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Archive for the ‘Genre: Science Fiction’ Category

26. “The Uglies,” Scott Westerfield

August 25, 2011 Leave a comment

It Tally’s world, everyone becomes pretty on their sixteenth birthday, and are whisked away from the ugliness in which they have grown up to become self-assured Pretties. SHOCKINGLY, this might not be the best thing and doesn’t erase the pain of being ugly, just turns it into a disease.

Tally can’t wait for her birthday to take away the burden of her squinty eyes and frizzy hair, and to reunite her with her best friend, Peris, who turned pretty two months before her. When she meets Shay, a fellow ugly with the same birth date as her, Tally is happy to have someone to pass her last few months of ugliness with. But when Shay reveals that she is running away rather than be made surgically pretty, Tally is torn between her community, the desire to be pretty, and the urge to protect her new friend.

Page count: 402
Page total: 7,618

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17. “Ender’s Shadow,” Orson Scott Card

June 13, 2011 Leave a comment

I remembered liking this one more, too.

Page count: 469
Page total: 4,849

14. “Ender’s Game,” Orson Scott Card

May 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Six-year-old Ender Wiggins has already been identified as the last hope of human kind in the final waves of the wars against the Buggers. Will he complete his training in time? And, with the jealous and competitive students around him, will he even survive it?

Page count: 324
Page total: 3,837

67. “Kindred,” Octavia E. Butler

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

On Dana’s twenty-sixth birthday, June 9th, 1976, she find herself transported across the country and back in time to save a drowning boy. Moments later, she returns to the present, but soon she finds herself ripped through time again when the same child finds himself in a burning room. Soon she comes to realize that this child’s father owns a plantation– and is her great-great-grandfather. Protecting him when he calls her back in time means ensuring that she is born, but at what price?

So not only did I miss my bus while reading this book (I was standing at the bus stop at the time, and managed to miss the bus pulling up, emptying passengers, and new ones getting on), but I crawled into bed after finishing it earlier in the night, and remembering that it was over, a little voice in the back of my head wondered “can I read it again?”

I did initially have some trouble with the fact that all the characters just accepted that sometimes people travel back in time to ensure that they are born, but that’s science fiction and, apparently especially Butler for you.

Page count: 264
Total pages: 19,633

31. “Flashforward,” Robert J. Sawyer

May 25, 2010 Leave a comment

The show is better. Yeah, I said it.

Page count: 319
Page total: 7,853

36. “Galapagos,” Kurt Vonnegut

May 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Told by Leon Trotsky Trout, a million-odd year-old-ghost, this is the story about the near-end of humanity, evolution, and the danger of our great big brains (which always seem to be up to no good). This is standard Vonnegut fare: a first person omniscient narrator, jumbled timeline, paranoia about technical advances, and a loving critique of humanity.

A couple quotes:

And I pity him, because I can still remember what I was like when I was sixteen. It was hell to be that excited. Then as now, orgasms give no relief. Ten minutes after an orgasm, guess what? Nothing would do but that you have another one. And there was homework besides!

Which reminds me of an “Arrested Development” quote:

GOB: I’d give anything to be eight.
GEORGE MICHAEL: I’m thirteen.
GOB: No, I wasn’t crazy about thirteen: the acne. The self-conciousness. The erections.

Back to “Galapagos”:

That was another thing people used to be able to do, which they can’t do anymore: enjoy in their heads events which hadn’t happened yet and which might never occur. My mother was good at that. Someday my father [Kilgore Trout] would stop writing science fiction, and write something a whole lot of people wanted to read instead. And we would get a new house in a beautiful city, and nice clothes, and so on. She used to make me wonder why G-d had ever gone to the trouble of creating reality.

Page count: 295
Page total: 17,211

16. “Cat’s Cradle”, Kurt Vonnegut

February 7, 2009 Leave a comment

I often feel that I do not really “get” Vonnegut, but I always enjoy him and he usually gives me something interesting to think about.

This book gives us one of my favourite Vonnegut quotes:

“Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. […] He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.” (281)

He also develops in this book the theme of “Slaughter House Five”, which is that all people killed in war are children and there is a terrible dishonesty in pretending otherwise. It’s too long to quote it all, but here’s a nice bit:

“My soul insists that I mourn not a man but a child.
“I do not say that children at war do not die men, if they haveto die. To their everlasting honor and our everlasting shame, they do die like men, thus making possible the manly jubilation of patriotic holidays.
“But they are murdered children all the same.” (254)

Page count: 287
Total: 12,038
Next on the stack: Kitchen Confidential, Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney’s Humor Category, and Peter Pan