Monthly Archives: January 2011

Reading list

Written by Eike Pierstorff

Postal services are rather unreliable at the moment, what with the weather and all, and more often than not I have to pick up my parcel from the post office instead of having them delivered to my home. Since this pretty much defies the purpose of ordering stuff on the internet I decided that, instead of following the price-reduced meanders of the electronic amazon basin I would actually (physically!) go for a walk to pick up some new reading material. Luckily  one of the finest sources for phantasy and science fiction is within walking distance.

It is strange – I consider myself a Hard SF Fan, but then my purchases tend to be somewhat more diverse, this time stretching from New Wave to Steampunk. So let’s  see what we have here.

1) Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest
This was a fun read, enough so that I finished it a day after I bought it. If the book is ever brought to the silver screen undoubtly it will made to look like a steampunk version of Resident Evil, what with zombies and evil scientists roaming an ahistoric Seattle poisoned by a flesh-eating gas. Actually the book is less focused on action (and frankly, prolonged action scenes in books do not work well that anyway) and more on it’s characters – a mother looking for her son, the son looking to clear his dead fathers name, a mad scientist lusting for power and  assorted  crew to provide  an interesting scenery. This is the first of a series and even though I  think the end is a bit weak Iwill definitely read  the follow-ups.

2) Cosmos, by Carl Sagan
The late Carl Sagan did a lot to popularize science and frankly the longer he is dead the more he is missed (especially since he talked to those who would listen instead of yelling at those he found annoying, which seems to be the preferred method today). I love the TV-Series Cosmos so I figured I could pick up the book as well. A better tribute to his memory would be to join the Planetary Society (the largest and most influential public space organization group on Earth)  but the last time I tried a credit card was needed to join.

3) Galileo’s Dream, by Kim Stanley Robinson
I’m in two minds about KSR. On the one hand I agree pretty much with his politics (except for his advice to “believe in goverment“. I’m not totally opposed to the idea of goverment as such, but as far as he implies I should trust the government my country actually has, well, that would be clearly insane). On the other hand he bores me to death –  to me, he is a competent but rather uninspiring writer. Yet I always return to his books in the hope that one day the artist will be on par with the political theoretician. Who knows, it might be  this time.

4) House of Suns, by Alastair Reynolds
Finally something that fits the “Hard SF”-Label.  I love big Space Opera because  it has a certain kind of momentum – larger-that-life people in giant spacecraft doing enormeous deeds on a galactic scale etc.  Alas, the fact that these books are less timid makes them also less relevant – but then there’s nothing wrong with a bit of escapism which Alastair Reynolds readily supplies (and pretty-please with a cherry on top, I’d like to have another Verity Auger-Novel).

4) The Cornelius Quartet, by Michael Moorecock
Gibson et al claimed Jerry as the first cyberpunk hero. The rock band Human League claimed Jerry as their inspiration. Cornelius is also the acknowleged inspiration for Alan Moore’s “Watchman” graphic novels; for much of Neil Gaiman’s work in graphic novels; the film “The Crow” and many other works. And I for one know most of the references but not the originals, which over time led to a strange und nearly
unpronounceable baudrillardesque feeling, so I guess it’s time to do some catching up.

Also on my reading list is some work related stuff, but I won’t bore you with that ( except to say that you should avoid “Pro Smartphone Cross-Platform Development” by Sara Allen which is a crap book without any redeeming feature).

But it feels good to do some reading –  I have almost forgotten that there are so many better books than facebook.