Sunday, February 28, 2010

Books of February 2010

16 Books
7510 pages 

I think this is still more than what I read in an average month.

Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card
ISBN 0-812-55070-6
324 pages
Feb 28

This is one of those books that I reread every few years.   A most amazing book, I only wish that I had discovered it in 1985 when it was written.  A Hugo and Nebula award winner.

George's Marvelous Medicine
Roald Dahl
ISBN 0-590-03274-7
89 pages
Feb 27

So I haven't been counting children's books.  This one I read on my own though.  Picked it up today for when kids are old enough & read it because I like Roald Dahl stories.

Robot Visions
Isaac Asimov
ISBN 0-451-45064-7
482 pages
Feb 26

I liked this.  A nice variety of quick robot stories.

Robots and Empire
Isaac Asimov
ISBN 0-345-32894-9
468 pages
Feb 23

Conflict between spacers and settlers.  Many interesting thoughts on long lifespans and the consequences.  I find it mathematically improbable that there isn't intelligent life out there.  Many reasons have been put forward as to why no contact.  Conspiracy - they already have.  Physics - FTL travel is impossible.  I like what Asimov alludes to in this novel - decadence.  You're a technologically developed species with long life span and many robot servants - why bother exploring?

The Robots of Dawn
Isaac Asimov
ISBN 0-345-31571-5
398 pages
Feb 20

I finally finished reading this book.  Its taken me over 25 years.  Picked it up at the library when it came out, but it was too 'heavy' for me as a little kid.  Still a bit of a slog at times, but an entertaining detective story.  It helps that in the meantime, I have read other Asimov robot stories, so I understand more of the background.  Currently working on the sequel.  As sci-fi goes, nobody beats Asimov in either quantity or quality.

Tales from the White Hart
Arthur C. Clarke
148 pages
Feb 16

One of the greats of science fiction.  A collection of cute sci-fi stories slash tall tales.

Will Ferguson
ISBN 0-14-301271-1
339 pages
Feb 15

"Our entire way of life is built on self-doubt and dissatisfaction."  This one has been in my 'to read' pile for a few years now.  Ferguson is also a past participant of CWY.  I'd like to read "Why I Hate Canadians".  The book reminded me of the style of Douglas Adams.

Bernard Cornwell
ISBN 0-06-109194-4
482 pages
Feb 15

Yep, human beings have always been ignorant, superstitious savages.

The Plague Tales
Ann Benson
ISBN 0-440-22510-8
675 pages
Feb 14

A combination sci-fi and historical novel.  It did predict full body scanners at airports, but overall fell flat.  The continued stupidity and illogical decisions of the protagonists (supposedly intelligent scientist types) eliminated all chance of suspension of disbelief. 

Hot Springs
Stephen Hunter
ISBN 0-671-03545-2
527 pages
Feb 12

Found this today.  I stopped reading another book - an extreme rarity - because it wasn't working for me.  Figured this was a good quick read.  Lucky find really for fifty cents, probably the only Stephen Hunter I hadn't read already.  Not literature by any stretch, but I enjoyed it.  The background was helpful for some of the other Swagger novels.

By Heresies Distressed
David Weber
ISBN 0765353997
640 pages
Feb 10

I like the characters & the story & plan to read the next book when it is released, but it hasn't lived up to my expectations from the first novel, Off Armageddon Reef.  Still, I hate waiting for a new book from a series to be published.

By Schism Rent Asunder
David Weber
ISBN  0765353989
736 pages
Feb 9

Less enjoyable than the first book in the series.  A whole lot of political machinations, very little science fiction.

Off Armageddon Reef
David Weber
ISBN 0-765-31500-9
592 pages
Feb 7

Another common sci-fi theme.  Technologically advanced person stranded or marooned with a more primitive society.  In this case, humans have been all but destroyed by alien invasion.  A colony is sent many light years away, but must avoid technology so no transmissions or energy signatures will ever be detected by the evil aliens.  How do you set up a society to stifle the science, free thought, rational thinking, and innovation that leads to technology?  Two words: Organized Religion.  That and you ban the metric system (since only the ignorant still use imperial ;).  Ah, the wonders of Organized Religion as a tool of control, oppression, and hypocrisy.  Some the of colony founders set themselves up as gods, some were opposed.  Two sides kill each other off.  The opposition left behind an android which was reactivated 800 years later with the intent of overthrowing the religion and reestablishing technology.  The colony is at a medieval swashbuckling stage of technology, so the book at times reads like fantasy.  Sword fights and old school naval encounters - think Horatio Hornblower, or any of Alexander Kent's books.  First of a series, I'm re-reading because there have been two more books published & I want to refresh my memory before tackling them.

Darwin's Children
Greg Bear
ISBN 0007132387
480 pages
Feb 6

Ultimately unsatisfying.  Jumps around too much, too dependent on having read the first book, too much science.  I could usually get the gist of the technical talk, but what is the point of writing  pages of viral biology science that most people won't understand?  Way too much for a novel, not enough for a textbook.  Plus I don't believe the sudden 180 degree attitude change about the virus kids at the end.  Don't get me started on "the caller" either.  Ended up reading to finish the book rather than hanging on, sad that there aren't enough pages left.  An aside, I couldn't find a hard copy of this book.  Out of print (no surprise).  Read it in pdf.  I know apple's new ipad toy is all the rage, with kindle before that, but from a personal standpoint, I can't see reading books on a screen.

Glory Season
David Brin
ISBN 0-553-56767-5
764 pages
Feb 3

Leans more towards fantasy than I like.  A planet where humans have been genetically engineered not only for the planetary conditions, but to establish a "feminist nirvana".  Matriarchal society where the primary means of reproduction are female clones.  Clones at the top, naturally conceived persons have lesser status, and men have lesser status still.  I found the "niche" system of careers interesting.  Did you know that women are genetically superior to men?  The book also incorporates Conway's game of Life, which I think is mindblowing.  The game, not its inclusion!

Gregory Benford
ISBN 0-671-50632-3
366 pages
Feb 2

More hard science fiction.  Scientists discover the FTL properties of tachyons, use them to try and communicate with the past & stop the environmental disaster of the present.  Lots of mind-bending paradox, physics, and hard science. The book is best known for Benford's law of controversy, which says "Passion was inversely proportional to the amount of real information available."

No comments:

Post a Comment