get pictures as well. Mommy porn….my a$$....
(And I had to develop a new level, because my old rating system doesn’t go low enough)
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Okay...sorta back. I haven't reviewed/posted in a very long time. Yep, I've kept reading, but I sort of came to the realization that the reviewing for publishers, while way cool and really interesting to do, was starting to feel like an obligation and not as much fun. So, I re-discovered my hobby of quilting, finished a couple quilts, got busier than a 'one legged man in a butt kicking contest' with our daughters bridal shower and then lovely wedding. Although the engagement was a year and a half long, it seems like it all came so fast! (Oh my goodness....I'm a Mother-In-Law......)
Last weekend, it was my birthday on Friday, wedding rehearsal on Sat., wedding on Sunday, BBQ for the youngest daughter's high school graduation on Monday, graduation on Tuesday, etc.....but now...I look forward to the massive expanse of unclaimed time opening up in front of me and think. "hey, I could maybe review a book or two!" And as usual, the slammin' reviews are so much more fun to write the the 'I loved it reviews'. So tomorrow, stay tuned for my first review in a while, and I had me some fun writing it.
What the heck, I may even post some pics of the fabulous wedding. I'm not a wedding person, but damned if I didn't have the time of my life, danced my feets off!! In fact, my eldest son kept asking me if I was okay to drive....hey, I wasn't drinkin'...I'm just naturally exuberant!
I'm promising myself to be a bit balanced and make time for all my hobbies, quilting and reading. So, I may post a few quilt pics, and add some reviews when it catches my fancy to. But I'm not really reviewing for publishers anymore, just for myself and any of you patient readers who for some inexplicable reason, actually read my opinion.
So, thanks for hanging with me...I always appreciate it!
Posted by Kelly at 9:29 AM
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Posted by Kelly at 2:31 PM
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
From Fantastic Fiction—
Introducing Gideon Crew: trickster, prodigy, master thief
At twelve, Gideon Crew witnessed his father, a world-class mathematician, accused of treason and gunned down.
At twenty-four, summoned to his dying mother's bedside, Gideon learned the truth: His father was framed and deliberately slaughtered. With her last breath, she begged her son to avenge him.
Now, with a new purpose in his life, Gideon crafts a one-time mission of vengeance, aimed at the perpetrator of his father's destruction. His plan is meticulous, spectacular, and successful.
But from the shadows, someone is watching. A very powerful someone, who is impressed by Gideon's special skills. Someone who has need of just such a renegade.
For Gideon, this operation may be only the beginning . . .
Woohoo!!! Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are BACK!! I’ll admit it, I’m a big fan of these guys, both solo and together, but the last couple Pendergast books seemed a wee bit, well, forced. Pendergast is still a freaky cool guy, but I’m glad the writing duo has decided to step away from him for a while and pursue another character. And what a character they have in Gideon Crew. Crew may not be as elegant and sophisticated as our Agent Pendergast, but he’s a much more approachable guy. He’s got his foibles, and lots of baggage, but we can see a wee little bit of ourselves reflect back at us through him. I loved the book, it's a great start to an "e-ticket ride" of a series. (e-ticket reference will be understood by anyone over 45, who went to Disneyland as a kid...ask yer mom!)
But--and you know if I'm annoyed by something there's going to be a "but"....
Spoiler alert here* Head down to the last sentence if you’ve not read the book yet….Still here?
Okay…Spoiler follows: There is a plot device that is farfetched, and drove me nutty. Gideon’s “rare and previously undiagnosed and uncurable disease that is going to kill him soon anyway so he might as well risk his life for the big payoff.” Umm….I’m not buyin’, this just seemed so incredibly dopey, that I decided that in the next book, once our adrenalin loving hero has been completely sucked into the program, we’ll find out it was all a big manipulation. I mean, it’s a series, right? And how long can a series last if the hero croaks of a rare disease in a year or so? My mental post-it note said “Lame” on that particular page of the book.
Overall, Gideon’s Sword is a slam-dunk action/thriller.
(Galley provided by the publisher via NetGalley)