Ghost in the Shell — James Swallow

Basically, it’s just the film in writing.   Which, if you’re just wanting to read what happens in the film, then great, but personally i feel that this is just totally lazy on the part of the writer: or maybe this is all they were told to do by the rights holder???

The great thing about books, as opposed to film, is that you don’t have to pay for the sets, the extra cameras, the costumes, etc..   In a book the writer is simply limited by their own imagination and language skills, whereas in a film the director/writers are totally and absolutely constrained by finite resources such as finances, but also logistics, cgi limitations, the human elements of everyone involved (remember the pandemic and the disruption that caused to films and tv shows?) and many other things besides.   So to sit down and write a novel based upon a film, one would think a really good writer would have a fucking field day with it, but, with Ghost in the Shell, they didn’t.

Like is say, maybe this was the brief, and when someone throws a bag of money in the direction of writers and tells them what they want writing i would imagine they’ll get plenty of writers clamouring to take on such an easy task as this “novelisation” must have been.

At less than 2300 Kindle Loc points you’re pushing it to label this as a novel anyway.   At this length you’re seriously riding the boundaries between novella and novel.

I suppose they didn’t want to upset the film fans who only have attention spans of two hours.

So yeah, sadly, a total let down.   There could have been so much more background and detail that could have really added to the story.   A seriously wasted opportunity.

James’ Page

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The Slow Sad Suicide of Rohan Wijeratne — Yudhanjaya Wijeratne

I came across Yudhanjaya’s writing in the anthology 2054, where i found his very enjoyable Deep Ocean Blues.   So having really enjoyed that novella i thought i’d go and have a hunt around and see what else Yudhanjaya has written.

The Slow Sad Suicide of Rohan Wijeratne is, i believe, Yudhanjaya’s first book, albeit just a short story.   It tells the tale of a poor little rich kid who has never had to work for anything and has essentially squandered his life.   He’s now so fed up with his pointless rich existence he just spends his time trying to kill himself.   But he’s so rich his parents had him filled with nanites that heal his every wound and illness, preventing him from ending his own life, no matter how hard he tries.

Then, one day, while driving a tuk tuk, Rohan hears about a space program wanting volunteers to be shot straight into a black hole: even the nanites won’t save him this time.

All in all, this is a really good short story, well written, but it does get lost here and there in the terminology and theories of black holes.   But Rohan is also completely lost with all the science of it, his nanites stopped working after 30 years in cryo-sleep to get to the black hole and he’s lost a lot of his intelligence.   Essentially, being baffled by all the science nonsense puts you right in the mind of Rohan as he plummets into the abyss.   Have fun!

Yudhanjaya’s next book is Numbercaste, which i shall get around to reading at some point in the future.

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Fugitive Telemetry — Martha Wells

Although Fugitive Telemetry is tagged as book 6 and Network Effect is tagged as book 5, it seems to me that Fugitive Telemetry is in the time line before Network Effect.   If i read this series again, i would read Fugitive Telemetry before Network Effect.

As to the story:

Murderbot finds himself still on Preservation Station with Dr. Mensah, waiting for the inevitable visit from GrayCris agents when he ends up getting involved in a murder investigation.   Dr. Mensah thinks it would do him some good to work with station security and port authority agents, and so Murderbot decides to help.

This is one of those, no-one-trusts-the-AI-murder-machine, stories, with murderbot having to become a more public person now that it is going to be hanging around with Dr. Mensah doing her security.   But how can Murderbot help in the investigation if it’s not allowed access to any non-public systems and no one else on the investigation trusts it?

All in all, it’s really good but, like i mention, the timeline is a bit screwy and the flow between books could be better managed as it was in the earlier books where it was clear that where we started one book where we left off the previous book.

Martha’s Page

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Network Effect — Martha Wells

The next Murderbot installment after Home.

After all the previous books that have all been novellas and two short stories, this book is like The Big Book of Murderbot.   At over 5000 Loc points this is a book to really settle down with and enjoy for a while.

So yeah, lots and lots more of Murderbot shenanigans, with Murderbot finding himself kidnapped, kidnapped again, and then held hostage and lots of other enjoyable escapades besides.   And Murderbot even seems to make a few friends along the way.

Only two books to go after this, i do hope there’s more because Murderbot is one brilliant protagonist.

Next up, Fugitive Telemetry.

Martha’s Page

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Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory — Martha Wells

Following on from Exit Strategy, a very short short-story about Murderbot and Dr. Mensah getting back to Preservation after the kidnapping.

Next up is Network Effect.

Martha’s Page

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The Andre Norton Megapack — Andre Norton

The People of the Crater – 1947
The Gifts of Asti – 1948
Plague Ship – 1956
Star Born – 1957
All Cats Are Gray – 1953
The Time Traders – 1958
Voodoo Planet – 1959
Storm Over Warlock – 1960
Star Hunter – 1961
The Defiant Agents – 1962
Key Out of Time – 1963
Ralestone Luck – 1938
Ride Proud, Rebel! – 1961
Rebel Spurs – 1962
Murders for Sale – 1954

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Exit Strategy — Martha Wells

And the train that calls itself Murderbot just keeps on a rolling.   Murderbot is relentless: brilliant fun all the way through.   Murderbot is definitely one of the best AI’s i’ve ever encountered — up there with Joseph R. Lallo’s Ma.

And it’s non-stopping straight into-ing Home for more Murderbot shenanigans.

Martha’s Page

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Rogue Protocol — Martha Wells

Since leaving off the last book, Artificial Condition, Murderbot discovers that Dr. Mensah is having a few legal difficulties, and with Murderbot’s fledgling, tiny bit of a conscience, it feels the need to go off to dig up some evidence against the evil GrayCris Corporation in order to help Dr. Mensah, who still seems to have a lot of explaining to do as to where Murderbot’s disappeared to.

And in order to get that evidence you just know it’s going to be total violent mayhem and destruction.

Great stuff from beginning to end, superb writing with not a word wasted.

And now it’s onward unto Exit Strategy.

Martha’s Page

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