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Old September 24 2011, 10:58 PM   #10
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Location: Ireland.
Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

Klaus wrote: View Post
The last version of this über-useful thread seems to have gone the way of the dinosaurs, so here's a new one.
Oh I missed this thread.

The Valis 'trilogy' is one hell of a read. I think the first book is the best of them, but really Philip K. Dick's later, frustatedly gnostic novels are usually my favourites.

Had an active enough summer, sci-fi book reading wise. John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar was fantastic, even if it was a little weird to read a book set last year (at a time that was a distant future date) whose predictions went from the once-topical fears of population explosion to the cannier quips about increasingly personalized corporate advertising. There's a trenchant anger about global income inequality that, well, is unfortunately just as apt.

The Windup Girl was also really good. One could almost taste the heat here. Vivid bit of eco-sci-fi, with rising sea levels and the collapse of fossil fuels and the rise of biotechnology somehow resulting in a world where dirigibles are back in fashion. I got it entirely on a whim and didn't regret that at all.

Also spent the summer trawling through various books of Ursula Le Guin's Hainish "series" (it's rather loosely connected to the point two completely different planets which are each themselves a major focus happen to have the same name, Werel, out of the author not recalling she'd used it before) - with some of the short stories, at that. Of the books I read this year The Dispossesed was by far the best, but since it was a year or so ago when I read Left Hand of Darkness that's probably not being terribly fair.

Oh, and Frederik Pohl's Jem. It's hard to make aliens that seem convincingly alien, convincingly biological, and, frankly, interesting. I think Pohl did rather nicely with the three thoroughly weird inhabitants of the title planet, although the race of sapient balloonists who are attracted to light are by far the most fun.
'Spock is always right, even when he's wrong. It's the tone of voice, the supernatural reasonability; this is not a man like us; this is a god.'
- Philip K. Dick
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