DISCLAIMER: I haven’t seen the movie, though I was driven to read the book while grieving for David Bowie.
The Man Who Fell to Earth is, interestinglyDISCLAIMER: I haven’t seen the movie, though I was driven to read the book while grieving for David Bowie.
The Man Who Fell to Earth is, interestingly, dated and timeless at the same time. It’s populated with organization men that dominated the early 1960s, when this book was written, but winds up being a story about alienation and being alone. The three lead characters: alien entrepreneur Thomas J. Newton, his gin-soaked housekeeper, Betty Jo Mosher, and his chief scientist Nathan Bryce, are all lacking for companions in the world.
However, this is not a story about seeking companions, either. It’s a story about building a ferry boat to the stars. And making money. And doing science. There are no big battle scenes, or a climactic confrontation, but it offers much to think about. Some scenes will remind the modern reader of ET: The Extraterrestrial though.
One small complaint: Tevis tries very hard to predict new technological advances for his 1980s setting. Besides being pretty much all wrong, these predictions don’t advance the story much, either. But it’s very much science fiction of that period, after all, isn’t it?
The Man Who Fell to Earth is not a great novel, but worth reading when you’re feeling hopelessly different and alone. ...more
The world of The Milkman is intriguing: Government has gone by the wayside, replaced and displaced by three global corporations. Every adult is an empThe world of The Milkman is intriguing: Government has gone by the wayside, replaced and displaced by three global corporations. Every adult is an employee of one of these three corporations, and their place in society depends on their pay grade--the lower the better.
Our story begins with the stabbing death of a young woman marketing researcher, and the investigation of this "act of insubordination" by Ambyr System Security (ASS) operative Ed McCallum. Though not immediately evident, this incident gets wrapped up with an independent website reporting on the quality of dairy products in upstate New York (excuse me, Niagara Falls Catchment). "The Milkman" is, in turn, to become the subject of a would-be blockbuster documentary by Sylvia Cho.
The story is told through the perspectives of McCallum, Cho, and Emory Leveski, "the Milkman." Michael Martineck explores aspects of this world, asking the Big Question of "What does a world run exclusively by an oligopoly look like?
Another not-exactly Big Question explored by The Milkman is timely: When everything we know about the world sits in a device the size of a blood-pressure cuff wrapped around our forearm, what do you really know? There are two scenes where one character asks another to "make a call" for them, and the respondent had never done such a thing!
Of course, at least as important about that cuff is that it contains everything your employer knows about you. For this reason, some folks go offline to live outside society. These "ollies" play a role too.
The Milkman is an interesting story, with insights on criminal justice, corporate control, and the logistics of the movie business. Worth checking out....more
Wow! Rajaniemi takes his time describing this version of Mars, but once all the pieces have been assembled, the story just flies! The Big Idea exploreWow! Rajaniemi takes his time describing this version of Mars, but once all the pieces have been assembled, the story just flies! The Big Idea explored in this novel is a world in which privacy is completely controlled by each individual, and other people know exactly what you want them to to know about you. While not essential to the overarching story, it's interesting to see how that might work out.
Read this as the first entry of a new SF book club I joined. This is not a book I would typically pick up, but I enjoyed it anyway. The book's Big IdeRead this as the first entry of a new SF book club I joined. This is not a book I would typically pick up, but I enjoyed it anyway. The book's Big Idea (What does it mean to be human?) generally takes a back seat to the military action. The characters behave like soldiers typically do in 20th century fiction (the basic-training drill sergeant even says so!). The battle scenes (which do not play out like in WWII novels and movies) move quickly, while the between-battle scenes are quite entertaining....more
The best writers interest you in topics you aren't usually interested in. I now know much more about Galileo than I otherwise would. That's the good pThe best writers interest you in topics you aren't usually interested in. I now know much more about Galileo than I otherwise would. That's the good part. The time travel scenes are interesting by themselves, but I 'm not sure I grasped the connection between the two worlds/time streams. So, imperfect....more