Saturday, August 4, 2012

Science/Speculative Fiction Review #9

To view Science/Speculative Fiction Review #1 click here
To view Science/Speculative Fiction Review #2 click here
To view Science/Speculative Fiction Review #3 click here
To view Science/Speculative Fiction Review #4 click here
To view Science/Speculative Fiction Review #5 click here
To view Science/Speculative Fiction Review #6 click here
To view Science/Speculative Fiction Review #7 click here
To view Science/Speculative Fiction Review #8 click here

I spend a great deal of my time every day reading speculative science fiction.  The rest of my time is spent asking the questions and questioning the answers that the science fiction I read creates. All of the stories I post contain elements of profound contemplation, varying philosophy, metaphysics, and theoretical pondering. The authors that create these stories are among my heroes in this reality, and I very much want to share them with you.   Although I read a great deal more than the stories I will post in these short reviews, I only want to share those pieces of text/audio that really stick with me and force my mind to ponder life, the universe, and everything. While I am delighted with nearly all that I read in this genre, I will make an attempt to only present the best of the best.

Writing - The quality of the writing.  I specifically rate the writing on how well it is able to convey to me the action, thoughts, emotions, etc. of the story. 

Creativity- Simply put, this rating is a measure of the degree of imagination that exists in the writing.  How unique and new was the story? Is it something I have seen done over and over again? I also factor into this rating category interesting literary techniques such as stylish ways to present chapters or different parts of the story.   

Intrigue- This rating represents the stories ability to keep me interested.  Did I get bored and have to fight my way through to the end?  Or did I lose myself and end up somewhere else entirely?

Overall- My general impression of the story. How much I enjoyed it from beginning to end, and/or how much it affected me.

Genome by Giri -flash story- 

      Writing 4                       Creativity 3                       Intrigue 3.5  

Overall 3.5

A 3 minute read that comments on the wanton destructiveness and irrationality of pure capitalism. There is also an attempt in the story to kill all mosquitoes, which is always a good idea.

Read it here.

"The lab had created a lizard using a synthetic genome derived from the common house lizard that made it efficiently hunt mosquitoes. The lizards would feed on nothing but a diet of mosquitoes. It was also tailored with a shutdown gene that killed the lizard after about a month to minimize the risk of the synthetic life form getting into the wild."

The Number of the Beast by Robert Heinlein -novel-

   Writing 5+                       Creativity 5                       Intrigue 4.5  

Overall 5

A novel fueled almost entirely by its complex, charming, and realistic characters. Each chapter takes on the perspective of one of the four main characters and is presented very similarly to a diary entry. After being chased out of their own universe, the main characters scour several universe through the use of a one of a kind device to find a safe place to live. In the story, it is discovered that the biblical number of the beast is not 666, but is in fact (6 to the 6th power) to the 6th power, or 10,314,424,798,490,535,546,171,949,056, the number of parallel universe accessible through the continua device created by one of the main characters. I recommend reading other books by Robert Heinlein before reading this one as it contains many jokes and references that the reader may not understand without experience with other Heinlein novels.

Orange by Susan Forest -short story-

Writing 4.5                       Creativity 4.5                      Intrigue 5  

  Overall 5+

Easily one of my favorite stories of all time. There are two grim stories taking place simultaneously. The first is the story of an orange. The second is the story of the Earth focusing on groups of couples in various global major cities. This one is truly a piece of art. Very creatively executed.

Read it here.

"A sub-auditory thud shuddered through the building and the floor tilted at a perilous angle, sending them skidding into the windowed wall.

“Is it an earthquake?” Through the glass Milena could see an open pit twenty stories below her, asphalt crumbling around its edges. From this height she could see sunrise breaking, blood-red between the bones of skyscrapers, through layers of poisoned air.

“They’ve cannibalized buildings for steel, for the pods and the launch pads.” Jurek scanned the signs in the corridor for directions.

“How can they do that? Use everything for a program like this, when people are starving in the streets?”

“Don’t look, Milena.”

Milena hurried behind him. “It’s insane. It’s not just.”

“People are starving anyway. Turn left.”"

The God’s Themselves by Isaac Asimov -novel-

   Writing 5+                       Creativity 5+                      Intrigue 5+  

  Overall 5+

While The Last Question is my favorite short story by Asimov, The God's Themselves is my favorite novel written by Isaac Asimov. This book is split into three very different parts. My mouth was left agape throughout all of part two due to Asimov's ability to so realistically create and portray a totally an utterly alien species that exist in a parallel universe. The level of detail, despite the extraordinary contrast to humans concerning this species, is breathtaking (for example, they exist in a mostly gaseous state, and have 3 'genders.' Asimov even shows us how these being masturbate!). This novel is a literary feat, and in his autobiography, Asimov stated that the novel, "especially the second section, was [my] biggest and most effective over-my-head writing ever produced."  Asimov is amazed at his own story! Check this one out!

"Against stupidity, the god's themselves contend in vain..."

Attention People of Earth by Paul Simms -flash story-

    Writing 4                       Creativity 3.5                      Intrigue 4  

  Overall 4

A humorous piece of sci fi featuring a message aliens send to humans before they arrive to Earth. I do love the taste of high quality gravel.

Read it here.

""We are coming to Earth, first of all, just to see if we can actually do it. Second, we hope to learn about you and your culture(s). Third—if we end up having some free time—we wouldn’t mind taking a firsthand look at your almost ridiculously bountiful stores of gravel. But all we want to do is look."

1 comment:

  1. Stumbling upon your website -- I would LOVE it if you listed out your reviews by book title (or at least author) instead of "speculative fiction review #9," etc. That way I could go to specific titles, and see if our tastes are similar so that I know what I might want to venture into next! Just a suggestions.