how can things really be the way they seem/ love'm Elois & Morlocks. the speciazation of humanity in Wells' imagined future is still so fresh &...morehow can things really be the way they seem/ love'm Elois & Morlocks. the speciazation of humanity in Wells' imagined future is still so fresh & cool! there's very little real science in this book, which has done miracles for protecting it from its age (the Monica Vitti effect: being mysterious). however, it's a great study into how our ethos about science has changed in the last hundred years. here's the scientist-adventurist, looking vaguely aristocratic and very very romantic, with his adorable decadent machines, lovingly & uneconomically constructed out of brass and ivory and fine upholstery. his imperative is to be whimsically inventive; his studies are self-directed and look retrospectively indulgent. he's invented a time machine because it's cool, without any societal benefit in mind except for this outdated idea: science for science's sake will always advance society. I mean, here's science pre-guilt! the most archaic aspect of this book is how it completely overlooks the consequences of human behavior on the natural world.
an aside: entire-story-told-in-recollective-dialogue is not my favorite (Heart of Darkness also does this): quotation marks as visible barriers.(less)
don't usually read hard science fiction and it took a minute for me to give in to this, but it was a great. it's not a great STORY, especially if you'...moredon't usually read hard science fiction and it took a minute for me to give in to this, but it was a great. it's not a great STORY, especially if you're into people, if you like PEOPLE in your books, but it will take you all the way into space. or, like, it miniaturizes space into an elegant physicist's model, and then you're miniaturized, too, and you get to zoom & roam around. right, that's what that would look like from here, ok and what about from there? it forced my brain to do a thing it doesn't usually do on its own.(less)
I haven't had such an immediate, pressing desire to read a book in a long time, but from that NY Times Review, I knew this book nestled perfectly into...moreI haven't had such an immediate, pressing desire to read a book in a long time, but from that NY Times Review, I knew this book nestled perfectly into my life-as-sci-fi imagination, esp. travel-as-time-travel. This is a collection of Gibson's published "nonfiction" essays, although he admits early he's uncomfortable relating anything as pure nonfiction, and each essay is footnoted by his present-day critique. Somehow I haven't read a single thing by Gibson before, and I wonder if I had this would just feel like a less perfect version of what he'd accomplished in those novels. Anyway, this was great. I bought and read it cover-to-cover in one day, something I haven't done in years. It was a slow start: I had a really hard time getting through the first essay Rocket Radio, like how I can never watch Sans Soleil all the way through, even after all these years, without at least getting up to walk around the room once or twice for fear my head will explode: too good. The comparison to Sans Soleil is right, especially since they both occupy the space between documentary and narrative, and of course they both get interested in futuristic 80's Tokyo. It turns out some chapters are better than others, and some themes (Tokyo, the Internet, all "futuristic" sci-fi is only about today) are re-worked several times over, so it didn't conclude as scarily brilliant as it had begun. I had a good time! The most beautiful chapter is Shiny Balls of Mud, which looks at this obsessive trend that spread amongst Japanese pre-schoolers of creating perfect spheres from mud as metaphor. One of the most succinctly touching was about Skip Spence's jeans ("the gift of his brave elegance"), you may not have guessed. Wm. seems like such an appreciator, everything moves his imagination so sincerely, and he doesn't seem to get caught up in any cult of things... I mean he somehow isn't even dorky.(less)
Lost this book when my purse was stolen, with about 100 pages to go, but it had sorta stopped being fun. I was into the sweet young man from Mars who...moreLost this book when my purse was stolen, with about 100 pages to go, but it had sorta stopped being fun. I was into the sweet young man from Mars who had ultimate control of his mind and body, less so the domineering man he grows into in the next part. Presumably he gets wiser and/or sadder at the end, but Heinlein was just spending too long describing orgies in the meantime! As far as the discovering Earth through alien eyes theme goes, The Man Who Fell To Earth is better. A lot of 1960's science fiction exhibits plenty of sexism/homophobia/racism, and it's bearable if you regard it as a "sign of the times" and grit your teeth. Heinlein steps it up and gets a little didactic about it, especially about sex roles: Ayn Rand sf.
Technician's grief: terrible treatment of language development! INCIDENTALLY this word "grok" which is supposed to mean something like complete empathetic understanding/knowing as well as receiving/sharing water because of the scarcity of water on Mars: that's lifted right from Arabic.(less)
picked this up at the Rangoon Social Club, too, imagine! read the book before I knew about the movie, but the movie's since mostly replaced my memory...morepicked this up at the Rangoon Social Club, too, imagine! read the book before I knew about the movie, but the movie's since mostly replaced my memory of the book. not made for this world, nihilistically seduced by this world, you can't get a more concentrated, literal study of alienation & appropriation! the best introspective science fiction.(less)
a good honest story about life as a real scientist that made me think: maybe I ought to do that, but it occupies a dull zone where a far-fetched &...morea good honest story about life as a real scientist that made me think: maybe I ought to do that, but it occupies a dull zone where a far-fetched & awesome premise/assumption is reigned in by too much realism to ever to get to anything very fantastic or exciting. l'il weird that the white dude wrote about a black woman: sorta sweet, like my engineer dad's own enthusiasm about women in the sciences, but also definitely, totally fetishizing. Forward did this in Rocheworld, too. I can't tell if this a physicist's kinky thing or a physicist's awkward attempt at fair representation without a basic understanding of people, of what people are like. on the human beat: I can't believe how long it took to get a particle physicist and a theoretical physicist to sleep with e.o.(less)