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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-04 09:26
September 2017 β€” A Month with an Abysmal Reading Record

 

 

The previous month was all about graphic novels, comics, and anthologies. Here is what I read in September and what I thought about it:

 

Preacher, Vols. 4-9

It was irreverent as heck:

 

 

He means the Heavenly Host btw

 

It was full of sexist characters who say things like:

 

 

 

But oh, it was so good!

 

 

 

I read this one as part of Work Book Bingo for the Bestsellers’ Shelf. Glad I did because I loved it! Find a detailed review here.

 

 

Started this one Because. Neil Gaiman. Turns out, the book had an itty bitty poem by him. Anyway, I plodded on and found a collection of really weird stories. Check out my review here!

 

 

A thought-provoking collection of stories. Read my review here!

 

September seemed endless; maybe because I couldn’t cram much reading time into it. How was your September?

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on October 4, 2017.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-03 08:57
The Best SF Stories by Brian W. Aldiss –An Anthology that will force you to think!

 

 

 

Who Can Replace a Man?

As the human civilization collapses around them, the robots try to race their way to freedom. Read to find out, if they succeed!

 

Not for an Age

Get a glimpse into the lives of people who lived in the past. Like literally!

 

A quote that stayed with me

 

Psyclops

A father reaches across the boundaries of space and time to impart wisdom to his newborn kid.

 

Outside

Four people are trapped in a house. Or are they?

 

Dumb Show

A sort of apocalypse is caused by the use of sound as a weapon.

 

The New Father Christmas

You’d better hope the new Father Christmas doesn’t pay you a visit!

 

Ahead

The human race is drafted by another superior race to help the Failed Men from becoming extinct. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. At other times, it can turn you into a nervous wreck!

An excerpt that I loved:

Surrey was silent a moment, surprised to hear pride in his own voice. Pride left, after that experience! Yet there was no pride in him; it was just the voice running in an old channel, the naked soul crouching in an ancient husk of character.

 

A new word learned and savored

 

Poor Little Warrior!

A hunter may hunt as many animals (dinosaurs in this case) and yet the act won’t give any meaning to their otherwise inane life.


And a quote that I think all hunters should be made to read:

Those century-old lights, dim and sacred, go out with no indecision. These cloisters are closed till Judgment Day. Your reflection is torn and bloodied from them for ever. Over their ravaged panes nictitating membranes slide slowly upwards, like dirty sheets covering a cadaver. The jaw continues to munch slowly, as slowly the head sinks down. Slowly, a squeeze of cold reptile blood toothpastes down the wrinkled flank of one cheek. Everything is slow, a creepy Secondary Era slowness like the drip of water, and you know that if you had been in charge of creation you would have found some medium less heartbreaking than Time to stage it all in.

 

Another beautiful word

 

Man on Bridge

Those more suited to cerebral pursuits have formed a separate group called the Cs. But nothing is ever enough for man and this time, he wants to create geniuses without pesky notions, such as fear and morality to stop them.

 

The Impossible Star

A murder takes place on board a spaceship while it is trying to escape the gravitational pull of the Impossible star.

 

Basis for Negotiation

Britain declares neutrality in the American-Chinese war, which leads to some of its own citizens rebelling against it. The twist at the end was a lot of fun!

 

 

Old Hundredth

Humans have vacated the Earth and sentient animal-like beings populate it now. This is the story about one of them. I loved two things about it:

  1. I started with a presumption that I was reading about a human. I wasn’t! This became clear in a later reveal.
  2. The animals could choose their moment of death as they saw fit. When they did die, they turned into a column –a musicolumn to be exact — that would produce music when a living organism was in the vicinity.

 

A Kind of Artistry

A new living and sentient entity called the Cliff has been born from a non-living asteroid. The story is about a human’s attempt to contact it and bring back a sample.

What I loved about this story is how it challenged another one of my presumptions. If Man will change the world, shouldn’t the world change him too?

 

 

 

Man in his Time

A man becomes out of sync with time on Earth after spending some time in space. While he treats his life like a science experiment, it is especially hard on his loved ones.

Kind of reminded me of the whole science has consequences mindset that Mary Shelley was in when she wrote Frankenstein.

 

While I wasn’t blown away by this anthology, it has given me ideas for future stories, things to think about, and challenged some of my previously conceived notions. What else should I expect from a good book?

 

 

Image

 

 Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on October 3, 2017.

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text 2017-04-26 20:31
Book Booty Plundered in April 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

I shopped in two batches this month:

 

Liberty Book Bazaar

This is the haul I ended bringing home from the bazaar:

 

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While I don’t mind searching for the books in the piles that are dumped on tables in Liberty, I do mind that the collection gets worse and worse every month. I had to do a lot of digging before I ended up with these baubles. The amount of digging has been increasing with each bazaar. In the past, I have defended it when people said that you can’t find any good books there because I did, time and time again. Now, I’m not so sure!

 

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I have yet to read anything by Kim Stanley Robinson, which means this might be the wrong book to start with. I’m going to give it a shot anyway, which is why I bought this.

 

The Thursday Next series is amazeballs as Icky will tell you. Like what she had to say? Read more of her musings here. I’m slowly collecting all the books in the series. This is such a pretty cover!

 

My reasons for buying Shogun can be found here.

 

Roth, Snicket, and the Irish Fairytales Omnibus all looked really interesting!

 

A look inside the minds that thought up Narnia & Middle Earth? Sign me up!

 

This will make me stick to my plan of reading more Non-fic. I thought if I started with books on subjects that interested me, success will be more likely.

 

I loved Night by Elie Wiesel and wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by.

 

It has dinosaurs #nuffsaid

 

Kitabain

 

This online site continues to kick ass. It has an amazing collection of sci-fi/fantasy books, which is the only tab that I click on while there anyway. I mean, I found this gem on the site! They are prompt in delivering the books unlike some stores I know. They will never change the price of a book either. The rider will text you before leaving and if you mention a specific time for delivery, they will agree to it without any extra charges. The books are all reasonably priced. If I didn’t love going to bookstores and physically picking out the babies, I’d do all my book shopping from here. The only caveat that continues to be irksome is that often a book will be shown as available when it isn’t. I don’t like it!

 

Here’s my haul from Kitabain for this month:

 

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The two Douglas Adam’s are so beautiful that they make me want to cry! I have already read the first one in the series, so I just had to get the next two.

 

The two Frank Herberts are also the next parts in the Dune series that I need to read. These might be paperbacks but they’re in awesome condition as promised by the bookseller. My buddy read with Weird Enough can be found here.

 

The next couple consists of two compilations of sci-fi stories and I love how I get to sample the work of an author by reading a short story by them. It helps me decide if I want to try a novel written by that author or not. Also, one of them had a story by Clifford Simak and since I recently read and fell in love with his book, All is Grass, I was like:

 

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Then there are Asimov and Aldiss who are basically must-reads if you are into sci-fi, so I HAD to buy those. Right? Also, I loved Asimov’s Bicentennial Man and mention him here in my new short story for Wringo Ink.

 

Abercombie is an author that I have been wanting to try for a while now. Friends who like the kind of stuff that I do swear by him, so I thought what the heck!

 

For my previous book shopping posts, go here, here, and here.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-12-26 06:26
This Anthology Proves that Nobody Can Make You Fear & Love Robots at the Same Time as Asimov Can!
The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories - Isaac Asimov

 

I bought this anthology, The Bicentennial Man & Other Stories, from Kitabain. This online bookstore never disappoints when I want something that is different, rare, exotic, or all that and more! The books are amazingly priced and always in good condition. Since I have the beautiful hardcover edition, it was featured in my Library Languishers series, even if its stay wasn’t a long one!

 

the-bicentennial-man-and-other-stories-isaac-asimov

 

This edition compiles 12 short stories by Asimov, centering around robots and other machines. Preceding each story is an anecdote by the author that tells the reader of its origins. The anecdotes are written in an amusing style and make the reader look forward to reading the story. An example:

 

“How is it,” she asked dangerously, “that you wrote a story for that anthology, yet when I ask you for one you’re always too busy?” “Well,” I said apologetically, for Judy-Lynn is a frightening creature when she is moved, “the idea of the anthology interested me.” “How about my suggestions about a robot that has to choose between buying its own liberty and improving its body? I thought you said that was interesting.” At that point, I must have turned approximately as white as talcum powder. A long time before, she had mentioned such things and I had forgotten. I said, “Oh, my goodness, I included something of the sort in the story.” “Again?” she shrieked. “Again you’re using my ideas for other people? Let me see that story. Let me see it!”

 

The Prime of Life

A poem that talks about how most people who met the author exclaimed surprise at his still being alive!

Fun  to read.

 

Feminine Intuition

A dying robotics firm tries to turn public opinion positive towards robots by building a “female” robot.

Susan Calvin was my favorite character, of course!

 

Waterclap

Competing for funding isn’t a laughing matter, whether it is a pioneering experiment on the moon or on the ocean floor.

The ending was expected and completely unneeded.

 

That Thou Art Mindful of Him

“I understand, Mr. Harriman. Enough differences remain to show me that there are here many different forms of plant life.” “Undoubtedly. Dozens.” “And each coequal with man, biologically.” “Each is a separate species, yes. There are millions of species of living creatures.” “Of which the human being forms but one.” “By far the most important to human beings, however.” “And to me, Mr. Harriman. But I speak in the biological sense.” “I understand.”

Just as God is said to have designed humans in a form that resembles him, human beings design robots in their image. Things could undoubtedly get problematic! For instance, look at this conversation between two George robots:

Of the reasoning individuals you have met, who possesses the mind, character, and knowledge that you find superior to the rest, disregarding shape and form since that is irrelevant?” “You,” whispered George Nine. “But I am a robot. There is in your brain paths a criterion for distinguishing between a robot of metal and a human being of flesh. How then can you classify me as a human being?” “Because there is in my brain paths an urgent need to disregard shape and form in judging human beings and it rises superior to the distinction between metal and flesh. You are a human being, George Ten, and more fit than the others.” “And I find that of you,” whispered George Ten.

 

Stranger in Paradise

In a time when being related by blood is an embarrassment, two brothers try working together for the betterment of humanity.

 

The Life and Times of Multivac

A supercomputer, Multivac, has taken over the world and tries to protect humanity from itself. A man thinks his fellow humans want to be free of its influence. Or do they?

Loved the ending:

 

He was gasping, but forced himself steady, and said solemnly, “I have given us our freedom.” And he paused, aware at last of the gathering weight of the silence. Fourteen images stared at him, without any of them offering a word in response. Bakst said sharply, “You have talked of freedom. You have it!” Then, uncertainly, he said, “Isn’t that what you want?”

 

The Winnowing

A global food crisis is starving people of the world slowly when a scientist comes up with a revolutionary lipoprotein. The government, on the other hand, decides to use it as a sort of chemical weapon!

Probably my favorite out of the whole bunch! The ending was expected but still well done:

There’s no cure or antidote, but don’t worry. It’s a quite painless death, and it will be the finger of God, as one of you told me. It’s a good lesson, as another of you said. For those of you who survive, there may be new views on triage.” Affare said, “This is a bluff. You’ve eaten the sandwiches yourself.” Rodman said, “I know. I matched the LP to my own biochemistry, so I will go fast.” His eyes closed. “You’ll have to carry on without me—those of you who survive.”

 

The Bicentennial Man

A robot like no other adopted by a family like no other. The story follows Andrew on its journey from the Sesquicentennial Robot to the Bicentennial Man.

The movie based on this short story remains a favorite of mine. Here are some scenes from it:

 

1

2

3

 

Marching In

A musician helps reaffirm the belief of neurologists in the healing powers of music.

Short but sweet!

 

“A revival hymn?” Dr. Cray stared at him, wide-eyed. “Sure. What I used in this case was the best of them all. I gave her ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’” He sang it softly, finger-snapping the beat, and by the third bar, Dr. Cray’s toes were tapping.

 

Old-fashioned

Two astrominers get stuck orbiting a black hole and have to come up with a solution to get help sent to them.

Nothing unique but fun nonetheless.

 

The Tercentenary Incident

The president is a robot. The president killed a robot. The robot killed the president. A robot is the president. Any of these might be true when it comes to what’s going on this story.

Weakest out of the whole bunch.

 

Birth of a Notion

That the first inventor of a workable time machine was a science fiction enthusiast is by no means a coincidence. It was inevitable. Why else should an otherwise sane physicist even dare track down the various out-of-the-way theories that seemed to point toward maneuverability in time in the very teeth of General Relativity?

A scientist tries out his invention in this story.

 

Last Thoughts

The science in a couple of the stories took me by surprise. I used to think that making my stories too sciency might be a bad idea but I enjoyed reading it just as much as I enjoy writing them!

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