Yeah it's pretty cool and funny at times, but more often than not it was the annoying kind of funny, the kind that tries too hard to be unique and jusYeah it's pretty cool and funny at times, but more often than not it was the annoying kind of funny, the kind that tries too hard to be unique and just ends up being completely absurd. If you want to write a sci-fi satire about the meaning of life, at least put some organization and wit into it. I used to know a guy who spoke just like the random nerd-prose in this book, and I kinda wanted to tell him to grow a pair....more
I'll never forget that cartoonish simworld that had the dancing vegetables and fighting utensils. There was a pirate ship too, sailing on a river thanI'll never forget that cartoonish simworld that had the dancing vegetables and fighting utensils. There was a pirate ship too, sailing on a river than transversed the entirety of a gigantic kitchen floor, the source of which turned out to be from ice high up in the freezer above a refrigerated waterfall. Orlando and Fredericks were the heros, and they had to out-master the pirates and the animated food-army that was trying to kill them for some Godforsaken reason. Otherland is so out there and creative that you can almost think up your own simworlds and imagine that they exist inside Tad William's versatile creation....more
Otherland is a vast network of interconnected simworlds, or virtual reality settings. The settings are grandiose enough for me to rank it really highOtherland is a vast network of interconnected simworlds, or virtual reality settings. The settings are grandiose enough for me to rank it really high on my all time favorites. One simworld has an endless city of enormous mansions with spires shooting to the sky. Others are based on ancient history & mythology- like Egypt and the Homeric Epics. The one the really rattled my brain was the Black Mountain where the climax takes place, when the “reality” of the entire network starts to really buckle and break down. A group of people come to Otherland by various means, most of them for noble causes, like saving a family member. But the mystery of the network's deterioration intrigues them into finding the source of it, as well as their prior ambitions. In Mountain Of Black Glass, the third book of the four book series, the complex plot is escalated onto spectacular, mysterious levels that make the following book (Sea Of Silver Light) a must read.
**spoiler alert** The book is slow at first, but it definitely gets more intense and action-packed the farther along it goes. But that climax man, when all of the seemingly unrelated plotlines merge into (un)focus? Paul’s journey from the seas of Odysseus to the Trojan War to the Black Mountain- Renie & Zabbu & t4b going from “nothingland” to the House City to the Trojan War to the Black Mountain- Orlando and Sam battling simGods in Egypt and Trojans in Troy before ascending the obsidian flank, the villain Jongleur surprised to find himself waiting for them on Egyptian broadcast when they reach the top, trickster Dread swooping in, surprising everyone and putting an exclamation mark on all the chaos; all plots veiled in a cloud of mystery, finally lucid in the agony of a sleeping giant, The Other? That climax is golden in so many facets of storytelling that it may just be the best one I’ve ever read....more
Pretty much the most awesome adventure ever. An eccentric professor and his skeptical nephew stumble upon a map that leads to a volcano in Iceland. ThPretty much the most awesome adventure ever. An eccentric professor and his skeptical nephew stumble upon a map that leads to a volcano in Iceland. This volcano, one with a name that I won't even try spelling, has a portal that descends deep into the interior of the Earth. The professor, anxious to earn an accomplishment for his name, will stop at nothing to reach it. No matter how much his nephew tries to convince him that he shouldn't risk his life for the glory of science, the professor's manic insanity ignores him and alights a flame of ambition to guide them down into the Earth. Giant mushrooms, prehistoric beasts, subterranean oceans, massive echo-chambered batholiths, lightning storms, and an ejaculation over Stromboli make this a highly memorable read. So what if these things aren't scientifically possible? Expand your mind and let the story take hold....more
Ian Malcolm, that quirky mathematician, has probably had the greatest influence on me than any other character in a book or movie. Because of him I haIan Malcolm, that quirky mathematician, has probably had the greatest influence on me than any other character in a book or movie. Because of him I have officially subscribed to chaos, make snide sarcastic remarks, flirt with paleobotanists, and flash around my leather jacket while fidgeting my spectacles, stuttering to communicate profound observations that fly over the head of my listeners. Ok not really, I’m just a wannabee, but the rockstar-genius is certainly an aspiration of mine.
Jurassic Park, for anyone living on Mars who hasn’t seen or read it, is an action packed thriller that pits human inspectors and specialists against genetically engineered dinosaurs. The park is designed to contain these ghosts of Earthly past, but things get out of hand quickly when a tropical storm puts Malcolm’s chaos into full effect. Crichton’s style is meant to be suspenseful, so don’t expect any groundbreaking literature here, just a whole lot of blood & guts, fun sci-fi, nerds-turned-action-heros, and things with sharp teeth....more
Conceptually it was pretty interesting, but a lot of the passages were deliberately confusing and the dialogue was awful. I thought his descriptions oConceptually it was pretty interesting, but a lot of the passages were deliberately confusing and the dialogue was awful. I thought his descriptions of quirky futuristic modifications were great, but the characters were so soulless that it became difficult to care for them during the weak action scenes. I can see how it was highly influential to concepts like cyberspace and "the matrix" (this came out in 1984)....more
This is a masterpiece of staggering genius, and one of the best books I've ever read. There are six nested stories in the novel and each of them folloThis is a masterpiece of staggering genius, and one of the best books I've ever read. There are six nested stories in the novel and each of them follow six separate lives of a reincarnated soul(s?) whose archetypal drive is to rebel against the powers that be. David Mitchell uses an impressive repertoire of styles to distinguish each of these lives, from the grammatically elitist english of The Pacific Journal Of Adam Ewing to Zachry’s wild southern U.S. slang-uage in Sloosha’s Crossin’ An’ Ev’rthin’ After. As far as genres are concerned, there’s a little something for everyone including the funny & entertaining Ghastly Ordeal Of Timothy Cavendish and the dystopian-scf-fi-mystery-thriller An Orison Of Sonmi-451. But I’ve never read anything quite like the stream-of-consciousness tragic comedy Letters From Zeleghem, my favorite of the stories. The dark romance between the quirky musician Robert Frobischer and Eva the tease won my heart. Sloosha’s Crossin’ was another unique and beautiful tale set in post-apocalyptic Hawaii, my second favorite. The story I haven’t mentioned, The Luisa Rey Mystery, is by no means weak due its stellar plot, but the narrative is formulaic and easy to understand, so I found it the least intriguing but it’s probably the most accessible to other readers.
Underlying all this abstraction, Cloud Atlas leaves these intricacies & clues scattered about that relate each story with one another sequentially. After reading this great quote from Sloosha’s Crossin’ it all came together: “I watched clouds awobbly from the floor o’ that kayak. Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies, an’ tho’ a cloud’s shape nor hue nor size don’t stay the same, it’s still a cloud an’ so is a soul. Who can say where the cloud’s blowed from or who the soul’ll be ‘morrow? Only Somni the east an’ the west an’ the compass an’ the atlas, yay, only the atlas o’ clouds.” How true n’deed, n’ how relev’nt to th’ scope o' th' novel. It did seem to me that the idiosyncracies in personalities carried through each story, and even multiple ones too. With all the implicit romances it seems like there might have been reincarnated star-crossed soul mates in each tale (I made a chart of all the relationships because I was so intrigued by them, see below). Maybe I think too damn much, but this book's Escher-esque complexity absolutely floored me and I’d recommend it to anyone.
SPOILER ALERT: This is for anyone interested in my soul mate theory. Autua is Robert Frobischer is Isaac Saachs is Timothy Cavendish is Hae Joo is Zachry. Adam Ewing is Eva is Luisa Rey is (Nurse Noakes?) is Snomi-451 is Meronym. The chronological "math" adds up, the behaviorism of them are all similar, and there's an implicit romance between each except for the Cavendish story, which is the only one that could make me dubious....more