litch: (Default)
So I've been poking through the Austin Library's Librarians List of Best Recent SciFi and checking out a couple of them. I am really impressed with Scott Westerfeld's Risen Empire series. I think my favorite sub-genre of science fiction is Space Opera, I like large stories, interplays of societies as experienced through individuals. I think it is this genre that most cogently addresses the fundamental question of "why are we here" by looking at what we can be.

I initally thought this might be a vampire novel, since its blurb touts a 1600 year old undead emperor, but it isn't really. I like the meditation on transhuman-human interaction and the the gooey love story in the middle of the yummy space battles is superfine.

The same day I got the first half of this book I also got Catherine Asaro's Primary Inversion it wasn't as good. Not utterly a waste but there was too much romance novel meets mediocre anime about it. It feels like she wrote a really bad novel, then went through and tried to salvage it and didn't completely succeed. She wrote a later novel that won a nebula, The Quantum Rose that I'll probably get around to reading but I am not in a great hurry.
litch: (Default)
Just finished reading John Clute's AppleSeed, it was... challenging, I dun't think I have had my vocabulary stretched like that in quite a while, more than Ian Banks and heading toward that Joyce/Pynchon level of incomprehensibility. It's full of interesting concepts, refrences, allusions and imagery, it's decidely poetic and definately lives up to the "post modern space opera" sobriquet. I just didn't feel all that moved by it, it came off a bit forced and overly complex for prolixity's sake. It did have one of the better expressions of a truly alien mindset/point of view, but the down side of that was that it was much too close to unfathomable.

Here's a link to another review that includes a representative example of the text. To be a bit snarky I suspect that part of the problem is that Clute's dayjob is a Science Fiction critic.

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May 2009

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