Thursday, July 1, 2010

RainForest Pickings #3 - RainForest Reviews

Books I’d recommend: an eclectic mix of Science Fiction, Mystery, & ‘Odds-Bodkins’ books

The Winds of Dune, by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, Science Fiction. Published by TOR. This book follows the recently published Paul of Dune, but chronologically is the direct sequel to Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert.

This is the story of Alia Atreides, who is left to pick up the pieces of an empire and consolidate her forces after her brother, Paul Muad’dib, vanishes into the desert. Lady Jessica Atreides is drawn away from her seclusion on Caladan, and quietly tries to help maintain the delicate balance between all the opposing forces threatening to topple the government on Dune.

Making appearances in this book are Duncan Idaho (or his clone derivative), Bronso of IX, Gurney Halleck, and Princess Irulan. Each has his own agenda, which conflicts at times with Alia or Jessica’s plans. The witches of the Bene Gesserit continue their manipulations, using their far-reaching claw-holds to remain a functioning order.

Intrigue upon intrigue, this book continues the grand epic tale of Dune, and whets our appetite for more tales of the desert planet. That seems to be the intent, judging from the book title shown as ‘in the works’ on the overleaf.

I’ll be waiting for it.

Paul of Dune, written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson - Science Fiction; Published by TOR; this book explores the time between Dune and Dune Messiah.

The jihad of Paul Muad’Dib’s is sweeping across the galaxies of his new empire, when enemies of the regime start to appear and betrayals seem to flourish. Paul begins to question his tactics, his mental stability and his supporters. He must look forward to assess the outcome of what he and his valiant Fremen have put into motion. Most of the major characters appear in this book - Duke Leto, Lady Jessica, Chani, Stilgar, and Gurney Halleck, just to name a few.

Highly recommended for those who enjoy the Dune universe.

Sandworms of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson - Science Fiction; Published by TOR; sequentially follows Chapterhouse: Dune, Frank Herbert’s final novel.

At the end of Chapterhouse: Dune, a ship escapes with a crew of refugees intent on hiding from a mysterious enemy. Unsure of their chances of survival, they use genetic technology to revive some of the strong figures of Dune’s past.

What happens to the sandworms? What about Arrakis? How about the man vs. machine war? Who really is the Kwisatz Haderach? Most importantly, who is the enemy? Many of these questions will be answered in this new volume.

Prepare yourself for the ride.

Invasive Procedures by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston - Science Fiction; published by TOR. This is a collaborative effort between a well-known author (Ender’s Game) and an experienced screenwriter (Johnston).

The ‘Healers’ can cure the incurable diseases, but their therapy is customized for each individual. Inoculations improve the person’s health, eradicate the disease and as an added bonus, make the recipients compliant to the will of the ‘Prophet’. The healers and the prophet belong to a religious cult intent on control of its members, by whatever means are available. The Prophet envisions great things for his followers, but especially for himself.

A virologist working for a government biohazard agency opposes the Prophet by producing a neutralizer for the DNA-changing virus. The major problem he faces is the animosity of the people he proposes to help. Not everyone wants to be neutralized against the Healer’s virus. The fight is on as these two opponents try to out-manoeuver the other.

This story illuminates the hazards of charity with strings attached. It’s an engrossing story which brings back memories of the X-files, those secret government folders containing information not deemed suitable for the average person.

Never underestimate the power of the warped mind.

Robert’s Rules of Writing - 101 unconventional lessons (every writer needs to know) by Robert Masello; Published by Writer’s digest books, an imprint of F+W Publications, Inc. Robert Masello is a journalist and a television writer, has authored fifteen books, and written numerous articles, essays and reviews.

Unorthodox writing advice from a seasoned writer. Mixed in with the humour are ideas that provide an alternate viewpoint on some of the traditional writing maxims. The light-hearted manner is evident in the chapter titles, ‘Burn your journal’, or ‘Buy the smoking jacket’; it’s easy to read in small bits of time as the chapters are short.

I initially planned to gift this book, but kept it for myself. The writing managed to surprise me and I like books that do that.
Note: These book reviews will be added monthly. They will reflect the (short) list beside the posts. Format may be dynamic.