Thursday, March 26, 2015

Out of the Silent Planet

by C.S. Lewis

After reading an article about Out of the Silent Planet over at io9, I decided to pull the book off the shelf for a re-read. It's a tale of a man, Ransom, who gets shanghaied onto the world's first spaceship and is taken to the planet Malacandra. Once there, he manages to escape his captors and encounter the native species. Unlike a lot of the commenters on the blog, I was not put off by the religious overtones. Heck, that was the reason I bought it in the first place. But this time through I tried to pay attention to the science fiction of the tale and see how I liked it. Once I got past the obvious scientific errors--it was written by a literature professor in 1943 after all--I found the story enjoyable. I enjoyed Ransom's journey across the Malacandran landscape, and still found the social structures of the natives somewhat interesting. It's far from Professor Lewis' best work, but it offers a nice little escape for a couple hours.

waiting room material
LibraryThing link


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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Runtime Error

by Bill Barnes and Paul Southworth

I really, really wanted to write an amusing review of this book, the first collection of strips from the webcomic Not Invented Here, but my muse isn't cooperating. I just spent about a half hour perusing the book again, looking for ideas, chuckling to myself and not writing. So if you're into web development, computing, science fiction, geek culture or Weird Al, get a copy of this book. (I know, how quaint.)

LibraryThing link

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Full Cupboard of Life

by Alexander McCall Smith

The fifth installment of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Amusing, but far from outstanding.

This one's just waiting room material.
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Sunday, March 15, 2015

American Empire: Blood & Iron

by Harry Turtledove

(first read in December of 2007.)

Check it out.
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Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Phoenix Without Ashes

by Edward Bryant & Harlan Ellison

Ads for the Syfy miniseries Ascension, about a generation ship launched into space in the early 1960s, reminded me of this book, the novelization of the pilot for the series The Starlost. Actually, it's a novelization with a rather lengthy introduction by Mr. Ellison who explains why the series sucked even though he had created it. Upon rereading it, I'd have to say that the introduction is the more entertaining part.

The main story is about a generation ship, the Ark, that had been sent from Earth to save a remnant of the human race from the destruction of Earth. The Ark is a collection of biospheres, separated from each other in an attempt to preserve Earth's cultural as well as genetic diversity. Unfortunately there was an accident that killed off the crew and the multitude of communities are now drifted blissfully unaware that anything is wrong, the earth pretty much forgotten. The hero of the tale is Devon, a young man from an Amish-like community. He's a bit of a rebel, and by accident discovers an access port out of his biosphere into the ship at large. It's an interesting set up for an ongoing series, but Devon's own community is somewhat two-dimensional. 'Tis all strictness and punishment, a trope that I've come to find a bit tired.

But I suppose it will keep you occupied in the waiting room.
LibraryThing link

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