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Full title About a Boy [permalink]
Language English
Author Nick Hornby (author)
Category Novel
Publication year 1998
Pages 286
Full title Accelerando [permalink]
Language English
Author Charles Stross (author)
Publisher Ace Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 2005
ISBN 0-441-01284-1 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Online version Link
Pages 390
Synopsis

Manfred Macx, a heavily augmented transhuman in the early 21st century, is a visionary and a so-called venture altruist: He roams the world, giving ideas away for free and turning paradigms upside-down as a matter of course. The novel follows him towards a technological singularity, his daughter Amber through it, and her son, Sirhan, after it.

Review

This novel is somewhat special in that it is chuck full of jargon (e.g. 419) and techno-speculation (e.g. utility fog). Have a dictionary handy if you want to avoid being drowned in it. It's when you understand all of it, if only superficially, that the novel becomes the brilliant flair of wild ideas that it is.

Images Back flap of Accelerando.Back of Accelerando.Spine of Accelerando.Front of Accelerando.Front flap of Accelerando.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Part 1: Slow Takeoff
    • 1: Lobsters
    • 2: Troubadour
    • 3: Tourist
  • Part 2: Point of Inflection
    • 4: Halo
    • 5: Router
    • 6: Nightfall
  • Part 3: Singularity
    • 7: Curator
    • 8: Elector
    • 9: Survivor
Full title Airframe [permalink]
Language English
Author Michael Crichton (author)
Publisher Ballantine Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1997
Original publication year 1996
ISBN 0-345-41299-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 431
Synopsis

A passenger plane goes into a series of deep dives and climbs, killing three and injuring many. The novel spans the week following the accident, and follows the team who tries to clear it up.

Images Back of Airframe.Spine of Airframe.Front of Airframe.
Full title The Alchemist [permalink]
Original title Alquimista, O
Language English
Authors Paulo Coelho (author) and Alan R. Clarke (translator)
Publisher HarperCollins
Category Novel
Publication year 1999
Original publication year 1988
ISBN 0-7225-3293-8 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 177
Synopsis

An allegorical story of a boy who follows his dreams and heart and eventually discovers his true self and finds his treasure.

Review

I found it a little too naive to be entertaining, but it's a cute story nonetheless.

Images Back of The Alchemist.Spine of The Alchemist.Front of The Alchemist.
Full title Alice's Adventures in Wonderland [permalink]
Language English
Author Lewis Carroll (author)
Categories Humor and novel
Publication year 1865
Online version Link
Pages 108
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • I Down the Rabbit-Hole
  • II The Pool of Tears
  • III A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale
  • IV The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill
  • V Advice from a Caterpillar
  • VI Pig and Pepper
  • VII A Mad Tea-Party
  • VIII The Queen's Croquet-Ground
  • IX The Mock Turtle's Story
  • X The Lobster-Quadrille
  • XI Who Stole the Tarts?
  • XII Alice's Evidence
Full title Angels and Demons [permalink]
Language English
Author Dan Brown (author)
Category Novel
Publication year 2000
Pages 480
Synopsis

The Illuminati steals a quarter gram of antimatter from CERN, places it somewhere inside the Vatican, and kidnaps four cardinals from under the Vatican's nose. Robert Langdon, a symbologist from America, is flown in to investigate.

Full title Around the World in Eighty Days [permalink]
Original title Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours
Language English
Author Jules Verne (author)
Categories Adventure and novel
Publication year 1873
Online version Link
Pages 256
Synopsis

Phileas Fogg, a London gentleman of the Reform Club (which is actually a real club), and his French valet, Passepartout, make a £20 000 bet with the other gentlemen of the Reform Club that circumnavigation of the Earth is possible in fewer than eighty days.

Review

One would suspect that the novel would be boring nowadays, when circumnavigation can be done in far fewer than eighty days, but this is not the case. It's not so much the feat itself as the sense of adventure that makes the novel really good (and there is plenty of adventure to go around).

Full title The Catcher in the Rye [permalink]
Language English
Author J. D. Salinger (author)
Publisher Penguin Books
Category Novel
Publication year 2010
Original publication year 1945
ISBN 978-0-241-95043-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 230
Synopsis

Holden Caulfield is doing poorly in school, being kicked out of school after school. This new school is no different: Caulfield is being kicked out, but doesn't want to confront his parents about it. He's naive yet street-smart and resourceful, and the book follows his exploits roaming around New York City doing nothing in particular, dreaming, exploring, and horsing around.

The title is referencing a dream that Holden has about catching falling bodies coming off a cliff into a rye field. Holden, when explaining this dream to someone, is misremembering a line from the poem Comin' Thro' the Rye: "If a body catch a body / Comin thro' the rye." The line is actually "If a body meet a body / Comin thro' the rye."

Review

A fascinating read. I especially liked the conversation in the beginning of the book between him and one of his teachers, Mr. Spencer. Mr. Spencer is trying to help Caulfield by giving him practical advice, but Holden is too distracted to really pay attention, in addition to not wanting to be there in the first place. It's funny watching him trying to worm his way out of it.

I think everyone can see something of themselves in Caulfield, even though one doesn't always empathize with him. He's not really a likeable character, but he's charming and funny, and his adventures around New York City makes for an enjoyable read.

Images Back of The Catcher in the Rye.Spine of The Catcher in the Rye.Front of The Catcher in the Rye.
Full title Childhood's End [permalink]
Language English
Author Arthur C. Clarke (author)
Publisher Tor Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 2010
Original publication year 1954
ISBN 978-0-330-51401-9 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 256
Synopsis

The novel starts abruptly with two scenes of American and Russian astronauts preparing to embark on their different (irrelevant) missions, only to be halted by the sudden appearance of starships above major cities of the Earth. It's explained in short order how these benevolent aliens manage, in only a few years, to clean up our mess. War, disease, and want are all things of the past, and humanity now lives in peace with itself. Eventually the aliens make themselves and their plans known...

Review

This novel is considered by many Clarke fans to be his best (even Clarke himself considered it that, along with The Songs of Distant Earth), and I'll have to tentatively agree (the final verdict will have to wait until I've read more of Clarke's work). The story is engaging and spans many decades, the characters are interesting, the aliens' motives understandable (and even sympathetic), the pacing is good... The only complaint I have is that I wished it was longer. It feels like there should be more to this story!

Definitely go pick this up!

Images Back of Childhood's End.Spine of Childhood's End.Front of Childhood's End.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Foreword
  • Earth and the Overlords
  • The Golden Age
  • The Last Generation
Full title Cloud Atlas [permalink]
Language English
Author David Mitchell (author)
Publisher Random House
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 2004
ISBN 978-0-375-50725-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 509
Synopsis

Six separate stories running from the late 1800s into the deep future are interwoven in various ways. The chapters first tell the first part of each story until the middle chapter, where then the second parts of the stories are told in reverse order (see the structure, you'll understand).

Review

I watched the movie before reading the book (in fact, watching the movie spurred me into reading it), so my review is naturally colored by that. I loved the movie, and the book is even better.

It's extremely well-written, and the tone of each chapter is fitting for the time period. The language of the chapters that take place in the future is also apt. An example from the chapter "Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After", set in the deep future:

Yay, Old'uns' Smart mastered sicks, miles, seeds an' made miracles ord'nary, but it din't master one thing, nay, a hunger in the hearts o' humans, yay, a hunger for more.

I strongly recommend this novel. It's a joy to read from start to finish.

Images Back of Cloud Atlas.Spine of Cloud Atlas.Front of Cloud Atlas.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing (Part 1)
  • Letters from Zedelghem (Part 1)
  • Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery (Part 1)
  • The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish (Part 1)
  • An Orison of Sonmi~451 (Part 1)
  • Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After
  • An Orison of Sonmi~451 (Part 2)
  • The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish (Part 2)
  • Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery (Part 2)
  • Letters from Zedelghem (Part 2)
  • The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing (Part 2)
Full title Cradle [permalink]
Language English
Authors Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee
Publisher Orbit Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1989
Original publication year 1988
ISBN 0-7088-4318-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 374
Synopsis

This novel primarily follows three people: Carol Dawson, a journalist for the Miami Herald; Nick Williams, a diver, adventurer, and boat owner; and his partner, Troy Williams. Carol, interested in a curious incident of a beached whale and a rumour about a submerged Navy missile, decides to enlist the help of Nick and Troy.

Review

Unfortunately, this novel isn't so much science fiction as thriller and drama, which was a little disappointing. It would make a good movie I think, but as a novel the story isn't driven forward as it should, there is too much characterization (without meaning), and the ending fell absolutely flat for me. You can safely skip this one.

Images Back of Cradle.Spine of Cradle.Front of Cradle.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Endangered Species
  • Thursday
  • Cycle 447
  • Friday
  • Assembly and Test
  • Saturday
  • Repatriation
  • Sunday
Full title The Da Vinci Code [permalink]
Language English
Author Dan Brown (author)
Category Novel
Publication year 2003
Pages 583
Full title Dandelion Wine [permalink]
Language English
Author Ray Bradbury (author)
Publisher HarperCollins
Category Novel
Publication year 2008
Original publication year 1957
ISBN 978-0-00-728474-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 319
Synopsis

Originally a series of short stories, this novel is about quiet Middle American life in the fictional Green Town, Illinois. The story mainly follows twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding and his brother, Tom, with minor characters scattered about. The novel is about nothing in particular, except the musings of Doug about rather adult themes like life and death.

The title is a metaphor for good summer memories, and in the story it's a real beverage that Doug and his grandfather actually tap into bottles for the long winter ahead.

There is a sequel, Farewell Summer.

Review

Despite being well-written, I found this novel at times boring, and I was a little disappointed that it didn't go anywhere; there's no real story here. There are a few memorable scenes, however, like the meeting between the gang (Doug, Tom, and Charlie) and Colonel Freeleigh and between the young reporter and the old woman.

Images Back of Dandelion Wine.Spine of Dandelion Wine.Front of Dandelion Wine.
Full title De dødes tjern [permalink]
Translated title Lake of the Dead
Language Norwegian
Author André Bjerke (author)
Publisher Aschehoug
Categories Crime and novel
Publication year 2008
Original publication year 1942
ISBN 978-82-03-18497-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 191
Synopsis

A group of people (including the author's alter ego, crime author Bernhard Borge) travel into the woods to explore the mystery around the eponymous Lake of the Dead.

Images Back of De dødes tjern.Spine of De dødes tjern.Front of De dødes tjern.
Full title Deception Point [permalink]
Language English
Author Dan Brown (author)
Publisher Pocket Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 2002
Original publication year 2001
ISBN 0-671-02738-7 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 558
Synopsis

NASA discovers a meteoric rock under the Milne Ice Shelf which contains a fossil, and the story centers around this remarkable find. Involved in their own ways are a senator, a senator's daughter, a senator's aide, the U.S. President, and several organizations.

Images Back of Deception Point.Spine of Deception Point.Front of Deception Point.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Acknowledgments
  • Author's Note
  • Prologue
  • [133 unnamed chapters]
  • Epilogue
Full title Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? [permalink]
Alternative title Blade Runner
Language English
Author Philip K. Dick (author)
Publisher Ballantine Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1982
Original publication year 1968
ISBN 0-345-35047-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 216
Images Back of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.Spine of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.Front of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.
Full title Døde menn går i land [permalink]
Translated title Dead Men Walk Ashore
Language Norwegian
Author André Bjerke (author)
Publisher Aschehoug
Categories Crime and novel
Publication year 2008
Original publication year 1947
ISBN 978-82-03-19323-1 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 272
Synopsis

A business man decides to re-purpose an old house on the southern coast of Norway to a summer hotel. There's a superstition among the locals that the house is haunted, and a gang of friends travel down to stay there. Scary things ensue...

Review

I don't normally read crime novels, but André Bjerke is really good at setting the mood, and he writes with wonderful wit, humor, and knowledge. (For instance, there's an Omar Khayyam poem in it!)

A riveting read, and definitely recommended.

Images Back of Døde menn går i land.Spine of Døde menn går i land.Front of Døde menn går i land.
Full title Eaters of the Dead: The Manuscript of Ibn Fadlan Relating His Experiences with the Northmen in A.D. 922 [permalink]
Language English
Author Michael Crichton (author)
Publisher Arrow Books
Category Novel
Publication year 1997
Original publication year 1976
ISBN 978-0-099-22282-8 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 186
Synopsis

Being the inspiration for the movie The 13th Warrior, this is a story about an Arab's adventures with Vikings, battling a dangerous and mysterious enemy who might or might not be completely human, the Eaters of the Dead (which they do).

Review

I really enjoyed this one, mainly because of the intelligence and questioning nature of the protagonist, the Arab Ahmad ibn Fadlan (a real person). He is sent as an ambassador by the Caliph of Baghdad to the king of the Volga Bulgars, although he never reaches his destination, instead joining a band of Vikings in their quest to beat the wendol, as the Vikings call the Eaters. I give it a thumbs-up.

Images Back of Eaters of the Dead.Spine of Eaters of the Dead.Front of Eaters of the Dead.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
    • Provenance of the Manuscript
    • The Vikings
    • About the Author
  • The departure from the City of Peace
  • The ways of the Oguz Turks
  • First contact with the Northmen
  • The aftermath of the Northmen's funeral
  • The journey to the far country
  • The encampment at Trelburg
  • The kingdom of Rothgar in the land of Venden
  • The events that followed the first battle
  • The attack of the glowworm dragon Korgon
  • The desert of dread
  • The Counsel of the dwarf
  • The events of the night before the attack
  • The thunder caves
  • The death throes of the wendol
  • The return from the North country
  • Appendix: The Mist Monsters
Full title Edgar Allan Poe Collected Stories and Poems [permalink]
Language English
Authors Edgar Allan Poe (author), Aubrey Beardsley (illustrator), Édouard Manet (illustrator), Gustave Doré (illustrator), Harry Clarke (illustrator) and John Tenniel (illustrator)
Publisher CRW Publishing
Categories Anthology, novel and short stories
Publication year 2008
Original publication year 2006
ISBN 978-1904919773 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 374
Synopsis

This is a collection of Poe's works. It's a big and beautifully-bound book, with illustrations for all the stories and poems.

Review

If you've never read anything by Edgar Allan Poe before, you're in for a major treat. I can highly recommend some stories: The Pit and the Pendulum (about a man being kept captive during the Spanish Inquisition), The Gold Bug (about a man discovering an ancient treasure map), The Premature Burial (about exactly what the title says), The Cask of Amontillado (about a drunk man meeting a horrifying death), The Tell-Tale Heart (about a murderer who hallucinates his victim's heart beat), and Shadow — A Parable (about whispers in the night, not to spoil it). I can heartily recommend this book, or any other Poe collection, for that matter.

Images Back flap of Edgar Allan Poe Collected Stories and Poems.Back of Edgar Allan Poe Collected Stories and Poems.Spine of Edgar Allan Poe Collected Stories and Poems.Front of Edgar Allan Poe Collected Stories and Poems.Front flap of Edgar Allan Poe Collected Stories and Poems.
Structure [Toggle visibility]

Tales of Mystery and Imagination

  • The Gold Bug
  • The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
  • MS Found in a Bottle
  • A Descent into the Maelström
  • The Murders in the Rue Morgue
  • The Mystery of Marie Rogêt
  • The Purloined Letter
  • The Fall of the House of Usher
  • The Pit and the Pendulum
  • The Premature Burial
  • The Black Cat
  • The Masque of the Red Death
  • The Cask of Amontillado
  • The Oval Portrait
  • The Oblong Box
  • The Tell-Tale Heart
  • Ligeia
  • Loss of Breath
  • Shadow — A Parable
  • Silence — A Fable
  • The Man of the Crows
  • Some Words with a Mummy

Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque

  • Metzengerstein
  • The Visionary (The Assignation)
  • Morella
  • King Pest
  • The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall
  • Berenice
  • Mystification
  • How to Write a Blackwood Article
  • A Predicament
  • The Man that was Used Up
  • William Wilson
  • Eleonara
  • The Island of the Fay
  • The Balloon Hoax
  • The System of Dr Tarr and Professor Fether
  • Mesmeric Revelation
  • A Tale of the Ragged Mountains
  • The Spectacle
  • The Imp of the Perverse
  • The Sphinx
  • The Domain of Arnheim or the Landscape Garden
  • Von Kempelen and His Discovery
  • X-ing a Paragraph

Poems

  • The Raven
  • The Valley of Unrest
  • Bridal Ballad
  • The Sleeper
  • The Coliseum
  • Lenore
  • Hymn
  • Israfel
  • Dream-Land
  • To Zante
  • The City in the Sea
  • To One in Paradise
  • Eulalie
  • To F—S S. O—D
  • To F—
  • Silence
  • The Conquerer Worm
  • The Haunted Palace
  • Scenes from "Politian"
Later Poems
  • The Bells
  • To M. L. S.—
  • To— ("Not long ago, the writer of these lines")
  • An Enigma
  • To Helen
  • A Valentine
  • For Annie
  • To My Mother
  • Eldorado
  • Annabel Lee
  • Ulalume
Poems Written in Youth
  • Tamerlane
  • Sonnet — To Science
  • Al Aaraaf
  • Romance
  • Song
  • Dreams
  • Spirits of the Dead
  • Evening Star
  • A Dream within a Dream
  • Stanzas
  • A Dream
  • 'The Happiest Day, The Happiest Hour'
  • The Lake
  • To— ("The bowers whereat, in dreams, I see")
  • To the River
  • To— ("I heed not that my earthly lot")
  • Fairyland
  • To Helen
  • Alone
Poems Now First Collected
  • Spiritual Song
  • Elizabeth
  • From an Album
  • To Sarah
  • The Great Man
  • Gratitude To—
  • An Enigma
  • Impromptu
Additional Poems Attributed to Poe
  • Song of Triumph
  • Latin Hymn
  • The Skeleton-Hand
  • The Magician
  • Translation: Hymn to Aristogeiton and Harmodius
  • The Mammoth Squash
  • Oh, Tempora! Oh, Mores!
Full title The End of Eternity [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Publisher HarperCollins
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 2000
Original publication year 1959
ISBN 978-0-586-02440-9 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 189
Synopsis

Mankind has opened Eternity, and a group of people there constantly interfere with the Centuries to iron out mistakes and keep mankind safe.

Review

I normally don't like time-travel stories because they're confusing. This one is also pretty confusing, but it's well-written confusion, and I can recommend it on that point alone.

Images Back of The End of Eternity.Spine of The End of Eternity.Front of The End of Eternity.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Chapter One: Technician
  • Chapter Two: Observer
  • Chapter Three: Cub
  • Chapter Four: Computer
  • Chapter Five: Timer
  • Chapter Six: Life-Plotter
  • Chapter Seven: Prelude to Crime
  • Chapter Eight: Crime
  • Chapter Nine: Interlude
  • Chapter Ten: Trapped!
  • Chapter Eleven: Full Circle
  • Chapter Twelve: The Beginning of Eternity
  • Chapter Thirteen: Beyond the Downwhen Terminus
  • Chapter Fourteen: The Earlier Crime
  • Chapter Fifteen: Search Through the Primitive
  • Chapter Sixteen: The Hidden Centuries
  • Chapter Seventeen: The Closing Circle
  • Chapter Eighteen: The Beginning of Infinity
Full title Fantastic Voyage [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Publisher Bantam Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1966
ISBN 0-553-27572-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 186
Synopsis

Miniaturization is reality, but indefinite miniaturization isn't; that knowledge resides within the brain of Jan Benes, a scientist who defects to the West. Unfortunately, there is an assassination attempt which leaves Benes comatose, and a blood clot develops in his brain. A team of scientists are miniaturized and injected into Benes' body in a submarine rudimentarily outfitted with a laser and have only 60 minutes to remove the clot before they are de-miniaturized (which would make the submarine expand and in the process kill Benes).

Images Back of Fantastic Voyage.Spine of Fantastic Voyage.Front of Fantastic Voyage.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • 1. Plane
  • 2. Car
  • 3. Headquarters
  • 4. Briefing
  • 5. Submarine
  • 6. Miniaturization
  • 7. Submergence
  • 8. Entry
  • 9. Artery
  • 10. Heart
  • 11. Capillary
  • 12. Lung
  • 13. Pleura
  • 14. Lymphatic
  • 15. Ear
  • 16. Brain
  • 17. Clot
  • 18. Eye
Full title Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1987
Pages 385
Synopsis

Not a sequel to Fantastic Voyage, this novel revolves around neurophysiologist Albert Jonas Morrison and his crew's journey into the brain of a scientist by way of miniaturization. Morrison has some fringe theories on how the mind works and how it is theoretically possible to amplify brain waves and, in effect, sense thoughts. For this reason, his fellow scientists don't respect him very much, and for this reason, he is hired (read the book and you'll understand) by a team of Russian scientists who want Morrison and his computer to join them in a mission inside a man's brain to sense his thoughts.

Review

The story, in essence, is the same as that of Fantastic Voyage, except that FV is a straight novelization of the movie script (the novel appeared before the movie, interestingly) while FVII is the same story as Asimov would have told it. I prefer the latter because the conundrums of miniaturization are discussed in much greater detail as Morrison is extremely sceptical about it at first.

Full title Farewell Summer [permalink]
Language English
Author Ray Bradbury (author)
Publisher HarperCollins
Category Novel
Publication year 2008
Original publication year 2006
ISBN 978-0-00-728475-7 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 166
Synopsis

Farewell Summer is a sequel to Dandelion Wine, and takes place the following year (another summer). It continues the theme of a boy's childhood summer, and adds in a conflict (of sorts) between two generations.

Review

Like its prequel, I found this novel too a little boring, but the scene where the mischievous boys sneak into the clock tower was entertaining. I can't recommend this one, but if you liked the prequel, chances are you'll like this one as well.

Images Back of Farewell Summer.Spine of Farewell Summer.Front of Farewell Summer.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • I. Almost Antietam
  • II. Shiloh and Beyond
  • III. Appomattox
  • Afterword: The Importance of Being Startled
Full title Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions [permalink]
Language English
Author Edwin A. Abbott (author)
Categories Classic, mathematics, novel and science fiction
Publication year 1884
Online version Link
Pages 68
Synopsis

Flatland chronicles the adventure of A. Square, a being in Flatland. Flatland consists of only two dimensions, as opposed to Pointland, which consists of zero dimensions, Lineland, which consists of one dimension, and Spaceland (the one we inhabit), which consists of three dimensions. It describes at length the society in Flatland, and how they go about tasks that we Spacelanders find trivial. For instance, everyone is a Polygon. The more equal all its angles and the more sides it has, the higher its social rank. Lowest are women (or the Frailer Sex, as they are often called) who are mere Lines and have no chance of rising in rank. Then come the Triangles, which are men. Then Squares (of which the narrator, A. Square, is naturally a member), Pentagons, Hexagons, Heptagons, Octagons, etc. The more sides a Polygon has, the closer it gets to being a Circle. They're the top leaders of every aspect of Flatland's society.

Review

Flatland is a classic, and even though it's written in the 1880s in Victorian English, it's still eminently readable (and funny). You might have to read a little carefully at first to get used to the age of the language, but once you've picked it up you'll have no trouble enjoying this excellent story.

Full title Flatterland: Like Flatland, only more so [permalink]
Language English
Author Ian Stewart (author)
Publisher Basic Books
Categories Mathematics, novel and science fiction
Publication year 2001
ISBN 978-0-7382-0675-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 294
Synopsis

Flatterland is sort of an unofficial sequel to Abbott's classic Flatland, written in modern non-Victorian English. Although Victorian English gave the original a pretty classy feel, Flatterland doesn't disappoint. Its aim is similar to that of the original: To explain new mathematical concepts to lay people in lay language.

Review

The book succeeds brilliantly. It's filled with illustration to help visualize the concepts, and the stories around which the concepts are introduced are reminiscent of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (well, the fact that chapters have names like The Topologist's Tea-Party and Along the Looking-Glass probably helps), and this gives the book a whimsical tone (that's a benefit). Here's a sample:

"Is Planiturth's universe built from mathematics? Or is mathematics built by the minds of Planiturthians? Planiturthian mathematicians would like to think that their universe is built from mathematics, but that's only natural, after all. Planiturthian physicists would like to think that the Planiturthian universe is built from physics. Planiturthian biologists would like to think that the Planiturthian universe is built from biology. Planiturthian philosophers would like to think that the Planiturthian universe is built from philosophy. (Let me tell you a secret: it is. The fundamental unit of the Planiturthian universe is the philosophon, a unit of logic so tiny that only a philosopher could hope to split it.)"

The book also ventures a little into physics, explaining things like the Schrödinger's cat, the double-slit experiment, time travel, and forces. But the meat of the book is mathematics.

Images Back of Flatterland.Spine of Flatterland.Front of Flatterland.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • From Flatland to Flatterland
  • 1 The Third Dimension
  • 2 Victoria's Diary
  • 3 The Visitation
  • 4 A Hundred and One Dimensions
  • 5 One and a Quarter Dimension
  • 6 The Topologist's Tea-Party
  • 7 Along the Looking-Glass
  • 8 Grape Theory
  • 9 What is a Geometry?
  • 10 Platterland
  • 11 Cat Country
  • 12 The Paradox Twins
  • 13 The Domain of the Hawk King
  • 14 Down the Wormhole
  • 15 What Shape is the Universe?
  • 16 No-Branes and P-Branes
  • 17 Flatterland
  • 18 The Tenth Dimension
Full title The Gods Themselves [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Publisher Bantam Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1990
Original publication year 1972
ISBN 0-553-28810-5 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 293
Images Back of The Gods Themselves.Spine of The Gods Themselves.Front of The Gods Themselves.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  1. Against Stupidity...
  2. ... The Gods Themselves...
  3. ... Contend in Vain?
Full title The Great Gatsby [permalink]
Language English
Authors Francis Scott Fitzgerald (author) and Matthew J. Bruccoli (supplemental)
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Category Novel
Publication year 1995
Original publication year 1925
ISBN 0-684-80152-3 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 221
Images Back of The Great Gatsby.Spine of The Great Gatsby.Front of The Great Gatsby.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Preface
  • [9 unnamed chapters]
  • The Text of The Great Gatsby
  • Publisher's Afterword
  • Explanatory Notes
  • Further Reading
  • Publisher's Note About the Author
  • A Brief Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald
Full title Gulliver's Travels [permalink]
Alternative title Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships
Language English
Authors Jonathan Swift (author) and Robert DeMaria (introduction)
Publisher Penguin Books
Categories Fantasy, novel, satire and travel
Publication year 2003
Original publication year 1726
ISBN 978-0-14-143949-5 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 306
Images Back of Gulliver's Travels.Spine of Gulliver's Travels.Front of Gulliver's Travels.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Plates
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Further Reading
  • A Note on the Text

Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver

  • Advertisement
  • A Letter from Capt. Gulliver to his Cousing Sympson
  • The Publisher to the Reader
  • The Contents
  • Part I: A Voyage to Lilliput
  • Part II: A Voyage to Brobdingnag
  • Part III: A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib and Japan
  • Part IV: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms
  • Notes
  • Textual Notes
Full title Imperial Earth [permalink]
Language English
Author Arthur C. Clarke (author)
Publisher Vista
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1997
Original publication year 1975
ISBN 0-575-60158-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 287
Synopsis

The year is 2276, and the furthest world colonized by mankind is Titan, the largest moon of Saturn (and one of the largest in the Solar System). Titan is home to a quarter of a million people, selected for intelligence, endurance, and any other characteristic necessary for such a mission. Among them is a powerful political trio, Malcolm Makenzie (the "grandfather"), Colin Makenzie (the "father"), and Duncan Makenzie (the "son"), Colin being a clone of Malcolm, and Duncan in turn being a clone of Colin. Duncan is sent as an emissary to Earth for the fourth Centennial of the United States. The bulk of the novel follows Duncan on his adventures on Earth.

Review

A good novel, but not excellent; the end of the book doesn't tie up enough loose ends, and the book is more about politics than science fiction. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I felt sort of cheated.

I'll still recommend it. There's a wonderful scene where Duncan's grandmother presents him with a set of pentominoes made of Titanite (a crystal native to Titan) and a ten-by-six box into which to fit the pieces (see the Wikipedia article for solutions).

Images Back of Imperial Earth.Spine of Imperial Earth.Front of Imperial Earth.
Structure [Toggle visibility]

I — TITAN

  • 1 A Shriek in the Night
  • 2 Dynasty
  • 3 Invitation to a Centennial
  • 4 The Red Moon
  • 5 The Politics of Time and Space
  • 6 By the Bonny, Bonny Banks of Loch Hellbrew
  • 7 A Cross of Titanite
  • 8 Children of the Corridors
  • 9 The Fatal Gift
  • 10 World's End

II — TRANSIT

  • 11 Sirius
  • 12 Last Words
  • 13 The Longest Voyage
  • 14 Songs of Empire
  • 15 At the Node
  • 16 Port Van Allen

III — TERRA

  • 17 Washington, D.C.
  • 18 Embassy
  • 19 Mount Vernon
  • 20 The Taste of Honey
  • 21 Calindy
  • 22 The Ghost from the Grand Banks
  • 23 Akhenaten and Cleopatra
  • 24 Party Games
  • 25 The Rivals
  • 26 The Island of Dr Mohammed
  • 27 Golden Reef
  • 28 Sleuth
  • 29 Star Day
  • 30 A Message from Titan
  • 31 The Eye of Allah
  • 32 Meeting at Cyclops
  • 33 The Listeners
  • 34 Business and Desire
  • 35 Argus Panoptes
  • 36 Independence Day
  • 37 The Mirror of the Sea

IV — TITAN

  • 38 Homecoming
  • Acknowledgements and Notes
Full title The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha [permalink]
Original title El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha
Language English
Authors Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (author) and John Ormsby (translator)
Publisher [e-book: Project Gutenberg]
Categories Novel, parody and satire
Publication year 2004
Original publication year 1605
Synopsis

Part 1

Alonso Quixano is a hidalgo (noble-born gentleman) from La Mancha who spends his time devouring popular romance novels (romance novels back then meant books of chivalry, unlike today). The novel opens with his becoming so obsessed with them that he starts deluding himself into thinking he's a knight-errant, a vagrant knight in shining armor slaying dragons, rescuing princesses, righting wrongs, helping the helpless, and, of course, fighting giants disguised as windmills.

Despite his being well-spoken, and in every sense rational, about this one point of being an old-fashioned knight he is stark raving mad; Don Quixote manages to rationalize (explain away) all his delusions, most of the time relying on a malevolent sage intent on enchanting everything from windmills (giants) to inns (castles) to a barber's water basin (the Helmet of Mambrino).

Very quickly (and later in the novel, often) Don Quixote gets into trouble. He is round and about seeking adventure when he comes upon some traders who are making fun of his beloved Dulcinea del Toboso. Not taking that lightly he engages them in combat, and is soundly beaten. A humble farmer from Quixote's home town, Sancho Panza, takes care of him and after being promised an island to rule over once they are done adventuring, Panza joins Quixote as his trusted squire, always being the sense to Quixote's nonsense.

This is an exceedingly funny novel. There are some scattered bits of seriousness here and there (even a novella quoted — or rather told by one of the characters — mostly in its entirety, taking up three chapters) but whenever Don Quixote re-enters the scene, expect hilarity to ensue.

Part 2

Coming...

Review

Part 1

Coming...

Part 2

Coming...

Full title Kafka on the Shore [permalink]
Original title 海辺のカフカ
Transliterated title Umibe no Kafuka
Language English
Authors Haruki Murakami (author) and Philip Gabriel (translator)
Publisher Vintage Books
Category Novel
Publication year 2006
Original publication year 2005
ISBN 978-1-4000-7927-8 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 467
Images Back of Kafka on the Shore.Spine of Kafka on the Shore.Front of Kafka on the Shore.
Full title Kilden [permalink]
Alternative title Brevet om fiskeren Markus
Translated title The Source; or, The Letter Concerning Mark the Fisherman
Language Norwegian
Author Gabriel Scott (author)
Publisher Aschehoug
Category Novel
Publication year 2009
Original publication year 1918
ISBN 978-82-03-19498-6 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 166
Synopsis

Follows the life of a simple fisherman named Mark, interspersed with his thoughts and commentaries.

Review

Even though the story is simple, it's very gripping. Gabriel Scott has a very engaging way of writing, and is especially good at describing situations.

Images Back of Kilden.Spine of Kilden.Front of Kilden.
Full title Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future [permalink]
Language English
Authors Olaf Stapledon (author), Gregory Benford (foreword) and Doris Lessing (afterword)
Publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1999
Original publication year 1930
ISBN 978-1-85798-806-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 312
Images Back of Last and First Men.Spine of Last and First Men.Front of Last and First Men.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Foreword by Gregory Benford
  • Preface
  • Introduction by One of the Last Men

Chapter I: Balkan Europe

  1. The European War and AFter
  2. The Anglo-French War
  3. Europe after the Anglo-French War
  4. The Russo-German War

Chapter II: Europe's Downfall

  1. Europe and America
  2. The Origins of a Mystery
  3. Europe Murdered

Chapter III: America and China

  1. The Rivals
  2. The Conflict
  3. On an Island in the Pacific

Chapter IV: An Americanized Planet

  1. The Foundation of the First World State
  2. The Dominance of Science
  3. Material Achievement
  4. The Culture of the First World State
  5. Downfall

Chapter V: The Fall of the First Men

  1. The First Dark Age
  2. The Rise of Patagonia
  3. The Cult of Youth
  4. The Catastrophe

Chapter VI: Transition

  1. The First Men at Bay
  2. The Second Dark Age

Chapter VII: The Rise of the Second Men

  1. The Appearance of a New Species
  2. The Intercourse of Three Species
  3. The Zenith of the Second Men

Chapter VIII: The Martians

  1. The First Martian Invasion
  2. Life on Mars
  3. The Martian Mind
  4. Delusions of the Martians

Chapter IX: Earth and Mars

  1. The Second Men at Bay
  2. The Ruin of Two Worlds
  3. The Third Dark Age

Chapter X: The Third Men in the Wilderness

  1. The Third Human Species
  2. Digressions of the Third Men
  3. The Vital Art
  4. Conflicting Policies

Chapter XI: Man Remakes Himself

  1. The First of the Great Brains
  2. The Tragedy of the Fourth Men
  3. The Fifth Men
  4. The Culture of the Fifth Men

Chapter XII: The Last Terrestrials

  1. The Cult of Evanescence
  2. Exploration of Time
  3. Voyaging in Space
  4. Preparing a New World

Chapter XIII: Humanity on Venus

  1. Taking Root Again
  2. The Flying Men
  3. A Minor Astronomical Event

Chapter XIV: Neptune

  1. Bird's-Eye View
  2. Da Capo
  3. Slow Conquest

Chapter XV: The Last Men

  1. Introduction to the Last Human Species
  2. Childhood and Maturity
  3. A Racial Awakening
  4. Cosmology

Chapter XVI: The Last of Man

  1. Sentence of Death
  2. Behaviour of the Condemned
  3. Epilogue
  • Afterword by Doris Lessing
  • Time Scales
Full title Lord of the Flies [permalink]
Language English
Authors William Golding (author), Ian Gregor (supplemental) and Mark Kinkead-Weekes (supplemental)
Publisher Faber and Faber
Category Novel
Publication year 2004
Original publication year 1954
ISBN 978-0-571-05686-6 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 288
Synopsis

A cautionary novel about the consequences of letting children run their own society without adult supervision. A plane crashes on a deserted island, and the batch of school boys are left to fend for themselves. The title is a reference to Beelzebub, which is a Hebrew word meaning "lord of the flies" (it's a Philistine god worshiped at Ekron, and is mentioned in the Bible, in 2 Kings 1:2-3), but it's also a reference to a literal lord of flies, namely a pig's head on a stick (it attracts so many flies, you see, that the children start calling it by that title). The novel chronicles how the children conceive of and develop their society.

Images Back of Lord of the Flies.Spine of Lord of the Flies.Front of Lord of the Flies.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Sound of the Shell
  • 2. Fire on the Mountain
  • 3. Huts on the Beach
  • 4. Painted Faces and Long Hair
  • 5. Beast from Water
  • 6. Beast from Air
  • 7. Shadows and Tall Trees
  • 8. Gift for the Darkness
  • 9. A View to a Death
  • 10. The Shell and the Glasses
  • 11. Castle Rock
  • 12. Cry of the Hunters
  • "Fable"
  • Notes
Full title The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect [permalink]
Language English
Author Roger Williams (author)
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1994
Online version Link
Pages 175
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Chapter 1: Caroline at Play
  • Chapter 2: Lawrence Builds a Computer
  • Chapter 3: Caroline and Anne-Marie
  • Chapter 4: After the Night of Miracles
  • Chapter 5: Caroline Approaches
  • Chapter 6: After the Change
  • Chapter 7: Caroline and Lawrence
  • Chapter 8: After the Fall
Full title Naiv. Super. [permalink]
Language Norwegian
Author Erlend Loe (author)
Category Novel
Publication year 1996
Pages 243
Synopsis

This book tells the story of a man in his mid-twenties who suddenly feels that nothing in his life matters and describes the things he does to combat this feeling.

Full title Nattmennesket [permalink]
Translated title The Night Person
Language Norwegian
Author André Bjerke (author)
Publisher Aschehoug
Categories Crime and novel
Publication year 2009
Original publication year 1941
ISBN 978-82-03-19479-5 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 181
Images Back of Nattmennesket.Spine of Nattmennesket.Front of Nattmennesket.
Full title Nightfall [permalink]
Language English
Authors Isaac Asimov (author) and Robert Silverberg (co-author)
Publisher Pan Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1991
Original publication year 1990
ISBN 0-330-32096-3 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 352
Synopsis

Follows the planet Kalgash, a planet with perpetual daylight due to having six suns, through a devastating astronomical event that only occurs every 2049 years (termed a Year of Godliness by the book's religious fanatics, the Apostles of Flame). The Apostles of Flame propagate the idea that on a precise day (Theptar the 19th, as it happens), there will be total Darkness, everyone will go mad, and the Stars will shoot fires from the skies, all as a vengeance from the gods for the wicked and sinful ways of the planet's inhabitants. A band of scientists, initially opposed to the Apostles' ideas, eventually realize, through new evidence (archaeological and astronomical), that some of what the Apostles propagate is true. Unfortunately, the population at large believes neither the Apostles nor the scientists.

Review

Nightfall was originally a short story and people generally prefer the short story version because the book just draws it out. I will have to read the short story before I can draw a proper verdict, but I'll tentatively say, "read this book."

Images Back of Nightfall.Spine of Nightfall.Front of Nightfall.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • To The Reader
  • One: Twilight
  • Two: Nightfall
  • Three: Daybreak
Full title Odd and the Frost Giants [permalink]
Language English
Author Neil Gaiman (author)
Publisher Bloomsbury
Categories Fantasy and novel
Publication year 2010
Original publication year 2008
ISBN 978-0-7475-9811-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 127
Synopsis

A pretty short book about a boy's adventures in Asgard (land of the Gods in Norse mythology).

Review

The story is short, but thoroughly enjoyable. There's not much more to say since there's so little content.

Images Back flap of Odd and the Frost Giants.Back of Odd and the Frost Giants.Spine of Odd and the Frost Giants.Front of Odd and the Frost Giants.Front flap of Odd and the Frost Giants.
Full title The Old Man and the Sea [permalink]
Language English
Author Ernest Hemingway (author)
Publisher Arrow Books
Categories Adventure and novel
Publication year 2004
Original publication year 1952
ISBN 978-0-09-990840-1 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 99
Synopsis

The story of an old man setting out to sea, and his struggle when he catches the biggest fish of his life.

Review

This is a pretty short book, and a pleasant read it is. It's about an old fisherman in Havana, Santiago, whose luck has run out (he hasn't caught a fish in several months). He has a young apprentice who is then forbidden by his parents to fish with Santiago, because of his unluckiness. The old man sets off in his skiff alone, far out in the sea, and catches a marlin, the biggest fish he's ever caught. The fish is tenacious, and the fight with him lasts for two days.

If you want to know whether or not the old man succeeds, read the book. I definitely recommend it.

Images Back of The Old Man and the Sea.Spine of The Old Man and the Sea.Front of The Old Man and the Sea.
Full title The Planiverse: Computer Contact With a Two-Dimensional World [permalink]
Language English
Author A. K. Dewdney (author)
Publisher Copernicus
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 2001
Original publication year 1984
ISBN 0-387-98916-1 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 246
Synopsis

A group of computer programmers working under a professor discovers that the 2D simulation program they've developed, 2Dworld, is somehow connected with an actual two-dimensional world inhabited by intelligent creatures. They establish contact with Yendred, and through him, they learn a lot about his world.

Review

This book is a sort of unofficial sequel to Abbott's famous Flatland, and it's one hell of a riveting read. I'm having a hard time making up my mind as to which of the unofficial sequels (Ian Stewart's Flatterland and Dionys Burger's Sphereland) are the superior; they're all simply really, really good.

Images Back of The Planiverse.Spine of The Planiverse.Front of The Planiverse.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Preface to the Millennium Edition
  • 2Dworld
  1. Arde
  2. A House by the Sea
  3. On Fiddib Har
  4. Walking to Is Felblt
  5. City Below Ground
  6. The Trek
  7. The Punizlan
  8. Institute
  9. Traveling on the Wind
  10. High on Dahl Radam
  11. Drabk the Sharak of Okbra
  12. Higher Dimensions
  • Ardean Science and Technology
  • Acknowledgments
Full title Revolt on Alpha C [permalink]
Language English
Authors Robert Silverberg (author) and William Meyerriecks (illustrator)
Publisher Scholastic Book
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1959
Original publication year 1955
ISBN 0-590-05435-X [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 118
Synopsis

Larry Stark, a Space Patrol Academy cadet on board the Carden, is completing his post-graduate space cruise (required to become an officer), a trip to Alpha Centauri's colonized fourth planet. Unknown to him and his crew, the planet is under revolt, and Stark is required to make some hard choices about where his loyalties lie.

Review

It was a very pleasant read; the book is definitely a page-turner, but the ending is rather sudden. I'd like to read more of what happens after the end.

A quote:

Larry caught glimpses of the great beasts living below—living without any suspicion that the planet was no longer theirs, that its possession was being contested by two groups of absurd pygmies from another star.

Images Back of Revolt on Alpha C.Spine of Revolt on Alpha C.Front of Revolt on Alpha C.
Full title The Songs of Distant Earth [permalink]
Language English
Author Arthur C. Clarke (author)
Publisher HarperCollins
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1998
Original publication year 1986
ISBN 0-586-06623-3 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 238
Synopsis

The Earth is swallowed in the explosion of the Sun in the year 3620, and the novel begins with the landing of the starship Magellan on the now-colonized planet of Thalassa, a world covered almost entirely in ocean except for three closely linked islands. They need to repair their ship for their upcoming journey to their real destination, a planet called Sagan 2, which, with their millions of colonists in cryo-sleep, they hope to colonize.

Almost the entirety of the novel takes place on Thalassa.

Review

A very beautiful novel full of memorable scenes. (The lifting of the kilometer-wide hexagonal ice blocks for the ship's shield comes to mind.) The pacing is good, the characters are well-developed, and the writing is excellent (but then again, this is a Clarke novel).

Images Back of The Songs of Distant Earth.Spine of The Songs of Distant Earth.Front of The Songs of Distant Earth.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Author's Note

I THALASSA

  • 1 The Beach at Tarna
  • 2 The Little Neutral One
  • 3 Village Council
  • 4 Tocsin
  • 5 Night Ride

II MAGELLAN

  • 6 Planetfall
  • 7 Lords of the Last Days
  • 8 Remembrance of Love Lost
  • 9 The Quest for Superspace

III SOUTH ISLAND

  • 10 First Contact
  • 11 Delegation
  • 12 Heritage
  • 13 Task Force
  • 14 Mirissa
  • 15 Terra Nova
  • 16 Party Games
  • 17 Chain of Command
  • 18 Kumar
  • 19 Pretty Polly
  • 20 Idyll

IV KRAKAN

  • 21 Academy
  • 22 Krakan
  • 23 Ice Day
  • 24 Archive
  • 25 Scorp
  • 26 Snowflake Rising
  • 27 Mirror of the Past
  • 28 The Sunken Forest
  • 29 Sabra
  • 30 Child of Krakan

V THE BOUNTY SYNDROME

  • 31 Petition
  • 32 Clinic
  • 33 Tides
  • 34 Shipnet
  • 35 Convalescence
  • 36 Kilimanjaro
  • 37 In Vino Veritas
  • 38 Debate
  • 39 The Leopard in the Snows
  • 40 Confrontation
  • 41 Pillow Talk
  • 42 Survivor
  • 43 Interrogation

VI THE FORESTS OF THE SEA

  • 44 Spyball
  • 45 Bait
  • 46 Whatever Gods May Be ...

VII AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD

  • 47 Ascension
  • 48 Decision
  • 49 Fire on the Reef

VIII THE SONGS OF DISTANT EARTH

  • 50 Shield of Ice
  • 51 Relic
  • 52 The Songs of Distant Earth
  • 53 The Golden Mask
  • 54 Valediction
  • 55 Departure
  • 56 Below the Interface

IX SAGAN 2

  • 57 The Voices of Time
  • Chronology
  • Bibliographical Note
  • Acknowledgements
Full title Sputnik Sweetheart [permalink]
Original title スプートニクの恋人
Transliterated title Supūtoniku no Koibito
Language English
Authors Haruki Murakami (author) and Philip Gabriel (translator)
Publisher Wings Books
Category Novel
Publication year 2002
Original publication year 1999
ISBN 978-0-099-44847-1 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 229
Synopsis

The story follows an unnamed narrator (simply called K.), a timid schoolteacher who is madly (and unrequitedly) in love with Sumire, an aspiring writer whose life tends to be topsy-turvy until she falls in love with a Korean woman, Miu, who is 17 years her senior. Miu is in the wine business, and as Miu gives Sumire a job in her company, they end up spending a lot of time together.

Review

This book is an enigma to me. I have to admit, I don't really understand the point of it, but nevertheless it made for very interesting reading. The pacing is good, the characters are well-developed, and the dialog is excellent. If you want an enjoyable "Huh?"-experience, I can heartily recommend it.

Images Back of Sputnik Sweetheart.Spine of Sputnik Sweetheart.Front of Sputnik Sweetheart.
Full title Starship Troopers [permalink]
Language English
Author Robert A. Heinlein (author)
Publisher Ace Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1987
Original publication year 1959
ISBN 0-441-78358-9 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 263
Synopsis

A classic military SF book. An alien arachnid race launches a meteor upon unsuspecting Earth which crushes Buenos Aires, plunging the two races into war.

Review

There's a lot of monolog from the protagonist's teacher in History and Moral Philosophy, Jean V. Dubois. For me, this is really the meat of the book. The rest is character development and furtherance of the story.

There is a movie based on the novel with the same name, and it follows the novel really closely. The only things missing from it are the jump-suits the troopers wear and the so-called neo-dogs, dogs with their intelligence amped to approximately human retardedness level that are used for reconnaissance.

Images Back of Starship Troopers.Spine of Starship Troopers.Front of Starship Troopers.
Full title Stranger in a Strange Land [permalink]
Language English
Author Robert A. Heinlein (author)
Publisher Ace Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1987
Original publication year 1961
ISBN 0-441-79034-8 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 438
Synopsis

A man born of human parents but raised on Mars arrives on Earth and goes on to learn as much about it as possible. He learns about religion and eventually founds his own church (which turns out to be more of a school than a church) where he teaches Martian so that Martian concepts can be readily communicated and understood; things like levitation, teleportation, and telepathy are available so long as you learn the language. The title is a reference to the Bible. From the KJV, Exodus 2:22:

"And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land."

This book is also the book from which the term 'grok' comes. See the Jargon file entry on grok.

Review

I think the portrayal of Michael (the man from Mars) as he learns more and more about Earth is very well-written and his progression is reflected in his speech pretty well.

Images Back of Stranger in a Strange Land.Spine of Stranger in a Strange Land.Front of Stranger in a Strange Land.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Part One HIS MACULATE ORIGIN
  • Part Two HIS PREPOSTEROUS HERITAGE
  • Part Three HIS ECCENTRIC EDUCATION
  • Part Four HIS SCANDALOUS CAREER
  • Part Five HIS HAPPY DESTINY
Full title Time Gate [permalink]
Language English
Authors Gregory Benford (author), Pat Murphy (author), Poul Anderson (author), Robert Sheckley (author) and Robert Silverberg (author)
Publisher Baen Publishing Enterprises
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1989
ISBN 0-671-69850-8 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 277
Synopsis

It's the future, and simulating near-perfect replicas of people in software is routine. At first it's used for entertainment, simulating historical figures from the past, but it isn't long before things get interesting...

Each chapter is written by a different author, and deals with two famous persons from the past: Enter a Soldier. Later: Enter Another is about Francisco Pizarro and Socrates, The Resurrection Machine about Cicero and Bakunin, Statesmen about Friedrich Hohenzollern and Machiavelli, The Rose and the Scalpel about Joan of Arc and Voltaire (who, without spoiling too much, have a Great Debate), and finally How I Spent My Summer Vacation is about Queen Victoria and some unknown girl (to say more would spoil).

Almost all of the book is about the interactions between the historical figured themselves, and the interplay between them and their creators.

Review

A pretty interesting read. It's not every day you get to see Socrates trick one of the Spanish Conquistadors into one of his famous dialogues! The idea of the book is interesting, but I think the book would be even better if it were written by a single author. In fact, its multiple authorship detracts from the quality, I feel, but it's nevertheless worth a read.

Images Back of Time Gate.Spine of Time Gate.Front of Time Gate.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Enter a Soldier. Later: Enter Another, Robert Silverberg
  • The Resurrection Machine, Robert Sheckley
  • Statesmen, Poul Anderson
  • The Rose and the Scalpel, Gregory Benford
  • How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Pat Murphy
Full title To Open the Sky [permalink]
Language English
Author Robert Silverberg (author)
Publisher Ballantine Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 1967
Pages 222
Synopsis

The story, despite taking up a meager two hundred pages, is pretty epic, spanning almost a century, and follows a small cast of long-lived characters. Earth has colonized Venus and Mars, and two religious factions, The Brotherhood of the Immanent Radiance and its offshoot Transcendent Harmony both have a piece of the puzzle that would allow man to reach the stars. In reality, the religious orders are merely fronts for scientific research (to say much more would spoil). Their icons and litanies and prayers are entirely scientific, and merely take on the clothing of a religious order. The book opens with The Electromagnetic Litany, which I can't help but quote in its entirety:

And there is light, before and beyond our vision, for which we give thanks.

And there is heat, for which we are humble.

And there is power, for which we count ourselves blessed.

Blessed be Balmer, who gave us our wavelengths. Blessed be Bohr, who brought us understanding. Blessed be Lyman, who saw beyond sight.

Tell us now the stations of the spectrum.

Blessed be long radio waves, which oscillate slowly.

Blessed be broadcast waves, for which we thank Hertz.

Blessed be short waves, linkers of mankind, and blessed be microwaves.

Blessed be infrared, bearers of nourishing heat.

Blessed be visible light, magnificent in angstroms. (On high holidays only: Blessed be red, sacred to Doppler. Blessed be orange. Blessed be yellow, hallowed by Fraunhofer’s gaze. Blessed be green. Blessed be blue for its hydrogen line. Blessed be indigo. Blessed be violet, flourishing with energy.)

Blessed be ultraviolet, with the richness of the sun. Blessed be Xrays, sacred to Roentgen, the prober within.

Blessed be the gamma, in all its power; blessed be the highest of frequencies.

We give thanks for Planck. We give thanks for Einstein. We give thanks in the highest for Maxwell.

In the strength of the spectrum, the quantum, and the holy angstrom, peace!

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Blue Fire 2077
  • The Warriors of Light 2095
  • Where the Changed Ones Go 2135
  • Lazarus Come Forth 2152
  • To Open the Sky 2164
Full title Utopia: Concerning the Best Condition of the Commonwealth and the New Island of Utopia — A Truly Golden Little Book, No Less Beneficial than Entertaining [permalink]
Original title Libellus vere aureus, nec minus salutaris quam festivus, de optimo rei publicae statu deque nova insula Utopia
Language English
Authors Thomas More (author) and Stephen Duncombe (introduction)
Publisher [self-published]
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publication year 2010
Original publication year 1516
Online version Link
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Discourses of Raphael Hythloday, of the Best State of a Commonwealth
  • Chapter 2: Of Their Towns, Particularly of Amaurot
  • Chapter 3: Of Their Magistrates
  • Chapter 4: Of Their Trades, and Manner of Life
  • Chapter 5: Of Their Traffic
  • Chapter 6: Of the Travelling of the Utopians
  • Chapter 7: Of Their Slaves, and of Their Marriages
  • Chapter 8: Of Their Military Discipline
  • Chapter 9: Of the Religions of the Utopians
Full title Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident [permalink]
Language English
Author Eoin Colfer (author)
Publisher Penguin Books
Categories Fantasy and novel
Series Artemis Fowl (2/7)
Publication year 2006
Original publication year 2002
ISBN 978-0-14-132132-5 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 288
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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Artemis Fowl: A Psychological Assessment
  • Prologue
  • Chapter 1: Family Ties
  • Chapter 2: Cruisin' for Chix
  • Chapter 3: Going Underground
  • Chapter 4: Fowl Is Fair
  • Chapter 5: Daddy's Girl
  • Chapter 6: Photo Opportunity
  • Chapter 7: Joining the Dots
  • Chapter 8: To Russia with Gloves
  • Chapter 9: No Safe Haven
  • Chapter 10: Trouble and Strife
  • Chapter 11: Mulch Ado About Nothing
  • Chapter 12: The Boys Are Back
  • Chapter 13: Into the Breach
  • Chapter 14: Father's Day
  • An Epilogue or Two
Full title Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code [permalink]
Language English
Author Eoin Colfer (author)
Publisher Penguin Books
Categories Fantasy and novel
Series Artemis Fowl (3/7)
Publication year 2006
Original publication year 2003
ISBN 978-0-14-132131-8 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 329
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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Prologue
  • PART ONE: ATTACK
  • Chapter 1: The Cube
  • Chapter 2: Lockdown
  • Chapter 3: On Ice
  • Chapter 4: Running in the Family
  • Chapter 5: The Metal Man and the Monkey
  • Chapter 6: Assault on Fowl Manor
  • Chapter 7: Best-laid Plans
  • PART TWO: COUNTERATTACK
  • Chapter 8: Hooks, Lines, and Sinkers
  • Chapter 9: Ghosts in the Machine
  • Chapter 10: Fingers and Thumbs
  • Chapter 11: The Invisible Man
  • Chapter 12: Mind Wipe
  • Epilogue
Full title Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception [permalink]
Language English
Author Eoin Colfer (author)
Publisher Penguin Books
Categories Fantasy and novel
Series Artemis Fowl (4/7)
Publication year 2006
Original publication year 2005
ISBN 0-141-31549-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 343
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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Prologue
  • Chapter 1: Totally Obsessed
  • Chapter 2: The Fairy Thief
  • Chapter 3: Nearly Departed
  • Chapter 4: Narrow Escapes
  • Chapter 5: Meet the Neighbours
  • Chapter 6: Troll Nasty
  • Chapter 7: The Temple of Artemis
  • Chapter 8: Some Intelligent Conversation
  • Chapter 9: Daddy's Girl
  • Chapter 10: Horse Sense
  • Chapter 11: A Last Goodbye
  • Epilogue
Full title Consider Phlebas [permalink]
Language English
Author Iain M. Banks (author)
Publisher Orbit Books
Categories Novel, science fiction and space opera
Series Culture (1/11)
Publication year 1987
ISBN 1-85723-138-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 471
Synopsis

A hunted Mind is forced to escape to Schar's World and both the Culture and the Idirans (fierce tripedal warriors) want it. The book's protagonist, Bora Horza Gobuchul, is a Changer who works for the Idirans to retrieve the Mind, and the book follows his adventure.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Prologue
  • 1. Sorpen
  • 2. The Hand of God 137
  • 3. Clear Air Turbulence
  • 4. Temple of Light
  • State of play: one
  • 5. Megaship
  • 6. The Eaters
  • Interlude in darkness
  • 7. A Game of Damage
  • 8. The Ends of Invention
  • State of play: two
  • 9. Schar's World
  • 10. The Command System: Batholith
  • State of play: three
  • 11. The Command System: Stations
  • 12. The Command System: Engines
  • 13. The Command System: Terminus
  • 14. Consider Phlebas
  • Appendices: the Idiran-Culture war
    • Reasons: the Culture
    • Reasons: the Idirans
    • The war, briefly
  • Dramatis personae
  • Epilogue
Full title The Player of Games [permalink]
Language English
Author Iain M. Banks (author)
Publisher Orbit Books
Categories Novel, science fiction and space opera
Series Culture (2/11)
Publication year 1988
ISBN 1-85723-146-5 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 309
Synopsis

Jernau Morat Gurgeh, a Culture citizen, has played games all his life, and is an expert at it. Being bored with success, he accepts to travel to the Empire of Azad to play one the most complex games known to the galaxy, coincidentally named Azad. The game is played on multi-layered checker boards with dice and cards, and features several different pieces, all with different strengths, weaknesses, and attributes. It is said that the moves one is able to execute in the game are so subtle that an experienced player would be able to figure out a lot about his opponent by watching him play (such as his outlook on life and his political stance). The game is so central to the society of Azad that the winner of the game is automatically the next Emperor.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • One: Culture Plate
  • Two: Imperium
  • Three: Machina Ex Machina
  • Four: The Passed Pawn
Full title Use of Weapons [permalink]
Language English
Author Iain M. Banks (author)
Publisher Orbit Books
Categories Novel, science fiction and space opera
Series Culture (3/11)
Publication year 1990
ISBN 1-85723-135-X [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 368
Synopsis

The Culture hires a mercenary, Cheradenine Zakalwe, to do their dirty work, while Zakalwe tries to piece together a terrible secret in his past.

Review

Banks fans apparently see this novel as the epitome of Culture novels. I hated it, save for the weird party in which people deliberately mutilate themselves and the curious method by which Zakalwe's body is being rebuilt after he's been beheaded. Why do I hate it? The structure. The story follows two threads, one going forward in time and another going backward; the chapters alternate between these two. I wasn't too confused by this, but I was annoyed. Perhaps I should re-read it. If you plan on reading the Culture novels, don't start with this one.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Acknowledgment
  • 'Slight Mechanical Destruction'
  • Prologue
  • 1. The Good Soldier
    • One
      • XIII
    • Two
      • XII
    • Three
      • XI
    • Four
      • X
    • Five
  • 2. An Outing
      • IX
    • Six
      • VIII
    • Seven
      • VII
    • Eight
      • VI
    • Nine
      • V
  • 3. Remembrance
    • Ten
      • IV
    • Eleven
      • III
    • Twelve
      • II
    • Thirteen
      • I
    • Fourteen
  • Epilogue
  • Zakalwe's Song
Full title Inversions [permalink]
Language English
Author Iain M. Banks (author)
Publisher Orbit Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Culture (6/11)
Publication year 1998
ISBN 1-85723-763-3 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 406
Synopsis

The chapters alternate between telling the story of Vosill, a king's physician, and DeWar, a Protector's bodyguard. Vosill and DeWar reside on opposite sides of a mountain where they tend to their masters (in their own ways), and although they never actually meet, there is subtle evidence that they know each other (but to say more would spoil).

Review

This isn't a Culture novel per se. It isn't even a science fiction novel, per se. The entire story is set in something resembling medieval Earth, with kings, generals, horse riding, and concubines. That having been said, there are subtle hints at the novel's SFness, but to pick them up you need to read the previous Culture novels.

Overall, I really enjoyed it, despite its non-SFness. I think Vosill may have saved it.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Prologue
  • 1. The Doctor
  • 2. The Bodyguard
  • 3. The Doctor
  • 4. The Bodyguard
  • 5. The Doctor
  • 6. The Bodyguard
  • 7. The Doctor
  • 8. The Bodyguard
  • 9. The Doctor
  • 10. The Bodyguard
  • 11. The Doctor
  • 12. The Bodyguard
  • 13. The Doctor
  • 14. The Bodyguard
  • 15. The Doctor
  • 16. The Bodyguard
  • 17. The Doctor
  • 18. The Bodyguard
  • 19. The Doctor
  • 20. The Bodyguard
  • 21. The Doctor
  • 22. The Bodyguard
  • 23. The Doctor
  • 24. The Bodyguard
  • Epilogue
Full title Look to Windward [permalink]
Language English
Author Iain M. Banks (author)
Publisher Pocket Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Culture (7/11)
Publication year 2002
Original publication year 2000
ISBN 0-7434-2192-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 483
Synopsis

During one of the most violent skirmishes in the Culture-Idiran War, a binary star system is blown up, and as the light from that event reaches the Orbital Masaq', the renowned composer Mahrai Ziller (an alien, a Chelgrian) is slated to conduct his latest masterpiece in coincidence with it. Meanwhile, another Chelgrian, the Major Quilan, is tasked with a mission (and a cover-story for that mission) whose objectives are unknown to him but which are gradually revealed (both to him and the reader).

Review

As this is a Culture novel I could almost have recommended it without reading it, and the verdict after having read it is still the same. This is an excellent story, one of political intrigue, love lost, secret missions, espionage, and huge sceneries. I particularly enjoyed the light-hearted chapters about Uagen Zlepe and 974 Praf, the former a human-turned-simian scholar (and an all-around twitchy and funny character), the latter a pterodactyl-like sentient creature and Zlepe's companion (also pretty incompetent and funny because of that). Their extremely serendipitous doings and fallings (don't ask) did much to lighten the otherwise heavy mood.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Prologue
  • 1 The Light of Ancient Mistakes
  • 2 Winter Storm
  • 3 Infra Dawn
  • 4 Scorched Ground
  • Airsphere
  • 5 A Very Attractive System
  • 6 Resistance Is Character-Forming
  • 7 Peer Group
  • 8 The Retreat at Cadracet
  • Dirigible
  • The Memory of Running
  • 9 Pylon Country
  • 10 The Seastacks of Youmier
  • 11 Absence of Gravitas
  • 12 A Defeat of Echoes
  • Flight
  • 13 Some Ways of Dying
  • 14 Returning to Leave, Recalling Forgetting
  • 15 A Certain Loss of Control
  • 16 Expiring Light
  • Space, Time
  • Closure
  • Epilogue
Full title Pebble in the Sky [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Publisher Grafton
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Empire (3/3)
Publication year 1987
Original publication year 1950
Pages 226
Review

Asimov almost never disappoints, and this book is no exception. It's a well-paced and thrilling novel with interesting characters. In particular (as is common with Asimov's novels), the dialog is excellent and abundant.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Chapter One: Between One Footstep and the Next
  • Chapter Two: The Disposal of a Stranger
  • Chapter Three: One World — Or Many?
  • Chapter Four: The Royal Road
  • Chapter Five: The Involuntary Volunteer
  • Chapter Six: Apprehension in the Night
  • Chapter Seven: Conversation With Madmen?
  • Chapter Eight: Convergence at Chica
  • Chapter Nine: Conflict at Chica
  • Chapter Ten: Interpretation of Events
  • Chapter Eleven: The Mind That Changed
  • Chapter Twelve: The Mind That Killed
  • Chapter Thirteen: Spider Web at Washenn
  • Chapter Fourteen: Second Meeting
  • Chapter Fifteen: The Odds That Vanished
  • Chapter Sixteen: Choose Your Side!
  • Chapter Seventeen: Change Your Side!
  • Chapter Eighteen: Duel!
  • Chapter Nineteen: The Deadline That Approached
  • Chapter Twenty: The Deadline That Was Reached
  • Chapter Twenty-One: The Deadline That Passed
  • Chapter Twenty-Two: The Best is Yet to Be
  • Afterword
Full title Ender's Game [permalink]
Language English
Author Orson Scott Card (author)
Publisher Tor Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Ender's Game (1/6)
Publication year 1994
Original publication year 1985
ISBN 0-812-55070-6 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 324
Synopsis

Three brilliant children, Ender, Peter, and Valentine Wiggin, all rise to excellence and help the human race in their own ways. The book primarily follows Ender as he advances to become a great military leader and strategist. It is set against the backdrop of a major inter-stellar war with the Buggers, a hive-mind entity of insect-like beings, who, humanity believes, wish to wipe them all out.

The military leaders in the International Fleet (I.F.) monitor children and pick out exceedingly bright ones to go to Battle School to become commanders, and Ender is picked out after he successfully defends himself against a school bully, determined to beat him down so badly that neither he (nor his entourage) would dare mess with him again. He accepts and is shipped to the Battle School, where he rises through the ranks quickly and starts winning more and more mock battles.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. Third
  • 2. Peter
  • 3. Graff
  • 4. Launch
  • 5. Games
  • 6. The Giant's Drink
  • 7. Salamander
  • 8. Rat
  • 9. Locke and Demosthenes
  • 10. Dragon
  • 11. Veni Vidi Vici
  • 12. Bonzo
  • 13. Valentine
  • 14. Ender's Teacher
  • 15. Speaker for the Dead
Full title Speaker for the Dead [permalink]
Language English
Author Orson Scott Card (author)
Publisher Tor Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Ender's Game (2/6)
Publication year 1994
Original publication year 1986
ISBN 0-812-55075-7 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 382
Synopsis

The book follows a family on the Catholic colony planet Lusitania and centers around the xenologers who find an intelligent porcine alien race there which does some (to them) bizarre things. In a manner that I won't spoil, Ender is entwined into the story.

Review

I like Speaker for the dead better than Ender's Game. There are more major characters, which is good, but also many more minor characters, which I didn't like. But the porcine alien race, which the inhabitants of Lusitania call pequeninos, were interesting enough to save the book for me. I also think Ender is an excellent speaker, and he's a likeable character.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
  • Some People of Lusitania Colony
  • Pronouncing Foreign Names
  • Prologue
  • 1. Pipo
  • 2. Trondheim
  • 3. Libo
  • 4. Ender
  • 5. Valentine
  • 6. Olhado
  • 7. The Ribeira House
  • 8. Dona Ivanova
  • 9. Congenital Defect
  • 10. Children of the Mind
  • 11. Jane
  • 12. Files
  • 13. Ela
  • 14. Renegades
  • 15. Speaking
  • 16. The Fence
  • 17. The Wives
  • 18. The Hive Queen
Full title Xenocide [permalink]
Language English
Author Orson Scott Card (author)
Publisher Tor Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Ender's Game (3/6)
Publication year 1992
Original publication year 1991
ISBN 0-812-50925-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 592
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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Acknowledgments
  • Pronunciation
  • 1. A Parting
  • 2. A Meeting
  • 3. Clean Hands
  • 4. Jane
  • 5. The Lusitania Fleet
  • 6. Varelse
  • 7. Secret Maid
  • 8. Miracles
  • 9. Pinehead
  • 10. Martyr
  • 11. The Jade of Master Ho
  • 12. Grego's War
  • 13. Free Will
  • 14. Virus Makers
  • 15. Life and Death
  • 16. Voyage
  • 17. Ender's Children
  • 18. The God of Path
Full title Children of the Mind [permalink]
Language English
Author Orson Scott Card (author)
Publisher Tor Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Ender's Game (4/6)
Publication year 1997
Original publication year 1996
ISBN 0-812-52239-7 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 370
Images Back of Children of the Mind.Spine of Children of the Mind.Front of Children of the Mind.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. "I'm Not Myself"
  • 2. "You Don't Believe in God"
  • 3. "There Are Too Many of Us"
  • 4. "I Am a Man of Perfect Simplicity!"
  • 5. "Nobody Is Rational"
  • 6. "Life Is a Suicide Mission"
  • 7. "I Offer Her This Poor Old Vessel"
  • 8. "What Matters Is Which Fiction You Believe"
  • 9. "It Smells Like Life to Me"
  • 10. "This Has Always Been Your Body"
  • 11. "You Called ME Back from Darkness"
  • 12. "Am I Betraying Ender?"
  • 13. "Till Death Ends All Surprises"
  • 14. "How They Communicate with Animals"
  • 15. "We're Giving You a Second Chance"
  • 16. "How Do You Know They Aren't Quivering in Terror?"
  • 17. "The Road Goes On without Him Now"
  • Afterword
Full title Ender's Shadow [permalink]
Language English
Author Orson Scott Card (author)
Publisher Tor Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Ender's Shadow (1/4)
Publication year 2000
Original publication year 1999
ISBN 0-812-57571-7 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 469
Synopsis

Ender's Shadow follows Bean, a friend of Ender's in Battle School, as he grows up on the harsh streets of Rotterdam, gets accepted by the I.F., and is taken to Battle School. From there it's basically another view of Card's first book in the Ender series, Ender's Game.

Review

Card is very good at drama and dialog, and I think this book showcases that very well. I also like the characters he develops very much. A good read.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Foreword
  • I. URCHIN
    • 1. Poke
    • 2. Kitchen
    • 3. Payback
    • 4. Memories
  • II. LAUNCHY
    • 5. Ready or Not
    • 6. Ender's Shadow
    • 7. Exploration
    • 8. Good Student
  • III. SCHOLAR
    • 9. Garden of Sofia
    • 10. Sneaky
    • 11. Daddy
    • 12. Roster
  • IV. SOLDIER
    • 13. Dragon Army
    • 14. Brothers
    • 15. Courage
    • 16. Companion
  • V. LEADER
    • 17. Deadline
    • 18. Friend
    • 19. Rebel
    • 20. Trial and Error
  • VI. VICTOR
    • 21. Guesswork
    • 22. Reunion
    • 23. Ender's Game
    • 24. Homecoming
  • Acknowledgments
Full title Shadow of the Hegemon [permalink]
Language English
Author Orson Scott Card (author)
Publisher Tor Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Ender's Shadow (2/4)
Publication year 2001
Original publication year 2000
ISBN 0-812-56595-9 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 451
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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • I. VOLUNTEERS
    • 1. Petra
    • 2. Bean
    • 3. Message in a Bottle
    • 4. Custody
    • 5. Ambition
  • II. ALLIANCES
    • 6. Code
    • 7. Going Public
    • 8. Bread Van
    • 9. Communing with the Dead
    • 10. Brothers in Arms
  • III. MANEUVERS
    • 11. Bangkok
    • 12. Islamabad
    • 13. Warnings
    • 14. Hyderabad
    • 15. Murder
  • IV. DECISIONS
    • 16. Treachery
    • 17. On a Bridge
    • 18. Sayagraha
    • 19. Rescue
    • 20. Hegemon
  • Afterword
Full title Shadow Puppets [permalink]
Language English
Author Orson Scott Card (author)
Publisher Tor Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Ender's Shadow (3/4)
Publication year 2003
Original publication year 2002
ISBN 0-765-34005-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 375
Synopsis

The novel follows Bean, Petra, Achilles, Peter, and Suriyawong and the political developments on Earth after the Formics are defeated.

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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  1. GROWN
  2. SURIYAWONG'S KNIFE
  3. MOMMIES AND DADDIES
  4. CHOPIN
  5. STONES IN THE ROAD
  6. HOSPITALITY
  7. THE HUMAN RACE
  8. TARGETS
  9. CONCEPTION
  10. LEFT AND RIGHT
  11. BABIES
  12. PUTTING OUT FIRES
  13. CALIPH
  14. SPACE STATION
  15. WAR PLANS
  16. TRAPS
  17. PROPHETS
  18. THE WAR ON THE GROUND
  19. FAREWELLS
  20. HOME
Full title Shadow of the Giant [permalink]
Language English
Author Orson Scott Card (author)
Publisher Tor Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Ender's Shadow (4/4)
Publication year 2006
Original publication year 2005
ISBN 0-812-57139-8 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 371
Synopsis

The story of Ender's jeesh (comrades) is further elaborated, taking place entirely on Earth.

Review

I hesitate a little to classify this as science fiction, because it feels more like a political thriller. It was a good read, but in the end I was left disappointed. I'm no Card fan, but if you are, perhaps you'll get something more out of it.

Images Back of Shadow of the Giant.Spine of Shadow of the Giant.Front of Shadow of the Giant.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  1. MANDATE OF HEAVEN
  2. MOTHER
  3. COUP
  4. BARGAIN
  5. SHIVA
  6. EVOLUTION
  7. AN OFFER
  8. ENDER
  9. PENSION
  10. GRIEF
  11. AFRICAN GOD
  12. ALLAHU AKBAR
  13. FOUND
  14. VIRLOMI'S VISITORS
  15. RATIFICATION
  16. JEESH
  17. BOATS
  18. YEREVAN
  19. ENEMIES
  20. PLANS
  21. PAPERS
  22. RUMORS OF WAR
  23. COLONIST
  24. SACRIFICE
  25. LETTERS
  26. SPEAK FOR ME
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Full title Frankenstein [permalink]
Alternative title or, The Modern Prometheus
Language English
Authors Mary Shelley (author) and Margaret Brantley (supplemental)
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Categories Gothic and novel
Series Enriched Classic
Publication year 2009
Original publication year 1818
ISBN 978-0-7434-8758-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 323
Synopsis

An explorer of the North Pole picks up a weary and battered Victor Frankenstein. Victor is on the run from his creation, who is trying to kill him. The captain of the ship listens to Frankenstein's story (which makes up the meat of the novel).

Review

What struck me about the novel was how mild-mannered, eloquent, and initially innocent Frankenstein's so-called monster is. The monster spends a good chunk of the novel in the forest, trying to make a living, and he meets a family living in a forest cabin.

This novel is a classic, and extremely well-written. I heartily recommend it. If you're not versed in Victorian English I recommend that you get a version with notes to explain language usage. Otherwise, a lot of things won't make sense.

Images Back of Frankenstein.Spine of Frankenstein.Front of Frankenstein.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
  • Chronology of Mary Shelley's Life and Work
  • Historical Context of Frankenstein

Frankenstein

  • Notes
  • Interpretive Notes
  • Questions for Discussion
  • Suggestions for the Interested Reader
Full title Flood [permalink]
Language English
Author Stephen Baxter (author)
Publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Flood/Ark (1/2)
Publication year 2009
Original publication year 2008
ISBN 978-0-575-08482-7 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 538
Synopsis

The book's first two chapters are over briefly, describing how a group of four hostages (Lily Brooke, Piers Michaelmas, Helen Gray, and Gary Boyle) are rescued by AxysCorp after five years of imprisonment in various cellars in Barcelona by a Christian extremist group called the Fathers of the Elect (who don't play a prominent part in the story). Lily, Piers, Helen, and Gary vow to stay in touch after their long imprisonment, and the rest of the book is about a world-wide flood which seems to be rising inexorably, and without an end in sight. The chapters alternate between the characters and events haphazardly.

Interspersed between some of the chapters are small vignettes, excerpts from Kristie's journal, describing how the situation looks on the ground in various parts of the world as it floods. At some points in the book there are edited world maps showing the effects of a sea-level rise of a certain magnitude above the 2010 datum.

Review

This is a long novel, with lots of space to really flesh out the characters and paint a picture of how a world-wide flood in the not-too-distant future would look. And what a picture Baxter paints! This really is more of a thriller/drama than science fiction, although the SF is there in the form of speculations about what causes the sea too rise so drastically, but it's really the human drama that is the main driving force of the novel.

Go read it!

Images Back of Flood.Spine of Flood.Front of Flood.
Full title Ark [permalink]
Language English
Author Stephen Baxter (author)
Publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Flood/Ark (2/2)
Publication year 2010
Original publication year 2009
ISBN 978-0-575-09413-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 537
Synopsis

Ark picks up where Flood left off. Unfortunately, the cover art sort of gives the ending of Flood away (although it's not that much of a spoiler, really). It follows the exploits of the survivors of the world wide flood, both on Earth and on the spaceship.

Review

Like the previous book, this one is excellent. It's thick, and uses the space well to flesh out the characters and describe the drama. If you liked Flood, then you'll like the sequel. The ending was particularly satisfying.

Images Back of Ark.Spine of Ark.Front of Ark.
Full title Prelude to Foundation [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Foundation (1/7)
Publication year 1988
Pages 528
Full title Forward the Foundation [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Foundation (2/7)
Publication year 1993
Pages 464
Full title Foundation [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Foundation (3/7)
Publication year 1951
Pages 255
Full title Foundation and Empire [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Foundation (4/7)
Publication year 1952
Pages 247
Full title Second Foundation [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Publisher Bantam Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Foundation (5/7)
Publication year 1991
Original publication year 1953
ISBN 0-553-29336-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 279
Images Back of Second Foundation.Spine of Second Foundation.Front of Second Foundation.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • PROLOGUE

PART I SEARCH BY THE MULE

  • 1 TWO MEN AND THE MULE
    First Interlude
  • 2 TWO MEN WITHOUT THE MULE
    Second Interlude
  • 3 TWO MEN AND A PEASANT
    Third Interlude
  • 4 TWO MEN AND THE ELDERS
    Fourth Interlude
  • 5 ONE MAN AND THE MULE
  • 6 ONE MAN, THE MULE—AND ANOTHER
    Last Interlude

PART II SEARCH BY THE FOUNDATION

  • 7 ARCADIA
  • 8 SELDON'S PLAN
  • 9 THE CONSPIRATORS
  • 10 APPROACHING CRISIS
  • 11 STOWAWAY
  • 12 LORD
  • 13 LADY
  • 14 ANXIETY
  • 15 THROUGH THE GRID
  • 16 BEGINNING OF WAR
  • 17 WAR
  • 18 GHOST OF A WORLD
  • 19 END OF WAR
  • 20 "I KNOW..."
  • 21 THE ANSWER THAT SATISFIED
  • 22 THE ANSWER THAT WAS TRUE
Full title Foundation's Edge [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Publisher Bantam Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Foundation (6/7)
Publication year 2004
Original publication year 1982
ISBN 0-553-29338-9 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 449
Images Back of Foundation's Edge.Spine of Foundation's Edge.Front of Foundation's Edge.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Prologue
  • 1. Councilman
  • 2. Mayor
  • 3. Historian
  • 4. Space
  • 5. Speaker
  • 6. Earth
  • 7. Farmer
  • 8. Farmwoman
  • 9. Hyperspace
  • 10. Table
  • 11. Sayshell
  • 12. Agent
  • 13. University
  • 14. Forward!
  • 15. Gaia-s
  • 16. Convergence
  • 17. Gaia
  • 18. Collision
  • 19. Decision
  • 20. Conclusion
  • Afterword by the Author
Full title Foundation and Earth [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Publisher Bantam Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Foundation (7/7)
Publication year 2004
Original publication year 1986
ISBN 0-553-58757-9 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 499
Images Back of Foundation and Earth.Spine of Foundation and Earth.Front of Foundation and Earth.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • PART I GAIA
    • 1. The Search Begins
    • 2. Toward Comporellon
  • PART II COMPORELLON
    • 3. At the Entry Station
    • 4. On Comporellon
    • 5. Struggle for the Ship
    • 6. The Nature of Earth
    • 7. Leaving Comporellon
  • PART III AURORA
    • 8. Forbidden World
    • 9. Facing the Pack
  • PART IV SOLARIA
    • 10. Robots
    • 11. Underground
    • 12. To the Surface
  • PART V MELPOMENIA
    • 13. Away from Solaria
    • 14. Dead Planet
    • 15. Moss
  • PART VI ALPHA
    • 16. The Center of the Worlds
    • 17. New Earth
    • 18. The Music Festival
  • PART VII EARTH
    • 19. Radioactive?
    • 20. The Nearby World
    • 21. The Search Ends
Full title Halo: The Flood [permalink]
Language English
Author William C. Dietz (author)
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Halo (2/7)
Publication year 2003
Pages 352
Synopsis

A spaceship, The Pillar of Autumn, takes a wrong turn in hyperspace (called Slipstream Space in the Haloverse) and ends up having to crash-land on a ringworld nearby. John-117 (a super soldier popularly called Master Chief, in a battle armor) is tasked with the safe-keeping of the ship's enigmatic AI, Cortana, and the novel chronicles his attempts at rendezvousing with The Pillar of Autumn after having used an escape pod to disembark from it.

Review

The book is a straight novelization of the game, and it suffers a bit from that fact (if you've played the game then you know that a good deal of the game is repetitive shooting). A good chunk of the book is devoted to viewing the action from other perspectives, which is good. In the end, though, it's a mediocre book. I can't recommend it if you're not a Halo fan.

Full title Rendezvous with Rama [permalink]
Language English
Author Arthur C. Clarke (author)
Publisher Bantam Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Rama (1/4)
Publication year 1990
Original publication year 1972
ISBN 0-553-28789-3 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 243
Synopsis

A large cylindrical object is spinning so fast through the solar system that humans want to take a look at it before it whizzes past them. They dispatch the Endeavour to intersect its orbit and quickly discover that the cylinder is a spaceship of some kind designed by an intelligent species. Once they make it aboard Rama, the crew meticulously describe the interior of it and you should eventually get a really good feel for its construction. The novel details the crew's discoveries aboard Rama.

Images Back of Rendezvous with Rama.Spine of Rendezvous with Rama.Front of Rendezvous with Rama.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Chapter 1 * Spaceguard
  • Chapter 2 * Intruder
  • Chapter 3 * Rama and Sita
  • Chapter 4 * Rendezvous
  • Chapter 5 * First EVA
  • Chapter 6 * Committee
  • Chapter 7 * Two Wives
  • Chapter 8 * Through the Hub
  • Chapter 9 * Reconnaissance
  • Chapter 10 * Descent into Darkness
  • Chapter 11 * Men, Women, and Monkeys
  • Chapter 12 * The Stairway of the Gods
  • Chapter 13 * The Plain of Rama
  • Chapter 14 * Storm Warning
  • Chapter 15 * The Edge of the Sea
  • Chapter 16 * Kealakekua
  • Chapter 17 * Spring
  • Chapter 18 * Dawn
  • Chapter 19 * A Warning from Mercury
  • Chapter 20 * Book of Revelation
  • Chapter 21 * After the Storm
  • Chapter 22 * To Sail the Cylindrical Sea
  • Chapter 23 * N.Y., Rama
  • Chapter 24 * Dragonfly
  • Chapter 25 * Maiden Flight
  • Chapter 26 * The Voice of Rama
  • Chapter 27 * Electric Wind
  • Chapter 28 * Icarus
  • Chapter 29 * First Contact
  • Chapter 30 * The Flower
  • Chapter 31 * Terminal Velocity
  • Chapter 32 * The Wave
  • Chapter 33 * Spider
  • Chapter 34 * His Excellency Regrets...
  • Chapter 35 * Special Delivery
  • Chapter 36 * Biot Watcher
  • Chapter 37 * Missile
  • Chapter 38 * General Assembly
  • Chapter 39 * Command Decision
  • Chapter 40 * Saboteur
  • Chapter 41 * Hero
  • Chapter 42 * Temple of Glass
  • Chapter 43 * Retreat
  • Chapter 44 * Space Drive
  • Chapter 45 * Phoenix
  • Chapter 46 * Interlude
Full title Rama II [permalink]
Language English
Authors Arthur C. Clarke (author) and Gentry Lee (co-author)
Publisher Bantam Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Rama (2/4)
Publication year 1990
Original publication year 1989
ISBN 0-553-28658-7 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 466
Synopsis

Seventy years after the first book, a second Rama spacecraft enters our solar system, and an expedition is again sent to rendezvous with it. They board it as easily as the first crew boarded the first spacecraft, but they soon discover a few differences between the two craft.

Review

This book (and the subsequent ones) contains a lot character development, as they are written primarily by Lee. In this one, it doesn't seem to be going anywhere, but it takes off eventually, really.

Images Back of Rama II.Spine of Rama II.Front of Rama II.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Rama Revisited
  • 1 Rama Returns
  • 2 Test and Training
  • 3 Crew Conference
  • 4 The Great Chaos
  • 5 After the Crash
  • 6 La Signora Sabatini
  • 7 Public Relations
  • 8 Biometry
  • 9 Diastolic Irregularity
  • 10 The Cosmonaut and the Pope
  • 11 St Michael of Siena
  • 12 Ramans and Romans
  • 13 Happy New Year
  • 14 Good-bye, Henry
  • 15 Encounter
  • 16 Rama Rama Burning Bright
  • 17 Death of a Soldier
  • 18 Postmortem
  • 19 Rite of Passage
  • 20 Blessed Slumber
  • 21 Pandora's Cube
  • 22 Dawn
  • 23 Nightfall
  • 24 Sounds in the Darkness
  • 25 A Friend in Need
  • 26 Second Sortie
  • 27 To Catch a Biot
  • 28 Extrapolation
  • 29 The Hunt
  • 30 Postmortem II
  • 31 Orvieto Prodigy
  • 32 New York Explorer
  • 33 Missing Person
  • 34 Strange Companions
  • 35 Into the Pit
  • 36 Impact Course
  • 37 Marooned
  • 38 Visitors
  • 39 Waters of Wisdom
  • 40 Alien Invitation
  • 41 A Friend Indeed
  • 42 Two Explorers
  • 43 Exobiological Psychology
  • 44 Another Lair
  • 45 Nikki
  • 46 The Better Part of Valor
  • 47 Progressive Matrices
  • 48 Welcome Earthlings
  • 49 Interaction
  • 50 Hope Springs Eternal
  • 51 Escape Harness
  • 52 Flight 302
  • 53 Trinity
  • 54 Once a Hero
  • 55 The Voice of Michael
  • 56 An Answered Prayer
  • 57 Three's Company
  • 58 Hobson's Choice
  • 59 Dream of Destiny
  • 60 Return to Rama
  • 61 Endangered Spacecraft
  • 62 The Final Hour
  • Acknowledgments
Full title The Garden of Rama [permalink]
Language English
Authors Arthur C. Clarke (author) and Gentry Lee (co-author)
Publisher Bantam Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Rama (3/4)
Publication year 1992
Original publication year 1991
ISBN 0-553-29817-8 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 518
Images Back of The Garden of Rama.Spine of The Garden of Rama.Front of The Garden of Rama.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Acknowledgments
  • Nicole's Journal
  • At the Node
  • Rendezvous at Mars
  • Epithalamion
  • The Trial
Full title Rama Revealed: The Ultimate Encounter [permalink]
Language English
Authors Arthur C. Clarke (author) and Gentry Lee (co-author)
Publisher Bantam Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Rama (4/4)
Publication year 1995
Original publication year 1994
ISBN 0-553-56947-3 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 602
Images Back of Rama Revealed.Spine of Rama Revealed.Front of Rama Revealed.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Acknowledgments
  • Prologue
  • Escape
  • The Rainbow Connection
  • The Emerald City
  • War in Rama
  • Return to the Node
Full title Ringworld [permalink]
Language English
Author Larry Niven (author)
Publisher Ballantine Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Ringworld (1/4)
Publication year 1970
ISBN 0-345-33392-6 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 342
Synopsis

A group of four individuals (two humans and two aliens) end up together on an expedition to a ringworld, a huge structure around a sun, akin to a slender rubber band around a speck of sand. The book chronicles their adventures on it.

Images Back of Ringworld.Spine of Ringworld.Front of Ringworld.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  1. Louis Wu
  2. And His Motley Crew
  3. Teela Brown
  4. Speaker-to-Animals
  5. Rosette
  6. Christmas Ribbon
  7. Stepping Discs
  8. Ringworld
  9. Shadow Squares
  10. The Ring Floor
  11. The Arch of Heaven
  12. Fist-of-God
  13. Starseed Lure
  14. Interlude, with Sunflowers
  15. Dream-Castle
  16. The Map Room
  17. The Eye of the Storm
  18. The Perils of Teela Brown
  19. In the Trap
  20. Meat
  21. The Girl from Beyond the Edge
  22. Seeker
  23. The God Gambit
  24. Fist-of-God
Full title The Caves of Steel [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Publisher Bantam Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Robot (1/4)
Publication year 1991
Original publication year 1954
ISBN 0-553-29340-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 270
Images Back of The Caves of Steel.Spine of The Caves of Steel.Front of The Caves of Steel.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
  • 1. Conversation with a Commissioner
  • 2. Round Trip on an Expressway
  • 3. Incident at a Shoe Counter
  • 4. Introduction to a Family
  • 5. Analysis of a Murder
  • 6. Whispers in a Bedroom
  • 7. Excursion into Spacetown
  • 8. Debate over a Robot
  • 9. Elucidation by a Spacer
  • 10. Afternoon of a Plain-clothes Man
  • 11. Escape along the Strips
  • 12. Words from an Expert
  • 13. Shift to the Machine
  • 14. Power of a Name
  • 15. Arrest of a Conspirator
  • 16. Questions Concerning a Motive
  • 17. Conclusion of a Project
  • 18. End of an Investigation
Full title The Naked Sun [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Robot (2/4)
Publication year 1957
Pages 288
Full title The Robots of Dawn [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Publisher Bantam Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Robot (3/4)
Publication year 1994
Original publication year 1983
ISBN 0-553-29949-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 435
Images Back of The Robots of Dawn.Spine of The Robots of Dawn.Front of The Robots of Dawn.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • 1 Baley
  • 2 Daneel
  • 3 Giskard
  • 4 Fastolfe
  • 5 Daneel and Giskard
  • 6 Gladia
  • 7 Again Fastolfe
  • 8 Fastolfe and Vasilia
  • 9 Vasilia
  • 10 Again Vasilia
  • 11 Gremionis
  • 12 Again Gremionis
  • 13 Amadiro
  • 14 Again Amadiro
  • 15 Again Daneel and Giskard
  • 16 Again Gladia
  • 17 The Chairman
  • 18 Again the Chairman
  • 19 Again Baley
Full title Robots and Empire [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Robot (4/4)
Publication year 1985
Pages 383
Full title The City and the Stars [permalink]
Language English
Author Arthur C. Clarke (author)
Publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series SF Masterworks
Publication year 2001
Original publication year 1956
ISBN 978-1-857-98763-8 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 255
Synopsis

The story takes place on Earth several billion years in the future. It revolves around the huge city of Diaspar, which has cloistered itself under an artificial roof. No one can leave the city, and no one even wants to. People are no longer born naturally, but emerge from the Hall of Creation. They live for centuries, and when they decide it's time to "die" they simply choose which memories they wish to keep, and are then stored in the Memory Banks, to return centuries later from the Hall of Creation. These Memory Banks also house the patterns for everything in the city (buildings, furniture, what have you) so that when one wishes something (a chair, for instance), one simply asks for it and it will materialize. As a by-product, nothing ever wears down; the city (and its inhabitants) are practically immortal.

Into this mix emerges Alvin, a Unique (meaning it's his first life). These aren't unheard of, but they're very rare. The story is really about Alvin and his adventures to unravel the secrets of the city's (and Earth's) mysterious and myth-laden past.

Review

I thorougly enjoyed it. If I have one complaint it's that I wish we learned more about the Invaders, but this doesn't detract from the story (for reasons which I won't go into due to the spoiler potential).

Images Back of The City and the Stars.Spine of The City and the Stars.Front of The City and the Stars.
Full title A Fall of Moondust [permalink]
Language English
Author Arthur C. Clarke (author)
Publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series SF Masterworks
Publication year 2002
Original publication year 1961
ISBN 978-0-575-07317-3 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 224
Synopsis

It's the near future, and the Moon is a place for tourism. The novel opens with Pat Harris, skipper of the boat Selene, enjoying a cruise with his two-dozen-or-so passengers across the (fictional) Sea of Thirst. At the time of the novel's writing in 1960 it was reasonably assumed that the so-called "seas" of the Moon consisted of very fine dust. Selene, therefore, was imagined as a ship capable of crossing these seas. However, like an ant falling into an antlion's trap (the analogy is one of the character's), Selene sinks into the Sea of Thirst, and the rest of the novel is concerned with, alternately, the people aboard, the search party above, and the various other interested parties (TV crews, overseers, and what have you).

Review

An immensely gripping novel! To call it science fiction is technically correct, but the SF serves merely as the backdrop for the human drama. And what a drama it is! Go pick this up!

Images Back of A Fall of Moondust.Spine of A Fall of Moondust.Front of A Fall of Moondust.
Full title Odd John: A Story Between Jest and Earnest [permalink]
Language English
Authors Olaf Stapledon (author) and Adam Roberts (introduction)
Publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series SF Masterworks
Publication year 2012
Original publication year 1935
ISBN 978-0-575-07224-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 208
Synopsis

John Wainwright is born several months late, a seemingly normal child who, it's quickly discovered, is anything but. His mental powers are off the charts, and he learns at a tremendous rate. As a consequence of all this accelerated mentation, his physical body's maturation is severely hampered such that by age 16 he looks like a ten-year-old.

As John learns quickly, he very soon becomes bored with whatever object is holding his attention. For instance, he soon tires of language:

It had ceased to be a new art, and had become merely a useful means of communication, to be extended and refined only as new spheres of experience came within his ken and demanded expression.

The novel follows him throughout his life, narrated by a free-lance journalist friend of his. The book proposes to be published long after the events contained in it. In fact, the end of the novel is flatly stated in the first chapter (but not to worry, I won't spoil it; I'll let Stapledon do that).

Much of the novel is spent ruminating on what it means to be superhuman (they call themselves supernormals and Homo superior). From our narrator's perspective, many of Odd John's actions seem flat out amoral, and even though John can't properly explain the situation to the narrator (for the simple reason that John's logic is superior to his), one nevertheless is left with a feeling that maybe John is right.

Review

I immensely enjoyed this novel. It's really interesting to follow John through his life, and Stapledon does a wonderful job of conveying the various parts of John's life to us, through a sympathetic and competent narrator. I have only one complaint: The latter parts of the book are about John's voyages around the world to find fellow-supernormals to populate and keep his Colony running. I wish this part comprised more of the book, as I think those chapters were the most interesting. Nevertheless, I can thoroughly recommend it!

Images Back of Odd John.Spine of Odd John.Front of Odd John.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
  • I John and the Author
  • II The First Phase
  • III Enfant Terrible
  • IV John and his Elders
  • V Thought and Action
  • VI Many Inventions
  • VII Financial Ventures
  • VIII Scandalous Adolescence
  • IX Methods of a Young Anthropologist
  • X The World's Plight
  • XI Strange Encounters
  • XII John in the Wilderness
  • XIII John Seeks his Kind
  • XIV Engineering Problems
  • XV Jacqueline
  • XVI Adlan
  • XVII Ng-Gunko and Lo
  • XVIII The Skid's First Voyage
  • XIX The Colony is Founded
  • XX The Colony in Being
  • XXI The Beginning of the End
  • XXII The End
Full title Sirius: A Fantasy of Love and Discord [permalink]
Language English
Authors Olaf Stapledon (author) and Graham Sleight (introduction)
Publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series SF Masterworks
Publication year 2010
Original publication year 1944
ISBN 978-0-575-09942-5 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Online version Link
Pages 194
Images Back of Sirius.Spine of Sirius.Front of Sirius.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
  1. First Meeting
  2. The Making of Sirius
  3. Infancy
  4. Youth
  5. Sheep-Dog Apprentice
  6. Birth-Pangs of A Personality
  7. Wolf Sirius
  8. Sirius At Cambridge
  9. Sirius And Religion
  10. Experiences in London
  11. Man As Tyrant
  12. Farmer Sirius
  13. The Effects of War
  14. Tan-Y-Voel
  15. Strange Triangle
  16. Plaxy Constripted
  17. Outlaw
Full title Ubik [permalink]
Language English
Author Philip K. Dick (author)
Publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series SF Masterworks
Publication year 2004
Original publication year 1969
ISBN 978-1-8579-8853-6 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 224
Images Back of Ubik.Spine of Ubik.Front of Ubik.
Full title 2001: A Space Odyssey [permalink]
Language English
Author Arthur C. Clarke (author)
Publisher Roc Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Space Odyssey (1/4)
Publication year 2000
Original publication year 1968
ISBN 0-451-45799-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 297
Images Back of 2001.Spine of 2001.Front of 2001.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • To Stanley: In Memoriam
  • Foreword to the Millennial Edition
  • Foreword
  • Part One: Primeval Night
    • Chapter 1: The Road to Extinction
    • Chapter 2: The New Rock
    • Chapter 3: Academy
    • Chapter 4: The Leopard
    • Chapter 5: Encounter in the Dark
    • Chapter 6: Ascent of Man
  • Part Two: TMA-1
    • Chapter 7: Special Flight
    • Chapter 8: Orbital Rendezvous
    • Chapter 9: Moon Shuttle
    • Chapter 10: Clavius Base
    • Chapter 11: Anomaly
    • Chapter 12: Journey by Earthlight
    • Chapter 13: The Slow Dawn
    • Chapter 14: The Listeners
  • Part Three: Between Planets
    • Chapter 15: Discovery
    • Chapter 16: Hal
    • Chapter 17: Cruise Mode
    • Chapter 18: Through the Asteroids
    • Chapter 19: Transit of Jupiter
    • Chapter 20: The World of the Gods
  • Part Four: Abyss
    • Chapter 21: Birthday Party
    • Chapter 22: Excursion
    • Chapter 23: Diagnosis
    • Chapter 24: Broken Circuit
    • Chapter 25: First Man to Saturn
    • Chapter 26: Dialogue with Hal
    • Chapter 27: "Need to Know"
    • Chapter 28: In Vacuum
    • Chapter 29: Alone
    • Chapter 30: The Secret
  • Part Five: The Moons of Saturn
    • Chapter 31: Survival
    • Chapter 32: Concerning E.T.'s
    • Chapter 33: Ambassador
    • Chapter 34: The Orbiting Ice
    • Chapter 35: The Eye of Japetus
    • Chapter 36: Big Brother
    • Chapter 37: Experiment
    • Chapter 38: The Sentinel
    • Chapter 39: Into the Eye
    • Chapter 40: Exit
  • Part Six: Through the Star Gate
    • Chapter 41: Grand Central
    • Chapter 42: The Alien Sky
    • Chapter 43: Inferno
    • Chapter 44: Reception
    • Chapter 45: Recapitulation
    • Chapter 46: Transformation
    • Chapter 47: Star-Child
Full title 2010: Odyssey Two [permalink]
Language English
Author Arthur C. Clarke (author)
Publisher Ballantine Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Space Odyssey (2/4)
Publication year 1984
Original publication year 1982
ISBN 0-345-30306-7 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 335
Images Back of 2010.Spine of 2010.Front of 2010.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Author's Note
  • I * Leonov
    • 1. Meeting at the Focus
    • 2. The House of the Dolphins
    • 3. SAL 9000
    • 4. Mission Profile
    • 5. Leonov
  • II * Tsien
    • 6. Awakening
    • 7. Tsien
    • 8. Transit of Jupiter
    • 9. The Ice of the Grand Canal
    • 10. A Cry from Europa
    • 11. Ice and Vacuum
  • III * Discovery
    • 12. Downhill Run
    • 13. The Worlds of Galileo
    • 14. Double Encounter
    • 15. Escape From the Giant
    • 16. Private Line
    • 17. Boarding Party
    • 18. Salvage
    • 19. Operation WINDMILL
    • 20. Guillotine
    • 21. Resurrection
  • IV * Lagrange
    • 22. Big Brother
    • 23. Rendezvous
    • 24. Reconnaissance
    • 25. The View From Lagrange
    • 26. Probation
    • 27. Interlude: True Confessions
    • 28. Frustration
    • 29. Emergence
  • V * A Child of the Stars
    • 30. Homecoming
    • 31. Disneyville
    • 32. Crystal Spring
    • 33. Betty
    • 34. Valediction
    • 35. Rehabilitation
    • 36. Fire in the Deep
    • 37. Estrangement
    • 38. Foamscape
    • 39. In the Pod Bay
    • 40. "Daisy, Daisy..."
    • 41. Graveyard Shift
  • VI * Devourer of Worlds
    • 42. The Ghost in the Machine
    • 43. Thought Experiment
    • 44. Vanishing Trick
    • 45. Escape Maneuver
    • 46. Countdown
    • 47. Final Flyby
    • 48. Over the Nightside
    • 49. Devourer of Worlds
  • VII * Lucifer Rising
    • 50. Farewell to Jupiter
    • 51. The Great Game
    • 52. Ignition
    • 53. A Gift of Worlds
    • 54. Between Suns
    • 55. Lucifer Rising
  • Epilog: 20,001
  • Acknowledgments
Full title 2061: Odyssey Three [permalink]
Language English
Author Arthur C. Clarke (author)
Publisher Ballantine Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Space Odyssey (3/4)
Publication year 1989
Original publication year 1988
ISBN 0-345-35879-1 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 271
Images Back of 2061.Spine of 2061.Front of 2061.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Author's Note
  • I * The Magic Mountain
    • 1. The Frozen Years
    • 2. First Sight
    • 3. Reentry
    • 4. Tycoon
    • 5. Out of the Ice
    • 6. The Greening of Ganymede
    • 7. Transit
    • 8. Starfleet
    • 9. Mount Zeus
    • 10. Ship of Fools
    • 11. The Lie
    • 12. Oom Paul
    • 13. "No One Told Us to Bring Swimsuits..."
    • 14. Search
  • II * The Valley of Black Snow
    • 15. Rendezvous
    • 16. Touchdown
    • 17. The Valley of Black Snow
    • 18. Old Faithful
    • 19. At the End of the Tunnel
    • 20. Recall
  • III * Europan Roulette
    • 21. The Politics of Exile
    • 22. Hazardous Cargo
    • 23. Inferno
    • 24. Shaka the Great
    • 25. The Shrouded World
    • 26. Night Watch
    • 27. Rosie
    • 28. Dialog
    • 29. Descent
    • 30. Galaxy Down
    • 31. The Sea of Galilee
  • IV * At The Water Hole
    • 32. Diversion
    • 33. Pit Stop
    • 34. Car Wash
    • 35. Adrift
    • 36.The Alien Shore
  • V * Through the Asteroids
    • 37. Star
    • 38. Icebergs of Space
    • 39. The Captain's Table
    • 40. Monsters from Earth
    • 41. Memoirs of a Centenarian
    • 42. Minilith
  • VI * Haven
    • 43. Salvage
    • 44. Endurance
    • 45. Mission
    • 46. Shuttle
    • 47. Shards
    • 48. Lucy
  • VII * The Great Wall
    • 49. Shrine
    • 50. Open City
    • 51. Phantom
    • 52. On the couch
    • 53. Pressure Cooker
    • 54. Reunion
    • 55. Magma
    • 56. Perturbation Theory
    • 57. Interlude on Ganymede
  • VIII * The Kingdom of Sulfur
    • 58. Fire and Ice
    • 59. Trinity
  • IX * 3001
    • 60. Midnight in the Plaza
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  • Addendum
Full title 3001: The Final Odyssey [permalink]
Language English
Author Arthur C. Clarke (author)
Publisher Ballantine Books
Categories Novel and science fiction
Series Space Odyssey (4/4)
Publication year 1998
Original publication year 1997
ISBN 0-345-42349-6 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 274
Images Back of 3001.Spine of 3001.Front of 3001.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Prologue: The Firstborn
  • I. Star City
    • 1. Comet Cowboy
    • 2. Awakening
    • 3. Rehabilitation
    • 4. A Room with a View
    • 5. Education
    • 6. Braincap
    • 7. Debriefing
    • 8. Return to Olduvai
    • 9. Skyland
    • 10. Homage to Icarus
    • 11. Here Be Dragons
    • 12. Frustration
    • 13. Stranger in a Strange Time
  • II. Goliath
    • 14. A Farewell to Earth
    • 15. Transit of Venus
    • 16. The Captain's Table
  • III. The Worlds of Galileo
    • 17. Ganymede
    • 18. Grand Hotel
    • 19. The Madness of Mankind
    • 20. Apostate
    • 21. Quarantine
    • 22. Venture
  • IV. The Kingdom of Sulfur
    • 23. Falcon
    • 24. Escape
    • 25. Fire in the Deep
    • 26. Tsienville
    • 27. Ice and Vacuum
    • 28. The Little Dawn
    • 29. The Ghosts in the Machine
    • 30. Foamscape
    • 31. Nursery
  • V. Termination
    • 32. A Gentleman of Leisure
    • 33. Contact
    • 34. Judgement
    • 35. Council of War
    • 36. Chamber of Horrors
    • 37. Operation DAMOCLES
    • 38. Preemptive Strike
    • 39. Deicide
    • 40. Midnight: Pico
    • Epilogue
  • Sources and Acknowledgments
  • Valediction
Full title The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [permalink]
Language English
Author Douglas Adams (author)
Categories Humor, novel and science fiction
Series The Hitchhiker's Guide
Publication year 1979
Pages 224
Full title So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish [permalink]
Language English
Author Douglas Adams (author)
Categories Humor, novel and science fiction
Series The Hitchhiker's Guide
Publication year 1984
Pages 224
Full title The Shining [permalink]
Language English
Author Stephen King (author)
Publisher Hodder & Stoughton
Categories Horror and novel
Series The Shining (1/2)
Publication year 2011
Original publication year 1977
ISBN 978-1-444-7207-3 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 497
Images Back of The Shining.Spine of The Shining.Front of The Shining.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction

Part One: Prefatory Matters

  • Chapter One: Job Interview
  • Chapter Two: Boulder
  • Chapter Three: Watson
  • Chapter Four: Shadowland
  • Chapter Five: Phonebooth
  • Chapter Six: Night Thoughts
  • Chapter Seven: In Another Bedroom

Part Two: Closing Day

  • Chapter Eight: A View of the Overlook
  • Chapter Nine: Checking It Out
  • Chapter Ten: Hallorann
  • Chapter Eleven: The Shining
  • Chapter Twelve: The Grand Tour
  • Chapter Thirteen: The Front Porch

Part Three: The Wasps' Nest

  • Chapter Fourteen: Up On the Roof
  • Chapter Fifteen: Down in the Front Yard
  • Chapter Sixteen: Danny
  • Chapter Seventeen: The Doctor's Office
  • Chapter Eighteen: The Scrapbook
  • Chapter Nineteen: Outside 217
  • Chapter Twenty: Talking to Mr. Ullman
  • Chapter Twenty-One: Night Thoughts
  • Chapter Twenty-Two: In the Truck
  • Chapter Twenty-Three: In the Playground
  • Chapter Twenty-Four: Snow
  • Chapter Twenty-Five: Inside 217

Part Four: Snowbound

  • Chapter Twenty-Six: Dreamland
  • Chapter Twenty-Seven: Catatonic
  • Chapter Twenty-Eight: 'It Was Her!'
  • Chapter Twenty-Nine: Kitchen Talk
  • Chapter Thirty: 217 Revisited
  • Chapter Thirty-One: The Verdict
  • Chapter Thirty-Two: The Bedroom
  • Chapter Thirty-Three: The Snowmobile
  • Chapter Thirty-Four: The Hedges
  • Chapter Thirty-Five: The Lobby
  • Chapter Thirty-Six: The Elevator
  • Chapter Thirty-Seven: The Ballroom

Part Five: Matters of Life and Death

  • Chapter Thirty-Eight: Florida
  • Chapter Thirty-Nine: On the Stairs
  • Chapter Forty: In the Basement
  • Chapter Forty-One: Daylight
  • Chapter Forty-Two: Mid-Air
  • Chapter Forty-Three: Drinks on the House
  • Chapter Forty-Four: Conversations at the Party
  • Chapter Forty-Five: Stapleton Airport, Denver
  • Chapter Forty-Six: Wendy
  • Chapter Forty-Seven: Danny
  • Chapter Forty-Eight: Jack
  • Chapter Forty-Nine: Hallorann, Going Up the Country
  • Chapter Fifty: Redrum
  • Chapter Fifty-One: Hallorann Arrives
  • Chapter Fifty-Two: Wendy and Jack
  • Chapter Fifty-Three: Hallorann Laid Low
  • Chapter Fifty-Four: Tony
  • Chapter Fifty-Five: That Which Was Forgotten
  • Chapter Fifty-Six: The Explosion
  • Chapter Fifty-Seven: Exit
  • Chapter Fifty-Eight: Epilogue/Summer

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