Foundation Review

It was actually a television adaptation of Foundation that prompted me to realize how long it had been since I last read this science fiction classic, and that it was probably time for a revisit.  My wife and I recently watched AppleTV’s interpretation of Asimov’s novel, and so I decided it was an opportune time for a reread.

Elder Race Review

Yet for all the attention that the equivalency between science and magic seems to take, it was not to me really what drove this book or made it enjoyable. I think this book was really all about perspective and communication, and the evidence is in the very structure of the book. It is written primarily from two perspectives: the “magic” perspective and the “science” perspective, and it is the contrast between the two that makes this book distinct from any number of other riffs on the interaction between more and less “advanced” civilizations.

The Variable Man Review

The Variable Man’s description included references to a post-nuclear apocalypse Earth, and a man from the past.  Whatever I expected from that sparse summary, it was not what the story proved to be.  The fact that the Earth set piece happened to have undergone a nuclear apocalypse (at least five of them, actually) is really something of a footnote, one of those throw-away world-building tidbits, like villius flowers, that don’t really add to the plot or the substance of the story, and exist only to create a more full-fleshed world.  As for the man from the past…that’s where things got interesting.

It’s a Not-So-Small World

couple of days, and I will get to my destination quickly, with readily available food, shelter, fuel, and other resources readily available in familiar forms all along the way.  I can get in an airplane and fly anywhere in the world with a minimum of effort and time expended.  Even more remarkably, I can take out my phone and conduct a live video conference with people in a dozen different countries, and we’ll hardly notice a delay.

The Castle of Otranto Review

is how it came to be added to my reading list. However, to be more specific, it is one of the earliest works of Gothic horror, more a precursor to Mary Shelly's Frankenstein than it is to The Lord of the Rings. That is not a genre that I tend to favor, but the idea of reading an early work of speculative fiction was intriguing to allow me to look past that element.

Heavy Planet Review

I don’t think this was quite as strong a science fiction story as Rocheworld or Inherit the Stars, but it was nonetheless enjoyable.  If you’ve enjoyed the other, similar science fiction that we’ve reviewed here on the site, then I would recommend you consider visiting Heavy Planet.  Or, alternatively, sending your favorite, pre-industrial, centipede friend to do it for you.

Dragon’s Egg Review

I like to consider myself open-minded, and I have long argued for the inadequacy of our definition of life and the limiting ways in which we conduct our search for extraterrestrial beings, but even I would not have considered the possibility of life existing on a neutron star.  Sometimes, I think the more we know about a thing, the more limited our view of it becomes.  It’s not that I had dismissed the possibility of life existing on the surface of a neutron star, but that I had never even considered it.  Fortunately, Dragon’s Egg corrected that unfortunate deficit.

Wild Seed Review

This book reminded me of Ursula K Le Guin's writing. Something about the descriptions, the pacing, the plotting, the characters, echoed that author's mode and style. Not that I think Wild Seed is derivative in any way - it is one of the most unique stories I've come across recently - merely that the author happened to have similar style and preferences to Le Guin. Also like Le Guin, Butler takes a fairly common concept - that of immortals interacting with mortals - and follows through on it in a way that makes it compelling and original. This is, in many ways, what I've always wanted to see in a book that tackles that concept.