Sunday, June 6, 2010

Latest Reads

Whenever I'm on a plane I manage to get through a few books. This latest trip was no different and I had taken two books with me - Larry Niven's "The Integral Trees" and Cormac McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men".

Larry Niven is to be commended for the intriguing worlds he creates - most notably the Ringworld, a disc surrounding a star that supports life. In this book he hypothesizes what life would be like within a gas torus surrounding a neutron star, such that the environment would have very low gravity. Unfortunately, Niven's imagination for worlds is not matched for his imagination for characters; they always seem quite two dimensional to me and are very predictable. If you are interested in the different types of worlds made possible by the laws of physics, you'll enjoy his books, just don't expect too much in the way of plot and character development.

As for Cormac McCarthy, I wrote a post a while back about the film based on his novel The Road. Soon after watching the movie I read the book, which I absolutely loved. The same goes for his novel No Country for Old Men, which I also saw as a film before reading. The writing style is spare, like that of The Road, but in No Country you are given a little more insight into its characters. There is a little more dialogue and you are given a sort of diary from Sheriff Bell which poses some of the more interesting philosophical questions in the book.

Even with the leanness of the writing, the story is very compelling; the world is rich with complex characters and events. The book is dark, gritty, and thoroughly engrossing, and I finished it in short order. Highly recommended!

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