Archive for the ‘Sci-Fi’ Category

Beauty reigns supreme in ‘Uglies’

In Sci-Fi, YA Lit on January 4, 2010 at 12:04 am


Title: Uglies (Book One of The Uglies Trilogy)

Authors: Scott Westerfeld

Genre: Sci-Fi/Young Adult

Rating: **/****


I have to say that I liked the premise of a world where no physical imperfection will hold you back in life, because every person receives an operation when they are sixteen to change them from an ugly to a pretty.  Even natural pretties, if they do exist, would not have an advantage over the former uglies who were surgically enhanced.  The book centers around the character of Tally, a fifteen year old girl living hundreds of years in the future, who has just lost a friend to New Pretty Town.  Her friend, Peris, turned sixteen three months before she, so he has been living a new life in New Pretty Town filling his life with social events, new friends, & has forgotten to write/see her once he had surgery.

When Tally sneaks into New Pretty Town to visit Peris, she is amazed by his beauty, but notices that his personality has changed.  He’s no longer the friend who would pull pranks & make fun of new pretties for their mindless ways.  In fact, his whole opinion has changed about being pretty & even though he is still friends with Tally, he makes their relationship contingent upon her getting surgery.  I guess even in a world where you are told past early childhood that you’re ugly, you would still be a little shocked as Tally was when Peris made his sentiments clear.  She had to be pretty to be his friend & he would see her after the operation.  Crazy!

Not to give much of the book away, but as we see from the first episode in New Pretty Town, Tally begins to realize, rather slowly, that there is more to being pretty than having your face & body changed.  Maybe all the science & biological reasoning behind becoming pretty is skewed, in hopes of  achieving a common goal outside of making everybody HOT!

The series starts off slowly, that’s why I give it two stars, but it does pick up towards the end. I’ll be reading the rest of the series as time/interest allows.


Read more about the Uglies Trilogy here:


This aint no Twilight… The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

In Sci-Fi, Vampire Novels/Series on January 2, 2010 at 5:23 am

The Strain

Title: The Strain (Book One of The Strain Trilogy)

Authors: Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Genre: Horror/Vampire/Thriller

Rating: ***/****


I am happy that I waited until the New Year to finish this book, because it has been a great way to open 2010!  I love vampires, but haven’t read many series or single novels in my time aside from the Southern Vampire Mysteries (AKA Sookie Stackhouse novels/True Blood novels), the Twilight series, & a few of Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles.   Hopefully, I’ll be re-reading those this year to review them, but with twenty-two holds in my library queue & another fourteen books (of various genres) to be read it may be a while.

The book opens with a bizarre incident at a NYC airport, a plane has landed on the tarmac, but has suddenly went offline completely.  There is no radio communication between the pilots, all the window shades are closed, & the lights are off.  The plane is dead!  Considering the tragedy of 9/11, the plethora of airport & government authorities are at a loss; hoping that nothing bad has happened to the passengers & crew.  Well, since we all know this is a horror novel, we’ve already realized that something bad has happened inside the plane.  But what protagonist Dr. Ephraim Goodweather of the CDC finds isn’t fully understood nor explained by his scientific & medical knowledge.

What is this substance that seems to coat the walls of the plane?  Why are all the passengers dead when no toxic gas is present?  No appearance of a struggle?  What made all the passengers die on board–or who?

What I enjoyed about ‘The Strain’ was that Del Toro & Hogan didn’t paint a simple picture of a vampire invasion of a modern city.   The vampires start out as either humans who survived the flight or eventually, the dead who rise again, but they all end up as essentially humans who are infected with a virus.  Yes, it sounds like a lot like what we’ve seen in the ‘Blade’ series/films, but the authors fully develop the idea along with developing their characters.  These are not two-dimensional people: they have struggles with marriage, raising their children, minority marginalization, classism, & eventually with the doctors, medical ethics.  Plus, the infection is set against the backdrop of tragedies e.g. the holocaust & then post-9/11 NYC.  It shows a message of hope for people to unite after we are attacked.


Read more about ‘The Strain’ trilogy here at the official site: