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Armada, by Ernest Cline June 1, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Books, Brilliant words, Geek Stuff.
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Armada, by Ernest Cline is an excellent book for a really, really long, horrible weekend moving trip.  Especially if you have to make TWO trips because U-Haul screws you over by fraudulently renting you the smaller trailer, incidentally costing you a day’s pay and an extra hundred bucks in cash.  And my air conditioning died on Memorial Day weekend on the very hot drive through the valley (100F +).

I’m not bitter.  I would not want you to think that.

Armada is another of those well-loved (read: clichéd) sci-fi tropes wherein an adolescent boy (always an adolescent boy; never a girl, never a grown man or woman) daydreams about space dogfights and excels at videogames of that type, especially one game wherein he is high scorer. I believe the best-known version of this is The Last Starfighter (link goes to a special four-movie deal: Flash Gordon, The Last Starfighter, Battlestar Galactica and Dune for eight bucks which is actually pretty good). Our Hero is recruited by defense agency to fight the faceless monsters at the last minute to save Earth from destruction at the hands of an implacable  and seemingly invincible foe.

This could be pretty trite in the hands of some but Ernest Cline manages, by exposing the trope to scrutiny and skepticism within the novel, to extract a dramatic story line from it, and imbue the story with a kind of realistic humor which I found very stress-relieving.  And then there’s Wil Wheaton, who read each sentence with enough emotional clarity that I found myself laughing and crying along with Our Hero, the video game geek (note: this features an intragalactic war, so characters you like are gonna get snuffed).  Good job, Wil.

The link at the top of the page goes to Amazon, but the audiobook is available at sfpl.org and probably your own local library.

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