logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: sf
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-06-23 16:22
The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin (trans. Ken Liu)
The Three-Body Problem - Liu Cixin,Ken Liu

What would you do if the laws of physics, of the universe, turned out not to be laws at all? Imagine you're a scientist confronted with this realization. This is one of the more disturbing realities that characters must contend with in The Three-Body Problem, the first of a trilogy by Chinese author Liu Cixin.

 

The book does an excellent job of making the scale of the universe, from its immensity to its sub-atomic particularities, conceivable and real. One of the scientist characters has a gift that allows him to visualize numbers, and in a note the author reveals that he has a similar gift. The book is very intelligent and detailed in its explanation of science; I can't say I could follow it all, but I understood the larger picture and was fascinated by the minutiae.

 

The book begins in China's cultural revolution and fast forwards to the present, shifting perspectives from the scientist daughter of a persecuted university professor to a man working in nanotechnology. Most of the significant characters are scientists, with the exception of Da Shi, a corrupt, wily policeman who became my favorite character. The protagonist, Wang, learns of the deaths of prominent scientists and starts seeing strange things, such as a countdown that appears visible only to him. He is tasked with helping to investigate a shady scientific organization, which involves his playing a strange video game called Three-Body. Nothing is what it seems, and Wang falls down a rabbit hole (more like a black hole) that leads to knowledge of extra-terrestrial life.

 

This Chinese SF novel was something unique; I found its different style of storytelling often engaging, though sometimes odd. The translator explains in a note that there may be narrative techniques unfamiliar to Western readers, and I could sense them. For example, much is explained through pages of dialogue, and the narrative can feel interrupted by the video game chapters, as much as I enjoyed them. I struggled with the fact that, after a brief appearance earlier in the book, Wang's wife and child do not re-enter the narrative, not even Wang's thoughts. His thoughts themselves are often unknown--for a time I wasn't sure where he stood in the quiet war going on.

 

Nevertheless, I do look forward to reading the next book in the trilogy (after a break) and to seeing the movie adaptation.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-06-22 06:45
Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire
Down Among the Sticks and Bones - Seanan McGuire

This is an enjoyable stand-alone prequel (of sorts) to Every Heart a Doorway.  In  this book we learn more about Jack and Jill and why they ended up at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. The writing is beautiful, the characters are fleshed out (even the Vampire has a personality) and the world-building original.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-06-20 15:03
Uninspired Muse (Mt. Olympus Employment Agency: Muse, #3) by R.L. Naquin
Uninspired Muse (Mt. Olympus Employment Agency) (Volume 3) - R.L. Naquin

This is a lovely, light-hearted, fun and enjoyable urban fantasy novel that closes out the story of the muse Wynter Greene.  The Mt. Olympus Employment Agency world building is original and adds a nice twist to the old Greek mythological figures.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-06-20 07:06
Undercover Gorgon Episode 2: Lost & Found by R.L. Naquin
Undercover Gorgon: Episode #2 — Lost & Found (Undercover Gorgon: A Mt. Olympus Employment Agency Miniseries) - R.L. Naquin

A cute and entertaining episode that continues the tale of Patrice the "Undercover Gorgon". This episode deals with Circe's missing daughter.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-06-19 13:39
Some Old SF Stuff I Bought on eBay

 

I do like old science fiction book covers- not just Penguin, but all the more lurid publishers as well. And then there's the feverish world of the pulp magazines etc. For me the classic era is the 1960s and 70s- the move away from quasi-imperialistic and rather conservative fantasies involving spaceships and aliens towards more warped, anarchic visions of disturbing dystopias and chaotic chronicles of inner space. But still - some great art produced in the 80s - with it's characteristically airbrushed look- and more recently as well.
 
That Harry Harrison book is a superb novel of interspecies conflict in a time of climate change. The 'toothy dolphin' on the front is in fact a reptile rather than a mammal-it's, ahem, a genetically modified plesiosaur used as a marine transport vehicle by highly evolved and human-hating saurians. I'd definitely recommend getting the first book in the trilogy-this is my copy in the same series:
 
They're illustrated throughout with superb woodcuts, which bring this alternative Pleistocene world to vivid life. The best stuff on the list is fairly far from the magazine SF novels which would have been the likely contenders for a Hugo equivalent at the time -- it'd probably have been a competition between E. E. 'Doc' Smith's Galactic Patrol and Jack Williamson's The Legion of Time. 1938 is just before John W Campbell made Astounding Science Fiction a less pulpy magazine, and some years before the average quality of prose in magazine SF really rises.
 
 
If you're into Old/Vintage SF, read on.
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?