This is the second time I have read this one and it is one of my favorite novella's and if you were to put it in both categories novels and novellas i...more This is the second time I have read this one and it is one of my favorite novella's and if you were to put it in both categories novels and novellas it would still be one of my favorites. Though, there are a lot of parts that are outdated it was still easily understandable (and I saw no problem with that since it was written in the '84) and one was easily able to simply update the subject matter, which mostly had to do with computers. In your mind, as you are reading it, for an example when Charles Kluge's superb computer was a Texas Instrument, you could simply translate to Mac or PC or even some other modern computer.
In John Varley's introduction he mentioned that he hardly knew anything about computer and that he faked a lot of it and used a hacker's guide book and did some research on hacking on the computer that again he didn't know much about. I read the introduction last and I have to say he did fool me. I thought he knew his stuff pretty well. Just shows how good of writer he is to do something like that. Write a story about something you hardly know anything about on the subject matter. Kudos Mr. Varley!
This book was a birthday gift from my aunt and uncle in 1993, the book is about the 1990 World Cup. The World Cup that West Germany won, their 3rd tit...moreThis book was a birthday gift from my aunt and uncle in 1993, the book is about the 1990 World Cup. The World Cup that West Germany won, their 3rd title! They played in the finals against Argentina; with the host nation being Italy and took 3rd place with England taking 4th. I was only 8 years old during this World Cup, but I remember many parts of this tournament, especially when West Germany won! I grew up with a soccer ball at my feet, that was the kind of family that I have, and of course my German family watched the entire World Cup and I have fond memories of that; watching them, watching the TV, seeing them cheer and root for their nation. A great World Cup that was.
This is a coffee table book and has some amazing pictures in it and packed with all kinds of soccer information, from the teams to the players and about the matches as well.
This is still a great book to have on your shelf or shall I say coffee table?
James Patrick Kelly always does a special prologue and epilogue for the Audible versions only of his stories; and I really enjoyed the prologue for it. Especially the first part of it. And it goes a little something like this:
"You may have heard that futurist like Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzwell have predicted that there will be techno cultural singularity in our lifetime, according to them: asking what will people in the future be like is the wrong question, the right question is what will come after people? We are busy creating artificial intelligences, but how do we know they won't become smarter or at least more interconnected than we are?"
— Great stuff!
UPDATE 1.0: "In the name of the Holy Coffee and the Blessed Shot of Cuervo, amen." Barry Westphall waves the sign of the cross over the steaming cup, then sips. It is his third refill." — What a great first liner, haha!
UPDATE 1.1: If you feel like reading it instead: Here is the site that has the original text for it. It is on the Infinite Matrix site. http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories... Or if you are like me and love reading along while listening to the audiobook. The voices in the audiobooks are usually better than the ones I create in my mind. Especially with J.P. Kelly narrating it,he does a superb job, and I am so glad I did both. It help me understand the story much better as well. Even though it was such a short story!
What a great short story! This is the first time I have read anything from Lawrence Watt-Evans and I am glad I finally did. I am definitely going to p...moreWhat a great short story! This is the first time I have read anything from Lawrence Watt-Evans and I am glad I finally did. I am definitely going to put some more of his books in my "to-reads" shelf.
Here is an awesome quote about parallel universes from his book here.
"See, everything that ever could possibly have happened, in the entire history of the universe right from the Big Bang up until now, _did_ happen -- somewhere. And _every_ possible difference means a different universe. Not just if Napoleon lost at Waterloo, or won, or whatever he didn't do here; what does Napoleon matter to the _universe_, anyway? Betelgeuse doesn't give a flying damn for all of Europe, past, present, or future. But every single atom or particle or whatever, whenever it had a chance to do something -- break up or stay together, or move one direction instead of another, whatever -- it did _all_ of them, but all in different universes. They didn't branch off, either -- all the universes were always there, there just wasn't any difference between them until this particular event came along. And that means that there are millions and millions of identical universes, too, where the differences haven't happened yet. There's an infinite number of universes, more than that an infinity of infinities, I mean you can't really comprehend it. If you think you're close then multiply that a few zillion times -- everything is out there."
"I put the shotgun in an Adidas bag and padded it out with four pairs of tennis socks, not my style at all, but that was what I was aiming for: If they think you're crude, go technical; if they think you're technical, go crude. I'm a very technical boy. So I decided to get as crude as possible. These days, though, you have to be pretty technical before you can even aspire to crudeness. I'd had to turn both those twelve-gauge shells from brass stock, on the lathe, and then load then myself; I'd had to dig up an old microfiche with instructions for hand-loading cartridges; I'd had to build a lever-action press to seat the primers―all very tricky. But I knew they'd work."
This is 1981 William Gibson cyberpunk! This short story even predates his Sprawl trilogy of novels and it has so much of what is to come of his writing's just packed into a single short story, called "Johnny Mnemonic". It has tech—action and Johnny; who just so happen to be junkies (in the technical scene) and just as crazy or crazier as he his. Johnny eventually has to go to his friend Jones who is a very intelligent retired "navy dolphin" (yeah, an-actual dolphin), that is called a "SQUID". Jones is hooked on some hardcore drugs; which he developed more than just a habit for during a war that he was used in while he was in the navy. This story also introduces the character Molly, who plays a prominent role in Gibson's Sprawl trilogy of novels. Johnny Mnemonic the protagonist is a data trafficker. He has had cybernetic surgery to have a data storage system implanted in his head and allows him to store digital data too sensitive to risk transmission on computer networks. This is an amazing idea especially knowing that it was written in 1981, before they even had these micro memory chips!
"With Jones to help me figure things out, I'm getting to be the most technical boy in town."
This is definitely one of the better books I have read so far this year! It is a sequel; the preexisting work 'The Name of the Wind' is almost just as...moreThis is definitely one of the better books I have read so far this year! It is a sequel; the preexisting work 'The Name of the Wind' is almost just as good or shall I say just as great, as this novel, 'The Wise Man's Fear. Both are pretty hefty books however and with 'The Wise Man's Fear' being over one thousand pages long. So, if you decide to give them a go, which I strongly recommend, just make sure you set some time aside out for them. Time does fly by however because of the way the story captivates you in a narcotic like mesmerize state of wonderment and joy, in which sleep is simply not an option. Though the time will appear to fly by, time is time; so, set some aside, you will be happy you did. I have both of the books... and if you don't want to spend $25 on each one, I would be more than happy to lend 'em to you, that is if you live in my area. I am always happy to pass on amazing stories!! Oh and another thing... the genre of the two books are fantasy and if by chance you are someone that doesn't particularly enjoy the genre as much as others which I have known many people the same way, but had given the books a chance and are terrifically ecstatic that they did, because of the incredible story and stories that gave themselves so much thrill! So, don't let that deter you, it would be detrimental I tell ya.... To say the least! :)(less)
"She shook her head, her eyes fixed, staring at the nightmare scene before them. Who had done this? Why? It was as if the people had converged here to destroy this place that had failed them in the end so completely."
The scene that is described here was indeed nightmarish, as was a large portion of this story. Although there were a lot of dark scenes throughout, it did have some bright and uplifting scenes to redeem its eerie disposition. I was on a roller coaster of emotions while reading this - which is rare for me, not many stories can evoke such an array of feelings, as this did. The many different scenarios depicted page-after-page, were filled with fantastical ideas that held a deep-down plausible truth.
I have read many books about robotics being used in extending the lives of individuals or prolonging the existence of mankind. However, in this 1977 Hugo and Locus Award winning novel by Kate Wilhelm, she shows humans living beyond their original due date, by way of cloning. Even though much has progressed in the science of cloning in the past 30 years, the ethical questions are still the same and the controversies may never change. I assumed the heated controversies on this topic started in the 90's, with the birth of Dolly, the cloned sheep, but actually it appears to have been a heavy subject way before that. These ethical issues were concerns in the 70's, made apparent by Kate's writings, and perhaps even began far sooner than we know.
Whether or not you have a solid opinion on the cloning of humans, reading this book, will broaden your ideas on man's finite existence on earth, for it has mine.
UPDATE: I recently learned where Kate Wilhelm got the title of her novel. It was from a quotation of William Shakespeare's Sonnet 73.
That time of year thou mayst in me behold, When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou seest the twilight of such day, As after sunset fadeth in the west, Which by and by black night doth take away, Death's second self, that seals up all in rest. In me thou seest the glowing of such fire, That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, As the death-bed whereon it must expire, Consumed with that which it was nourished by. This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well, which thou must leave ere long. –William Shakespeare