A few great essays and a quick read. The stories from his youth were laugh-out-loud funny. His relationships with his mother and father are touching aA few great essays and a quick read. The stories from his youth were laugh-out-loud funny. His relationships with his mother and father are touching and enlightening, and the first part of the book describes very charmingly and accessibly how to create a thoughtful, strong, productive character. The introduction by Ben Johnston very helpfully dispels some of the common mythology about Tesla with very specific information about how it was created.
"The pressure of occupation and the incessant stream of impressions pouring into our consciousness thru all the gateways of knowledge make modern existence hazardous in many ways. Most persons are so absorbed in the contemplation of the outside world that they are wholly oblivious to what is passing on within themselves."
"When natural inclination develops into a passionate desire, one advances towards his goal in seven-league boots." ...more
On finishing the book, I was struck by how much it reminded me of No County for Old Men. The ethics are consistently, satisfyingly muddy. The SisypheaOn finishing the book, I was struck by how much it reminded me of No County for Old Men. The ethics are consistently, satisfyingly muddy. The Sisyphean religion is interesting, if the metaphor is a bit heavy-handed. Disappointing leveraging of the standard scifi femme fatale, but forgiveable. I've seen reviews that argue that the book is critical of AI, but I think that view needs a qualifier - Dick explained that the capacity for empathy was intentionally removed from the androids (seems like just a bad idea). Maybe he was only trying to warn us: attempt to engineer the best of humanity into whatever AI you create. Maybe not. I've just finished the book so i need to think on it some more....more
We go into the universe looking for a mirror in other intelligent life to make us feel less alone; but if we found it we would probably only recognizeWe go into the universe looking for a mirror in other intelligent life to make us feel less alone; but if we found it we would probably only recognize the personal, isolated nature of our individual sentience more.
I love Lem for taking the wind out of the sails of one of science fiction's most cherished ideas. He really looks at the implications and consequences of exploration. He is also one of the only sci-fi authors that I know (Bradbury would also be on the list) who can write emotion so that you feel punched in the gut. Parts of Solaris are truly terrifying if you give yourself to his images (the sentient sun producing a massive plasma child mimicking human facial expressions).
The struggle of the characters in Solaris trying to communicate with the sun, and the sun trying to communicate with them, reminded me of the struggle of one person to really relate to anyone else. An all-time favorite....more
It's been some time since I read this, but I remember being extremely frustrated by Heinlein's insistence on using silly linguistic devices like elimiIt's been some time since I read this, but I remember being extremely frustrated by Heinlein's insistence on using silly linguistic devices like eliminating articles... for the entire book. Combined with his standard, sexpot, two-dimensional female characters I was frustrated before I could get behind his ideas. ...more