Author Topic: The May 2016 Book Thread  (Read 3472 times)

Daithi

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The May 2016 Book Thread
« on: April 27, 2016, 12:10:02 PM »
Starting off the May 2016 book thread. Recently read Congo by Michael Crichton. The premise, an exploration party encountering an intelligent and violent breed of apes on an expedition to a lost city, like most Crichton novels, is wildly speculative. Like other Crichton novels, it also seemed well researched, but I still found suspension of disbelief difficult, which to some extent broke my immersion in, and enjoyment of, the book.  Overall, was a little disappointed with Congo. It's not a bad book, but certainly one of Crichton's less compelling works.

Daithi

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JG Ballard Short Stories
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2016, 06:59:11 PM »
Reading a collection of short stories by JG Ballard at the moment. Had never heard of him until I got the book. Generally enjoy sci-fi, but I'm probably not going to finish this collection. The stories are often time-travel or sound themed, and often have very interesting concepts at their core. My main gripe is the pacing, which is incredibly dragged out by a lot of maundering and tangential detail.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2016, 02:37:03 AM by Daithi »

Daithi

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The Postman
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2016, 03:23:09 PM »
Recently (re) read The Postman, by David Brin. This has been one of my top 10 books since I first read it a few years back. It tells the story of Gordon Krantz, a wandering bard and possibly the last living idealist in post apocalyptic America, making the dangerous journey from settlement to settlement, putting on one man theatre productions for food and shelter. After losing all his possessions to bandits, and narrowly escaping with his life, Gordon is left with the choice of freezing to death, or confronting the bandits and trying to retrieve his things. Losing their trail, he discovers a mail van, and a postal worker's uniform which effectively saves his life. People treat him differently in the next settlement he visits, assuming from his clothing that he is a representative of a restored government.

Gordon doesn't fully appreciate what is going on at the time, but soon assumes the persona of an official postal inspector, first just to get by, then to bring about positive change in this new dark age. The characters, especially Gordon, as a idealist trying to hold on to civilised virtues in an uncivilised world, and the setting, are excellent. It feels very real when you're reading, and it's very easy to become immersed in the story. Especially enjoyed that despite a such bleak setting, it's a hopeful and uplifting story, and one which reminds you of all the good things we take so for granted. Highly recommended!
« Last Edit: May 23, 2016, 02:49:01 PM by Daithi »

Daithi

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Lord Of Light
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2016, 02:46:38 PM »
Also re-read Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny. Like the Postman, Lord of Light is another of my top 10 books, though I actually gave up on it the first time I tried to read it. It tells the story of planet colonized by human space farers, who have access to high technology, including the ability to transfer consciousness to a different body when their current one grows old. Many of the first colonists have also developed mutations, granting them exceptional abilities, such as the ability to start fires, to kill with a glance, control electricity etc. The first colonists populate the planet over many generations, establish the Hindu religion, and in keeping with their mutant abilities set themselves up as gods, using the planet as a battlefield and playground. In order to maintain their technological edge, they destroy any settlements where simple inventions are made. The main character, Sam, one of the first colonists, has tired with the god's excesses, and treatment of the planet's population, and embarks on a quest, which spans many lifetimes to remove the ruling hierarchy.

The narrative structure is non linear, which might make it a little harder to follow on a first read, but Lord of Light is very engaging, combining elements of science fiction and fantasy. Think Arthur Clarke's statement that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Though writing quality is a very subjective thing, to me, the quality of the writing is exceptional, and the narrative is very well thought out, to the point that even small details are very memorable. The array of characters, mostly self proclaimed gods are well developed, convincing, and their interactions are interesting. Sam, like The Postman's Gordon, is a likeable idealist, willing to risk everything to improve the lot of the little guy, and even though he's a bit of a scoundrel, you find yourself rooting for him from the start. Highly recommended!

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Re: The May 2016 Book Thread
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2018, 05:24:56 PM »
Last book I read, dude, was this Bruce Fink's "A clinical introduction into Lacanian psychoanalysis" and duuude it's soo dope, now I see things in a different light