August 22, 2008

The Gods Themselves, Isaac Asimov

Asimov's masterpiece, rebutting charges that he couldn't write about aliens, sex, or women. The first part and last sections, on Earth and the Moon, are good; the middle portion, with the aliens, is brilliant.

Posted by Shmuel at 9:23 PM

August 19, 2008

Gold: The Final Science Fiction Collection, by Isaac Asimov

I rather liked the first story ("Cal"), about a robot who wants to be a writer, and the title story has some interesting ideas about a future sensory medium and may give some indication of Asimov's feelings about The Gods Themselves. The rest of the stories are okay, but nothing special.

That's roughly the first third of the book; the rest reprints introductions to other anthologies and editorials from Asimov's Science Fiction magazine (though without any headnotes indicating what came from where; you're left to extrapolate from internal evidence and the copyright dates at the end). On the whole, these aren't worth the bother.

Posted by Shmuel at 9:27 PM

August 15, 2008

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow

Good social satire and how-to manual, but I had trouble with the reporter-ex-machina ending.

(Reposted from Goodreads, where I gave it four stars out of five.)

Posted by Shmuel at 9:05 PM

April 20, 2003

Steel Beach, by John Varley

[I never got around to writing this entry. In a nutshell, I liked the book.]

Posted by Shmuel at 10:25 AM

March 28, 2003

Growing Up Weightless, by John M. Ford

This starts out really good. Ford sets up an intriguing situation, with a protagonist completely enmeshed within Lunar society, who doesn't even know how much he takes for granted every aspect and convention of being a Lunar native... who wants more than anything to leave the moon, or so he believes. The big question is how that's going to be resolved, and, alas, the author punts it. The last 35 pages or so, in which the whole thing is hastily wrapped up, pretty much totally suck.

With that said, Ford gets points on style; he does a nice jobs of seamlessly switching between perspectives (there's not a single chapter or section break in the whole book, and there's only one jarring transition in the bunch), and of making those perspectives noticably different from one another.

It's not a bad book. But it could have been so much better, had the ending lived up to the beginning.

Posted by Shmuel at 2:18 PM

February 12, 2003

Star Trek: Mission to Horatius, by Mack Reynolds

Originally published in 1968, republished in 1999, and bought new at a dollar store for one buck, this is about as good as one would expect, which is to say, "not very." But amusing at times, for wholly unintended reasons.

Posted by Shmuel at 1:21 AM

January 19, 2003

Space Cadet, by Robert Heinlein

Written in 1948 and clearly targeted at young boys, this book hasn't aged very well, but it has historical interest, akin to the sort one feels when reading a "Dick and Jane" book. How quaint! How charming! How simple and Utopic! And how vaguely creepy...

Posted by Shmuel at 12:59 AM