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It was a smart move ending this collection with Peace in Amber, as it’s Hugh’s most powerful work. I cried the first time I read it, and did again upon my second reading of it in this collection. I even went out and read Slaughterhouse Five after reading Peace in Amber (I enjoyed Slaughterhouse, but feel Howey took the best of Vonnegut and made something more of it with Peace in Amber). It’s that good of a story. That being said, I originally clicked the 5 Star button on my Kindle after finishing the book, but after giving it more thought, went with a 4.
The book is split into 7 sections. Aliens and Alien Worlds, Artificial Intelligences, Silo Series, Fantasy, Algorithms of Love and hate, Virtual Worlds, and Lost and Found. All of these sections have good stories in them, but most of them also have weaker stories. My favorite sections were the Silo Series (This is some really strong writing. I suppose it’s no wonder that Hugh’s most popular stuff is also some of his best written stuff) Virtual Worlds, and Lost and Found. All of the stories contained in those sections are very good stories. But I also really loved many of the stories in the other sections.
The one about the evil roomba and Hugh’s comments following the story have convinced me I need to go out and buy one (it’s on my Wish List!). Deep Blood Kettle is another of my favorites. I didn’t really care for the Fantasy section that much (I’d probably give this section a three on its own), but I did like that Hugh was breaking different ground here. It just felt like it was less thought out then the others, and the themes weren’t as clear (leaves you wondering what was the point of reading what you just read when you finish).
I really enjoy Hugh Howey and have all his books in “actual” book form, but since this was available as a Kindle bargain I bought it on Kindle, fully expecting to love it and buy the physical copy at a later date. This is actually my least favorite of his books. Although that isn’t me saying it’s not a great book, because it is. I just felt that a lot of the stories were hit and miss for my own personal preferences.
For example, I don’t like robot stories and several of these were robot. I don’t love outer space stories and a couple of these were outer space/aliens. I very much enjoyed the Wool mini-trio, and I also was very moved by the final story, the author’s own experience on the day of 9-11. I didn’t love how he tied it into the bizarre zoo on the alien planet, and skimmed through those parts. But his own autobiographical bits were stunning and had a life of their own that I very much appreciated him sharing with us.