Monthly Archives: February 2011

CBRIII Maneuver #9 – House of Suns

Target: Alastair Reynolds’ House of Suns

Profile: Hard Science Fiction, Space Opera

Summary: From the back of the book, “Six million years ago, at the dawn of the starfaring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones, which she called shatterlings.  She sent them out into the galaxy to observe and document the rise and fall of countless human empires.  Since then, they gather every two hundred thousand years to exchange news and memories of their travels.  Only there is no thirty-second reunion.  Someone is eliminating the Gentian Line.  And now Campion and Purslane – two shatterlings who have fallen in love and shared experiences in a way forbidden to them – must determine exactly who, or what, their enemy is, before they are wiped out of existence…”

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A Brief Examination of ‘Hard’ SF

When I started pulling my thoughts together for my review of Alistair Reynolds’ House of Suns, I found myself getting bogged down in a pile of science fiction terminology and information that might be useful for people who aren’t big SF readers, but just slows down the book review.  So I thought I’d break up the review into a quick examination of the subject matter, followed by the review of the actual literary work.  We’ll see how this goes.

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CBRIII Maneuver #8 – Pattern Recognition

Target: William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition

Profile: Contemporary Fiction, Suspenseful Thriller

Summary: From the inside cover, “Cayce Pollard is a new kind of prophet – a world-renowned “coolhunter” who predicts the hottest trends.  While in London to evaluate the redesign of a famous corporate logo, she’s offered a different assignment: find the creator of the obscure, enigmatic video clips being uploaded on the Internet – footage that is generating massive underground buzz worldwide.”

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CBRIII Maneuver #7 – Harmony

Target: Itoh Satoshi’s Harmony

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Utopian/Dystopian, Medical Fiction

Summary: From the back of the book, “In the future, Utopia has finally been achieved thanks to medical nanotechnology and a powerful ethic of social welfare and mutual consideration.  This perfect world isn’t that perfect though, and three young girls stand up to totalitarian kindness and super-medicine by attempting suicide via starvation.  It doesn’t work, but one of the girls – Tuan Kirie – grows up to be a member of the World Heath Organization.  As a crisis threatens the harmony of the new world, Tuan rediscovers another member of the suicide pact, and together they must help save the planet… from itself.”

 

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CBRIII Maneuver #6 – Being Wrong

Target: Katheryn Schulz’s Being Wrong

Profile: Non-fiction, Popular Philosophy

Summary: From the back of the book, “To err is human.  Yet most of us go through life assuming (and sometimes insisting) that we are right about nearly everything, from the origins of the universe to how to load the dishwasher.  In Being Wrong, journalist Kathryn Schulz explores why we find it so gratifying to be right and so maddening to be mistaken.  Drawing on thinkers as varied as Augustine, Darwin, Freud, Gertrude Stein, Alan Greenspan, and Groucho Marx, she shows that error is both a given and a gift – one that can transform our worldviews, our relationships, and ourselves.”

Vital Stats:
Pages: 339 plus 46 pages of notes
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Rating: 5/5

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