The Loch by Steve Alten

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A bad book is like a band aid, sometimes its best to just rip it off quickly and be done with it. Likewise a bad book series must be completed in its entirety so one can move on with life never to return. The Meg series which has spiraled down into the trash ever since its first sequel stepped into crazy land. Well that series spawned a spin off, The loch.

The Loch takes place after book 4 in the Meg series and as its title suggests, deals with the Loch nest monster. This book was a surprise unlike the meg sequels this book was grounded in reality had a lot of marine science in it and no far off outlandish stuff.

The story of what the Loch Ness monster is was believable and easy to swallow. I enjoyed the new characters but really found the way the story was written, with the rough Scottish wording difficult and at times hard to keep pace with. Definitely something that is easier to listen too rather than read.

Rather surprised to find myself enjoying the book enough to actually look forward to its sequel

Meg #3 Primal Waters, Meg #4 Hell’s Aquarium by Steve Alten

105746Oh where to begin with this one, I really enjoyed Meg #1 with its introduction of a prehistoric, once believed extinct species but then Meg #2 introduced another species and I was concerned the 3rd might keep that ball rolling. Sadly something worse happened, the book revolves around that gutter trash commonly referred to as reality television. Oh the pain. If it wasn’t bad enough that our screens are filled with this trash and that our society scoops up this rubbish in which stupid people are made famous. To write a book about it is just depressing. Was the author running out of story ideas? The story starts out loosely believable and then add in a plot of revenge and its just bare-able.

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But all sense of realism and plausibility is thrown right out the window with Meg #4.  To make up for his bucking of the trend in bringing back long dead species in Meg #3, the author steps it up a notch and brings back half a dozen extinct species and an underwater realm were they have all lived since time eternal. Cash money Arabs throwing money around like confetti to capture these animals and put them in a zoo just makes we wonder if anyone has ever watched Jurassic park? It wont work guys give up.

I really didn’t enjoy either of these books and really found myself having to bribe myself into finishing this book. The plot and realisim was just gone for me.  The sad reality is there is still a 5th book in this series to come, and I dread as to what the plot will be for that. My compulsion to always finish a series once started really annoys me here as I would love nothing more than to throw away these books and never read this author again but alas I must continue I hate loose ends

The Trench – Steve Alten

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Set four years after the previous novel, we find the baby shark from  said novel is now a full grown 20+ meter long Megalodon Shark. The book does talk in imperial units,  yuck! A 20+ Meter shark in captivity, yeah that sounds like a good idea. Then we quickly find out the shark is in heat, so there is a bunch of eager great white males hanging around the aquarium. The fact that the male great white is only about 4 meters long compared to the Megalodon who is called “Angel” being at over 20 meters long, doesn’t even deter these animals.

So it wasn’t exactly a huge surprise when Angel broke out and as Jonas and gang attempt to capture her again we find out there are other forces at work with some kind of hidden agenda.

The situation gets worse when Jonas finds out his wife has gone back to the trench where this all began, plagued by nightmares it seems Jonas is about to fall apart.

Too often action stories focus solely on the physical so it was refreshing to see this story deal with the emotional impact and possible PTSD. Mental issues are too often ignored so its great to see this being dealt with in this story.

It did get a bit far fetched when they introduced a second prehistoric creature but that didnt deter the entertainment. This book was just as good as the original but with 3 more to go in the series i wonder if they can maintain realisim throughout or will the final books and up much like the final jaws movie, rubbish

Meg – Steve Alten

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So somewhere on my news feed for various social media sites, i see a brief blurb about a new shark movie coming out in 2017, featuring none other than Mr Action, Jason Statham. Intrigued, off to google i go and i find out its based on a book about the Megalodon shark. i don’t know what it is about sharks but i love stories about them, scared shitless about them at the beach and can’t stop thinking of them but i love reading and watching Documentaries about them.

Meg is a rather interesting take on the shark story, a secret navy dive in the Mariana Trench runs into some Megalodons which are living down there near the warm hydro-thermal vents. An accident causes one shark to be dragged to the surface, and then the chaos ensues.

a 25 metre shark, is a fearsome predator. However the book solely wasn’t just about the shark eating people, there was a fair bit of dialogue given over to people debating do we kill it? or is it now an endangered species and should be preserved. Which to be fair is something i had not considered.

While i note that we know more about other planets than we do about the bottoms of the oceans, it was still a stretch to try and swallow the concept of the shark living down there, with some other surprises. That aside it was a well written book, with plenty of accurate facts about sharks in it. It is also the first in a series of 5 books, so my hope is that unlike the Jaws movies that just got worse with each sequel that this book series might do ok.

The Terror – Dan Simmons

The Terror – Dan Simmons
Found this book while filling in time at a book store. I recognized the authors name and picked it up to check it out. It’s the authors take on what happened to the lost Franklin Expedition to discover the Northwest Passage. The blurb on the back caught my attention with the whole the crew are pursued across the ice by The Terror.
It got me thinking back to his previous book i had read The Abominable, that books blurb gave the impression the climbers were stalked by a Yeti, but the truth was far from it. So i anticipated a similar deception here. I assumed instead of a monster, “The Terror” that the author described was death. chasing them across the ice as each man succumbed to starvation.  Since all the men died i felt this would probably be the case.
To test this i decided to get the book not from there of course, pfft Dymocks is a rip off. I scanned the book on my app and when i got home bought a copy from Bookdepository.com. $4 cheaper than Dymocks and free shipping.
Once the book arrived i dove straight in. Well unlike his previous book it wasn’t a metaphor, something is actually pursuing the men. This increased my interest ten fold. Man this book was good, the level of suspense, you really feel on edge like the men would be, ever wary of the nearby threat.
Was loving it till about halfway when a local native to the region started displaying some magic spiritual mumbo jumbo crap, when i first read that part i thought i had daydreamed it, it was so out of the blue. I went back and read the preceding pages to check, nope the author did indeed throw in some strange mumbo jumbo. I thought i can deal with it ill just ignore it and revel in the suspense side of things but as it drew to the end that spiritual mumbo jumbo just went down right crazy and for me it ruined a solid book. It was just over the top unbelievable stuff. like seriously a native who kisses polar bears and when the bear kisses her it blows into her mouth and plays her vocal cords like a flute?? what crack was this author on.
Loved the suspense and setting of this book but the ending just killed it for me, With the ridiculous mumbo jumbo. That aside if you read 3/4 of the book and skip the polar bear symphony and then finish there by saying then they all died its brilliant.
 Tongueless people who make music by kissing polar bears and all that other spiritual voodoo stuff, like really?? Try harder and be a little more creative  next time Mr Author

The Long Earth Series – Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter

The Long Earth Series – Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
I may not understand how or why authors co-author a book but that doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of them. Do they co-author because they are too old to write themselves? Or are they trying to combine their powers like captain planet. More to the point how do they do it. Do they both just write separate plot lines then combine them and just alternate chapters or is it more a spinning ideas by each other. After all only one person can be typing at time.
Anyway this series turns out to be 5 books long and sadly Pratchett passed away just prior to book fours release. So the final book will be written solo. So i guess i might understand the writing process of a co-authored book by seeing how dissimilar the final book will be. Needless to say the world these two have made is stunningly imaginative.
A scientist discovers a way to travel to parallel worlds with a simple device made from basic component’s and a potato. Then he posts the blueprints online without a description of what it does and then disappears from society soon all over the place kids are building these and disappearing. No one knows where they are but one boy comes to the rescue, Joshua Valiente. He brings the kids back to home. The world soon learns of these parallel worlds and everything changes.
As one imagines when given the opportunity of slaving at some desk job to pay off a home loan. Or living like a pioneer building your own house and hunting or farming free from capitalism a huge amount of the population chooses the later and disappears from what they call datum earth(the same earth we the reader lives on). I know i sure as hell would go in a second. The parallel worlds are just numbered by how many steps they are from datum. They are also called east or west but those titles have nothing to do with a compass. A step is the term for stepping from one parallel world to another. In that you can step west into West 1, 2,3 or step east to 1 ,2,3 etc there is no end number. As you can imagine the first book deals with Joshua and friends going on an expedition to explore all the way to west 2 million. While still discussing the changes back home. Which were all quite logical. If half the population leaves government revenue dries up. Greedy evil banks and corporations start struggling but people can actually enjoy life.  Joshua on his journeys finds there are no humans in the other words but evolution has gone crazy and there is such an assortment of life out there.
The second book The Long War is more about the fall out of half the population getting up and leaving and then having the datum earth try and find ways to control and tax people. No taxation without representation sound familiar?  yeah how did that work out last time someone tried to do that.
I really felt the authors came into their own with the third book The Long Mars as its title suggests an expedition goes to mars and tries to step to see if its possible and if the parallel worlds of mars and earth are connected and there second objective is to keep stepping till they find life on mars
The fourth book The Long Utopia while still dealing with a natural disaster on datum earth our protagonist Joshua is led to a distant world where events are underway that could destroy the planet and possible the long earth
After the first book i just couldn’t stop and did all 4 in one go. The downside is i must wait till next year for the fifth and final part, oh the agony but well worth it. These books manage to tap into and capture that pioneering spirit and the readers imagination. i am just blown away by the level of creativity and imagination show by the authors in making this world.

The 6th Extinction – Elizabeth Kolbert

The 6th Extinction – Elizabeth Kolbert
Quite an interesting read, The author instead of shouting from the rooftops that the sky was falling or in this case that the planet was heating up. Does something a little different. She talks about 12 different animals that are extinct and links their causes to modern issues.
She goes further to show how we might very well be on the cusp of another big extinction quite possibly accelerated due to man. Now this isn’t something i haven’t heard before, in fact i have read a few papers and books about this. But this is probably the first i’ve read structured in such a way.
For instance we hear of the mammoth and other mega fauna which were allegedly wiped out by early man in both north America and Australia. We hear of the rhino and the Panamanian golden frog which are disappearing like flies, we learn of the dilemma faced by bats in North America being wiped out by a fungus.
We are given a thorough understanding on the causes of the previous 5 extinction events and given a history on the topic as well.  I didn’t expect the book to be that informative and expected it to read more like a text book. but it just didn’t feel that way. it really did feel like a collection of 12 stories  integrated by the theme of extinction.
From rising temperature, increasing acidity in the oceans and diseases being spread by the movement of man. This book covers it all. Definitely a must for someone looking to grab a better understanding of what is happening to the world around us