Captain’s Log – when the floods came (Clare Morrall)

Ahoy there mateys!  This was a random find in a local library that I just had to pick up.  Why?  Because I love post-apocalyptic stories that deal with climate change.  As the title suggests, this one deals with flooding.  The bonus was that it was written by a British writer.  I love to read other countries takes on climate change.

Side note:  This book was referenced as Cli-Fi in an article.  That term cracks me up!

The story centers around Roza Polanski and her family living in an abandoned building in Birmingham.  A virus has devastated the population and flooding has led to the ruination of most population centers.  There is a small government in Brighton.  Having been there, this fact entertained me to no end.  Technology is slowly failing due to lack of maintenance and the number of people is in steady decline due to virus related fertility issues.  The people that do exist are in the later stages of life and there are not many children or teens.

Roza’s parents are one of the few couples to remain fertile and had four children.  Her childhood is a seemingly happy one despite the family’s isolation.  The children are fed, loved, fairly healthy, educated, and safe.  Roza is set to be married soon and life seems to be headed towards a hopeful future.  However, one day a stranger named Aashay appears in their lives.  His presence brings a fresh perspective on the state of the world to the Polanskis and leads them away from their isolation.  But can they trust this stranger in their midst and retain their safety?

The world building was me favorite part of the novel.  I loved the images of riding bikes on abandoned highways, how the flooding cycles through, the family’s resourcefulness and intelligence, and above all the inter-family relationships.  It was wonderful to see a family who was supportive and cared for each other.

The plot was more problematic for me.  Aashay is charming and mysterious and not very forthcoming with his past.  The family is seemingly charmed by him and suspicious of him the whole time.  I got somewhat annoyed by the waffling which, to be fair, is a pet peeve of mine.  There is some suspense in the second half of the novel which was extremely fun but overall the later portion of the book along with the ending was unsatisfying.  Too many unanswered questions.

I was mostly confused by how an intelligent family could waffle so much about Aashay.  Can charm really go that far?  Well apparently the author wrote about that based on her own experiences.  An article from The Independent says “Take Aashay Kent, the novel’s ambiguous male lead and dead-ringer for Epstein’s Lucifer. ‘I became interested in the concept of charm,’ Morrall says, offering as an example one of her daughter’s ex-boyfriends. ‘One in particular was quite an intriguing man we were all charmed by.  Then you realise, bit by bit, there was quite a nasty underside to him. Then he comes bouncing back with a great big grin. The bizarre thing is you know what you see is not the reality, and yet the way this charisma works is you are drawn back into it.’”

Very interesting.  The novel was a solid read even if I had some problems with it.  Ultimately  I am glad I read this book and would read other works by the author.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

A taut, gripping novel set in the future, when the lives of a family existing on the margins of a dramatically changed society are upset by a mysterious stranger.

In a world prone to violent flooding, Britain, ravaged 20 years earlier by a deadly virus, has been largely cut off from the rest of the world. Survivors are few and far between, most of them infertile. Children, the only hope for the future, are a rare commodity.

For 22-year-old Roza Polanski, life with her family in their isolated tower block is relatively comfortable. She’s safe, happy enough. But when a stranger called Aashay Kent arrives, everything changes. At first he’s a welcome addition, his magnetism drawing the Polanskis out of their shells, promising an alternative to a lonely existence. But Roza can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to Aashay than he’s letting on. Is there more to life beyond their isolated bubble? Is it true that children are being kidnapped? And what will it cost to find out?

Clare Morrall, author of the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted Astonishing Splashes of Colour, creates a startling vision of the future in a world not so very far from our own, and a thrilling story of suspense.

To visit the publisher’s author page go to:

Clare Morrall – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

when the floods came – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

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Captain’s Log – soft apocalypse (Will McIntosh)

Ahoy there me mateys!  When I last read a book by this author, I was reminded that I had never read his debut novel.  In fact, it was the only one I hadn’t read.  That oversight had to be remedied.  Apparently this novel was a finalist for both the Locus Award for Best First Novel and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best SF Novel.  So I finally snatched up a copy and loved it!

At the start of the novel, the United States is in the midst of an extreme economic depression with unemployment hovering at 40%.  To put this in perspective the highest period of unemployment to date in the U.S. was 25% in 1933.

At the start, the protagonist, Jasper, is an out of work, homeless sociologist who is traveling with his “tribe.”  The tribe is a random collection of folks who are helping each other out while waiting for society to improve.  And for Jasper and certain members of his tribe, life does seem to get better in small increments.  But what happens when the apocalypse doesn’t arrive in one large explosion but rather in small seemingly incremental changes?

Well ye get this delight of a book.  It takes place over 10 years.  We follow Jasper and through his eyes watch the world slowly crumble.  Bad things happen.  People adapt.  Jasper’s life improves.  More bad things happen.  Jasper’s life gets worse. There is action in this book but it is a slow burn of overall destruction.

While watching the consequences of the world slowly imploding, ye get to see Jasper’s relationships and personality evolve and his ideas on love and survival change.  This book takes place mostly in and around the environs of Savannah.  The author certainly seemed extremely familiar with the area.  I adored the format, the writing, the characters, and well, everything.

As usual if ye haven’t read anything by the author, I suggest ye hoist those sails and get moving!

Side note:  While researching fer this blog, I discovered that Mr. McIntosh had a book come out in June and has another coming out in October!  Arrrrr!!!  I must get me hands on the booty!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Will McIntosh – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

soft apocalypse – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

burning midnight (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

hitchers (Dead Men Tell No Tales)

faller (On the Horizon – Sci-Fi eArc)

The Captain’s Log – agent to the stars (John Scalzi)

Ahoy there mateys!  Members of me crew may remember that I have a love for John Scalzi as he was featured in Broadside No. 5, tidings from the crew fer the dispatcher, and on the horizon fer the miniatures.  As I work me way through all things Scalzi, I realized I had never read his first written novel.

His author’s note talks about how this book became published and states:

“It began in 1997 as my “practice novel” – that is to say, the novel I wrote to see if I could write a novel . . . I had no intention of ever selling it or ever really doing anything with it.”

Luckily for me he did eventually publish it.  After one particularly rough day at sea, I decided that I needed a pick-me-up.  So I picked up this novel (hardy har har!)  It turned out to be the right choice fer me mood.  Fer a “practice” novel, it was pretty darn good.

The novel concerns humanity’s first contact with extraterrestrial lifeforms.  The aliens come to Earth looking to make friends.  The only problem is that they are funny looking and smell real bad.  The aliens are certainly not yer stereotypical little green men.  So what better person to contact than a Hollywood agent to help spin their introduction to our world?  Eventually the agency hands the task to junior agent Thomas Stein who has just had the best day in his career.  It is his last best day for quite some time . . .

This first novel certainly contains Scalzi’s brand of zany humor, dialogue, and characters.  While I like the main character’s ingenuity and caring, I also like the secondary characters.  As usual there are strong and powerful women.  Hooray!  The is certainly nothing earth-shattering about this one but it is super enjoyable and while silly still has moments that make ye think.

I don’t suggest this as the first Scalzi book to be picked up by newcomers but fer those already established Scalzi fans, I certain recommend going back to this beginning.

Side note: I like the fun cover design!

The blurb on the back has this to say about the book:

The space-faring Yherajk have come to Earth to meet us and to begin humanity’s first interstellar friendship. There’s just one problem: They’re hideously ugly and they smell like rotting fish.

So getting humanity’s trust is a challenge. The Yherajk need someone who can help them close the deal.

Enter Thomas Stein, who knows something about closing deals. He’s one of Hollywood’s hottest young agents. But although Stein may have just concluded the biggest deal of his career, it’s quite another thing to negotiate for an entire alien race. To earn his percentage this time, he’s going to need all the smarts, skills, and wits he can muster.

To visit the author’s website go to:

John Scalzi – Author

To buy the novel go to:

agent to the stars – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – robopocalypse (Daniel H. Wilson)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This novel was on me radar forever and finally got around to reading it.  While I did enjoy many parts of the novel, overall it was just an okay read for me.  Mostly I found myself comparing it to other robot related novels and finding it slightly lacking.

This story involves the history of the robot war against the humans run by an AI named Archos.  The story is told by a survivor of the robot war,  Cormac, who finds surveillance footage left behind by Archos and relates the history of the war through journals, newsfeeds, and other media.

Now to be fair there are many things about the novel that I liked:

  • This story is set just far enough in the future that the start of the robot war seems plausible.  The technology advances could happen.  For example we already have self-driving cars.  Such technology turning on us was fun.
  • There were some awesome characters that I really cheered for.  In particular I loved the husband and wife team of Dawn and Marcus in New York City, Paul in Afghanistan, and Mathilda Perez.
  • The toy scene was creepy.
  • There are a diverse bunch of characters and scenery.
  • I really enjoyed how the author tied the stories of the seemingly unrelated different humans together.

Some things I didn’t like:

  • Though the story was supposed to be told from multiple perspectives, the filter of Cormac made many of the segments seem flat and/or unbelievable.  Cormac commentated on issues and added his own thoughts on the other characters feelings and experiences.  I wanted more of the segments to feel like first-person encounters.
  • Archos was a very odd bad guy.  I mean I know AI are supposed to be way smarter than humans but the computer seemed to make stupid and irrational choices.  Humans could have been wiped out fairly quickly and weren’t.
  • There were a lot of unanswered questions about certain situations.  The robots relationship with nature for example.
  • Also there are several human story lines with no resolutions.  As a couple of those were my more favorite characters, I was grumpy.
  • How Archos is taken down.  Sigh.

Now I did learn that there is a second novel that perhaps would answer some of the outstanding questions I have.  I am just not sure if I will read it yet.

Another member of me crew just reviewed this novel.  Check out her review:

Sarah @ thecritiquingchemist

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

They are in your house. They are in your car. They are in the skies … Now they’re coming for you. When the Robot War ignites humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united. Robopocalypse is a brilliantly conceived action-filled epic, a terrifying story with heart-stopping implications for the real technology all around us…

To visit the author’s website go to:

Daniel H. Wilson – Author

To buy the e-book go to:

robopocalypse – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Captain’s Log – after atlas (Emma Newman)

Ahoy there mateys!  This is the companion novel to the wonderful sci-fi novel planetfall which continues to linger in me thoughts as being a super pleasurable previous read.  As a companion novel, the books can be read in any order even though personally I am glad I read planetfall first.  Planetfall was the story of  a human colony on a remote alien planet far far from Earth.  After atlas is a sci-fi murder mystery novel set on Earth forty years after Atlas has left the planet.

The story involves Carlos who works for one of the big corporations on Earth.  When he was an infant, his mother left him behind on Earth when she traveled on the Atlas.  Forty years later he is a top level detective to the Ministry of Justice.  There is just one catch – he was sold to them years before as an indentured slave who has to work off his debt before he is free.  But everything has a price and adds to his debt.  They control him and he won’t work off his debt until he is at least 80, or maybe longer . . .

So when his boss at the Ministry arrives in his apartment with a new job assignment with the details off the record, he realizes something is different.  There has been another murder, only this time he knows the victim.  Can he solve the crime, avoid the politics, and kept his personal feelings under control?  There may be no real choice as the clock is ticking, the debt is growing, and all he wants is freedom.

Again, Emma Newman creates another fascinating main character whose personality and circumstances are a delight.  The novel evolves in such a way that ye follow the unfolding investigation while slowly learning the details of Carlos’ life and his past relationships.  Again the tech in the novel like the APA’s are richly drawn and central to the story.  While Carlos is the main character, through him ye get to known the side characters who are all well drawn out.  Some of the murder mystery clues were guessable but how she resolved the story overall was not.

In any case this was another awesome effort by Ms. Newman and I truly hope there is another story set in this world.  Do pick up either one of the Planetfall books and treat yerself to a delightful story.

Check out some reviews of this novel from members of me crew:

Sarah @ Brainfluff

Carly @ Bookaneer

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

Govcorp detective Carlos Moreno was only a baby when Atlas left Earth to seek truth among the stars. But in that moment, the course of Carlos’s entire life changed. Atlas is what took his mother away; what made his father lose hope; what led Alejandro Casales, leader of the religious cult known as the Circle, to his door. And now, on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of Atlas’s departure, it’s got something to do why Casales was found dead in his hotel room—and why Carlos is the man in charge of the investigation.

To figure out who killed one of the most powerful men on Earth, Carlos is supposed to put aside his personal history. But the deeper he delves into the case, the more he realizes that escaping the past is not so easy. There’s more to Casales’s death than meets the eye, and something much more sinister to the legacy of Atlas than anyone realizes…

To visit the author’s website go to:

Emma Newman – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

after atlas – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

brother’s ruin (On the Horizon – Fantasy eArc)

planetfall (Sailing to the Stars)

The Captain’s Log – the last day of captain lincoln (EXO Books)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Many of me crew had been reviewing this one with high praise.  So when the author offered me a review copy for perusal of course I wanted to experience what all the fuss was about.

This be a fairly short story at 133 pages. Yet those pages resonated beyond their size.  The premise is that Captain Lincoln aboard the spaceship USNAS Hope Eternal is scheduled for death upon his 80th birthday – the tradition for everyone who reaches that age aboard the ship.  And today is his last day . . .

Thus the reader follows along to witness what Captain Lincoln experiences that day and how he processes his emotions of his impending end  And by the time ye come to that end, for this reader at least, I was sad to see him go.

And that was the true appeal of this work.  It is short and yet compelling; poignant yet uplifting; it was worth the read.  I found meself fascinated by the concepts of life aboard the ship (Arrrr!) where there is no disease and 80 is still youthful.  As humans make their long way to Earth 2.0, how do they reconcile their past with the possibilities of the future?

This will offer ye glimpses of what humans’ future capacity could be.  The only small gripes for me were the quotes, which while appropriate, were many and sometimes pulled me from the story and the artwork which was not to me taste.  But the story was enjoyable and is one that I can recommend.

To read some of me (many) other crew members reviews check out:

So lastly . . .

Thank ye EXO Books!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Captain Lincoln’s last day is the hardest day of his life.

An old, onetime Captain of the interstellar spaceship USNAS Hope Eternal, Lincoln always knew that this day would come. For just as birthdays are carefully planned, so are deaths. And although he must reckon with his fate, this is not a somber story. It is a tale of love and sacrifice, told in the context of the most advanced civilization ever to exist—a society that has taken to the stars in an effort to save all that is best in humanity.

Follow Lincoln through his internal struggles, his joy in having lived, and his journey to peace.

The End is just the beginning.

To visit the author’s website go to:

EXO Books – Author

To buy the book go to:

the last day of captain lincoln – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – shipscat collection (Mercedes Lackey)

Ahoy there me mateys!  So after writing me second reflections of hunter, I was in the mood for some more of Mercedes Lackey’s work.  So I decided to buy and read one of her short story collections that I have had me eye on for a long time.  The topic – intelligent cats in space!  Of course, I kinda have a thing for ships and cats and ship cats most of all.  Yup exactly what I was in the mood for.

The collection contains four short stories about human, Dick White, and his friend the telepathic ship cat named Skitty.  I loved that humans had engineered intelligent cats for pest control and partnership and yet they still were cats . . . unpredictable, stubborn, choosy, and lovable.  Spoiled too.

These stories are very fluffy and somewhat predictable but I absolutely adored them all.  As usual Lackey’s world-building and characters are fun.  The only major complaint I have is that I would like a full length novel about the further adventures of Skitty and White.  The stories went by too quickly.  Super short collection but worth me coin.   Arrrrrr!

Side note: Isn’t the space cat picture awesome?  Check out the website where I found it . . .

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

This is a collection of the four “Shipscat” stories: SKitty; A Tail of Two SKittys; SCat; and A Better Mousetrap.

These stories tell the adventures of Dick White, cat handler for the space ship Brightwing, and the cats he is supposed to be handling. Of course, given that he’s working with cats, there is frequently the question of who is “handling” whom.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Mercedes Lackey – Author

To buy the novel visit:

shipscat collection – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

Broadside No. 8

hunter (Second Reflections – Fantasy)