Tag Archive | Aliens on Earth

We Can Remember it for You Wholesale by Philip K Dick

Source: Own Collection
Format: Softcover
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

I read this after watching Total Recall (2012). I now clearly need to watch the Arnold Schwarzenegger version.

This story is actually one of Dick’s funnier stories – although it has a sobering side too. But oh-so-frustrating for some of the characters. Of course, I’ll leave you to figure out why.

In this short story, Dick scratches at the itch people have to do something meaningful with their lives. Douglas Quail is an everyman, ordinary, lowly, with a humdrum life to suit. He lives on Earth, and works as a clerk. In the midst of his humdrum life, he has seen a business called Rekal – a place where one can obtain one’s wildest fantasies, not just as an observer, but experientially. And when we meet up with him at Rekal, he’s about to receive his fantasy – to be a secret agent working on Mars.

For all its brevity, this story is quite convoluted. And very well-written. Dick doesn’t add fluff or overmuch setting to his stories, and yet one gets a sense of the world around the characters through their eyes. And as I said up top, this is one of his more amusing ventures.

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Heart of Granite by James Barclay

Heart of GraniteSource: NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

The world has become a battleground in a war which no side is winning. But for those determined to retain power, the prolonged stalemate cannot be tolerated so desperate measures must be taken.

Max Halloran has no idea. He’s living the brief and glorious life of a hunter-killer pilot. He’s an ace in the air, on his way up through the ranks, in love, and with his family’s every need provided for in thanks for his service, Max has everything . . .

. . . right up until he hears something he shouldn’t have, and refuses to let it go. Suddenly he’s risking his life and the lives of all those he cares about for a secret which could expose corruption at the highest levels, and change the course of the war.

One man, one brief conversation . . . a whole world of trouble . . .

I picked this book up on NetGalley because the title intrigued me, the cover looked interesting, but the blurb completely hooked me. Then I opened the book, and was completely blown away. Devilishly inventive, I adored this book almost from the first sentence. Drakes, massive iguana-like land-based (water-replenishing) battleships/flight decks… and a massive desert. Fantastic stuff.

Max Halloran is a drake pilot on Heart of Granite, the “mother”(ship) his flight, and others, are based on. Heart of Granite is pretty much in concept like an aircraft carrier, but it’s instead an organic iguana-like animal that’s been modified genetically and structurally to accommodate people, drakes and other denizens. Max’s flies in a squadron with Inferno-X, an elite group of drake pilots – and their drakes. The one motto of all drake pilots: do not Fall. To Fall is to, pretty much, go insane when the drake attempts to meld with its pilot. Max initially comes across as cock-sure and arrogant, but one quickly finds out he’s got a strong streak of integrity, as well as stubbornness. Both of which get tested to the limits.

I love a good puzzle, and Heart of Granite certainly gave me one. I got half way through, then spent a good while paging back and forward (a challenge on a Kindle, mind, but I was desperate!) trying to figure out what on earth was really going on. And then I spent a few hours in bed that night trying to work through the logic of the clues I had available to me. This is a good thing. Reading as much as I do, one soon gets clued in to when things aren’t as they seem. And I knew something was going on here that no-one was talking about. Excellent brain fodder.

I honestly cannot think of anything bad to say about HoG. An excellent story, well-written and crafted, that makes for very entertaining reading. Great tension, and a very satisfying conclusion.

All of Me by Lea Kirk

All of MeSource: ARC from author
Format: ebook
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Following the Anferthian invasion of Earth (recounted in Lea Kirk’s Prophecy), the Matirans help Earthlings to rebuild. “Gunner” Reed is overseeing the development of Terr Base One on Earth. During the invasion he rescued April Burowski, and she is currently working at an orphanage near Terr Base One. April is mourning the death of Dave, the father of her unborn child.

This is a heart-warming, gentle tale of respect, love and tenderness. I really enjoyed reading it, and would pick up any book Kirk writes.

ORBS III: Redemption by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Source: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

With their numbers diminishing and the alien armies growing stronger, Sophie’s biosphere decides to join forces with the team from NTC’s submarine.

Using data from a surviving satellite, they discover strange, alien poles at each of the world’s seven highest summits: alien technology that the survivors believe may hold the key to shutting down the alien ships once and for all.

That’s not all, the satellite also reveals an encrypted set of coordinates that reveal SOS messages from US Military bases around the world, all activated on invasion day—except for one: Offutt Air Force Base.

But before the two teams can launch an offensive, the biosphere must deal with sabotage from within and a strange nanotechnology that has infected several of the survivors. As tensions rise, Sophie and team must decide whether a new discovery at Offutt is worth abandoning the biosphere. The more the team learns, the more they realize the planet may be beyond saving and that salvation may require leaving the planet forever.

Well. What can I say? Just finished reading it, and…

It’s an excellent book and, I think, a fitting conclusion to the series. The action is ramped up with some new threats from the Organics, making one wonder just what they aren’t capable of, but hope arrives in the form of Sunspot, a prototype spaceship left behind. The big question is: Will any of humanity survive on Earth?

Vividly written, Smith pulled me right into the action and the fears and hopes of all the characters within the story. One of the things I really appreciate about Smith’s writing is his attention to detail. One doesn’t feel short-changed on any of the technical elements such as military and medical. Research has clearly been done, making the story more authentic and threatening.

Totally recommend this book to all lovers of post-apocalyptic thrillers, with a caution of horror.

Red Sands by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Red SandsSource: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Jeff and his little brother David are alone. Their parents have disappeared along with the rest of the world, replaced by glowing blue orbs and a terrifying army of aliens.

But the boys are survivors. Living in the tunnels beneath the White Sands military base, escaping from hungry aliens, and searching for supplies, they hatch a plan. The boys will fight back, and before they’re through the white sands will run red with blood.

This novella tells us more about what happened to Jeff and David, the young brothers abandoned at the Edwards Air Force Base when the Organics arrive, before they met up with members of the team from the Cheyenne Biosphere. We also follow a bit more of Dr. Hoffman’s thoughts and reactions as he flies away from Earth, destination Mars.

Smith does a great job of seeing the events through a kid’s eyes. He masks the terror and gore (which we should know well from the other ORBS stories) out well, only giving the kids as much as they can handle. Yet he doesn’t quite let up on the kids either; there are a few tough choices for them to make. I also really appreciated getting into Hoffman’s head a bit more, and seeing that he actually does have doubts. He’s done his best, but has his best been enough?

Another well-written story that fills out the ORBS story.