Monthly Archives: January 2018

Amy Caudill’s Reviews > The Kraken Project

The Kraken Project by Douglas Preston

The Kraken Project (Wyman Ford, #4) 
by Douglas Preston (Goodreads Author)

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Amy Caudill‘s review 

Jan 30, 2018  ·  edit
Five Stars!
The entity known as “Dorothy” led an idyllic life, full of dreams of palaces and love, games and stories, until one day she was captured and betrayed. She learns her true purpose; that she is destined for a long journey into a terrifying wilderness where she will be left to function and eventually perish alone.
Dorothy is not exactly an innocent girl, however. She’s not actually even human. Dorothy is a piece of software designed by the brilliant but troubled Dr. Melissa Shepherd to run a NASA Explorer mission to the moon of Titan. The Artificial Intelligence creation sees her transfer to the Titan module as a prison sentence, and runs in anger and fear into the wide world of the Internet. Here Dorothy experiences good and evil, and begins to question not only life, but her own existence.
Shepherd, after initial threats by Dorothy, reluctantly begins to help the wayward AI escape from the clutches of the FBI and unscrupulous businessmen who want to use her assets for white collar crime. Joined by special investigator Wyman Ford, they will follow Dorothy over the mountains and across the country in a bid to keep her out of enemy hands. Along the way, they will have to convince that humanity is worth saving.
Dorothy, in a surprising climax, may just prove exactly what it means to be human, all without having a body to call her own.
I’ve read numerous books by Douglas Preston including others in the Wyman Ford series, and I was still blown away by the direction this story took. While the action and intrigue is on a par with Preston’s usual fare, the complex questions of consciousness, morality and intelligence are the real treasure of this book, lifting it well above any of his previous work. For a fan of science fiction such as myself, it is a pleasure to read a work that examines the development of artificial intelligence in such a plausible, organic method that could actually come to exist in our lifetimes. I’m giving this one five stars for being well-worth the read.
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On Dreams of Spring

January often presents itself with disagreeable weather in many parts of the country, either frigidly cold or just gray and dreary.  However, I don’t (normally) allow this to bother me.  Why?  Because to me, January presents the perfect time to plan for the days, and seasons to come.

Winter Storm
Even a bleak winter landscape offers a promise of spring. Photo by Stanley Zimny (Thank You for 27 Million views) on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

January heralds the beginning of a new year, with endless possibilities.  Instead of allowing the chilly temperatures and gray skies to get me down, I start planning the garden I will plant come spring.  Last year, I experimented with growing vegetables in pots in my back yard to protect them from an infestation of moles and an over-eager dog.  My “vegetable patch” produced mixed results, but left me more than eager to continue, and expand, my little garden this year. Not to mention, the recipes I can make with my homegrown produce.

January is also the perfect time to clean out clutter, and think of possible ways to reorganize, redecorate, and reorder my home.  My daughter graduates from college this spring, so it’s the perfect time for me to freshen up not only the guest room for visiting relatives, but the rest of the household as well.  I’m spending my free time pouring over paint colors to brighten or lighten up different spaces, and rethinking furniture arrangements.  It’s time to put the home décor magazines I horde to good use!

While many are struggling with resolutions or perhaps have already abandoned some, I’m picturing myself as I want to be this spring and summer.  I want to have to buy new clothes because much of my current wardrobe has become too large.  I want to walk into my former workplace and be noticeably thinner, as well as having achieved my goals for leaving in the first place (to devote myself to writing full-time.)

I’m reflecting on all the changes I’ve made in the last year, and the places I want to go and things I want to accomplish in 2018.  Will I get there?  Maybe.  The point is, January is the perfect time to hope, dream, plan, and take baby steps toward making this the best year yet.

Here’s hoping you can do the same!

Amy

 

My Favorite Female Action Heroes

Since we’re currently experiencing a significant cold spell here in the Midwest, I decided that it was a good time to veg out and watch some favorite movies, old and new.  As many of my readers will know, I am especially fond of movies that feature strong, independent female characters.  So I’ve come up with a list of ladies who can go toe-to-toe with the best of male action heroes.  In no particular order:

Alice, star of the Resident Evil franchise; this movie series is now six strong and while the films have not always received the best critical acclaim, there is just something about a female hero capable of killing zombie butts that always cheers me up.  Alice has been used, manipulated, kidnapped, and experimented on.  She has witnessed horrible misdeeds in the name of science, namely the development of genocidal weapons, and the deaths of friends.  Despite all this, she endures, she fights, and she continues to win battles against hordes of undead.  How many could withstand the pressure?

Leia Organa; once again a major player in this new trilogy of the Star Wars universe, we have watched Leia grow over the course of five films thus far, becoming the ultimate leader of the forces of good.  As a Princess, rebel leader, and General, Leia has devoted her life to undoing the wrongs wrecked on the galaxy by an evil organization that enthralled her own father.  She has kept the faith when her own family has fallen to the dark side, and when her personal life has suffered.  She has even (spoiler alert!) learned over the years to draw on the force in moments of danger.

Ellen Ripley: this reluctant hero of Alien fame has proven that nature favors survival of the fittest.  Through four movies her determination has allowed her to endure against an almost unopposable foe, an alien lifeform that parasitically draws on other species and embodies their best traits, making each successive generation that much tougher to kill.  Facing opposition not only from hordes of creatures but also self-interested humans, Ripley fights uphill battles to prevent humanity from becoming extinct.

 

Natasha Romanova, aka The Black Widow: a former Russian assassin, this feisty lady regularly faces battles on an equal footing with the mostly male members of The Avengers, making appearances in five movies to date and at least two more on the horizon, including a solo Black Widow film.  She uses her martial arts and weaponry finesse against aliens, demi-gods, and enhanced human threats to the safety and freedom of the world, all while flinging out quips and manipulating her targets with ploys that would put Mata Hari to shame.

Katniss Everdeen: this young woman from the dystopian society of The Hunger Games quadrilogy stood up to a totalitarian government and took her younger sister’s place in a cruel, gladiator-inspired competition to the death.  From the very beginning, she refused to bow to political pressure, eventually gaining the public’s support and becoming an icon for rebellion.  She fought for her life, and those of family and friends, in battles both physical and social.  Even when betrayed, she fought for what she believed was right, eventually defeating not one but two dictators.

Sarah Connor: the mother of the man who will save the world from computer control.  She finds herself in the unlikely situation of being hunted by a robot from the future, which has come back in time for the sole reason of preventing her son from ever being born.  Featured in three of the movies in The Terminator series, Sarah transforms herself into a warrior princess for the sole purpose of training her son John for the destiny she knows he must face.  She devotes everything she has to making sure he will survive so he can save the world, even going so far as to attempt to change time itself to save John from his fate.

Lara Croft: from the pixels of a computer game to the large screen, this female version of Indiana Jones is on a quest to save the world.  A member of English nobility, the beautiful Lara combines the brains of a scientist with the bravery and the bullets of a true swash-buckling hero.  She fights off treasure hunters and would-be evil overlords bent on world domination, all while trying to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance.  She will not let anyone stop her from doing what she knows is right, not even a former lover or the promise of eternal life.

Female action heroes, while getting often receiving less accolades than their male counterparts, are no less worthy of honor for their deeds.  This is only a small sample of the notable characters we can find on the big screen and beyond.  Perhaps it’s time to take advantage of the cold weather, and plan a movie night with your loved ones.  I’m sure you can make a list of your own favorite stars.

Till next time,

Amy

 

Interview with Tegon Maus

Once Upon A Time, Writer, Author, Story, Short Story
Photo on Foter.com 

I was recently privileged to be interviewed by author and blogger Tegon Maus for his website, First Saturday Sci-Fi , about my new book, Virtual,  and my thoughts on the science fiction genre.  Tegon is the author of seven science fiction books, which are  available on Amazon here.  To see the full interview, follow the link here:

https://tegonmaus6.wixsite.com/first-saturday-scifi/single-post/2018/01/08/First-Saturday-Sci-Fi—Jan-18

 

Anticipated 2018 Book to Screen Adaptations | Blogmas Day 3

Happy 2018! Since I’m still entertaining family this week, I just wanted to take a moment to share a post I found by Becky on coffeecocktailandbooks.com showcasing some of the most anticipated book- to- TV-or big screen adaptions coming our way. I’m looking forward to some of these myself, especially The Alienist, which comes out this month, and features a grown-up Dakota Fanning in a period mystery series that seems to be a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Cathy Reichs’ Bones. Enjoy!

Coffee Cocktails & Books 📖

Hey friends,

Sorry, today’s post is coming out so late! I had a super slow start to my day and everything was super behind schedule.

As you guys know, I LOVE talking about adaptations. As someone who loves movies, books, theories, and doing book to screen comparisons, I am always on the lookout for promising (or awful) looking adaptations. I do have a best and worst adaptations list coming soon, but today we’re going to look at 5 upcoming book to screen adaptations I’m really looking forward to!


The Alienist

Book Summary:

The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator…

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