Recent Science Fiction Readings

Here are three SF books I have read in the past few months. They are:

  • The Rapture of the Nerds” by Cory Doctrow and Charles Stross. This is a book about the “post-singularity” world, where a person is able to transfer his consciousness into a computer cloud, which in this story resides in outer space. The book has two major parts – the first takes place in “meat” space and the other in the “cloud” space.  The main character of the story is a person named Huw. For parts of the book he is a “he” and for other parts Huw is a “she”. It’s a complicated universe where technology allows for a lot of things to happen. There are parts of the story that are quite funny, but it is hard to describe what actually happens. Except that in the end Huw saves the world. But don’t take my word for it. You can read the book yourself – is was released for free by the authors (just follow the link above). I happen to own the physical book and I even have an autographed copy.
  • The Big Aha by Rudy Rucker.  I have read many books by Rudy Rucker before, both SF and non-fiction, so I was happy to contribute to his Kickstarter project to get this book out. The “The Big Aha” is a story of a world in which bio-tech has gone wild. The main character is a guy who is an artist that makes pictures with living paint. The world created by Rucker in this book is a bit wacky and bizarre, with smart rats and other strange artifacts. However, I got bogged down and lost interest half way through the book. Perhaps I will go back and try again in the future.
  • Dimension of Miracles” by Robert Sheckley.  This book was written back in the late 60s, but it has little bit of the zaniness of silliness that you would expect of Douglas Adams.  The hero of the book, named Carmody, is randomly picked earthling to be the winner of the Galactic Prize, and so he is transported to the center of the Galaxy to receive the prize. Once he gets there an collects his winnings, he discovers that the trip back to Earth is up to him. This turns out to be more complicated as the Earth does not stand still. Several different beings assist him in his trek and he meets number of interesting characters. For example, he meets engineers who construct worlds on order and they tell him about the old guy with beard who hired them to construct Earth. It took them six days, as they recalled. In the end I did not find the book as funny as “Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”, but it was still enjoyable to read.
  • The Man In High Castle” by Philip K. Dick.  I have read this book few times before. This time I listened to the audio version to see if there was something I missed on during my previous reads. Unlike some other audio books I listened to recently, nothing particularly stood out. The story is the same, one of the alternate world in which Japan and Germany won the war. Some of the scenes stood out little more in the audio version. For example, the scene where the Japanese diplomat shoots several thugs/secret agents in his office. Or the scene at the end of the book, where one of the characters shifts into a parallel universe – which is our universe.