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Monday, May 19, 2014

The Colors of Space - Review

Yesterday I finished reading Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Colors of Space.

While I have trouble with one core facet of the novel (the 8th color) I enjoyed the narrative as a whole.
It was an enjoyable space take with moderate commentary on racism hidden in the subtext.

I did not enjoy this as much as my memory of Hunters of the Red Moon but without rereading that work I cannot generate a proper comparison.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Carbon Age - fiction

This story is more of a fictional historical document outlining how we solve global warming and materials needs at once in the future.

Dependence - fiction

This is a study of how certain psychological defects can manifest in interesting ways.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Arks - fiction

The title is "the arks;" that is explanation enough on this story.

Terraforming - Fiction

A story about forming a world to suit humanity's needs

Can't Save Them All - Fiction

Search and rescue of the future.

This Crowded Earth - By Robert Bloch - Review

This morning I finished "This Crowded Earth" by Robert Bloch.

For a story written in 1958 it has a lot of commentary that is valuable today.

It does, however, fall into a deadly trap of making firm predictions which went wildly off base.

It predicted that 6 billion people would lead to space quotas and limitations on transport that made 15 miles per hour in a private vehicle seem immensely fast and a luxury.

It predicted contraception through oral means about 50 years later than it actually happened which is incredibly ironic as it was already in clinical trials as Bloch was writing this book and became available as a contraceptive two years later.

If one ignores these nit-picky details one can view this work for the social commentary that it truly is. In this regard this work is a masterwork. It touches on nearly every aspect of social structure that makes civilization a complicated mess -
Birth control, over-population, eugenics, overt genetic manipulation, human testing, mistreatment of prisoners, transportation, housing, etc etc etc... Pretty much all of the topics that are worth discussing make an appearance in one form or another in this book.

Despite the minor aspects that are problems this work should be read by any distopia fan or science fiction fans in general.

It's an important work in shaping the core foundation of science fiction upon which many other authors placed their works.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Empty - fiction

Everyone feels empty inside. Not everyone feels it like this.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - review

I have meant to read some Verne since I was a child but never had the time.
I recently finished consuming the Librivox recording of a translation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and I was interested in many aspects of the books.

First I found it interesting that the narrative flips in its method of measurements repeatedly, and does so in the same passages. It will use metric and imperial measurements. I found this mildly annoying and contemplated whether or not it was a translation issue or whether the author originally wrote the manuscript in mixed units (and, if so, for what purpose).

Like other works of science fiction this one makes predictions that prove completely untrue.
For example, The Nautilus travels to the South Pole. We now know this to be completely impossible and we also know that what it finds there to be completely unreasonably predicted. I find myself wondering what Verne was thinking in making such an off prediction for what would be at the pole itself.

This work is also greatly disjointed when it is littered with great listings of sea life. It is as though Verne were doing a masturbatory exercise in outlining his own aquatic life knowledge.

I also found that the character of Consile was completely and totally superfluous. He added nothing to the narrative and the entire story could have been written with the minor contributions of this character having been pushed to the main speaker or Ned Land. However; I did find it interesting that Consile meets many of the characteristics of a savant autistic in many ways. This makes me wonder if there are other examples of characters within older fiction who would meet such a diagnosis.

I also found it fascinating that the phrase "tricked out" was used to describe the way some particular fish were colored. This vernacular is a phrase I thought was relatively recent in its usage but I was obviously mistaken.

Critiques aside, this is a valuable piece of work for literature and science fiction fans to consume as it lays a foundation for all of the works that have come since.