How Joon-ho Bong got his film out of this book I'll never know. If you loved the movie and wanted to check out the inspiration behind it, like I did,How Joon-ho Bong got his film out of this book I'll never know. If you loved the movie and wanted to check out the inspiration behind it, like I did, forget it: there is only the thinnest relationship between the two, and all the best bits of the film came from the mind(s) of the director and screenwriter(s), and perhaps production design. There are but a scant few screen moments loosely drawn from this book, so that leaves only the trope of the train itself, and the caste system that populates it, as the "source"—and except as a metaphor for motion, choice, and inexorability, the train is the dumbest part of the movie.
Do yourself a favor and forget that the movie has a book. I know this violates the rule that the book is always better than the movie, but it's the exceptions that prove the rules, no? ...more
This seems like something of a step backward from literature to pulp coming in the wake of Zanzibar and Sheep, though he makes up for the arguable misThis seems like something of a step backward from literature to pulp coming in the wake of Zanzibar and Sheep, though he makes up for the arguable misstep with Shockwave a couple years later. Still, it's amusing enough, with a bit of mystery at play, and even some police procedural elements, with a dash of international intrigue, and hits again on some of his then-current themes, including the perennial nuclear threat. Not formula by any stretch, but not brilliant either....more
Well, the end of the series was a definite improvement over the previous volume. Where the plot seemed to me to be falling apart, most of the threadsWell, the end of the series was a definite improvement over the previous volume. Where the plot seemed to me to be falling apart, most of the threads were finally pulled back in and woven together, though I still found it a bit excessively disjointed—though perhaps that is a deliberate tactic for keeping the reader off balance, like many of the choices Fellini made for his Satyricon. I'm glad I pushed through, and at the same time I don't think I'll be recommending it frequently; not to say it was bad, just that, even though it uses many elements I like, it's not my thing. I don't like ketchup on hot dogs either....more
In which the author demonstrates a degree of heteronormativity that spills well beyond mere homophobic misogyny, puts forth his argument against abortIn which the author demonstrates a degree of heteronormativity that spills well beyond mere homophobic misogyny, puts forth his argument against abortion, and presents an interesting yet utterly implausible future history of Islam. I found this to be the most philosophically obnoxious of the series so far, and yet the story itself remained gripping. I'm not sure how much of that is attributable to his narrative talent, and how much to my sheer investment in the series as something of a completist. Bottom line: I cannot recommend it....more
This was a highly entertaining and rather original read. I've consumed a fair quantity of sci-fi over the years, and most of what I read these days feThis was a highly entertaining and rather original read. I've consumed a fair quantity of sci-fi over the years, and most of what I read these days feels derivative, or like "more of the same," which leads me to read progressive less of it unless that's what I'm looking for. So, while I grabbed this expecting "more of the same" after reading Lord of Light, the variance in tone, plot, and style was a welcome surprise. I particularly enjoyed the somewhat sparky humor of the protagonist, and his rebellious character, and that I guessed almost none of the plot twists before their time. Everything else I can think to say beyond that, and the few quotes available here, strikes me as a spoiler, so I'll just stop there and say read it if you like original sci-fi, and don't require it to be "hard SF." ...more
I have long been a fan of Brunner, and have all but worshiped The Shockwave Rider in a manner most geeks reserve for bigger SF names since my teens.I have long been a fan of Brunner, and have all but worshiped The Shockwave Rider in a manner most geeks reserve for bigger SF names since my teens. I was, therefore, predisposed to like this book.
If you, dear reader, are not likewise predisposed, I would urge a moment's caution. Without providing any spoilers, let me note that the central themes of this book deal directly with topics about which a great many people have extremely strong feelings. I seriously doubt whether it could be published in Britain or the U.S. today. If you have ever entertained the thought that any book should be banned for its content, you would almost assuredly count this book as a prime example.
On the other hand, if you are open to or in search of a sort of near-future, sci-fi mystery/gumshoe/detective story that reads like a cross between A Clockwork Orange and Lolita, if somewhat less "literary" than either, then you need look no further....more
I removed the following rambling, spoiler-laced review from the default description of this work where it did not belong. I retain it here for the recI removed the following rambling, spoiler-laced review from the default description of this work where it did not belong. I retain it here for the record; the words are not mine, and the author is perfectly welcome to repost them as their own review. (view spoiler)[
The novel is divided into 19 chapters, the 1st of which is set in '71, the next 17 spaced out at roughly ten year intervals from 1871 thru 1990, with the last chapter set once again in '71. The chapters begin & end in '71, with a short scene involving Glogauer & the man, which vary from philosophical discussion to sex involving dominance & submission. The chapters are each also followed, except for the 19th, by a short section entitled What would you do?, which presents sadistic choices, a Morton's Fork, such as: “You have three children. One is eight years old. A girl. One is six years old. A girl. One is a few months old. A boy. You are told that you can save any two of them from death, but not all three. You are given five-minutes to choose. Which one would you sacrifice?" The novel begins in London, with Karl Glogauer going thru Kensington to the Derry & Tom's Roof Gardens. On a bench in the Spanish Gardens, he fantasises about the past, trying to put "his mother, his childhood as it actually was, the failure of his ambitions" out of his head with ideals of Regency-era London politics, gambling, women & duelling. His imaginings are interrupted by a "deep, slightly hesitant, husky" voice, a "Good afternoon" from a dark-skinned man who's never named. He asks if he may join Glogauer on the bench, then goes on to explain he's merely visiting, & that he hadn't expected to find such a place in the middle of London. Glogauer wrongly assumes him to be a rich American tourist, annoyed to have been disturbed from his reverie. The man then asks Glogauer if he may photograph him. Flattered, he assents. Doing so, the man explains he's from Nigeria, attempting to convince the UK government to buy copper at a higher price. Glogauer says he's an illustrator. The man then invites Glogauer to have tea, & Glogauer, feeling guilty, &, despite recalling his mother's words to not have anything to do with people who make you feel guilty, agrees. After journeying thru the Tudor & Woodland gardens, they dine at the restaurant. During the meal, Glogauer attempts to introduce himself. The man doesn't respond, merely offering Glogauer a sugar bowl. He then asks Glogauer to "come back with me", to which Glogauer agrees. The 2nd chapter, introducing a format followed by subsequent chapters, excluding the last, begins, in italics, with a short scene in the man's hotel suite. Glogauer has disrobed & lies naked on the bed. The man touches his head, then his shoulders. Glogauer closes his eyes, blocking reality out, & begins a fantasy, similar to that interrupted by the man earlier. The ending of the chapter is also another scene, in italics, set in the present. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more