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2018.05.10

Last Colony

From the same universe of books of Old Man’s War(8★★★★★★★★), John Scalzi tells a story of a human colony on another planet. It’s a new colony, so mostly tells the hard conditions and situations that they have to face.

They are far from home. And contact with the former homes is prohibited. Most do not know why. Just focus on creating the initial conditions for bigger and definitive immigration waves. Wild animals, inhospitable weather, and a lack of resources and technologies make everything a very dire situation.

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You follow the story of John Perry, the same protagonist from the original novel. This story takes place many years after the events of the second book in the series, The Ghost Brigade. Perry and his wife Sagan are now trying to have a normal civilian life with their new daughter Zoe.

My Rating: 7★★★★★★★
Goodreads: 4.05
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2017.06.26

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

I first “met” Yuval Noah Harari in a TED talk last year. He was talking about Nationalism vs. Globalism: the new political divide. I like him and his ideas. Interesting and compelling. I didn’t know at the time he was a writer. By accident, I found his book.

I read it entirely in 2 days. Love it.

It is a comprehensive visual of mankind. Several sub-subjects are in my top interest subjects, like religion (from a scientific perspective), politics, economics, and scientific advances. It dedicates several initial chapters explaining what we know about the origin of our species. The point when we forked our hereditary tree from other primates and other man-like species, like Neanderthals (in fact, he argues that it is not exactly like this). It is a 50000+ years analysis of the importance of agriculture, language, and religion. The origin of states. It is mind-blowing.

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Then he enters a revision of the known history, also, focusing on one layer at a time. He explains why the Homo Sapiens because the rulers of the planet Earth. Why we managed to be so successful? The book is very centered on religion and religion-like lines of thought, like capitalism (yes… very thought-provoking).

The book is mostly founded on science and data. But also on plausible extrapolations and reasoning. And his writing style is quite convincing.

It is not an accident it is a bestseller. It is not an accident it is a loved book by many.

Simple: READ IT.

My Rating: 10★★★★★★★★★★
Goodreads: 4.4
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2016.07.10

Old Man’s War

John Scalzi’s debut sci-fi adventure is amazing.

It tells the story of old people from Earth that are recruited for an intergalactic military organization. There, their bodies are reconstructed to their younger form and enhanced.

From there, they have to fight against alien races to protect humanity. Humans on Earth do not have a clue about this galactic war BTW.

I must recommend the reading.

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Note: I also read the sequel, The Ghost Brigade. And also love it. But much of the original wow was, of course, gone.

My Rating: 8★★★★★★★★
Goodreads: 4.23
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2015.10.25

Fuzzy Nation, by John Scalzi

Fuzzy Nation is a great story about fighting for what is right and getting personal revenge along the way. Scalzi created a very funny story about an underdog fighting against all odds and powerful enemies.

Jack Holloway is an anti-hero. You can think of him as Han Solo working as a lawyer. He is a former lawyer that was expelled from the job for a not-that-clear fact, losing a very important case on purpose, it seemed. He became then a geologist freelancer on a very distant planet, scanning underground for mineral richness. On the way, he discovered a very different thing. And it puts him in a position to work back as a lawyer, fighting against the former employer, that is no short of money and resources.

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Holloway is clever. But this is one of the main complaints I had. Holloway is so clever that you cannot follow what he is thinking. It is, in fact, intentional. The book hides inner thoughts of Holloway to deliver some surprising turns in the story. But sometimes it makes you feel like a mere passenger.

Despite any complaints, it is a solid title. I loved reading it and recommend it. I would not be surprised if it gets a movie adaptation eventually.

My Rating: 8★★★★★★★★
Goodreads: 4.07
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2015.09.06

The Martian, by Andy Weir

The Martian is often described as Cast Away in space. I agree. It presents the incredible task of surviving, alone, on Mars. Just like Tom Hanks surviving on the island.

But improvising life on Mars is several degrees more complex than on that island. This is why the main character in The Martian has to be a very, very very smart guy, a little too MacGyver to be honest. Imagine Apollo 13, the movie, when NASA focuses on converting ship scraps into an oxygen filter, but for the entire duration of the movie, it was done mostly by one guy.

80% of the book, Mark Watney is in dire straights. Always facing high odds of dying. This is why the book is so compelling. It sucks your soul, making you wonder at night “how he can pull this off now?”. Watney must have a clear state of mind all the time. I understand that it would not make any sense to write a book about a normal guy that gets lost on Mars and dies after the first disaster. But Watney is too much the perfect guy to be lost in spaceace.

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The book sometimes abuses the technical description of the solution. It could be shorter by a bit. However, and this is not a small achievement, there are at least 2 moments when I was crying due to the narration and climax feeling.

It will become a movie directed by Ridley Scott and started by Matt Damon. I will see the movie for sure.

My Rating: 7★★★★★★★
Goodreads: 4.38
Bruno MASSA