Roberts’s latest, Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea, is a return to such an eye-popping and mind-blowing extrapolative technique, and our author outdoes himself, by creating a book that is so allusive and multivalent in its clean-limbed premise that the reader hardly knows how to parse it.
Archive for 'Books'
The Bread We Eat in Dreams proved challenging to review. Though the contents range from offbeat poetry to an award-winning novella, in a multitude of styles and voices, this isn’t just a random gathering of her shorter stuff. The more I read, the more these pieces seemed to resonate both intellectually and emotionally like the interplay of themes and movements in a symphony for a final impact greater than the sum of its parts.
The central conceit of The Violent Century is that a German quantum physicist named Vomacht created a machine in 1932 which propagated a kind of probability wave around the world, affecting everyone in minute ways but transforming a select few into ready-made Marvel franchises, complete with Stan Lee-like monikers: Tigerman, Whirlwind, the Electric Twins, the Green Gunman, Surfer Girl, Frogman.
With awesome, meticulous attention to scientific details, engineering protocols, bureaucratic procedures, and international politics (though the larger war is just background noise), Steele walks us through what it would have taken to build a space plane rather than an A-bomb.
We should get this established right up front: Stephen Baxter’s Proxima is just the first part of a longer narrative, the precise nature and destination of which is only hinted at by the passage that prefaces the main body of the story: In the heart of a hundred billion worlds – Across a trillion dying [...]
The Big Aha the title riffs on a state of deliberately triggered cosmic consciousness picks up many of the themes Rucker has been exploring of late… Biotech; engineered telepathy, other-dimensional beings; and the nature of consciousness. Like a jazzman, Rucker takes his intellectual obsessions as chords and juggles them into fascinating new patterns each time out.
What exactly is a dystopian novel? One would think that in this era, when the mode is so favored and the term is bandied about so promiscuously, we would have a firmer handle on the topic. But it seems to me that many novels are blithely dubbed dystopias when they are really something else, and [...]
Joe Haldeman’s Work Done for Hire is a tricky book to review, thanks to its membership in the intrigue/mystery/pursuit family, the pleasures of which include having to withhold from the reader answers to various questions about who is doing bad things and how they’re doing them.