Sunday, 31 July 2011

Mid Year Review Continued - Part 3

I've always enjoyed Sci Fi and Fantasy, at one time I belonged to the Science Fiction Book Club. But over the past few years my tastes have changed somewhat and I lean more toward a good mystery. For this year as one of my Reading challenges, I decided to focus on science fiction/ fantasy. Like the other challenges, I chose 12 + 2. I'm glad I did, as on the whole, I've very much enjoyed the stories I've read so far.

I tried to pick a mixture, older writers and newer, plus throw in some fantasy as well. So here goes...

Ursula K. Le Guin - The Lathe of Heaven. One of my favourite all-time Sci Fi stories is Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness but I hadn't read much else of her writings. I very much enjoyed this story, gave it 4 stars. It was an interesting concept, a man whose dreams alter reality, being used by a psychologist to change reality. It was quite fascinating.
Whitley Streiber/ James Kunetka - Nature's End. I had read War Day previously, at least twice and loved it. I found this story excellent as well. (4stars). It's a story of an apocalyptic future, with a group of people fighting to save the world. Nicely written.
Philip K. Dick - The Unteleported Man/ Howard L. Cory - The Mind Monsters. This book was a throwback to many of the pulp Sci Fi stories I read as a kid. 2 stories in one, each interesting. I preferred The Unteleported Man, but both were readable and entertaining. (3 stars)
Lester del Rey - Outpost of Jupiter. This is a classic outer space adventure, interesting, quick to read and holds your attention. (3 stars)
William Gibson - Burning Chrome. I find Gibson's vision of the future very interesting. I've enjoyed most of the books of his that I've read, with a couple of exceptions, this book of short stories being one of them. There were a couple that I thought were OK; Red Star, Winter Orbit, The Winter Market, but on the whole, I just didn't get it, I'm afraid. Of interest, one of the short stories, Johnny Mnemonic was turned into a successful movie. I'd say, stick with the novels, although this would probably be worth reading to get a quick idea of Gibson's interesting vision. (2 stars)

Phyllis Gottlieb - Son of Morning and Other Stories. I've enjoyed everything I've read by Phyllis Gottlieb so far. She's a Canadian writer and her stories and ideas are fresh and unique. This is another book of short stories and on the whole I found it very successful. She has a way of drawing you in very quickly. (4 stars)
Jim Butcher - Fool Moon. This is the second book of the Dresden Files series. I enjoyed the first, have enjoyed the graphic novels and also quite liked the short - lived TV series. I've just started this book, but I'm sure I'll enjoy the latest Harry Dresden, Wizard/ Private Investigator, story very much.
John Brunner - The Shockwave Rider. He's another writer that I've enjoyed. Stand on Zanzibar was a fascinating story, a true masterpiece. I quite enjoyed this as well; another story of a future on the brink, but with strong characters and a positive ending. (3 stars)
Iain M. Banks - The State of the Art. One that I still have to read. Banks is a new author for me, but I have found the stories I've read so far, The Algebraist and Matter, both excellent. Another unique vision of space, the future. This is a book of short stories.
J. G. Ballard - The Crystal World. This is another that is still to be read. I've read quite a few of Ballard's Sci Fi stories, The Drowned World, Kingdom Come, High Rise, etc and all are strange and interesting.
Fred Hoyle - Fifth Planet. A nicely written outer space adventure. I had no idea what to expect from this story and was very pleasantly surprised. I had read A for Andromeda  and Andromeda Breakthrough  previously and enjoyed very much. This one was also very good. (4 stars)
Tanya Huff - Blood Lines/ Blood Pact. I had previously read The Blood Books, Vol 1 and very much enjoyed. I also liked the Sci Fi TV series based on the books. I have yet to read this one, but I'm quite looking forward to an entertaining read.
Aldous Huxley - Brave New World. A classic of Sci Fi, I'd read previously, one of the novels that we read for a Science Fiction Novel course I'd taken at university. It had been many years since I'd read it, so it was nice to reread and confirm my memories that this is a pretty good story. Not one of my all-time favourites, but still worth reading. (3 stars)
Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451. Another I'd read many years ago, that I recalled liking. Also a successful movie, that I have enjoyed a few times. I was happy to discover that I enjoyed the story immensely and that my memories of it were correct. Thought-provoking and still current. I recommend to anyone. (5 stars)

Well, there you have it, my reading challenge picks (Sci Fi genre) for 2011. I've made a good stab at them so far and look forward to finishing off the challenge. Check them out.

Keep on reading!

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