Archive for August, 2011
ZERO HISTORY by William Gibson continues his critique of contemporary civilization through a window of technology that renders the everyday into science fiction.
We follow a complex and sophisticated plot revolving about shadowy, powerful and unscrupulous figures that use the more sympathetic protagonists to further their financial and political ends. Think something like a James Bond story told by a cyberpunk sophisticate. There is adventure aplenty and lots of action. Cutting edge technologies and their implications further the action that is intense and unrelenting.
One of the rare books to wear the coveted triple-crown of science-fiction, winning all three major prizes in the genre (the Hugo, Phillip K. Dick, Nebula awards), as well as being included on Time Magazineâ€™s 1995 list, â€œAll TIME 100 Best Novels,” it isnâ€™t hyperbolic to claim that William Gibsonâ€™s 1983 classic, NEUROMANCER, is a must-read in our world of ubiquitous WI-FI, 24-hour connectedness, and the Blue Brain reverse engineering project, a world in which a recent Time magazine cover claimed The Singularity would be upon is in less than 40 years.
August 21, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: A.I., Cyberpunk, Cyberspace, Identity, Sprawl, William Gibson Â· Posted in: Classic, Debut Novel, Hugo Award, Japan, Nebula Award Winner, Philip K. Dick Award, Scifi, y Award Winning Author
BACK OF BEYOND by C. J. Box is just what a mystery thriller should be â€“ a wild ride through twists and turns with rogue characters that have depth of spirit and lots of baggage. This book is a hardcore page-turner with characters the reader gets to know well. Itâ€™s well-plotted and everything comes together just when itâ€™s supposed to; no red herrings and no deus ex machina. Box knows exactly how to plot his book so that each page brings the reader closer to crisis and then conclusion. There is the dark side that is required in order for good to prevail and there are lots of cold, dark pathways that wind their way to a fine conclusion.
MACHINE MAN, an off-kilter tale of a man who accidentally loses a leg and who then discovers that the enhanced replacement is more efficient than the original, seems to be the natural progression of Maxâ€™s grimly hilarious, eccentric, yet uncannily spot-on skewering of corporate culture.
I have seldom read such an extraordinary collection of stories, fascinating in their sheer inventiveness, subtly interlinked so that their images reflect and coruscate. It is not entirely right to speak of stories either. Roughly half the two dozen pieces in this collection might be called stories in the normal sense, though some are no more than brief surreal hallucinations. The rest include several poems, two sets of dictionary entries, a letter and the reply to it, a news report, and a brief history of poetry in Cuba. All the pieces are ostensibly by different authors, collected by an expatriate Irishman who introduces himself in the preface and concludes with brief biographies of all the writers involved. All of course are fictional, even the author herself: “Ana MenÃ©ndez is the pseudonym of an imaginary writer and translator, invented, if not to lend coherence to this collection, at least to offer it the pretense of contemporary relevance.”
Itâ€™s 1886, and the dentist Joseph Strauss follows Karl Ludwig of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen from Prussia to Bucharest, where the latter is crowned King Carol I of Romania. Carolâ€™s relationship with Joseph strays beyond the dental boundaries and they develop a certain camaraderie, particularly when Joseph arranges for the services of a blind prostitute to be made available (in strictest secret) to the politically beleaguered king. It is precisely the intimate nature of the knowledge Joseph carries which eventually leads to the kingâ€™s deliberate distancing of himself from the dentist. However, when the three-year-old Princess Maria dies of scarlet fever, and no further heirs seem forthcoming, Joseph wonders whether the King ought to be informed that the blind whore now has a son with a suspiciously aristocratic nose.
August 17, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 19th-Century, Real People Fiction, Time Period Fiction Â· Posted in: Contemporary, Facing History, Romania, Translated, World Lit, y Award Winning Author