Sensation (Spectacular Fiction)

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It's not a war. Using th Every so often a writer of literary fiction manages to transcend the genre, and create something that you can truly call science fiction. Using the best of both approaches is, frankly, something more writers should aspire to. One of the primary ways Mamatas tweaks conventions in this book is with the typography. It's really essential to how the story is told, and I'm not sure I could recommend anyone to the e-book version as a result, though I've not seen the e-book to know how they did it. Fair warning. The story revolves around a war between spiders and wasps, told from the point of view of the spiders who are a collective intelligence.

Julia Ott Hernandez was stung by a wasp and as a result went crazy, losing her free will, and assassinating a real estate developer.

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Her husband, Raymond, can't let go and pursues her, along with his new girlfriend and a couple of people from an unnamed movement that sprung up in Julia's wake, through a web sorry, couldn't resist of realities in which the world we know is only a small part. This book is genuinely very funny, with eccentric characters and extreme situations, told using many of the trappings of our online communications.

9 Sensational Sci-Fi Ideas That Came True

But the now ness of the book is probably also it's greatest weakness. By the time you read Sensation , even if reading it the year it came out, cultural references have already faded what is Myspace anyway? I imagine the conversation with my theoretical kid when they read this book in 20 years. KID: "I didn't care for it.

Sci-Fi Sensation: 9 Science Fiction Ideas That Came True - ABC News

It appears to be full of slang and cultural references which make no sense. And yet, there are Tea Party references, which was a completely unknown and very different from its current incarnation in , and other hints that it's meant to be occurring now. While in some ways prescient the unnamed movement does, in fact, remind the reader of Occupy Wall Street, and we must remember that the book was written and in production already before that movement actually sprung up , the novel is so temporally specific yet non-specific that I suspect readers in a few years will have a hard time figuring out the world it takes place in.

LOLcat references, for example, are not something I expect to age well. But, for now, this book is a funny and thought-provoking conversation about why we do the things we do. Again, I was a little torn how to rate this one, wishing Goodreads had more options between "liked it" and "really liked it. Jun 09, Osvaldo rated it really liked it. Three and a half stars.

Speculative fiction

The novel has a strong opening and the author's use of a variety of co-mingling texts like blog posts, interviews, newspaper articles, political pamphlets and IM logs helps develop this sense of a web of knowledge put to use in different ways. Otherwise, most of the narrative is from the point of view of the collective of intelligent spiders at war with the wasps whose stings cause the outliers of human behavior that steer culture and history -- however, this POV felt inconsistent and seemed to slip away in places, not gripping onto the conceit of their web-spun human avatars men of indeterminate ethnicity or other methods of spying close enough to seem to work as well as it should.

On the one hand, the way the novel unwinds into a lack of resolution -- ending very much like it began -- is fitting, but on the other, the action seems a little too random in places. I think I would have preferred seeing characters or the manipulative spider collective trying to impose even the illusion of sense and meaning to what was happening as a way to smooth over the craziness of fickle human behavior as historians and anthropologists are prone to do.

Motion-Controlled Computing Reaches Consumer Electronics

I think taking some time with this text would garner a lot of productive commentary on globalization and unhinging of geographic identity on both the local level through geographic economic restructuring aka gentrification and transnationally, as cities and the world wide web connect people and sites that are not geographically proximate, casting into doubt the existence of any kind of authentic origin for understanding ourselves both individually and collectively.

The history of humanity and it's culture are being directed by the war between two species, one of spiders and the other of wasps, the first sentients, the second not. Once you set that idea on a book, there are mainly two directions in which the story can go, one is the more typical "humanity is being controlled by external forces, let's do something about it" direction, the other is the one Mamatas chose and also the one which could ostracize a great deal of readers.

The book is so well writte The history of humanity and it's culture are being directed by the war between two species, one of spiders and the other of wasps, the first sentients, the second not. The book is so well written that early on it's clear that the only satisfying path can be the less trodden one. On the other direction there would have been great disillusionment. All the while the novel was on precarious equilibrium between witty and annoying.

The dialog is very unnatural at times, unless you accept the notion that the characters saying it are the ones most likely to be thinking all along how unnatural what they're saying sounds. Everybody is witty, and if there had been more characters that would have certainly become ridiculous. Luckily it stayed just short of that.

The "science" is mostly believable, making the fictitious part of it acceptable, but there where a few mistakes, for instance Mesoamerican civilizations did invent the wheel, the mystery is why they didn't seem to use it all that much lack of beasts of burden is one of the most favored possibilities. The most enjoyable books, for me, are the ones that are not entirely about what they're about.

The ones that explore implications and consequences more than just in passing. The main problem were the typos. I bought the epub from Weightless Books One Day Sale a wonderful thing that has given me access to a lot of great books for very little money , and there are a lot of typos in the book, a few missing prepositions, and some errors in line breaks.

I'm not all that bothered by that kind of thing, at least it doesn't made me want to throw away the book, or some e-reader equivalent of angrily deleting the file. But when the book is good, those little annoyances stand out more. Jul 20, Benjamin added it Shelves: bedside-reading , ereader. It's possible that I could write one review of Nick Mamatas's work and leave it at that: it's startling, weird, and uncomfortable--not for everyone; and it tends to investigate some fracture or failure in society; often with the motif of multiple worlds or a multiverse.

In this case, Mamatas starts with something almost reminiscent of Fritz Leiber's The Big Time , except whereas L It's possible that I could write one review of Nick Mamatas's work and leave it at that: it's startling, weird, and uncomfortable--not for everyone; and it tends to investigate some fracture or failure in society; often with the motif of multiple worlds or a multiverse.

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In this case, Mamatas starts with something almost reminiscent of Fritz Leiber's The Big Time , except whereas Leiber has two groups named Snakes and Spiders fighting over time, Mamatas actually has spiders and wasps fighting across time. But Mamatas isn't really interested in a shadow war, so much as he is interested in questions of free will and protest against the status quo. So the wasps are a type of parasite that usually implants eggs in spiders that can change their behavior; meanwhile, in NY, some newcomers to a neighborhood are protesting gentrification; and the spiders are carefully shepherding human development towards peace, even if that means taking people out of the shared world and into a Simulacrum.

As usual, it's interesting to think what another author would've made with this material. I'm imagining a more commercial writer turning the shadow war into a thriller. Whereas what Mamatas turns in is a digressive, occasionally meandering novel with no clear heroes or villains, and no real answers. But here's where I tell you that I thought this was a less confident novel than the other Mamatas that I've read. Bullettime is my favorite now.

Jun 08, Jesse Bullington rated it it was amazing. The thing about Mamatas No, what makes him such a vital voice in modern fiction is that he veers so wildly from project to project that you can't really predict his trajectory, but you're always sure he'll land somewhere interesting. He can be a smartass, but like the best of the weisenheimers t The thing about Mamatas He can be a smartass, but like the best of the weisenheimers there's way more of the smart than the ass.

To which he'd probably have some choice rejoinder, but then that was a bit of a softball pitch. The thing about Sensation Genre conventions given the brainiac treatment, barbed pop and counter culture references aplenty, a style that's simultaneously inventive yet effortlessly accessible, and a healthy smattering of almost-too-clever-for-their-own-good gags all stewed up in Mamatas' vision of America, a place uncomfortably close enough to the real thing to make you check for webs over the bed before tucking down. What's it about? You, me, the whole shebang--read the product description if you're the type who needs to know if there's a bone of SF under all the meaty stuff spoiler alert: there is.

The bottom line is that if you like your fiction sharp, quick, relevant, and refreshingly reckless, this is the fix.

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A true pleasure to work on, though it arrived with plenty of polish. A biting satire set on firm entomological foundations, this is hilarious, action-packed and also thoughtful. By that I mean you can be inspired to think deep things while you read it, or not. Just as you wish. The politics are twisted, the text is playful, and the characters are people you are as close to recognising as you can get given the story is told by spiders. Nothing is sacred and the world itself hangs in the balance. Dec 10, Helen rated it it was ok Recommends it for: Adults. Interesting conceit - and not so far-fetched considering the recent news about linkages between toxoplasmosis and various neuro problems - but although entertaining, could have been written with more attention to developing the main character, Hernandez.

However, I loved the sly observations on hipster life, and the sense of events occurring on multiple levels - virtually, in real life, as well as how the characters interpret what is going on. The reader will want to finish reading this book so Interesting conceit - and not so far-fetched considering the recent news about linkages between toxoplasmosis and various neuro problems - but although entertaining, could have been written with more attention to developing the main character, Hernandez.

The reader will want to finish reading this book so as to find out what eventually happens to the main characters and the spiders etc. Nov 08, Peter rated it really liked it.


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Great, another lost review. I truly enjoyed the way Mamatas told this tale through no spoilers a collective consciousness, allowing a unique perspective on this story. Finally, a tale with an activist bent that plays with and subverts the trappings of these various movements.