In 9th grade, I was assigned Fahrenheit 451 in English class. I don’t think I ever made the connection that it was written by the same author who blew my mind in a group reading assignment in the 5th grade (I suspect the book was The Martian Chronicles). It was an assignment, which means everything about it was stored in my short-term memory– other than the moral of the story (“Don’t burn books or you’ll go crazy wondering what Shakespeare was on about”), and the sixties aesthetic of the perfunctory film viewing is burned on my memory forever. I don’t even think we read the entire book. Continue reading
Arguably the most famous science fiction novel ever published, Dune captured the hearts and minds of the SF community and sowed the seeds for the future of SF, including the even more influential Star Wars films (1977 and on, and on, and on). With its vivid desert world, rich cultural patterns, and corrupt courtly intrigue, jaws dropped when the first of this novel was published in 1963, after years of one-plot pulp serials converted to 200-page novels, populated by one main character and a few supporting roles. Dune shook the SF world.
And, yet… I did not like it. Continue reading
Somebody in the menopausal supplement industry reads classic SF and has a sense of humor, because it can’t be a coincidence that the main supporting character in Ursula Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness shares a name with the popular brand name supplement I have spied in the pharmaceutical aisle. Estreven, the character, and Estroven, the supplement, both deal with the consequences of fluctuating hormonal changes, but for Therem Harth rem ir Estraven, the changes are embraced.
Before the male readers of this blog bolt, The Left Hand of Darkness is not a story about menopause, although hormone changes and fluctuating sexuality are common themes.
Reviewing Le Guin’s engaging and brilliant 1969 novel, Left Hand of Darkness, is an impossible and intimidating task. Only a dissertation can do this novel justice, and I doubt I have anything of value to add to the mountain of praise that already exalts this book. It’s a masterpiece. You need to read it. You really need to read it.
If pastoral SF is a legitimate subgenre, Clifford Simak’s Hugo-winning Way Station (originally published as Here Gather the Stars) is at the top of its class, with its drowsy prose and idealistic plot. This is the science fiction book you read on your porch swing, sipping an ice cold lemonade in the dusk of a summer day, between periodic glances at Venus burning bright in the darkening sky.
Back in the days before this blog, and before I had an eReader, I read Stephen King’s 2009 release Under the Dome, a story about a small, unassuming town that is mysteriously trapped within its borders. The small town setting provided for multi-character story arcs and formulaic drama. Underwhelmed, but without a blog to convey my thoughts, I left the book on a table at my local university with a post-it note that said, “Free book! It’s kind of an okay story!” (By the way, have you heard of bookcrossing.com? It’s a great way to NOT HOARD BOOKS.)
Now that I’ve read Robert Charles Wilson’s Blind Lake (2003), I realize it might have inspired King’s socially claustrophobic story, as both books share a similar premise with that made-for-TV flavor. And now that King’s novel is headed for TV (or already on TV, I never know), Wilson is probably kicking himself for not including a meth lab explosion and gang rape by law enforcement officials.
The WordPress autobots have decided that Megan needs some well-deserved R&R&MR (rest & relaxation & more reading), so they have taken over the From Couch to Moon Blog for the month of July. The autobots have planned some exciting posts about popular SF novels… some of which were read ages ago but were never posted.
Here’s hoping they post… the autobots have not always proven reliable in this matter. Enjoy and feel free to comment, disagree, or make snide remarks. Megan will respond as soon as she is released… er, as soon as she returns.
In the meantime, check out the index!
The winners of the 2014 Locus Awards were announced today in California. The winners were selected by a poll of Locus magazine readers.
The winners are: Continue reading