Friday Face Off : “Live long and prosper.” 

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

Vintage sci fi – “Live long and prosper.” 

A lot of the new themes are open to interpretation which might make choosing the covers and seeing other’s choices very interesting.  I can’t stress enough that this is all about your own interpretation and hopefully this new open feel to the meme will bring a larger selection of books and covers.  It’s not supposed to be hard work, there are no rules, just enjoy yourself.

This week I confess I’m not entirely sure what I had in mind – but, hopefully everyone will put their own spin on this.  Thinking of living long and prospering I’ve gone for a modern sci fi book that’s all about finding new planets to colonise.  This was a good read, very different from what I expected but very good.  And, whilst this is a new book it has a cover that feels vintage so I wanted to use it.  This week I’ve gone for Semiosis by Sue Burke.  As with last week, not a lot of covers but one in particular feels quite retro:

Semiosis3

I’ll be updating the list in order to include forthcoming events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share then let me know in the comments).  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know 😀

Next week –  Horizon – remember, this doesn’t need to be a vintage cover, I’m using sci fi themes because it’s Vintage Sci Fi month.

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers) (I’ve added some new themes – some of these are slightly different, in order to avoid too much repetition I’m trying to make the themes more of a suggestion that everyone can interpret how they like.  

2019

(2020 – January is Vintage SciFi month so I’ll be including possible themes to take that on board.

17th January – Horizon – “Your “beautiful” ship killed its crew, Doctor.”

24th January – Chinese New Year – Year of the Rat – this could be a chinese style cover, something with a rat or rates, or any interpretation that comes to mind.

31st January – First Contact – “Ack, Ack, Ack, we come in peace”

7th February – Lion- “Is that a lion with horns and a pitchfork?”

14th February – romantic – “thus with a kiss I die”

21st February – meringue – the puffy dress? – Lots of covers with ‘big’ dresses

28th February – Leap Year – One Ring to rule them all – A cover with a ring

6th March – Skeleton – them bones, them bones, them dry bones…

13th March – Exotic – ‘That which yields, is not always weak”, a place, a person, a flower – anything that represents something from distant lands.

20th March – Brown – a cover or covers that are brown

27th March – Freebie – choose one of your favourite covers

3rd April Fools – a trick of the eye – a cover that is more than meets the eye.

10th April – Moody – a cover that is atmospheric,

17th April – out of focus – double vision or all a blur

24th April – Armour – ‘“Pretty armour doesn’t make a warrior.”

1st May – Canine – “And then there were cats, thought Dog.:

8th May – graphic novel cover – “Love belongs to Desire, and Desire is always cruel”

15th May – pink – as pink as cotton candy – any cover that is pink

22nd May – Sorrow – a cover that makes you feel sad

29th May – Silhouette – an island, a person, anything you like

5th June – Flight – any type of flight – to flee, to fly

12th June – The bodice ripper – exactly as it seems

19th June – Time – time waits for no one

26th June – Windows – windows to the soul?

Semiosis by Sue Burke

Posted On 12 March 2018

Filed under Book Reviews
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semiosisI really enjoyed Semiosis.  It’s a thought provoking read that explores some intriguing notions.

The book begins by introducing us to a number of people who left earth to start a life on a far distant planet that they named Pax.  They left earth with the idea that they wanted to live a better life with less conflict.  A life without war where everyone would be equal.  A utopia if you will.  What a lovely idea – of course, the idea of a perfect world becomes inevitably messed up when you throw humans into the mix, then add in different life forms and sentient plants and take a step back and see what happens.

I think before I go any further I should point out that this book was different to what I had expected.  However, I would also point out that this isn’t a bad thing.  I confess that looking at the cover I got a creepy vibe and there are certain elements of the story that definitely sustain that vibe – but overall this is a different story. It’s also told over the course of seven generations which ultimately means you only really spend brief snippets of time with each of the characters before moving jumping forward a number of years.  Now, being the type of reader who enjoys character driven stories I didn’t have overly enthusiastic expectations when I realised this was the case but to be honest this story won me over and in fact I enjoyed the different pov stories that were told through each successive generation.  The way the story unfolds you move forward to a different perspective for the next generation but at the same time that storyline quite often includes information about the previous person you spent time with and in doing this you do have some closure about the previous storylines.

Overall I suppose this is a story of survival, adaptation and compromise.  It also takes a sidelong look at human nature and the fact that we are all so very individual and it concludes with the benefits of mutual symbiosis.  What I really found fascinating with Semiosis was the world building.  Pax was so well drawn, deceptively similar to the nature of our own planet and yet fundamentally different.  Here are plants that are capable of strategy – it just sounds bizarre when I write that and yet the book comes across as plausible.  It’s not overly explained but there’s enough detail to actually make you really think about what’s going on.  The notion here is that the plants are guiding the humans to behave in a certain way that will benefit the plant and in doing so the plant will then grow fruits that benefit the humans, like a reward.  This then progresses into a way of communicating with the plants.  It’s absolutely fascinating to be honest.

Mixed in with this there’s the discovery of a city – much more sophisticated and progressive than the community the humans are currently living in and which they eventually inhabit themselves, although the move itself is a source of conflict between the humans and eventually causes a rift.

To be honest, I can’t say too much about the plot without spoiling the story.  I can say that the pace is consistent.  The author did a really good job of creating tension in the storyline and also took a route that wasn’t obvious.  And then of course there was this contact with other life forms – that didn’t exactly go the way that the humans themselves had hoped for.

The writing here is really good, the way things are explained and described is just excellent and really helps to bring it all to life in the imagination.  The pacing is consistent, the storyline is good and on top of this it’s almost like a study of human nature – and that element gave me plenty of food for thought.  It was interesting to see the different generations develop and watch them start to rebel.  A bit like Animal Farm, they start off with ideals, they’re all equal, but eventually cracks begin to show and there’s always some who are going to rise to the top.  All in all a really fascinating and well written story.

In terms of criticisms.  As I said above you never really have the chance to develop any strong feelings for any of the characters because the story is moving on too quickly.  Also there are elements in here of a violent nature and also a rape scene which could be upsetting for some – I’m not trying to say it’s graphic or gratuitous but I did find it a bit of a shock because it was so at odds with the values of the people we were following, I simply wasn’t expecting it and thought I should mention it here.  The only other issue I had was the other life forms and the disparity with the ones we meet here and the ones who built that wonderful city and then upped and left.  I never really quite understood what was going on there because it would seem that rather than progress in nature they had devolved.  It was a bit of a mystery for me.

Other than that I really enjoyed this read.  It was unique.  Well Written.  Consistently paced, thought provoking and fascinating.  Perhaps a little ambitious cramming seven generations into a story like this but I think the author pulls it off.  It’s like a time lapse video in written form.

I received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

 

Friday Firsts : Semiosis by Sue Burke

FridayFirsts


Friday Firsts
 is a new meme that runs every Friday over on Tenacious Reader. The idea is to feature the first few sentences/paragraph of your current book and try and outline your first impressions as a result. This is a quick and easy way to share a snippet of information about your current read and to perhaps tempt others.  Stop on by and link up with Tenacious Reader.    This Friday I’ve just started Semiosis by Sue Burke

semiosis

 

The war had begun long before we arrived because war was their way of life  It took its first victims among us before we understood what was happening, on an evening that seemed quiet.  But even then, we knew we could easily be in danger.

My wife, Paula, shook her head as she left the radio hut in the plaza of our little village.  “There’s too much interference again,  I’ll try one more time, but if they don’t answer, we’ll start a search.”

An hour ago, three women had gone to pick fruit.  They did not come back, they were not answering their radio, and the Sun had sunk almost to the top of the hills.

Around us, tiny lizards in the trees had begun their evening hoots and chimes.  Nine-legged crabs silently hunted the lizards.  The breeze smelled bittersweet, perhaps from something in bloom.  I should have known what, but I did not.

Uri and I were fixing an irrigation pump, but I knew his mind was on one of the women, Ninia.  He had just begun living with her, and he was squinting up the path through the fields where she had gone.  And then he was jerked back to the present when the wind tangled his long blond beard around the pump handle.  He knelt to free it.  I pulled a jackknife from my belt, stroking my own short beard.  He saluted with one finger.  He was a Russian Slav, and a proper Slav never cuts his beard.

Paula went back to her work at a rough-hewn table nearby, trying to make sense of weather data.  A wide straw hat held her red hair in place and protected her skin from the Sun.  She took a deep breath and stretched her stiff back.  We all struggled with the stronger gravity.  Finally she entered the radio hut again.

Everyone stopped what they were doing and listened.  The hut’s walls were panels scavenged from a landing pod and the roof was tree bark, so the sound carried.

“Hello?… Ninia? Zee? Carrie?”

static

“Hello?… This is Paula.  Do you hear me?”

Static.

My First Impressions

Wow, what a great start.   I’m hooked.  Firstly this talk of war and then three missing women.  I have to know what’s going on.  This is an intriguing start to the book.  Fingers crossed for this one.

What you reading this Friday??  What are your first impressions??