Saturday, November 8, 2008

Latest Reads

Lately I've gone back to reading science fiction, having received my Dad's collection (at least in part). These books lean more toward speculative fiction and are quite different from hard or modern sci-fi.

The first one I read Samuel Delany's "Dhalgren":

In this book, "The Kid", a strange character who doesn't remember his name, winds up in a city devastated by a mysterious event. If I say any more I'm afraid I'll ruin it for you!

I can quite honestly say this is the weirdest book I've ever read. Cunningly crafted, the writing is compelling and very provocative. At 900 pages it will keep you occupied for quite some time, and figuring out just what it was about will plague you long after you finish it. I would highly recommend it.

The second book was R. A. Lafferty's "Past Master":

In this book, leaders of a sick planet go back in time to bring back the most honest leader: Thomas More. Again, saying more will likely ruin it, since the book is so highly plot-driven.

While completely different from Delany's writing, the book is interesting nonetheless. This book is basically all plot; the characters are entirely two dimensional and exist only to drive the plot. Events happen seemingly inexplicably, but it all makes sense in the end. I think. Worth the read, but many may find it hard to connect with.

What's next on my list? Back to non-fiction. I'm following up my attendance at one of the Massey Lectures by reading Margaret Atwood's latest: "Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth".

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