Only about 100 or so pages into it. This is a second read for me. I originally read it when it first came out. I don't think I finished it, though. I...moreOnly about 100 or so pages into it. This is a second read for me. I originally read it when it first came out. I don't think I finished it, though. I have a vague memory of being bored with it and putting it down in favor of his Forge of God, which really turned it up to 11 in terms of world destruction.
So, I finished it and liked it, despite it getting a bit weird at the end. (less)
Published immediately after the show's cancellation, the resolution guarantees it will never fit within the Star Trek cannon developed in subsequent s...morePublished immediately after the show's cancellation, the resolution guarantees it will never fit within the Star Trek cannon developed in subsequent shows and books.
Nevertheless, it is an intelligent and quick read. The dialogue is crisp and intelligent and the action is fast-paced. At only 118 pages, there is nothing wasted here.
Back in my youth (no pun intended), I devoured Gibson's novels and so considered myself an ardent fan of the genre. And yet, I mus...moreThis was a good one.
Back in my youth (no pun intended), I devoured Gibson's novels and so considered myself an ardent fan of the genre. And yet, I must not have been much of one because I never even heard of John Shirley before seeing this doorstop of a volume in the store a year or so ago. Intrigued, I bought it, brought it home, stuck it on my TBR shelf because I was in the middle of some other large master piece at the time (some Hamilton space opera, most likely), and forgot about it until now.
First published in the mid to late eighties, with updates by the author for this edition (Facebook and iPads are mentioned, as well as the Arab Spring as something positive. I wonder if Shirley regrets that last one), the book's anachronistic qualities are equal parts attractive and disturbing.
Attractive because it's fun to read a 25 year old sci-fi story to see how the the present and near future jibs with the author's view of the future two generations past the time it was written in. I have to say, Shirley hits the mark more often than he misses in that regard.
Disturbing because, despite all of the positive events that have moved the world closer to freedom and equality for all in the last 25 years, the current political climate is such that it is very easy to see how we could end up in the world of 2040 he envisions.(less)
I'm not sure how this one slipped through the cracks for me. I've read a fair bit of Anderson in my youth. Most notably his Time Patrol stories and h...more
I'm not sure how this one slipped through the cracks for me. I've read a fair bit of Anderson in my youth. Most notably his Time Patrol stories and his Psychotechnic League stories.
I picked up a paperback copy of Ensign Flandry at Camerons's Books in Portland, OR. If you live there, or are passing through, Cameron's is a bibliophile's used book store erotic dream. Southeast of the larger and infinitely more well known Powell's books, which also sells used books and could arguably be called a bibliophile's screaming orgasm, Cameron's is Powell's hot younger sister.
The plot of this one caught me by surprise. When I saw it on the shelf, I wanted to read it because the Flandry series had a large influence on one of the biggest roleplaying games of my youth, Traveller. Anderson's terse writing style lulled me into thinking this would be a textbook example of space opera, a homage to E.E. Smith.
It is that, surely. And it has all the attendant qualities of good space opera: a handsome young idealistic hero who can fight his way out of any scrape; exotic, sexy aliens with a beautiful, sexy female leader with the hots for our hero; and bad guys who have nothing but malice for the good guys and a plethora of evil plans with which to exercise that malice.
Well, that view lasted until about Chapter 3 where Anderson introduces quite a bit of ambiguity into the setup. The Terran Empire is in conflict with the Merseian Empire on the planet Starkad, using the two dominant sentient races as proxies. The story gets complex and Anderson deftly weaves layers of intrigue and politics into the story. He wrote this one in 1966 and it became clear to me that, on one level, the story can be seen as an allegory for the Vietnam War.
This one is a page turner and when it ended, I was left very pleasantly surprised and hungry to read the rest of the books in the Flandry series.(less)
This book was incredibly good. Really, for a book written during the golden age of science fiction, you just can't get any better than this. A tight,...moreThis book was incredibly good. Really, for a book written during the golden age of science fiction, you just can't get any better than this. A tight, fast-paced plot, a likable, mostly well-fleshed out protagonist, and interesting aliens make for a fun read.
Andre Norton's writing is crisp and intelligent. I kept picturing a teenage boy in 1956 reading this at night under the covers with a flashlight, dreaming of the day he could blast out to the Rim planets and make his fortune in Trade.
This book had an impact on me. It elicited feelings from a deeper place than usual. The only other books to do that recently were Stephen King's Dark...moreThis book had an impact on me. It elicited feelings from a deeper place than usual. The only other books to do that recently were Stephen King's Dark Tower series. It is Roland Deschain describing his world in that series which perfectly captures the feeling I got reading Julian Comstock.
The world has moved on.
The world has moved on and I felt sad because Robert Charles Wilson was describing a possible future of my country. I didn't like the glimpse he provided because I can't abide the idea of us slipping so far backwards, although many of the characters in Julian Comstock had no idea the time they live in is a lesser, pale shade of our own. Julian Comstock certainly did and he suffered greatly for it, despite his best efforts to grasp at the shards of our greater civilization lying buried in the ground all around him and put them back together again.
I liked this story despite these feelings, or maybe because of them. It is clear Robert Charles Wilson was going for a strong reaction from his readers and I think he succeeded mightily. The lynchpin on which the story hinges for me is how much of an unreliable and naive narrator Julian's friend and companion Adam Hazzard really is. It is because of his inability to grasp the significance of what is happening around him that really drives the story home and adds greater impact to the events he as the Narrator is relating.
This book is a Hugo nominee, though it did not win. I recommend it highly.(less)