This is a book that caused me to realize that one of the most moving stories for me is how, though slowly and painfully, humanity has lifted itself ouThis is a book that caused me to realize that one of the most moving stories for me is how, though slowly and painfully, humanity has lifted itself out of superstition and fear through rationality and a scientific understanding of the world. Not only that, this book has an awesome recreation of day to day life in a medieval world. The doomsday book contrasts a fearful, pre-modern understanding of disease with a completely modern one, and it contrasts a village gripped by that fear, with one that overcomes it. More than 10 years after having read Doomsday Book, I still feel emotionally affected by it. Huzzah for this novel!
The Demi-Monde is a holodeck style cyberpace generated by a quantum computer with almost unlimited processing power that was built to train US forcesThe Demi-Monde is a holodeck style cyberpace generated by a quantum computer with almost unlimited processing power that was built to train US forces in asymmetric urban warfare. It was designed to be indistinguishable from reality because that's the only way the terror of such environments could be conveyed. To realistically simulate the warlords of such environments, personalities of history's most infamous charismatic sociopaths, psychotics, and fantatics are simulated with perfect accuracy. What could go wrong?
The world is a disk shaped, cramped, weirdly fantastical milieu that is sort like steampunk meets the Wiemar republic combined into the impossible, arbitrary fixtures of a video game world that is taken to be absolute reality by its inhabitants.
I love books with maps and glossaries of terminology in the back. The glossary of this book, an encyclopedia Demi-Mondia of portmanteaus, acronyms, and neologisms, is as much fun as the text, because it is the world building in this book that makes it good. The writing is serviceable, clear, and it has a good granularity of detail so that you can enjoy your tour of the Demi-Monde through a fast paced pulp magazine style adventure with cliff hangers galore. Characterization and plot often falter, but the book is enough fun that its forgivable. ...more
M. John Harrison prose is beautiful, clear and poetic. Written about a decade before Gene Wolfe's 'Books of the New Sun', it must certainly have beenM. John Harrison prose is beautiful, clear and poetic. Written about a decade before Gene Wolfe's 'Books of the New Sun', it must certainly have been an influence on that awesome series and it has something of the same vibe.
If you want to wander in a creepily lost, alien future, to meet great white sloths, to marvel at the wonders of tomb the dwarf, and to see the flash of metalic feathers in the setting sun, this set of stories is a hearty recommend. ...more