I've never made it through a Philip K Dick story. I've checked various titles out from the library, but just couldn't concentrate. "Do Androids DreamI've never made it through a Philip K Dick story. I've checked various titles out from the library, but just couldn't concentrate. "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep" was one of those. The opening struck me as depressing and I just wasn't in a place to work with the material...then it was due, and that was five years ago.
This week on vacation, I spotted the graphic novel adaptation. Because it contains the entire text of the novel, this seemed a good way to try again, though I had some initial concerns the images would hew too close to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (it doesn't).
I read the collection volumes in two afternoons. I enjoyed the story and the images.
Ultimately, I was attracted to the source material because of Ridley Scott's brilliant Blade Runner. The movie leaves out the empathy box and Mercerism, along with other commentary on media and technology (e.g. Penfield Mood organ, Buster show), alters the plot to create more action and tension, and invents the purpose and philosophical viewpoint of Roy Beatty wholesale. But I feel the movie rescues the story from some of its meandering and provides a stronger purpose for the androids. While this isn't the place to review Dick's work (the visualized adaptation being on display here), having seen the original material visualized I can see wisdom in many of Ridley Scott's variations.
Cambias weaves a near future tale of space piracy involving satellites, computer hacking, and lunar mining. Less sci-fi and more thriller, the outlineCambias weaves a near future tale of space piracy involving satellites, computer hacking, and lunar mining. Less sci-fi and more thriller, the outline could easily have been written by Clive Cussler. In fact, Cussler's classic, Cyclops, invokes similar themes from hacking flight systems on spacecraft to lunar bases. Of the two, Cussler's tale comes out on top, though as this is only Cambias' second novel it's not exactly a fair comparison.
A decent read with a few lingering marks of amateurish writing showing through. 3 stars, and I'll likely hunt down his first novel, A Darkling Sea, which received solid critical reviews....more
Nye's book is a fast, entertaining read from a sincere penman who loves scientific discovery and promoting a scientific/material worldview.
UnfortunatNye's book is a fast, entertaining read from a sincere penman who loves scientific discovery and promoting a scientific/material worldview.
Unfortunately (for the book's subtitle), he doesn't seriously address Creationist criticisms of the Geological record, shortcomings and limitations of radiocarbon dating, challenges with punctuated equilibrium, and whether inherited genetic changes can create complexity rather than sort and simplify existing complexity. Further, some of his positions in closing chapters on GMOs and cloning don't seen to line up with his views earlier in the book. And in his zeal to evangelize evolution he claims a wide range of things as evolution, such that I almost expected by the end for him to credit evolution for my toaster.
But in spite of that, his underlying point is spot-on: that a materialistic worldview is the most useful for understanding the phenomena we experience. And that worldviews which prefer supernaturalism over testable material science will only take humanity backward and therefore should not be allowed to displace or distract from "real science."
I would have liked a more personal view of how he prepared for and experienced his debate with Ken Ham (a kind and smart man whom I've met several times and whose work was influential on my thinking at an earlier stage of my life). And I would have liked for Nye to have offered his thoughts on how anyone with a pre-suppositional worldview can be brought to understand (if not agree with) a worldview based on different presuppositions (e.g. supernatural versus material).
His tour of the science of evolution is not groundbreaking, but concise and well told. A thought-provoking read....more
Consider Phlebas was my first foray into Mr. Banks' famous Culture series. Having heard about it for years, and in light of the author's 2013 passing,Consider Phlebas was my first foray into Mr. Banks' famous Culture series. Having heard about it for years, and in light of the author's 2013 passing, I wanted to experience his seminal work.
Consider Phlebas may not have been the right place to start (Player of Games is also often mentioned). As one of Mr. Banks' early sci-fi works it shows traits of developing writer skill in terms of plotting and characterization. I felt the novel contained a roughly 180-page side-track that should have been significantly shorter. However, the novel does succeed in demonstrating a parade of far-future societies and activities - building an interesting world - especially when it was published in the 1980s.
Overall, I enjoyed the story but didn't love it. I want to try another of his novels in this setting, but from this experience I don't feel compelled to read the whole series....more
Diplomatic Immunity tells an enjoyable tale in the Vorkosigan Saga, but I found the characterization (especially of Ekaterin) a bit weak/off. Bujold oDiplomatic Immunity tells an enjoyable tale in the Vorkosigan Saga, but I found the characterization (especially of Ekaterin) a bit weak/off. Bujold offers skilful action and intrigue to lift the center-late part of the story. The ending is touching.
But on the whole, this novel could be skipped. Fans and completion-ists won't, of course, but will likely agree that this adventure in Miles' Auditorial career pales when compared to Komarr or Cryoburn....more
One of Lois McMaster Bujold's best tales in the Vorkosigan Saga. Bujold matures her central character, Miles Vorkosigan, with a healthy dash of mysterOne of Lois McMaster Bujold's best tales in the Vorkosigan Saga. Bujold matures her central character, Miles Vorkosigan, with a healthy dash of mystery.
To my mind, the story arc of Mirror Dance, Memory, Komarr, and A Civil Campaign evince perhaps the strongest writing in the saga thus far, though the entire series is enjoyable. Memory plays an important role in setting up the second half of the larger saga.
For Vorkosigan fans, this is a no-brainer, so to speak. For those new to the series, start with a novel either earlier or later and pick this one up after developing your sense of context....more
Abraham and Franck (as James S.A. Corey) fill-out their setting with well-crafted novellas that address back-story and context. My favourite thus-farAbraham and Franck (as James S.A. Corey) fill-out their setting with well-crafted novellas that address back-story and context. My favourite thus-far has been Gods of Risk. The Churn depicted Earth-bound life on "basic" (welfare) - addressing street-level crime, living, and dying in a near-future urban context.
The story provides background to one of the series' main-characters. I found this back-story less compelling than the depiction of the setting.
The origin story that kicked off a 30yr sci-fi saga. For Vorkosigan fans that choose to meander through the series rather than take it in order, thisThe origin story that kicked off a 30yr sci-fi saga. For Vorkosigan fans that choose to meander through the series rather than take it in order, this novel fills in the backstory on Miles' parents lives prior to their marriage. A fun read....more
As you may notice from my other reviews of Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, I'm picking my way through this series willy-nilly. When I read a sAs you may notice from my other reviews of Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, I'm picking my way through this series willy-nilly. When I read a story that mentions prior events that intrigue me, I read that novel next. I started with the latest novel chronologically (Cryoburn), and have meandered through about half of the saga now.
Komarr is an excellent prequel to A Civil Campaign. I'm impressed by how tightly Ms Bujold plots her stories, so that they interconnect so well, yet each stands alone. In reading A Civil Campaign, I was intrigued by the remarks concerning the character of Ekaterine's first husbend. Who was this man? How did he treat her? Komarr provided a fuller understanding and its own exciting twists.
Young Adult fiction typically deals with the angsts of its target market - first love, discovering personal identity/purpose, and forming one's own woYoung Adult fiction typically deals with the angsts of its target market - first love, discovering personal identity/purpose, and forming one's own world-view. In many ways, the YA market today presents some of the best stories in SF/Fantasy - where was this outpouring of imaginative authors when I was a kid? Unfortunately, A Crack in the Sky addresses its themes in a derivative and almost formulaic manner.
To be fair, Mark Peter Hughes mixes an original plot, but most elements feel borrowed and familiar in light of my other recent reading. Crack struck me as yet another story where a kid lives in an artificial dome/vault city and comes to believe the world is a lie. City of Ember covered this territory pretty well recently, and in several places I was reminded of the classic Logan's Run. Hugh Howey's recent Wool series, while not YA, likewise addresses the "lie of the artificial sky" but with much more interesting characters (especially in the first 3 parts).
Where Logan's Run served as a warning to cold-war era readers regarding the power and nature of socialist governments, Mark Peter Hughes lays the blame on corporations and management philosophy. As a management consultant, I certainly found some of his depictions of corporate culture amusing and rooted in truth.
But Crack's other failing is that story is sometimes secondary to the author's ecological agenda. I'm sympathetic with his lectures on sustainability, global warming, and consumerism...but this wears thin. For a more engaging and less preachy post-oil, global-warming setting in YA fiction, see Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker.
Crack was amusing and I don't regret exploring it - but I won't seek out a sequel.
I've been on a random wandering tour through the Vorkosigan saga. To this point my tour has included (in this order) Cryoburn, The Warrior's ApprenticI've been on a random wandering tour through the Vorkosigan saga. To this point my tour has included (in this order) Cryoburn, The Warrior's Apprentice, The Mountains of Mourning, The Vor Games, Cetaganda, Mirror Dance, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, and Barrayar.
Last Friday, I found "A Civil Campaign" on a used bookshelf and decided to dip into the saga again.
I was well rewarded.
A Civil Campaign is a fun comedy of manners/errors with enjoyable character development and satisfying plot arcs. Bujold's trademark ability to address the social impact of sci-fi technology (generally relating to reproduction) weaves intellectually interesting ideas through an entertaining romp.
My favorite Vorkosigan novel so far. A Civil Campaign would be a good entry-point to the series for those who prefer to start in the middle and carve their own path to discovering the back-stories hinted at throughout. ...more