> Science Fiction Readings: Spring and Summer of 2015

I’ve read quite bit of science fiction this spring and summer, but i have not kept a careful record, so here are the highlights:

  • The Shockwave Rider (by John Brunner) – this is a classic from the beginning of the cyber-punk genre. It’s an early book where something like the internet plays a big role in the plot. The author predicts many things that are true today, for example at one point he describes the world wide network where “…confidential information had been rendered accessible to total strangers capable of adding two and two…”. The hero of this story reminded me a little of Edward Snowden, however in the book the act of publishing secrets results in great social change, not at all like what happened in the actual world.
  • Flow My Tears The Policeman Said (by Philip K. Dick) – I read this book in the past and this time I understood little better what went on. Still PKD’s books are quite a ride, because – as my daughter described it – the author pulls the rug from under the reader, then the floor, and then the ground.  The title of the book is taken from an beautiful  17th century song called “Flow My Tears“.
  • The Martian (by Andy Weir) – this is a story by a space geek about an astronaut who is left behind, when a NASA mission to Mars has to be aborted after landing. The book was great fun to read and now there is a movie!
  • The Science Fiction Hall of Fame – Volume Two A (edited by Ben Bova) – this is a collection of longer pieces by various authors. Here are the names of the stories I read:
    • “Universe” (by Robert Heinlein)  – early generation ship story.
    • “The Marching Morons” (by C.M. Kornbluth) – person from the past turns to be much smarter than people who revived him. See the movie “Idiocracy“.
    • Vintage Season” (H. Kuttner and C.L. Moore) – time tourism.
    • The Ballad of Lost C’Mell” (Cordwainer Smith) – mild class warfare.
    • Baby Is Three” (Theodore Sturgeon) – spooky story with some paranormal twists.
  • Quicksilver (by Neal Stephenson) – this was the second time I attempted to read this book. I think I got in little further, but just got bogged down. The main problem for me was that there were to many characters introduced, yet nothing much seemed to happen. So again I gave up. I’d rather read actual history.

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