Final portion of the book of the new sun wherein Severian travels the stars to start the process of brining the new sun back to his home world. Not qu...moreFinal portion of the book of the new sun wherein Severian travels the stars to start the process of brining the new sun back to his home world. Not quite as good as the series itself but still interesting.(less)
Three \"Short Stories\" that intertwine to tell an interesting tale. The setting hooks up with the rest of the sun chronicles later in the Short Sun s...moreThree \"Short Stories\" that intertwine to tell an interesting tale. The setting hooks up with the rest of the sun chronicles later in the Short Sun series(less)
**spoiler alert** Ender's Shadow is one of the fun literary games where similar content based around the same time and place as Ender's Game is explor...more**spoiler alert** Ender's Shadow is one of the fun literary games where similar content based around the same time and place as Ender's Game is explored, but from the viewpoint of a different character. In this novel, we get to delve into the psyche of Bean. Bean was the side character whom some critics of the original viewed as Ender's propagation of dismissing someone's talents or abilities because of age or size, exactly as had been done to him.
As I was reading this book it seemed like the classic one up scenario. In Ender's Game, we have Andrew "Ender" Wiggins who is the most brilliant strategist and commander the world has known and which the whole of humanity has rested it's hopes. In Ender's Shadow, we learn that Ender wasn't the smartest, and in fact was unknowingly relying on Bean... who had a better understanding of, well... Everything. The only exception being how to handle people and instill confidence and courage. In other words, Bean is better than Ender in every way except one. This seems a little hokey to me. Particularly as we read through Part One of the book, wherein we find that Bean is able to accomplish all sorts of wonderful feats, all while four years old, malnourished and living on the streets. Let alone the fact that he saves himself from certain death, teaches himself to read, speak multiple languages, etc with no help. In a word, Hokey.
Soon, however, we learn that Bean is a super-intelligent genetically modified version of a human. (Is he still human?) He isn't limited in what a normal human can learn. The theoretical trade-off? He won't live long.
The events of the novel are, for the most part, not too much of a surprise. We have already seen these same events unfold in Ender's Game. And yet, in my mind, instead of making the novel less interesting, it makes it more-so. But then, I enjoy an introspection that can take a look into how different people will view the same events.
I enjoyed this novel quite a bit, even if it was hokey. Well worth the read... Much better than the last two Card novels I read, Xenocide and Children of the Mind. Hopefully the rest of the Shadow series will live up to this one.(less)
**spoiler alert** Speaker for the Dead is the second book in the "Ender" saga. However, if you are coming into this book expecting more of the same as...more**spoiler alert** Speaker for the Dead is the second book in the "Ender" saga. However, if you are coming into this book expecting more of the same as Ender's Game you will more than likely be unpleasantly surprised. Instead, Speaker presents itself in a more toned down light and there is nowhere near as much "action".
Although this book is a science fiction novel, it has more to do with character development and the examination of familial and societal relationships than on the flashy explanations and cool tech which define its' genre. The story revolves around the follies and triumphs of a family of scientists who are trying to study the only other sentient species known to exist in the universe. After the untimely death of the patriarch, the Speaker of the Dead is called in to perform his special brand of eulogy. However, as that speaker is not currently present on the planet, it is many years before his arrival. During this time, more unfortunate events occur. So, it happens that the speaker attempts to dig through the events of the past years, uncovering the truth of the lives that were lived while untangling the hurt, fears and joy present for those who have passed on and those affected by their passing. All this while also attempting to learn more about the "piggies" culture and society while maintaining the proper relationships with the new and interesting creatures.
"Flow my tears, the policeman said" delves into a police state society in which nearly anyone can be forced into controlled labor camps. A state where...more"Flow my tears, the policeman said" delves into a police state society in which nearly anyone can be forced into controlled labor camps. A state wherein corruption has come to the point that laws which should be enforced are not and others are used to control the populace. A system wherein those in power are only interested in others inasmuch as how they can be used. But all of these things are only a backdrop to the story. They set a mood wherein the reader can question things already taken for granted.
What is it to be famous, or, conversely, to be normal? What would happen to you, if everything about you came into question? How do you prove that you are yourself, in a society so controlled? And, most importantly, what is it to love, to lose and to grieve.
Overall I found I really enjoyed the book. It is the second Dick novel I have read, the other being Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (i.e. Blade Runner), and I would say the better of the two. Worth the read.(less)
This book was a breeze to read (I got through it in a day). I really enjoyed the exposition on what makes humans human throughout the story. I especia...moreThis book was a breeze to read (I got through it in a day). I really enjoyed the exposition on what makes humans human throughout the story. I especially enjoyed the internalization of what it is that made Deckard tick, as opposed to that of Iran, Isidore, or Resch, let alone that of Rachael or the others.
At the end, the reader is left with a number of questions which lead to further debate about what is real, and, more importantly, what does real, really mean?(less)
Pirate Freedom revolves around the memoirs of a present day priest about his life as an adolescent acolyte in a modern day monastery who through some...morePirate Freedom revolves around the memoirs of a present day priest about his life as an adolescent acolyte in a modern day monastery who through some never quite explained fluke is thrown back into the golden age. Soon the protagonist is put into many situations where he experiences many situations of highs and lows, moral dilemmas, lust, love, internal strife, betrayal and forgiveness.
It is a tale of pirates, of priests, of slaves and of the wealthy. But more importantly, it is a tale of the situations in life that are acceptable, how you can account for your sins with the reasons behind them, and how the boundaries of this accounting have changed over time.
I thoroughly enjoyed Pirate Freedom. It was both quick and fun to read but with a bit more depth than some of the other Wolfe books which I have read recently (i.e. Pandora by Holly Hollander, Free Live Free). I would still point a new reader of Wolfe's to some of his other work (Peace, The New Sun series, The Fifth Head of Cerberus, etc), but this one is highly recommended to all.(less)
Unfortunately, short stories, novellas and novelettes are rarely my thing. I get just caught up enough in them to start really enjoying them and then...moreUnfortunately, short stories, novellas and novelettes are rarely my thing. I get just caught up enough in them to start really enjoying them and then they end. Eh, what can you do? As is, I can't quite decide whether I liked this book or I really liked it.
If any of the three main stories (the doctor / death / island cycle) had been full fledged novels I probably would have loved them. I also really enjoyed "the eyeflash miracles" and "seven american nights". In reality, the whole collection was quite well written with Wolfe's usual style. You have to read slowly, pay attention and ask yourself what is really happening at all times (as well as questioning what might be happening "off screen").
I thought Starfishers, the second book in the Starfishers series by Glen Cook, was a pretty good read. It kind of took me by surprise as it went off i...moreI thought Starfishers, the second book in the Starfishers series by Glen Cook, was a pretty good read. It kind of took me by surprise as it went off in a completely different direction than Shadowline, the first book in the series. The series switched main characters from Masato "Mouse" Storm to Moyshe benRabi. This was a little unexpected as it really seemed like the emphasis of the first book was to get to know Mouse and the events which had shaped his life into the wanton hatred he had for his enemies. Instead, we are presented with a man who is at a bit of a loss as to how he came to be in his position, a little ashamed of what he has been forced to do, and all in all more than a little morose. Mouse is still a prominent character, but he is no longer the narrator.
Where Shadowline was about a sense of impending doom, a passing of an era, and most of all the story of characters learning to hate and to soak in the need for revenge, Starfishers was a book which dealt with learning to trust, to feel and to finally fit in.
I'm very interested to see where things go from here.(less)