I've read a number of Arthur C Clarke novels, but this one is the earliest of his books and it shows. A Fall of Moondust, which came a few years laterI've read a number of Arthur C Clarke novels, but this one is the earliest of his books and it shows. A Fall of Moondust, which came a few years later is much better.
Basically, a mostly unlikeable sf writer is traveling to Mars as one of the first tourists. He explores, discovers the Martians (not intelligent) that all the scientists said couldn't exist, finds the son he didn't know he had, and gets mixed up in plots.
The story really shows its age. People smoke on spaceships, everything is on special paper, his articles are basically faxed to Earth (Clarke hadn't considered the idea of portable devices that display text like my Kobo). Also, while I was a little iffy about the abundance of plants on Mars (the planet is more green than red).
But when he talked about plants growing on the Moon, I couldn't stop from laughing. Not Earth plants growing in greenhouses, mind you. He has native plants growing in vacuum on the moon.
There was also an introduction wrote many years later in which he had to fess up to being trumped by later scans of Mars, since he refers to the planet as being flat, with no mountains. We now know how laughable that is.
Really, I can only recommend this to Clarke completists. The sexism made me grit my teeth at times, and the anachronisms got very frustrating at times (beyond the paper and the cigarettes). But still, there are a few nice ideas there, and I would have liked to have had the full story of Hilton's experience on the expedition to the various moons of Saturn....more
If I had to describe this to someone, it would be The Handmaid's Tale meets The Hunger Games meets the old exploitation 'Girls in Prison' films.
The arIf I had to describe this to someone, it would be The Handmaid's Tale meets The Hunger Games meets the old exploitation 'Girls in Prison' films.
The artwork isn't the prettiest, but the story makes up for it. I do like the retro elements of the pages of 'advertisements' in each chapter/issue that remind me of the ads in the seventies comic books.
The summary of the book would be something like: in a future where the right-wing has taken control, and women are basically second-class citizens, women who do not meet the standards for looks and behaviour are labeled 'non-compliant'. The worst of those are sent to a prison world often referred to as 'Bitch Planet'. And for various reasons, a woman in the newest batch of prisoners to arrive is told to set up a team for a very popular sport (only played by men, of course).
I liked the characters, and the story was appropriately brutal for the setting. Definitely worth reading, unless you are freaked out by the idea of feminists in prison....more
I loved it because it's just the sort of SF book of ideas and exploration that I love, with a touch of poThis book is one that I both loved and hated.
I loved it because it's just the sort of SF book of ideas and exploration that I love, with a touch of politics, which I also love. The 'roundhouse' that was found in the first book (which I read many years ago and no longer remember anything about, I'm afraid) is a gateway to other worlds. It falls on Indian lands, which means that the government can't simply grab it. The worlds they travel to are interesting (although the reaction to the on that appears to be the far future -- and the person they run into there -- was a little clichéd)
I liked the characters, especially April (one of the main expedition people) and Brad (a reporter)
But I did want a bit more plot. Basically, this story can be summed up as 'Indians travel to other planets, deal with people who want to blow up the gate, deal with Indians who want to be colonizers on a planet already inhabited (oh the irony), find something that really scares people, and dismantle the gate'.
Basically, it reads like the middle book of a trilogy, and I wanted a little more resolution. But I do hope that another book is coming....more