The Wilson Chronicles - A Dogs Insight Into Humanity & Politics
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Ringworld is SF on a grand scale in many respects. Set far into the future, it is scientifically well researched and utterly believable, with "alien" characters that are lifelike and convincing: the story is entertaining yet the concept is original and thought-provoking. A fantastic novel, one of many well-written books by Larry Niven.
Animal research is crucial for pets and their owners...
Excellent book using Sci-fi construct of time dilation to show futility of war. Written after he server in Vietnam. The sheer scope of the imagination: the predatory Kzin and the cowardly puppeteer. The gradual unfolding of the driving force of the novel: all the time you are thinking it is the major characters and the incredible world while in reality it is the minor character and her luck.
My son and I discussed it for days. Farmer is woefully under-rated, and really only known for his Riverworld series, but the World of Tiers is, I think, his masterwork. It contains so much of why I read SF - it has terrific characters, it's overflowing with ideas, it has marvellous set pieces and it engenders a sense of awe and wonder at the possibilities of our universe or, rather, the multiverse. If I had the money I'd personally bankroll a film of the books, now that we have the technology to do justice to them. It has a breadth, wit and complexity that ensnared me from the first line.
Banks has the ability to create fullt formed world's that are totally believable.
An utterly wonderful read. Reads like an allegorical account of the Chernobyl disaster, fifteen years before it happened. The love affair between Lazarus Long and Dora Brandon - but much more. Although not usually classified as Science Fiction, Carter's early novel certainly echoes the themes and styles of the genre. After all, what could be more sci-fi than a plot in which our hero must struggle against a mad scientist, in order to restore a world of order and 'reality'? The surrealist form of the novel and it's passionate portrayal of female sexuality which is quite unusual for a genre largely dominated by men makes it, for me, all the more interesting.
But, first and foremost, it is Carter's unforgettable language that puts the Infernal Desire Machines A book about an unbelievably old man and the wisdom that he has learned throughout the years. Shows the way we grapple with the big questions. Not without problems, but has incredibly high peaks. The story of an alien who comes to earth to in a quest to save his planet, not ours but is destroyed when he becomes all-too-human. The style is nicely understated, the plot, tech and characters believable and the story is full of gentle ironies.
Afterglow (a dog memoir) | Grove Atlantic
A terrific read. Gripping story,fascinating,immaculately drawn characters living in believable world s. This book,and it's sequel,"Fall of Hyperion",are masterworks,in my opinion. I was so caught up in these books that they seemed more real than fiction to me,and this feeling holds up with repeated readings. The story got it all: believable protagonist, imaginative story and a view of the future that in it's premises goes far beyond the stereotypical Cyberpunk setting. Compared to his earlier novel "Snow Crash", Stephenson move further away from "Neuromancer" and into the future.
To my mind, Dick is the greatest writer of the 20th Century full stop. Never afraid to tackle the big questions, eg what does it mean to be human? Or, as in this case, what exactly is the nature of reality? Banks' love of the genre shines out of every word. He has all the usual suspects in the Space Opera toy box, but he shows them to us through the eyes of a spoilt man-child who wants to play with them as much as we do.
And finally we get the twist, probably Banks' finest, that makes us immediately turn back to page 1 and read it all again in a completely different context. A bonkers, mad book, the story of Dr Frankenstein taken to a grey-goo-fuelled extreme. As the character's life disintegrates under the power of his creation, the narrative expands and fragments. The structure mimics the plot, sliding deliriously out of control until the reader ends up somewhere quite other than where they expected to.
People need to be reminded of its existence; 'Dune,' 'Left Hand Painted with a broader brush than LeGuin's with whose work this one is often compared, it scores through the thought given to its societies and the extraordinary fairness with which it examines the personalities of some truly loathesome characters, particularly the brute like, emotionally retarded Saba and the self loathing vampire beureaucrat Tanuojin, the latter finally emerging as one of the most tragic and pitiable characters in Twentieth Century fiction.
From what I've read of her historical fiction, it's also a tragedy that she's not produced more SF, which she would appear to do far better. This book has so much soul in it. I return to it constantly as a benchmark of how good a book can be when it presumes it has intelligent and sensitive readers. This book also has one of the most pervasive scents, and evocative moods I have read in sci-fi.
I'm not a mad fan of gleaming rocket ships. Not a pill-for-lunch or a personal-jet pack in sight. What happens in this book could happen to any of us today. The ending is set far in the future, but the book is reassuring about man's ability to adapt now, today, to a new life anywhere on earth in this case, at the bottom of the ocean.
Animal research is crucial for pets and their owners [Opinion]
I found it compeletly believable and beautiful in its detail. The ultimate in political intrigue and dystopian commentary, all wrapped up in Banks' wonderfully realised Culture. Ostensibly about a man invited to play in a tournament of glorified intergalactic Risk, and yet the depth of the social observations, set alongside the super-cool tech, and written with razor-sharp wit, makes it so much more than this.
If you only ever read one Iain M. Banks book then it should be this one; and if you ever read this one you'll certainly want to read the rest. Extra terrestrial humanoid lands on earth, is captured and kept in an institute where he develops friendship with one of the doctors. Book is written in the form of journal entries and newspaper articles as we see a naive outsider's look at our culture and how his attitudes and preconceptions change as he is influenced by ours.
A mightily written account of an outsider attempting to come to terms with his new surroundings. Actually there are three books in the trilogy and they effortlessly combine technology, the spirit of pioneers, rebellion, and political and philosophical issues that arise when mankind invades and irrevocably alters an environment. The whole series is so believable that it drags you in and makes you want to explore the character of each hero and anti-hero as they come in and out of focus as events unfold.
And a satire of the class system too! Just exciting, if counterintuitive, science and a fantastic journey of discovery for the team sent up there to check that mysterious object Rama out.
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This book is too good not to imagine hope? Herbert managed to create a genuinely 'alternative' and unique view of the far, far future, a consistent universe which didn't rely on the common tropes of science fiction. There's also a great adventure story in there too. I loved it the first time I read it when I was about 12, and loved it the last time I read it, aged Azimov - the man who invented the word 'robotics'. He also gives us the three laws of robotics. His robot stories are a huge influence on the way modern sci-fi sees artifical intellegence.
It is a very convincing insight into how the world will be in the near future combined with a grand space opera style plot about danger from outer space. A typical good versus evil, post-apocalyptic novel. The world finally succumbed to nuclear war. As a result of this final act of paranoid hatred between humans, the ultimate in evil is created. It's very hard to choose one particular book from Ian M Banks' Culture series because those I have read have all been outstanding.
Excession stands out in my memory because of the intensity of the story and the amazing concepts that fill Bank's universe such as the Culture's Minds and the artificially intelligent space ships. Incorporates everything from tarzan to sherlock holmes to dracula to wonder woman, all within a world in which our understanding of the physical universe, macro and micro alike, get both explained and questioned in equal measures.
Truly visionary and splendidly realised. As with all of his first books, Egan pushes his brilliant ideas to the limit of imagination and then pushes them again in mind boggoling areas and then does it again and again. A fantastic ride. The stories are also well constructed and engrossing.
The best hard science fiction in my opinion. A brilliant look at religion, politics, race and power. I've re-read it 5 times and every time I discover whole concepts not seen before. Because you'll never read anything like it again. It's original, beautifully written, imaginative and highly thoughtful. Really outstanding and the reason I became an SF fan in the first place. Fresh, exciting, unexpected. A great story with all of the needed ingredients of action, intrigue, suspense and science.
Animal research is crucial for pets and their owners [Opinion]
This is my favourite Iain M Banks book by light years. I love his "Culture" series of novels, but "The Algebraist" story is his most complete. A complex and exciting novel based in A. Cruel warlords, invasion forces, friendships lost and remade, beautifully described worlds and a compelling detective story all go to make this book a must read for any science fiction fan. Although I'd concur with the greatness of Neuromancer, Pavane and its sister novel Kiteworld are an exciting mix of historical and futuristic thinking from a, now, relatively unsung British writer.