Wonderful, thought-provoking book. It is a piece of speculative fiction about an America which is being swept by an epidemic of insomnia [as an aside,Wonderful, thought-provoking book. It is a piece of speculative fiction about an America which is being swept by an epidemic of insomnia [as an aside, it is more than slightly ironic that this novella is only available in ebook format, given the evidence that our screens are interfering with our circadian rhythms and our sleep] which is poorly understood. The fear, the misinformation, the panic spread by the news media, the cults... it all rings extremely true. Trish's sister Dorie was one of the early victims of the epidemic, and now Trish is working for an organization that recruits healthy people to donate sleep to those affected by the epidemic. The book takes a very thought provoking turn when Trish identifies Baby A, who is less than 1 year old, who is a universal sleep donor, and whose donations actually appear to cure many of the people who receive them. Trish convinces Baby A's parents to keep donating her sleep, and then Trish finds out some disturbing things about her employers. I won't go into details so as not to spoil the novella, but it explores many ethical issues, including the use of child volunteers in medical experiments....more
Jack Sperry lives in a city called Veritas, a society in which people are conditioned never to lie, even about the smallest things. Advertising is in Jack Sperry lives in a city called Veritas, a society in which people are conditioned never to lie, even about the smallest things. Advertising is interesting, to say the least. There are cars called the Plymouth Adequate, for example. His son attends a summer camp called Camp Ditch-the-Kids. The security guard carries a gun called the Remington Metapenis. Sounds tempting, right? A society where no one can lie; you might think that would be good for human relationships. However, it quickly becomes apparent that things are not all roses in Veritas, and how toxic constant truth-telling is on human relationships. I won't go into the plot, but it is alternately heartbreaking and hilarious, as well as a thought-provoking examination of the importance of lies/privacy in relationships and how destructive it can be to hear everyone's slightest thought/opinion....more
Mind-bending book, even more so when you consider it was published in 1984 and is one of the earlier descriptions of "cyberspace." Fascinating and thoMind-bending book, even more so when you consider it was published in 1984 and is one of the earlier descriptions of "cyberspace." Fascinating and thought-provoking exploration of artificial intelligence and how the morality of AI might differ from human morality. I did find that the characters weren't really developed or fleshed-out; I definitely got the impression that character development was secondary and they were basically there to advance the plot. Ultimately I am very glad I finally read this book, which has had quite an influence on later books and pop culture....more
I had watched the movie quite some time ago, but I am ashamed to say (as a book geek!) that I had never read the book before. Very powerful and movingI had watched the movie quite some time ago, but I am ashamed to say (as a book geek!) that I had never read the book before. Very powerful and moving book about the power of books, not so much to give us answers as to pose for us the hard questions so that we may try to find our own answers. It is also a cautionary tale about the dangers of censorship and the dangers of living a life of nonstop activity and cheap overwhelming sensation, quashing any opportunities for quiet reflection. "The terrible tyranny of the majority." This book is truly a well-deserved classic. ...more
This right here is why I love Goodreads. I had never heard of this book, but it popped up on my Goodreads recommendations, and I LOVED it! There are This right here is why I love Goodreads. I had never heard of this book, but it popped up on my Goodreads recommendations, and I LOVED it! There are no cardboard heroes or villains in "The Sparrow," just multifaceted characters with complex motivations; you know, like real people. Even Supaari and the other Jana'ata were complex. "The Sparrow" is a fascinating anthropological exploration of first contact with an alien civilization. Even though the mission to Rakhat consists of highly trained, intelligent people with a wide variety of skills, things still go horribly wrong (I'm not giving away any spoilers saying that, as you learn in the first page or so that Emilio is the sole survivor and was found in very bad circumstances). The novel really demonstrates how, even with the best of intentions, people's subconscious assumptions can really skew their interpretation of things and their actions. Reminds me of the quote, "The eye does not see what the mind does not know." Not sure who said that, but it is very applicable to this novel. It is a measure of the skill of the author that even though I knew things ended badly, I still grew very attached to these characters, especially Anne and D.W. And Emilio, I loved Emilio so much. I also really loved how the book was written, jumping back and forth between time periods (before leaving for Rakhat, what happened while they were on Rakhat, and after Emilio returned from Rakhat). "The Sparrow" is also a theological exploration of the age-old question "If there is a God, why do evil things happen?" I am ashamed to say, I did not figure out where the title of the book came from until the quote close to the end. Highly recommend this book. I will be looking for the sequel; I want to read more about Emilio....more
Very sensitive well-written portrayal of an autistic man's experience. It always saddens me that so many "science fiction" books are not more widely rVery sensitive well-written portrayal of an autistic man's experience. It always saddens me that so many "science fiction" books are not more widely read, because some of them (and this is definitely one) tackle real hard issues that few non-science fiction books will touch. "The Speed of Dark" is a look at a future where autism can be corrected, and an autistic man who was born before these medical advances were made is offered the opportunity to be "fixed" (or rather the company he works for wants to compel him to participate in an experimental trial for a treatment of adults with autism). This book explores what it means to be human, unique and individual, and whether we should be "correcting" people to make them more uniform. It has elements of the movie "Gattaca" and the books "Flowers for Algernon" and "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" but that is definitely an over-simplification because "The Speed of Dark" is quite its own thing....more
How do I love this book? Let me count the ways. I love it for the writing, which was crisp and smart and made me think. I have read this book severalHow do I love this book? Let me count the ways. I love it for the writing, which was crisp and smart and made me think. I have read this book several times, and each time I uncover new layers of what Collins is saying.
I love it for the world-building, which manages to be both utterly creepy and dystopian and disturbing, but also *possible.* There are definitely fantasy/sci-fi books out there which are fun reads but require suspension of disbelief because the world just isn't realistic. "The Hunger Games" is not that book. It is creepy and disturbing because *it could happen.* Not that it's going to happen or likely to happen, but it *could* happen.
I love it for the heroine, Katniss, who is strong and kick-ass, and who has had a hard life. She is kind of emotionally crippled and closed off by that hard life, but she is rather fanatically loyal and devoted to the people she does care about. And she does a lot of growing over the course of the series.
I love it for the secondary characters who are all just as real as the heroine. I cared about all of these people.
I love it for actually doing a love triangle that I don't hate. The characters' actions are all very much in keeping with their personalities, nothing is written to create needless drama or angst. It is very easy to see why Katniss would be torn between the two, and why she ends up with the one she does at the end of the series. Not that I enjoyed the love triangle, but at least I can see why it was necessary and fit with the characters.
Last, and certainly not least, I love it for Peeta Mellark. I read a review somewhere that, to paraphrase, said Peeta is so popular because he is most (straight) women's perfect fantasy guy. And yes(view spoiler)[ who doesn't fantasize about a guy who has loved you since he first saw you at the age of 5, risks a beating by his abusive mother to save your life, proclaims his love for you in front of the entire country, and is willing to die on multiple occasions during the Hunger Games to keep you alive? (hide spoiler)]. But it is so much more than that; Peeta is awesome because he is so good with words and playing to the crowd, brave, intelligent, and has such a strong moral code and sense of ethics. Not to mention his wonderful, dry, self-effacing sense of humor.
Thank you, Suzanne Collins, for creating this world and these characters....more
loved loved loved! It has been awesome watching Anna grow in confidence and develop from the initial novella in the series, "Alpha and Omega." She isloved loved loved! It has been awesome watching Anna grow in confidence and develop from the initial novella in the series, "Alpha and Omega." She is truly kick-ass, in the best possible way. And I think I fall a little bit more in love with Charles with each book. Loved that line about Samuel telling him he should smile more so people wouldn't be so afraid of him, and Charles relating that he tried that; people just ran faster when he smiled :) There are some great lines in this book, not to mention fae and werewolves and witches AND a serial killer. And the ending... I think things are about to get even more complicated. Can't wait for the next book in the series....more
Wow. And I thought dystopian fiction couldn't get more disturbing than "1984." This is every bit as disturbing, in a different way, and perhaps more pWow. And I thought dystopian fiction couldn't get more disturbing than "1984." This is every bit as disturbing, in a different way, and perhaps more plausible than "1984." A society in which batches of humans are engineered to be identical and to have a certain level of physical and mental abilities so that they can most efficiently and consistently work in whatever role the government/corporation has determined they will be used for. People are basically trained/brainwashed to believe any family/romantic loyalties are bad, again so that there is less to get in the way of their doing their job efficiently. Death is kept out of sight, for the most part (there is an entire hospital devoted to dying people) and again as young children people are brainwashed to associate good things with death (children are taken to the hospital for the dying and given treats and good toys). To keep people content with their lot, the government has developed a wealth of mind-numbing television shows, music, and movies, as well as a mind-numbing drug called "soma" which people are trained to take anytime they are feeling sad ("a gramme is better than a damn"). Loved this book, it packs quite a punch. And I loved all the Shakespeare quotes scattered throughout; I really enjoyed trying to spot them and associate them with the appropriate play....more
Whenever I need a good laugh/giggle/stress reliever, Douglas Adams is the one for me. I have heard him accused of writing for the purpose of churningWhenever I need a good laugh/giggle/stress reliever, Douglas Adams is the one for me. I have heard him accused of writing for the purpose of churning out one-liners, but really, they are such awesome one-liners that I can't find it in me to care if it's true. And his work is full of so many insights on "life, the universe, and everything" (to be cliche) that I haven't found that accusation to be justified. To cite just one example (although it's from a later book in the series), the talking cow that has been bred/designed to WANT to be eaten, because isn't that so much easier to be greeted by your dinner saying "Go ahead, choose which cut of meat you want tonight because I'm looking forward to being eaten by you." Takes any lingering guilt over being a carnivore out of the equation. And who could forget “Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.” Quite apropos in this election season....more
wow, this book really stays with you. I read it months ago and I'm still thinking about it, which in my mind is generally the sign of a good book. Warwow, this book really stays with you. I read it months ago and I'm still thinking about it, which in my mind is generally the sign of a good book. Warning: don't read this book if you are needing a pick-me-up or your opinion of the human race needs boosting. But it is a very thoughtful exploration of some very weighty issues, such as what makes a person a person, as well as learned helplessness and what people will accept or put up with because they believe it cannot be changed (I kept saying to myself, why on earth doesn't Kathy just get in her car and go!). Interesting, I explained the premise of the book to my husband, and I told him how mystified I was that (view spoiler)[ the clones didn't try to escape or run away (hide spoiler)]. However, his perspective was different-- (view spoiler)[ he was more shocked that the "normal" people allowed the "donations" from the clones to continue and didn't protest (hide spoiler)]. Learned helplessness all around, I guess. Again, if you are looking for a book that will make you "love your fellow man" more, this is not that book. There are some sci-fi elements to this book, but I wouldn't say it is primarily or even mostly sci-fi....more