Sunday, December 26, 2010
Now why did I have to try to read the Kollin brothers (Eytan and Dani) fine "the Unincorporated Man" three times? Because the copy I told the library was missing 40 pages was not repaired; it was just put right back into circulation. This happened three times. Finally, I got past page 92. It's great, but does it have new classic status? Let's run through the checklist.
*A detailed and bold vision of the future? Yah.
*A part of the book that will stay with you? Oh my, will the VR plague issues be with me.
*Will I want to read it again? Er... maybe.
*Moral and Philosphical messages? A great deal; in fact the comparisons to Heinline are very apt- no sci-fi work since "Starship Troopers" has had so much political theory disguised as sci-fi plot. And therefore, people might really hate this book.
But as great sci-fi does, it raises questions about the dangers of technology- both those that will affect the body and those that will affect the mind. It may not have the action that some readers want, and it has its slow spots. But one thing never happens when you read this- you never feel that the reality in which the characters live is anything less than real. So what score does this rank? Does it break into the fabled 40's? Not yet. For now, I'm giving the book a probationary 36/42. This book is many things- a warning about the dangers of technologies headed our way, about the nature of corporations and freedom, and a bit of adventure. It's rich sci-fi with a message, and worthy the late night ours . But will I read it again? Not for a long time, which along with some of the slow moving political theory is what keeps "Unincorporated" out of the 40's. But don't let that stop you from reading it.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
24 out of 42 Richmans.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
There's no magic involved. Aristocrats and schisms, yes. And yes, there is a faith very close to Christianity and a setting very close to western Europe. Medieval facets of life, such as a Doge and a Jewish Ghetto are part of the landscape. But no wizards, no powers- aside from talents for violence and political disaster. So, not exactly historical fiction, nor fantasy, "The Left Hand of God" by Paul Hoffman manages to be a damn fine read regardless. Given gruesome surroundings at the start, young Thomas Cale is a hero with a skill for battle- and a few other things. I'm saying nothing else about the plot here, but the writing is descriptive, with bits of narration peppering a tight and descriptive flow. Worth reading? Yes, with a firm 29/42 Richmans standing behind it.
L. E. Modesitt's "Imager" series is also set in a world that echoes medieval Europe. With this third volume, "Imager's Intrigue," our hero is thrust ever deeper into a lethal world of politics and... hey, this book is a lot like the first two. There's suspense, threats to the nation and the life of the hero Rhenn, and of course, now he's married to his long-time love. In this volume, the stakes are raised as are Rhenn's responsibilities. While perhaps not as thunderous in it's conclusion, it still is a solid read, with 28/42 Richmans. If you were a fan of the first two of the "Imager" series, this one will still be quite satisfying. Probably.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Next up: " Master of None" by first time author Sonya Bateman. A thief who is bad at what he is and a djinn who wants nothing more than to have nothing to do with said thief are the duo at the hart of this book about stealing artifacts, honor among thieves, and of course, Genies. There are some seriously creative ideas here, and a tempo that moves the book along very quickly, but things do get a bit gory. Reading it made me wish the "here's what a djinn really can do" lasted a bit longer, but others may find the book dragged in other sections. I can't put a finger on it, but something was off in this book that kept it from really wowing me. A strong first showing and worth a read at 24/42 Richmans.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Used copies are worth tracking down. I'm leaving this set unrated since I read it over 20 years ago, but I remember liking it a great deal- and not just for the naughty bits. You can read a nice wiki entry about it here.
Rating for "The Warded Man" and its sequel: 33/42 and 29/42Richmans. Solid!
Scalzi's entry is here. The first chapter of the book is here.