Footfall (1985) by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Footfall1I originally had all these great ideas for making fun of reviewing my latest Niven-Pournelle Hugo-nominated disaster read, the main one being that I was going to list every single character intro in this 100-and-some-odd number cast, a la Ross Putman @femscriptintros, just to demonstrate how ridiculous and sexist these guys are at character descriptions.

Example:

She was about Jeanette’s age, and she would have been pretty if she’d washed her face and put on some lipstick. She was frowning heavily as she drank coffee. (loc. 415).

It would’ve made for a long post, as some of those character descriptions get, er, lingering, but I was up for it.

But then, BUT THEN, I discovered this: Continue reading

Learning the World (2005) by Ken MacLeod

LearningtheWorld1Little Green Men are so Roswell.

Bugs have dominated the sci-fi alien landscape throughout its long history, from Wells’ spindly invaders to Clement’s didactic caterpillars to the Heinlein/Haldeman/Card &Scalzi spectrum of buggers. It’s a natural fit: with those extra articulated legs and absent the puppy dog eyes, bugs really are Earth’s other. With the exception of sci-fi’s obsession with busty cat ladies, mammalian aliens don’t appear as often as bug aliens, for to put fur and whiskers on an alien might run the risk of Disneyfied anthropomorphizing at worse, Petting Zoo People at best, and almost always something dumb and unimaginative, like NivPourn’s stomping elephants; rarely ever Tepper’s eerie horselike foxen.

But while bats get page time in the horror and supernatural romance subgenres, this is the first time I’ve ever encountered actual, literal Alien Space Bats. Continue reading

Heritage of Hastur (1975) by Marion Zimmer Bradley

HeritageofHastur1“In 1975,” Marion Zimmer Bradley recalls in the middle preface of her Heritage and Exile omnibus edition, “I made a landmark decision; that in writing The Heritage of Hastur, I would not be locked into the basically immature concepts set forth in Sword, even at the sacrifice of consistency in the series” (401). This is promising, though not promising much, given the puerile nature of the 1962 Hugo-nominated science-fantasy novel The Sword of Aldones, which reads like a preteen’s self-insert fanfic that unself-consciously acts out sentimental scenes with her crush. (Here is my own version of this torture. Enjoy.) Continue reading

The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982) by Philip K. Dick

TheTransmigrationofTimothyArcherI’m experiencing a moment of short-term book amnesia as I stare at this post, which, I think, comes from reading too much Philip K. Dick, too quickly, at too cursory a level. Especially considering the few big and noteworthy elements of this book, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer should be more memorable than other PKD novels, especially within the VALIS framework: it’s PKD’s last novel before his death, the “official” third of the VALIS trilogy, and it’s atypical for its first-person, female protagonist. The story is a fictional working of the strange life and unnecessary death of PKD’s friend, the Bishop Jim Pike -again, more real-life nonsense that PKD is trying to make sense of by adding more nonsense. (This all reminded to me thanks to the Wikipedia plot summary). Continue reading

Month in Review: May 2016

If it feels like this month at FC2M has been more gleefully contemptuous than usual, it’s only because I’m scraping the bottom of the Hugo ‘6 list, despite my careful planning to mix up the worthy classics with the dross. It’s not an even list to begin with, but man, those eighties, nineties, and aughties are painful to assign in any order. No amount of sugar makes Hominids go down easy.

 

Stuff I blogged Continue reading

Off-Roading with A Game of Thrones: A Feast for Crows (2005) by George R. R. Martin

AFeastforCrowsWith the prevalence of book-turned-motion-picture phenomena, it’s often difficult for the casual observer to distinguish between book chatter and screen chatter, especially when a story is portrayed in pop culture dialogue as an amorphous series of iconically conventional moments. With the Game of Thrones series in particular, only the most sub-rock inhabitant will be unaware of its signature moves: the shocking deaths, the shocking rapes, the shocking betrayals, all amid the doom of impending seasonal transition. Continue reading