The Departure by Neal Asher is the first book of the Owner series and was the first book I’ve read from Asher. I’d heard good things and The Departure didn’t disappoint me. Both its world-building and the protagonist are rare gems and well worth a trip into this dystopian future governed by bureaucrats starving the planet like a huge swarm of locusts. Continue reading
Today was a day I’d been waiting for for about half a year now. And it has left me no better than before, no questions answered, nothing gained. This post, and I hope you forgive that, is not just me telling you more about myself, but rather me trying to handle what’s going on at the moment. No, nothing horrible happened, but I’d put some hope into today and have been, as always, disappointed.
What had happened? Half a year ago the possibility was taken to me that I might have an Asperger’s syndrome. I’m not one to just reject such a possibility, as there are many things wrong with me. In the near half a year the evaluation took in the end, I’d ample time to read about the subject and familiarize myself with the syndrome.
Through my research I’ve found ample characteristics that you could attribute to me. I want to make it clear here, however, that I did not self-diagnose myself. Still, I’m not dumb and no one knows me half as good as I myself. Not to forget that I had a quarter century to think about… well, myself and how I bungle through life. So the clear rejection of me being autistic came a bit as a surprise.
Truthfully, I’d hoped I’d be categorized with Asperger. Not because I want to “become an autistic” but because that would have meant to give things a face, to give it a name. It would have meant that there was nothing wrong with me, but that I was simply different all this time. Now, the only thing that’s left is the feeling that no, I wasn’t different per se, I simply failed. Failed to be normal, to get a grip on my life, to actually live.
That’s a very drastic view and many people have said that it lacks any logic (which would normally deter me, as I’m a purely logical person), but I cannot shake the feeling of coming up short, of doing less, much less, than I should have. Writing this, and it’s most likely coloured by recent events, I feel like I got tested again and again, only to fail miserably. Everything I’ve worked for in my life (and most of it is so basic stuff most people don’t even need to think about, like grocery shopping), the semblance of normality, is still not up to par and what “excuse” do I have now?
Instead of the aspergers, she diagnosed me with insecurity and anxiety disorder (not sure what the actual name is in English). For that diagnosis I wouldn’t have had to take up the six months, as I’ve basically known that for years. It is disheartening to go to such sessions and then hope for something, anything, that would give me another piece of the puzzle that’s my twisted mind. Instead, I’m left with no more knowledge than I’d possessed before.
I’d not dared to hope for something that might give me a better grip on myself, for something that I could work with. And right now, I need something, need a piece of this puzzle, a big one, to come to terms with what I am and what I can do to accomplish more but vegetate, barely alive. But I’ve come up empty handed and am unsure how to proceed from here on out.
Does it sounds strange to read about someone that “wanted” to be categorized as autistic? I hope you don’t misunderstand me here, because it’s not that I wanted to be categorized as Asperger, it’s rather that I’m looking for something, anything really, than makes it possible for me to understand why.
In the end, not only did I learn nothing new, the diagnosis failed to encompass many things I’d told the psychiatrist. I’m still waiting for the written diagnosis, so more might be incoming, but (for me) important aspects were felt out. That’s, of course, not ideal and contributes towards my feeling of dissatisfaction with the diagnosis.
Today did not help and my hope for it was unwarranted. Now I’m left in a void, unsure of how to proceed. I’ll be taking a couple days to come to terms with the diagnosis, to see what’s next on the agenda of holding the pieces of me together. In the end, only time will tell, and I’m ever patient.
Dark Intelligence by Neal Asher is a book about revenge. That in itself is nothing new, of course, but this time the protagonist is driven in his revenge not against another human being, but against an Artificial Intelligence (AI). In a Sci-Fi Universe a hundred years after a war spanning whole systems, our protagonist Thorvald Spear is resurrected. Instead of living the remainder of his life in peace and prosperity, he’s going after the one that killed him and his whole unit, the black AI known as Penny Royal.
My relation to the Land fit for Heroes series is a strange one, you could say. I’ve never read the first book. Some years ago I found The Cold Commands in a bookstore and bought it. It wasn’t readily accessible that the book was the second installment of a series. That became obvious early on, but reading books not in the intended order isn’t actually that much of a problem. I’ve done it a couple of times. Continue reading
Myke Cole, author of contemporary military fantasy infused with a heavy deal of magic, struck again, this time with the beginning for a new series set in the same universe as his Shadow Ops series. Called by the same name, but set at the beginning of the reawakening of magic in the world, Jim Schweitzer, a Seal, replaces Oscar Britton as the protagonist. It’s somewhat of a prequel to his successful series and hits the same pressure points as his other series starting with Control Point.
It’s contemporary military fiction written by a military guy for military guys or anyone interested in the workings of US special forces. As someone who doesn’t care much about this, I’m certainly not the main target audience. I could enjoy the book nonetheless, even though the protagonists fixation on his training and his burning patriotism became a bit much over time. I have nothing against hearing him describe himself as an artist in what he does, or stress his professionalism, but it gets old when that’s repeated again and again.
After a successful operation (gunning down apparently hundreds of “terrorists”), the danger follows Jim home. He gets raised from the dead near instantly after his violent demise, now sharing his body with a Djinn, a bloodthirsty creature full of rage and violence that gives him strength beyond the means of any human. Our protagonist becomes effectively an undying killing machine in the service of a shady part of the US government. That he doesn’t question these people and what they have him do is a minor annoyance. As is that he’s content with what the organization tells him in regard to his family. Someone as fixated on his wife as much as him (enough to push his child into a small corner of his mind apparently) would need more than just getting told what happened to them, I believe.
But I digress.
Most of the book is a struggle between man and Djinn for control of their shared body. The Djinn, a thousand-year-old creature, has the upper hand and makes Jim do unspeakable things. In the end, there stands the question of what the organization actually is, what their goal is, the mystery of his own death, and much more. The book doesn’t stint with things that don’t seem to fit right, a sting in your mind while you read, bugging you to read ever onward, to figure out what the hell is going on.
My main issue with the book, despite it being very heavy on the military side with its US seal protagonist, was that this book’s main emotional part gets cut off immediately. Instead of using these emotions – the rage and denial – the author so expertly evokes in the reader, these emotions get destroyed near instantly again, leaving only a hollow behind that doesn’t get filled throughout the book. Instead of riding this emotional wave, the reader instantly gets pulled down into the ice-cold water again, feeling cheated.
Concluding: It’s a book for lovers of Myke Cole’s other books. I liked Control Point well enough (even though I had some issues especially with the ending), but I think Gemini Cell puts on too much military makeup and rehashes the same points again and again. It spells the win of the machine against the monster time and again. It’s a book for lovers of contemporary (US) military and while I’m not an expert in this regard, I believe the author does a very good job of portraying the expertise of these people. Jim Schweitzer makes killing an art. On a mission is where he feels fulfilled and his infatuation for his job is only barely rivaled by the need for his wife. And I’m purposely not saying “for his family” here, even though his inferiority complex towards his brother can be seen as some sort of twisted love. If you can deal with this straightforward simple-mindedness, this might be just the book for you.
Brian McClellan’s debut series The Powder Mage Trilogy has managed to catch my interested and hold it easily through the three books and the multitude of short stories he’s written in the Powder Mage Universe. The last book, The Autumn Republic, came out a few days ago and finished the first trilogy in a flash of grand action scenes.
If you’ve been in any kind of fantasy community these last days, you should have already heard about it. Basically unannounced a pilot episode for a possible Wheel of Time TV series was aired Monday. It can be found on youtube, but I’m not sure I should encourage you to actually watch it. You can find it below, but I suggest you don’t get your hopes up…
I’ve written about the hard times I’m facing at the moment already and you might have come over from that post. Before I get to the actual reason for this post I wanted to give some more background information on how I fucked up and made a huge miscalculation that has led to me having to take steps back in how I spend my money. If you haven’t read the other post yet, I suggest you do that, as it gives some valuable information as to why this is so important to me.