Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny

My current passion for cool cover art led me to this book while browsing at Book Town Books in Grass Valley. The pulpy nature of the story is countered by the classy sophistication of the cover art.  But what does the art here have to do with anything? The book is about a hardened criminal released from a post-apocalyptic prison so he can drive a … Continue reading Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny

Arrival by Ted Chiang

  There is some damn fine writing in Ted Chiang’s volume of short stories Arrival originally published as Stories of Your Life and Others. So much than the next time you hear someone say that fantasy and science fiction tend to be badly written, you should direct them to any of Ted Chiang’s stories. They may not be your cup of tea, but they are all very well … Continue reading Arrival by Ted Chiang

Lightless by C.A. Higgins

I was looking for space opera. If you don’t know what space opera is, it’s Star Wars. Lots of space ships.  Battles between them. A clear-cut hero. A clear-cut villain. Maybe some alien supporting characters. Maybe a little romance. Something fun. Lightless by C.A. Higgins partially delivers the goods as far as space opera goes.  There are space ships. There is some romance. There are battles. … Continue reading Lightless by C.A. Higgins

No Blade of Grass by John Christopher

There world has been coming to an end since 1956. There has been an explosion of dystopian futures of late.  If you wandered around any Scholastic Book Faire this year, you saw that just about one out of ever four titles in the fiction section featured some kind of horrific future. It’s oddly comforting to realize that this is really nothing new. The end of … Continue reading No Blade of Grass by John Christopher

My New Favorite Book: The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Our search for the next school wide read continues without success. There have been books some teachers on the “committee” loved, some that were good for grades 6 and 7 but not 8, some good for 8 and seven but not for six.  And the science and math department, along with the forces at large, are still pushing for a non-fiction title, which only makes … Continue reading My New Favorite Book: The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Sunday Rant and Ramble: Lionel Shriver Makes me Mad; A New Cat Arrives; Tournament of Books Results

What makes a book a classic? Lionel Shriver was a guest on my favorite BBC program A Good Read.  You can listen to the program here.  It was the dullest episode of my favorite program ever. Knowing something of what Ms. Shriver is like in person, I almost didn’t listen, but I thought I’d be open-minded, give it a try. The conceit of A Good … Continue reading Sunday Rant and Ramble: Lionel Shriver Makes me Mad; A New Cat Arrives; Tournament of Books Results

Black Wave by Michelle Tea

When I was in college, I was friends with a group of women who shared a flat on Divisidero Street in San Francisco, decades before it became a trendy neighborhood.  In the 1980’s, four college students living on four or five hundred dollars a month  each could come up with enough money to rent a flat.  As longs as no one spends all the rent … Continue reading Black Wave by Michelle Tea

Earthlight by Arthur C. Clarke

It took me almost three months to read this book. The little page counter/timer on my Kindle claimed that I should have been able to read the entire book in just about three hours, but even when using the audio read-a-loud feature, I never made it more than a few pages at a time without falling asleep. Okay, I was reading in bed, sometimes lying … Continue reading Earthlight by Arthur C. Clarke

Of Men and Monsters by William Tenn

It’s easy to compare William Tenn’s 1968 science fiction classic Of Men and Monsters to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Set far in the future, Of Men and Monsters describes life on earth after a race of Brobdingnagian sized aliens have colonized our planet.  Unable to defeat the invading species, humanity has been reduced to living inside the walls and floors of the new dominant species’s homes, … Continue reading Of Men and Monsters by William Tenn

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

After the earth is threatened by alien invasion William Mandella is drafted as part of the world’s first elite corp of soldiers and sent into battle light years across space.  A story as old as science fiction, perhaps, but what happens to William when he returns to an earth where decades have gone by during the months he spent travelling at nine-tenths  light speed makes … Continue reading The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke is a master of science fiction in it’s classic sense.  One could probably argue that he created the genre.  His novel Rendezvous With Rama is considered one of his best novels.  While I found reading it today, some forty years after is was first published, a bit problematic, I would have to agree with the editors at Gollancz who labelled it a … Continue reading Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

It’s long been my belief that you should never revisit the things that most impressed you when you were young.  My number one object lesson for this belief is the 1972  science fiction movie Silent Running starring Bruce Dern.  (I’ve posted the trailer for it below.) I was nine-years-old when I saw it.  The special effects, the ecological message, the robots, the final shot of … Continue reading The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury