Archive for the ‘Scifi’ Category
Nnedi Okorafor’s story collection KABU KABU, published in 2013, provides the reader with a fascinating glimpse into the author’s rich imagination, vibrant language and captivating scenarios. Created at different stages in her extensive writing career, Okorafor treats us to a range of intriguing characters and their adventures, skilfully (and successfully) combining elements of speculative fiction and fantasy with African folklore and magical realism, and yes, indeed, political and social present day issues. Many of her stories have been nominated, shortlisted and/or have won literary recognition and awards as have her novels.
The protagonist of ORFEO, Peter Els, listens at age thirteen to a recording of Mozartâ€™s Jupiter symphony and is transported. This novel continues the authorâ€™s literary exploration of cutting edge science and its impact on its practitioners. Peter Els becomes a composer of serious music, very much of the current moment in the arts. He is a musical idealist, with a belief in the power of music to truly move the listener. As he matures, his work becomes ever more difficult and timely. As a young man he was a prodigy in music with talent in science as well. The creative juices of both flow in his veins. In college he starts out in chemistry, but becomes enmeshed in music through the musical connection with his first love, Clara. In graduate school at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, his work becomes ever more difficult and â€śmodern,â€ť in part through his collaborations with Maddy, who becomes his lover and later his wife for a while, and with Richard Bonner, an experimental theater director who he meets while in graduate school. Richard pushes him to become ever more radical.
Phoebe Cornelius, the protagonist of “The Ether of Space,” the second of the five long stories in this collection, makes a living explaining scientific concepts to laymen. This is Andrea Barrett’s forte also. Three of these stories are set in the wings of some great scientific discovery: Phoebe is trying to comprehend Einstein’s Relativity; her son Sam becomes a pioneer in the relatively new science of genetics; and an earlier story explores the impact of Darwinism on the younger generation of scientists in America. In all these cases, Barrett explains the underlying concepts with great clarity.
Haruki Murakami doesnâ€™t lend himself to easy categorization. Though his prose is spare, almost styleless, itâ€™s more supple than muscular, and though his stories are often occupied with mundane domesticities, theyâ€™re also often founded in the surreal. Itâ€™s no surprise, then, that Murakamiâ€™s long-awaited latest, 1Q84, isnâ€™t easy to shelf â€“itâ€™s at home among either fantasy, thriller or hard-boiled noir â€“ but one thingâ€™s for sure: this book is grotesquely Murakami. That is, quiet domesticity punctuates adventures tenuously connected to reality, and yet for all its faults â€“ and some have argued there are many â€“ this is a book that haunts you long after youâ€™re done, a book that, like a jealous lover, wonâ€™t let you move on.
Hannah Payne is twenty-six years old and Red, with a capital R, her badge of shame. Her skin has been â€śmelachromedâ€ť by the State for her crime of abortion, and for not naming the abortionist and not identifying the father, the celebrated pastor and TV (â€śvidâ€ť) evangelist, Aidan Dale, who is now the nationâ€™s â€śSecretary of Faith.â€ť Her sentence is thirty days confinement, and then sixteen years in the community as a Red, where she will be constantly ostracized and persecuted.
It was more than one hundred years ago that H. G. Wells penned the science fiction classic, The Invisible Man, which subsequently paved new paths in the horror genre. The idea of a mad scientist who makes himself invisible and becomes mentally deranged as a result, is one that has taken root in popular culture ever since.
In his genre-bending new novel, Chuck Klosterman borrows the essential elements from Wellsâ€™ classic with some modifications. For one thing, he fixes the science. There has been some discussion that a truly invisible man would have been blind whereas Wellsâ€™ lead character, Griffin, clearly was not. So Klostermanâ€™s protagonist, referred to simply as Y_, is not invisible â€” he is the visible man. But Y_ , much like Griffin, has an ability to make himself invisible to others.