As with every Michael Crichton book I have ever read, I have very mixed feelings about this book. As always, Crichton has researched his subject very...moreAs with every Michael Crichton book I have ever read, I have very mixed feelings about this book. As always, Crichton has researched his subject very thoroughly which means that his thoughts and criticisms that permeate this book cannot be dismissed as purely “popular science.” In fact, I think that he can adequately be called a “futurist” - someone who looks at the current state of science - especially cutting edge research - and extrapolates the potential social, political, and scientific outcomes of such research. However, this book seems to have crossed over into discussing the present state of science rather than a possible future and I am not sure that Crichton is aware of the distinctions.
While in looking into the future, a writer is free to take the thoughts of some scientists, politicians, etc and showing how those thoughts could play out. Conversely, when dealing with the present, authors have to look at the thoughts and ideas of not just individuals or small groups but also of the scientific or political community as a whole. This is something that is lacking in this book. Crichton takes the views on global warming of small minorities and creates a book that treats those views as the only reality while ignoring the opinions of a majority of scientists, politicians, and others. While I understand that this rule should be universally followed when dealing with fiction books (since fiction books do not have to be not factually true), it should be applied in this case since it is obvious that the author is attempting to converse with the real world through this book.
I think that this book is a good read (although his characters are much more prone to long winded, barely masked tirades) and does highlight many of the issues facing us as we attempt to make science and politics interact. However, Crichton’s insistence on only highlighting the polar views on global warming limits the use of this book in furthering a global discussion on this issue. (less)
This is one of the better post-apocalypse books that I have read in recent years. It deals less with the apocalypse itself and focuses instead on the...moreThis is one of the better post-apocalypse books that I have read in recent years. It deals less with the apocalypse itself and focuses instead on the travals of one man. Dickson put a lot of depth into his characters and with their survival in a world that has lost all semblance of normalcy.
It is very obvious though that he had spent much of the time writing this book researching wolves. The book tends to focus almost exclusively on the relationship between the main character and his wolf-companion. At times, this focus nears obsession with detailed accounts of wolf behavior and their interactions with humans. The book often reads as if portions were taken right out of a textbook on wolves.
Thankfully in most sections, this near obsession does not detract from the storyline.(less)
I have heard the name Zenna Henderson for almost the entire time that I have been reading sci-fi. I have even taken this book off of the shelf several...moreI have heard the name Zenna Henderson for almost the entire time that I have been reading sci-fi. I have even taken this book off of the shelf several times, but it always looked dated (she started writing in the early 1950’s). This book was included in a group of books that I borrowed from a friend (thanks Dave!). Henderson’s stories of the People are a wonderful testament to some of the less appreciated stengths of the science fiction. At its best, science fiction can help us view ourselves from an outside perspective. Unlike many sci-fi books which pay more attention to our technological or metaphysical perspectives, Henderson’s short stories shine the spotlight on more sociological themes. Our individual and group feelings of being outside the normal and how that manifests itself in our social interactions. Her characters’ thoughts and desires are described in rich detail and the situations described are ones that almost everyone could relate to within their own lives. Her writing style reminds me of Orson Scott Card’s Ender Series (that's a good thing).
Have you ever wondered what my Master's program was really all about? This book is basically a primer on my entire program or at least a majority of t...moreHave you ever wondered what my Master's program was really all about? This book is basically a primer on my entire program or at least a majority of the major courses. I will write more later, but this is a pretty engrossing story that deals with many of the issues facing the intersection between science and society (and politics). (less)
This book took me a total of 11 weeks to read which is the longest a single book has ever taken me to read. The writing is incredibly detailed (the en...moreThis book took me a total of 11 weeks to read which is the longest a single book has ever taken me to read. The writing is incredibly detailed (the entire 900 pages spans three days on one base during WWII). I would probably not recommend this book to anyone. Although the book did present a very interesting look at issues of race in a pre-civil rights era (it was written in 1949). The main plot centers around the general in charge of the base and his decisions regarding the first African American Bomber group that was training on the base. The setup and the answers given by the author to the questions of civil rights were framed in a completely different way than they would have been if the book had been written a decade later.(less)