And this one certainly is not. Relentlessly bleak, grim, and haunting. I’ll be th...more“Yeah, but stories are supposed to be happy.”
“They don’t have to be.”
And this one certainly is not. Relentlessly bleak, grim, and haunting. I’ll be thinking about it for some time to come. I saw the movie before I read the book (the reverse of my usual practice). The two complement each other. Watching the movie, I thought the boy was too whiny. Any child growing up in such a terrible world couldn’t help but be tough, I thought. But reading the book, I realized the boy is meant to represent the lost innocence of the world and the last shred of human decency. He’s a fragile point of light in the darkness.
The writing is beautiful, and I would have given the book 5 stars except the ending didn’t satisfy me. The movie did a better job of explaining who the rescuers are, the good ones who don’t eat people. The book left too many unanswered questions. How will the good people manage to feed themselves, especially after taking on responsibility for the boy? Is there any hope for humankind? Has the “rescue” simply postponed the inevitable? The ending felt rushed, as though the author had tired of his apocalyptic world and was in a hurry to leave it.
Nonetheless, I recommend The Road to readers of science fiction / fantasy and anybody who is into post-apocalyptic horror stories. The author’s vision of the future is as terrible as they come. (less)
I've had the paperback on my shelves for 30 years and finally I'm getting around to reading it. We're through Texas and into New Mexico, and I am lovi...moreI've had the paperback on my shelves for 30 years and finally I'm getting around to reading it. We're through Texas and into New Mexico, and I am loving each mile of the journey. The book combines two of my favorite things: travel, and beautiful writing. The description of an armadillo in the moonlight as "a tiptoeing army helmet"--for that alone, the book is worth its cover price. I also stopped to savor a passing mention of "adapting to the cosmos"--a perfect phrase for where I find myself these days. It's good that I waited for this book. I connect with it now in ways I could not have done, 30 years back. Highly recommended for anyone who is on a journey.(less)
I began reading this collection as I sat in my eye doctor's waiting room. By the time the tech came for me, she had to call me twice to drag me back i...moreI began reading this collection as I sat in my eye doctor's waiting room. By the time the tech came for me, she had to call me twice to drag me back into my present reality. The first story, "The Drorgon Slayer's Choice," had carried me away with well-crafted storytelling and first-rate characterization. My general complaint about short stories -- that they end too soon, giving readers no chance to get to know the characters -- does not apply to this engaging collection of six fully developed tales. Each story made me feel as though I were reading a novel. Personalities here are three-dimensional. The settings, too, are richly drawn. Each story builds to a wholly satisfying conclusion. Which is not to say that all the endings are "happy." There's nothing saccharin about this collection. The stories form a well-balanced whole. Some are feel-good, some are a bit melancholy; all are thoughtful and well-thought-out. This is a collection I'm pleased to have in my library and pleased to recommend to others. --Deborah J. Lightfoot, author of the "Waterspell" fantasy trilogy(less)
My introduction to the genius of Martin Gardner came in the pages of his wonderful, witty Annotated Alice, the Norton (2000) “Definitive Edition.” Ga...moreMy introduction to the genius of Martin Gardner came in the pages of his wonderful, witty Annotated Alice, the Norton (2000) “Definitive Edition.” Gardner’s notes led me to a deeper understanding of Lewis Carroll’s masterpieces—far deeper than I could have achieved on my own. My copy of AA bristles with sticky notes and index tabs, each marking a particularly useful bit such as Gardner’s discussion of treacle wells: “Wells believed to contain water of medicinal value were sometimes called ‘treacle wells,’” he explained. (In my Waterspell fantasy trilogy, such founts are called “wysards’ wells.” Merely a matter of semantics.)
I next encountered Mr. Gardner in THE WEEK magazine of June 4, 2010, which ran his obituary. The obit said that Martin Gardner (1914-2010) grew up in Tulsa and “taught himself to read as a 4-year-old by looking at the words on the page as his mother read to him from L. Frank Baum’s Oz books.” Gardner went on to write more than 70 books of his own, on subjects ranging from mathematics to “Lewis Carroll’s coded subtext in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” If not for that obituary, I would not have known that Gardner wrote a regular column on mathematical games that ran in Scientific American from 1956 to 1981.
In reading these essays, I related most sympathetically to his experiences as an author. He called the founder of Crown Publishers “a scoundrel.” To justify reprinting a collection of previously published essays, Gardner commented: “I can only say that few things give a writer more satisfaction than a chance to reprint fugitive earlier scribblings, if for no other reason than to correct those inevitable copy changes made by editors and absent-minded printers.” I have been there and done that: it is indeed a pleasure to correct an editor’s goof-ups.
To rebut his critics, Gardner wrote a scathing review of his own book The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener, “the idea being that,” explained his friend Douglas Hofstadter, “on its surface, the review would angrily slash the book’s ideas left and right, but if read on a deeper level it would reveal all the weaknesses of opposing views, and thus in the end, the review’s harshness would serve the book well.” Brilliant! I wish I were that brave.
Any reader who owns Gardner’s Annotated Alice needs to also acquire A Bouquet for the Gardener, not only for its essays about Martin Gardner but also for “The Final Annotations.” A section of the LCSNA book contains the last annotations Gardner made to the Alice books post–“Definitive Edition.” Here’s a great example: “In the illustration on page 214, Tenniel pictures the toves with noses that are long helices, like corkscrews. In keeping with the book’s [Through the Looking-Glass] mirror symmetry motif, helices come in two forms, each a mirror reflection of the other.” How cool is that?
This was the first book I ever bought for myself, with my own money. It made me a fan of Andre Norton and started me reading science fiction and fanta...moreThis was the first book I ever bought for myself, with my own money. It made me a fan of Andre Norton and started me reading science fiction and fantasy. In short, it was my gateway drug to adventure. Thank you, Ms. Norton.(less)