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Tag: Reviews (page 1 of 7)

Masters of Doom

Few people have been as defining and influential for the gaming industry as the Masters of Doom, John Carmack and John Romero.

Both grew up in the 1970s, experiencing the golden age of arcade video games. Classic games like Space Invaders and Pac-Man was an important part of their childhoods. The Apple II was the inaugural home computer for both Carmack and Romero, and the first published games for both of them were Apple II titles.

The two Johns’ paths eventually crossed when they met at Softdisk in 1989. It was a match made in heaven, and both were integral to the company’s success with their contributions to the Big Blue Disk magazine. Carmack, a programming and computer graphics genius – described as “a brain on legs” – and Romero, brilliant at both programming and game design.

At Softdisk, Romero and Carmack met Tom Hall and Adrian Carmack (not related to John). Tom worked at the company as a programmer and game designer, while Adrian’s primary role was as an artist. In early 1991, the four of them left Softdisk, and founded Id Software.

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“The Three-Body Problem” by Liu Cixin

When was the last time you read a Chinese science-fiction novel? Probably never. I just did. Here’s my The Three-Body Problem Review.

It’s 1967, and China is in the early stages of the Cultural Revolution. Physics professor Ye Zhetai is publicly killed after he refuses to denounce the theory of relativity. His daughter, Ye Wenjie, witnesses his gruesome death.

Shortly after, she’s sent to a work camp. There, she’s falsely charged with sedition for promoting the works of environmentalist Rachel Carson. Ye is told she can avoid punishment by working at a defense research facility involved in government radio wave research.

More than 40 years later, Ye’s work becomes linked to a string of scientist suicides, and a complex online role-playing game involving the classic three-body problem.

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Review: “Frontlines” series by Marko Kloos

Over the last year, I’ve read the Frontlines series by Marko Kloos. Here’s my review of how the entire collection of military science-fiction novels stacks up.

The year is 2108. A young Andrew Grayson is a welfare rat living in one of the North American Commonwealth’s many Public Relations Clusters, PRCs. It’s a overcrowded, crime-ridden, community where day-to-day survival is the main focus for most people. There are only two ways out. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service in the war against the Sino-Russian Alliance.

Andrew decides to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth. This decision puts him on a decade long path from welfare rat to experienced military officer. Crushing welfare riots as a foot solider in the Territorial Army, or battling the SRA for off-world real estate is a tough and grueling job. But it’s a walk in the park compared to the dangers Andrew faces when blood thirsty aliens suddenly show up on humanity’s doorstep.

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“The Running Man” by Stephen King

Would you risk your own life to make sure your daughter survives? Here’s my The Running Man review.

I read The Running Man well over two years ago, so it’s about time I sat down and wrote a proper review. It was the third book I read in my ongoing A Book A Month effort, and I gave it a handsome 4 out of 5 score back then.

The Running Man is one of well-known author Stephen King‘s first novels. Originally published in 1982 under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, the novel is set in America in 2025. That was the far away future for King at the time, but it’s the very near future for us now. Fortunately, the world is (probably) in better shape in 2025 than King imagined it.

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“All Systems Red” by Martha Wells

A security-for-hire cyborg becomes self-aware, and secretly names itself “Murderbot”. What can possibly go wrong? Here’s my review of All Systems Red by Martha Wells.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests. They are shadowed by their company-supplied cyborg – a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module. The SecUnit is there to provide security, but the operation is quiet and uneventful. At least until a massive creature suddenly crashes out of a crater, and attacks one of the expedition members, Bharadwaj .

The SecUnit barely rescues poor Bharadwaj from being devoured, but not without suffering major damage itself. Using the base’s repair facility, the SecUnit is soon operational again, and an investigation into why a huge predator with no mentioning in any of the provided survey data attacked them begins. The expedition soon realize that their survey package has been tampered with; entire sections of their digital map has been wiped clean of data.

And when they lose contact with another expedition on the planet, things really start to go downhill.

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