Recent Books — Sawyer, Yu, Scalzi, Crummery, Bear, Lovesey

Another batch of largely escapist fare:

* “Hominids”:amazon by Robert J. Sawyer. A many-worlds story, featuring an Earth dominated by civilized Neanderthals. Engaging but not much new here. Amazon says 3.5 stars, “Goodreads”:http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/264946.Hominids says 3.7. There are two more in the series but I won’t chase them down, I’d give this a 3.
* “How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe”:amazon by Charles Yu. What if time travel was mundane and cheap, if everyone did it, if we screwed up our time traveling lives just like we do the rest of our lives? Nicely executed. Amazon says 3.5 stars, “Goodreads”:http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7726420-how-to-live-safely-in-a-science-fictional-universe says 3.3, but I enjoyed the exploration of cheap, available, screwed-up time travel. 4 stars.
* “Fuzzy Nation”:amazon by John Scalzi. 4 stars at Amazon, 4.25 at “Goodreads”:http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9647532-fuzzy-nation. Entertaining tale. Avatar meets John Grisham. Scalzi writes very comfortably. I’ll say 3.5 stars — entertaining but not memorable.
* “Galore”:amazon by Michael Crummey. Tried to go highbrow with this trendy pick but just boring. Tries to make ensemble of intriguing characters but not enough focus on any one character to make me care. And this story is all about characters. Amazon says 4.5 stars, “Goodreads”:http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9647532-fuzzy-nation says 4.25, but I gave up on it. 1 star.
* “Hull Zero Three”:amazon by Greg Bear. A long trip to the stars in a generation ship goes very bad. Imagine “Lord of the Flies” with all kinds of advanced biotech. Amazon says just 3 stars, “Goodreads”:http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7975415-hull-zero-three says 3.2. 3 seems about right.
* “The Last Detective”:amazon by Peter Lovesey. My second Lovesey, another very good English detective tale. Very human characters all around. 4 stars on amazon, 3.75 on “Goodreads”:http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/815595. I’d say 4, I found it all to be quite touching for a detective tale.