Tag Archives: science fiction

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Vendetta in Death

Vendetta in Death by J.D. Robb

Vendetta in Death (In Death, #49)
by J.D. Robb (Goodreads Author)
Amy Caudill‘s review

In this 49th installment of the futuristic cop series, Eve Dallas takes on a serial killer that uses the moniker Lady Justice to justify her personal brand of torture and murder.

Eve is set against a foe that attacks men that have used and abused women.  She targets rapists, adulterers, thieves-those who Eve would normally seek to lock “in a cage” or an off-planet prison.  Unfortunately, these men have become victims, and Lt. Eve Dallas always stands for the victim, no matter whom or what they were in life.

Luckily, Eve doesn’t have to go it alone.  She has a whole crew of supporting characters, from the detectives and police officers under her command, to her family and friends that are there to lend a hand or a friendly ear when she needs one.  When she has to face off against the granddaughter of a legendary movie star, she’ll have plenty of help to take down the criminal and save the latest victim, all under the auspices and the rules set by the NYPSD. 

At this point in the series, the characters, from Eve and Roarke, to Peabody and McNab, even Feeney and Summerset are so familiar.  While some circumstances may change and events may alter lives in some way, the characters remain true to their core values. The readers have seen so much of their lives, read as they’ve changed and grown, that it’s easy to feel like we know them; that they are old friends.  

However, the stories are still totally absorbing; the way Dallas’ mind works; the way she puts herself into the shoes of the killer she’s chasing, is always fresh and exciting and is a credit to the author for her ability to continue to reinvent the characters with each new novel. 

While there is continuity in the series, a reader new to J. D.  Robb’s work need not be daunted with the thought of traversing that many books, as each story is a self-contained novel.  Still, once one becomes hooked, it’s hard not to grab the next one or go back and discover what other cases are available.  It certainly will take a while for most readers to run out new material, as the series also includes a number of short stories in collections.

I give this book five stars, and recommend it to any readers interested in sci-fi, police drama, and action stories with powerful female characters.

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Leia: Princess of Alderaan

Leia by Claudia Gray

Leia: Princess of Alderaan (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, #3)
by Claudia Gray (Goodreads Author)

Author Claudia Gray brings us the definitive back story of the future general of the Rebellion herself, beginning with a teenage princess on the doomed planet of Alderaan. 

I don’t often read Young Adult novels, but this one had much to offer to even adults, as it allowed the reader to explore a world we barely get to see in the first trilogy of movies, before it is utterly destroyed on film.  It also allowed for an in-depth introduction to Leia’s parents, her father Bail, who we see briefly in the prequels, and her mother Breha, who is given only the barest of mentions but whose life inspired so much of the character and attitude of our favorite princess.

The story begins when Leia is sixteen and struggling with normal adolescent woes while also preparing to officially be named crown princess and learning the trade of politics as an apprentice legislator of the Imperial Senate.  Leia makes friends, and even finds love, but all the while her reactions must be tempered and tainted by the whiff of rebellion against an evil emperor, and her parents may be involved!

Leia must decide if she will stand up for what she believes, and learn to accept the consequences, if her parents will allow her to know their secrets, and she can convince them she is mature enough to be a part of their plans.  At the same time, Leia comes under scrutiny from another Imperial official, Grand Moff Tarkin himself, and must find a way to allay his suspicions and save the rebellion from destruction before it even gets off the ground.

A very good story, with easy language (for a younger audience), so despite its four hundred plus pages is a quick read.  I give it four stars, and recommend it to fans of Star Wars, science fiction, and stories with girl heroines.

Here’s a list from Wired of the best Science Fiction films of 1970 to 2019. Not a huge amount of disagreement – not sure Star Trek First Contact deserves to be on the list, I’d have thought the Motion Picture is more SF (or Undiscovered Country) but hey. Primer is great. Children of Men as […]

via And best Science Fiction films? — The Cedar Lounge Revolution

As a fan of science fiction, I’m always curious what other fans are watching (and reading).  Thanks to WorldbyStorm for sharing this list from Wired Magazine.  How many of these films have you seen?

First Contact, an Original Flash Fiction

It’s been awhile since I posted much original fiction, save for the poetry contest last month, so I thought I’d share this little story that’s been taking up space on my desktop.  This is just a strange idea I had- what if humanity’s first encounter with extra-terrestrials didn’t go quite like we expected? Enjoy!

Are we actually alone? Photo by fabiogis50 on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

First Contact, by Amy Caudill

When the visitors came they did not appear in front of the U.N. or another world center.  The sleek, ovoid craft, which NASA sensors determined was made of materials originating from outside our solar system, was first recorded as visible on June 21st, 2023, in the forests of Maine. The craft sat down in a clearing at 9:23pm EST.

It would only become obvious much later that this was in fact their intended destination, and not a navigational error as officials would initially speculate.

Quickly the governments of the world began jockeying with personages from various media outlets for position to witness this most historic occasion.  Numerous military units took up position, ready to control crowds or wipe out invaders, as needed, if signaled from a command center positioned a safe distance away.

When the ship opened along a hidden seam and lowered a ramp to permit egress, the representatives of world governments, military components, research scientists, and members of the press, were naturally shocked at the appearance of the extra-terrestrial visitors, but in a manner that was completely unexpected.

The other-worldly visitors who descended from the vessel did not resemble any fanciful or movie variation of alien life forms. In fact, the group appeared as nothing more or less than creatures of earthly origins, but those popularly dismissed as figments of myth and legend.

One member of the alien delegation, of unknown gender, was over seven feet tall and covered with brown fur; another appeared to be female, stood at most two feet high, and had pointed ears and transparent wings that fluttered as she walked down the ramp.  The third member of the alien party, apparently male, was nearly as short as the second, squat, and possessed a long, red beard that nearly touched the ground.

“We have traveled from a distant system to treat with the leaders of this planet,” the fairy-like being said, in a recognizable form of Standard English.  “We wish an exchange of knowledge and perhaps raw materials.”

A U.N. official replied, “We welcome you in peace.  We would be glad to introduce you to our governments, and discuss terms of exchange with you that could benefit us all.”

“We thank you for your words but are uncertain why you are approaching us.  We assumed these forms to honor the most advanced species native to this planet,” the furry alien delegate claimed.

“We expected to meet with the caretakers of this world.  We have long observed your planet and are aware of the damage your race has caused, more so than any other indigenous population,” the bearded delegate added.  “We were uncertain as to your function, but inferred you to be an encroaching species.  May we ask where the beings are who are responsible for the welfare and security of this planet?”

As the representatives of government struggled to voice an answer to the aliens’ query, the billions watching live via satellite feeds were already assigning blame, none of which they claimed for themselves.

A Sign of the Times-When Sci-Fi Becomes Reality

Today we live in a world where smart houses are becoming everyday fact.  When I was growing up, the idea of a “smart house” was still considered science fiction.  Of course, I’m old enough to remember when The Jetsons wasn’t a rerun seen only classic cartoon channels.  When Back to the Future Part II (1989) came out, the technology presented from the McFly’s future home was still fantasy, but today televisions capable of showing multiple shows at once and video door bells are things we take for granted.  (No flying cars yet, though.)

Robot helpers, automated household help, and endless viewing choices- not too far off from today! image from cyberneticzoo.com

My husband and I recently gave in to both encouragements from our kids and the financial relief of ditching cable TV in favor of switching to internet options like Netflix and Amazon Prime.  Not only are we saving money, but we are also rediscovering a number of programs which we never had the time to watch on cable, that are available, commercial-free, at our finger tips or at a voice command to Alexa.

That is another “futuristic” feature we’ve added to our house recently, a second Amazon Echo Dot, so we that we can use them in tandem as a functional intercom, in addition to everything else they are capable of, such as giving us a weather forecast, playing radio stations, and now controlling our TV access.

There are so many time and effort saving gadgets out there, now, that only a couple of decades ago could only be seen on Star Trek or at Disney’s World of Tomorrow.  We can purchase from any store or online retailer self-propelled vacuuming robots, plugs to run houselights from a phone app, and appliances such as washing machines that be preprogrammed to begin a cycle in the future and refrigerators that can email us when we need to add eggs to the grocery list.

We live in a time where digital books are available any time we wish, from retailers or even the public library, and any information resource we could want from movie schedules to college courses can be accessed from a laptop or any Wi-Fi capable device.  For a one-time purchase, anyone can use a digital personal assistant such as Alexa or Siri to order dinner, schedule appointments, or remind us to pick up the kids.  We can use our home Wi-Fi networks to shop for anything from a new house to a new car, and even take care of the financing and purchase insurance, without leaving our front door.

Thanks to virtual reality, we soon won’t have to leave home to take a vacation.  I’m still waiting on that flying car, though.

Maybe in another twenty years? image /i.dailymail.co.uk