Because of YA titles like "The Giver" and "The Hunger Games" dystopic fiction is experiencing its days of wine and roses. Which of course, is ironic,Because of YA titles like "The Giver" and "The Hunger Games" dystopic fiction is experiencing its days of wine and roses. Which of course, is ironic, when you consider what dystopic fiction is about: The world has seen better days. Some people have equated The Dog Stars with McCarthy's "The Road" which angers me. The only similarities have to do with the desperate need of the people and the violence that starving, fearful people resort to. Other than that, it is a difference between hope and despair.
Without giving away any elements of the plot, let's just say that this book chronicles the existence of two men who have survived a worldwide catastrophe. But in the midst of the book, we see love lost and found (at many levels), fear and doubt becoming peace and security, appreciation for the simpler things in life and an amazing focus on Ancient asian poetry. These are not elements you will find in other dystopic fiction with the possible exception of Margaret Atwood.
The language is as raw as it needs to be. The violence is throughout the book, but mostly subdued. Real love takes center stage as do all of the other decisions that humans make. The ending is worth the book....more
Jo Walton takes all of her childhood settings, along with those of her family, and blends them into a dark and magical world of almost reality. This iJo Walton takes all of her childhood settings, along with those of her family, and blends them into a dark and magical world of almost reality. This is a believable story, layered with so many brill themes: Teen angst, angels and fairies, broken families, grief, twin psychology, sci-fi fanaticism, English and Welsh cultures, British boarding school life and the horrors of English food. And with all of these themes, she blends them so well. IMO, the final scene, the most magical scene, does not jump off the page into unreality, as some have suggested. Walton leads into it so gradually that one is almost lead to believe that it is just an extension of everything else that has already happened. And, instead of focusing in a tight shot on her mother there in the every-gorging forest, she leaves her to fend for herself. Fitting.
I adored the part where the three most important new men in her life appear together to welcome her back into the real world. In some ways, they are like the heroes of the force that appear to Luke Skywalker at the end of Star Wars or the throngs that welcome back Frodo and Sam to Gondor.
I also love her love of Tolkien and Zelazny. I read LOTR ten times before high school was done and I have the same pang of regret that the heroine has every time I finished it. ...more
Atwood has three things that many sci-fi writers wish they had: She is a writer of almost unparalleled ability. She can write a sentence with great skAtwood has three things that many sci-fi writers wish they had: She is a writer of almost unparalleled ability. She can write a sentence with great skill, she crafts a plot that is consistent and full of suspense and she has characters that are fleshed-out as believable as any other writer. When she writes general fiction, her books are nominated for awards consistently. When she writes dystopic sci-fi she isn't read as much but she truly heads the class in this genre as well.
The story is a continuation of the MaddAddam story begun in Oryx and Crake. Perhaps the only criticism is that some of the characters from the first book do not act in concert with their motivations in the last book. But she fills in some of their background really well.
I highly recommend this to anyone who can handle dystopic fiction and for those who want well-written sci-fi....more
The writers in this book encompass a time period of sixty years. Yet, their writing advice (and examples) are more timeless than most professions. ThiThe writers in this book encompass a time period of sixty years. Yet, their writing advice (and examples) are more timeless than most professions. This is worth it for anyone, regardless if they write or not....more
Floyd is a good writer, a great tactician in Christian work and a good man. And what he proposes has had significant impact on South Africa and otherFloyd is a good writer, a great tactician in Christian work and a good man. And what he proposes has had significant impact on South Africa and other developing nations. But the Organic Church does not currently touch the heart of North Americans. There is much within me that wishes it would. But at this current time in NA church history, this is a book out of place....more
Rothfuss is another young Fantasy writer who, like Paolini, may go on to create an incredible writing career.
The plot sparkles as do the main characteRothfuss is another young Fantasy writer who, like Paolini, may go on to create an incredible writing career.
The plot sparkles as do the main characters. There is no way to describe the book without completely ruining the plot, since it is intricate and woven carefuly. Supposedly, Rothfuss wrote all three books in this series before publishing the first, so he knows exactly where it is going and has left all sorts of clues to be sorted out in the third book (a la Rowling).
I read this book in four days (750 pages) and the second book in six (1100 pages). Then, I found out the third book won't be published for over a year. I am going to go bonkers.
You will love this book if you even half-heartedly like the genre. I guarantee it. Just don't blame me when you get withdrawal symptoms waiting for the last book in the trilogy....more
This books shatters so many of the old commonly held beliefs about the brain. As my blog (natomaschurch.wordpress.com) amply illustrates, this changesThis books shatters so many of the old commonly held beliefs about the brain. As my blog (natomaschurch.wordpress.com) amply illustrates, this changes everything regarding behavior and belief systems....more
This is the first of her two-part series called "All-Clear". It is the story of time travelers who are historians, people whose vested interest in timThis is the first of her two-part series called "All-Clear". It is the story of time travelers who are historians, people whose vested interest in time travel is to clarify the past. The two books were originally written as one, but we can assume that Willis' publisher thought no one would attempt to read a 1400 page novel. There are a few of us (note the popularity of Stephenson) but they appear to be correct on this one. I had to take a breather between volumes. Therefore, I will treat the two volumes in one review.
These two books both won Hugo awards for Science Fiction. In reality, all of her books on time travel (save one) have won at least a Nebula award if not the Hugo. They definitely deserve the accolades. Her characters are well-drawn, thoughtful and concise in their efforts. The settings are well-drawn (perhaps too-well drawn. There are moments I got lost in the minutia of WW2 bombings and people movements). This is Sci-fi/fantasy near its highest level.
The story focuses on people traveling from the year 2060 back to the time in London's history when the Nazis were blitzing the island with bombing run after bombing run. There is no question this is meticulously researched. Some of the curious incidents mentioned in this story (such as the rules for boarding houses, laying claim to a piece of carpet in the Underground rail stations and plays performed for evacuees) all have the taste of accuracy that can only come from a writer who has done their homework.
Specifically, the story follows three historians who travel back to the Blitz and then cannot find their way back to the present time. They explore every detail of life in the war, traveling to and fro looking for their way of escape. The real beauty of these books is the two-fold combination of building suspense and quaint mundane living in an extraordinary situation. As the travelers make their way through the events of each day, they take on the personna of the brave Londoners who conquered the Nazis through their grit, determination, blood, sweat and tears.
The book does get tedious at times, but this is the chance one takes when trying to capture the lives of common people thoroughly enough to grip and envelope the reader. The story moves along enough to capture the imagination of most readers, although some who are used to shorter stories and more action might fall to the wayside. Endure my friends. The end is a victory of sorts for the reader. ...more
Later on in his career, Brin will learn how to fashion together a plot, to make characters that have depth and to understand how to blend science in wLater on in his career, Brin will learn how to fashion together a plot, to make characters that have depth and to understand how to blend science in with a believable world. This novel was written in 1984 and does not have any of those elements.
There is one intriguing plot twist and I will reveal it right here: What happens if we reverse the Second Law of Thermodynamics? This book is a lame attempt at trying to explain what would take place if nothing falls apart but actually improves over time (except people).
This is obviously the work of a young David Brin. The dialogue is contrived. No one talks this way. The two primary characters fall in love but there is no explanation of why. The girl is good looking and this is the extent of the attraction between them. Yet, they are willing to be in a relationship with an alien based on a few passing glances and an improbable ride on a glider turned single-engine aircraft. The battles have no drama in them. The main character knows all about all of science and almost never follows a wrong hunch. The primary foil character is almost as likeable as the main guy and the evil villain gets thwarted way too easily. There is no quest, no self-discovery and very little suspense to hold the story together.
To top all of that off, the ending makes no sense at all. Even if it did make sense, it has no point to it. The only point I could conjure was wondering if the hero becomes his own ancestor.
There is so much Deus Ex Machina that I wonder if Brin himself believed his book would improve over time. All this book proves is that the second Law of Thermodynamics applies to this novel. It looks very weak, even after all these years....more
Not much time to review this. The first book (The Twentieth Wife) was a better plot, but the characters in this one are more clearly drawn and more reNot much time to review this. The first book (The Twentieth Wife) was a better plot, but the characters in this one are more clearly drawn and more realistic. Obviously the author used a lot more background sources, which enriches the text....more
Verghese bites off a huge task - that of chronicling the story of a national revolution in Uganda - and accomplishes it with gusto. I loved every partVerghese bites off a huge task - that of chronicling the story of a national revolution in Uganda - and accomplishes it with gusto. I loved every part of this book. It tells of life in a mission hospital from the POV of twin boys, born to a nun and a doctor. The book is pithy, pointed and spares none of the characters in its intense examination of the human heart and condition....more