ORFEO by Richard Powers

The protagonist of ORFEO, Peter Els, listens at age thirteen to a recording of Mozart’s Jupiter symphony and is transported. This novel continues the author’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 “modern,” 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.

March 20, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Literary, Reading Guide, Scifi, US Midwest

ARCHANGEL by Andrea Barrett

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.

March 2, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Scifi, Short Stories, y Award Winning Author

BOLTZMANN’S TOMB by Bill Green

“This is not a book about the great Austrian physicist, Ludwig Boltzmann, nor, despite its importance in my life, is it about Antarctica. It is more about time and chance and the images and dreams we bring with us from childhood which shape who we are and what we become. It is about science and atoms and starry nights and what we think we remember, though we have made it up.”

December 18, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Non-fiction, y Award Winning Author

ALL CRY CHAOS by Leonard Rosen

In Leonard Rosen’s superb mystery, ALL CRY CHAOS, Henri Poincaré, fifty-seven, is a veteran Interpol agent who believes that it is “better to let one criminal go free than to abuse the law and jeopardize the rights of many.”

November 3, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Debut Novel, Sleuths Series, World Lit

THE QUANTUM THIEF by Hannu Rajaniemi

THE QUANTUM THIEF by Hannu Rajaniemi is a tremendous first novel, first published in Great Britain last year and now in the US. It is a wild adventure story taking place centuries from now on Mars. The solar system has been colonized by our descendents, not all of whom get along. Technologies based on quantum weirdness are everywhere. Robotics has progressed well beyond true artificial intelligence. Jean le Flambeur, master thief, is broken free from prison to steal some time. This is what might be called hard science fiction in that the science is an intelligent and informed extrapolation of what we now know or speculate.

July 16, 2011 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Speculative (Beyond Reality)

YOU ARE NOT A GADGET: A MANIFESTO by Jaron Lanier

YOU ARE NOT A GADGET is a passionate and thought-provoking critique of Silicon Valley from behind its ramparts, and a must-read for anyone interested in the ways technology is affecting our culture. In his first book, Jaron Lanier, a visionary leader in the development of virtual reality technology (and the man who popularized the term), sounds the alarm: our humanity is under digital attack as the software that increasingly governs our lives impoverishes what it is to be a person.

April 18, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Non-fiction