sábado, 6 de agosto de 2022

Crash by J.G. Ballard

"I wanted to write a book in which there was nowhere to hide",’he told David Pringle in 1975. ‘I wanted the reader, once I’d got him inside the book, never to lose sight of the subject matter. As long as he continued reading he was face to face with the subject matter. It would have been easy to write a conventional book about car crashes in which it was quite clear that the author was on the side of sanity, justice and against injuring small children, deaths on the road, bad driving, etc. What could be easier? I chose to completely accept the demands of the subject matter, which was to provoke the reader by saying that car crashes are good for you, you thoroughly enjoy them, they make your sex life richer, they represent part of the marriage between sex, the human organism, and technology’." (from "Crash (English Edition)" by J. G. Ballard, Zadie Smith)

I agree with this and Crash is a great novel. The problem is that now I have changed my driving style.

sábado, 30 de julio de 2022

The Flight of the Aphrodite by S.J. Morden

I had a great time with this novel, it is good to read hard science fiction from time to time.

The Flight of the Aphrodite is a more than correct novel about discovery, although the author focuses as much or more on the characters and especially on the problems of a prolonged space travel. I have a question about the plausibility of the argument but I don't know whether to discuss it with an author who is both a rocket scientist and a planetary geologist.

Please, more novels like this one!

jueves, 21 de julio de 2022

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi


Fairly good! It is almost impossible for me not to like a novel like this one, about giant monsters, better known as kaiju. In this case John Scalzi concocts a good story, very well thought out, and blends masterfully the pop culture imaginary of giant monsters (wich basically comes from movies, wich I love absolutely all of them, especially the classics from the fifties and sixties) with a plausible science fiction novel.

The novel offers an humorous side to most situations - even tragic ones- and many references to monster movies and science fiction in general (for example the long reference in the first chapter to Neal Stephenson's novel Snow Crash).

I had a great time. Please, Mr. Scalzi, I need a sequel to this novel.

From the movie "Gorgo" (1961).

sábado, 16 de julio de 2022

Dead Silence by S. A. Barnes


Entertaining but not more. The first half of the plot is very similar to the movie "Event Horizon" seasoned with the vicissitudes of the character Ripley from the first two "Alien" movies. The second half of the book improves and the story develops in a more original way. In favor I can say that the story is competently told. This and the characters help to maintain the attention of the novel until the end.

lunes, 22 de noviembre de 2021

Never by Ken Follett


Despite its length, Never is a quick and agile read befitting its best-seller style.

Among my concerns recently I am interested in the topic of a possible third world war. In this regard, this book, without contributing anything particularly innovative, provides us with a story - conveniently dramatized, as corresponds to this type of reading - plausible enough about some causes that could lead (or not) to a dreaded Third World War.

Specifically, the story explains the global political context from different points of view of its protagonists: a CIA spy, an infiltrator in an Islamic terrorist group under her charge, a Chinese vice minister and the madam president of the United States of America. These characters are seasoned with their corresponding sentimental context, bringing us closer to how this story would be told if it were in a movie.

A very entertaining read in which it is not necessary to highlight the talent of Ken Follett, both in his way of captivating us with a good story and in the knowledge necessary to tell it. 

martes, 7 de septiembre de 2021

Interference (Semiosis Trilogy #2) by Sue Burke

As I am reading this book I see that the Semiosis Duology has become a trilogy. In principle it is good news -with some reservations-, since the rich ecology of the planet Pax provides for many stories.

I can say that I have enjoyed this book as much as the first one, but I must also point out some flaws: the motivation of the characters - especially the earthlings - is a bit disappointing (it reminded me of the horrible movie Prometheus) and as the plot develops it gets somewhat confusing, especially in the ending of the main story (I don't want to go into details). This is something that also happened in the first novel, but here it is more striking.

However, in this novel I think the pros clearly outweigh the cons. As I have already mentioned, the fascinating ecology of Pax along with the personalities of some characters, especially the aliens, captivates you from the first page.

I look forward to this unexpected third novel but at the same time, given the drift of some subplots, I hope it lives up to expectations.

I can read the review of the first novel here.

sábado, 5 de junio de 2021

The Blue World by Jack Vance

If you have read some of my previous reviews you will realize my taste for aquatic science fiction (among other things). Well, here is another aquatic world, this time from the grand master Jack Vance.

As usual in the author, the most remarkable thing about this novel is an interesting worldbuilding. Let me explain: a totally aquatic planet in which human beings inhabit a species of giant water lilies and that they have built (that is, that the author has imagined) a society perfectly adapted to this environment. In a world without seasons, with a pleasant climate for humans -but for example without metals-, in which time is measured in generations since the original starship crashed into this sea world. Of course, in this society a conflict arises and… oh, wait!, there is the Kragen, a sea monster that threatens this peaceful existence (I have told you that giant monsters are another of my favorite issues?).

To my regret I have not read as much as I would like of Jack Vance's books but I think I glimpse some patterns. Apart from the worldbuilding that I have already mentioned, there are the characters who seem a bit eccentric to me, and among them there is the iconoclastic hero who wants to fight an unjust system. About the characters, I do not know exactly what to think. They are a little weird in their behavior, they are so… insubstantial or one-sided; even the hero who is supposed to be the better depicted; and yet they manage in some way to captivate you, so I really don't know what to think.

In short, there is war, yes, but in the quiet way the author typically describes, and there is also adventure and discovery, all based on this magnificent world without name. So with these ingredients it is easy to get a very entertaining novel that in addition is a standalone story, contrary to the sagas that the author has us used to.