August 21, 2008
This timeless classic (kids today refer to it as ‘BNW’ in chat rooms) is set in an idyllic future London where breeding is carefully controlled and the population is kept placated with sex and drugs. Sex and drugs in swingin’ London? Sounds like a groovy scene, baby, yeah! This utopia is shattered, however, when a man known as ‘The Savage’ visits it and exposes the falsehood of its so-called perfection. Exposing your falsehood sounds shagadelic baby, yeah! This novel is rich in imagery and symbolism; as far as I can tell, The Savage represents either a harsh reminder of humankind’s self-imposed exile from the natural world, or ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Both are pretty scary. Oh, behave!
On a scale of Aldous Huxley’s nicknames ranging from ‘Huck’ to ‘A to the H’, this book is: ‘Dr. Heathcliff Hux-table’.
August 17, 2008
Funny story: I read a lot of Vonnegut in high school, and in the back of one of his books was an authour bio that described him as ‘America’s foremost black humourist’. But when I saw a picture of him looking decidedly Caucasian, I was totally confused, and thought for awhile that there must be two famous authours named Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., one black and one white. It wasn’t until I submitted an essay about Player Piano in which I claimed that ‘Vonnegut’s pessimism about the place of humanity in the new industrial age is told in a distinctly African American voice.’ that I discovered my error. Anyway, this book is pretty good. Recommended.
August 11, 2008
This ‘speculative’ tale of an environmentally ravaged world is so chilling in its accuracy you’ll pray for accelerated global warming. Seventy-five percent of the environmental disasters Brunner foretold in The Sheep Look Up have already come to pesticide-riddled fruition. The rest are bearing down on us like a leaking, lead-lined tanker of crude. Read it, then T-bone a Hummer with your Prius. Recommended.
On a scale of environmental disasters ranging from vanishing bees to radioactive pandas, this book is: using whale meat as dolphin bait.
August 7, 2008
Revolutionaries seize a secret weapon that makes its target vanish forever from time, space and memory. They should’ve aimed it at this book. The beginning is fairly action-packed (‘Mary’s eyes flashed as she returned fire at the police droids…’) but soon devolves into a tearfully boring description of the lives, politics and policies of post-revolutionaries in the new socialist America they’ve created (‘Mary’s eyes flashed as she farmed carrots for the collective…’). Feh.
On a scale of things war is good for ranging from absolutely nothing to oil, this book is: resolving coastal fishing disputes.
August 5, 2008
The year is 2021, and an epidemic of global infertility (don’t worry, it happens to lots of guys) means no babies have been born for 26 years. Anne Geddes is destitute and no one eats for free at HoJo. Amid this bleak background the novel’s protagonist becomes entwined with a group of revolutionaries who may have a way to save the world. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I’m too excited to keep it a secret: THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE A BABY! A sad a poignant examination of the purpose and importance of children in our lives, Kids Of Dudes is a winner. Recommended.
On a scale of reasons to have a baby ranging from boredom to tax deductions, this book is: propagation of the species.
July 19, 2008
Fritzy L. hauls out the ol’ ‘cyclical history’ trope for this novel of the far-flung future where a nuke war has seen a return to Dark Age theocracy. A ‘theocracy’, for those of you who aren’t edumacated, is a government run by Cliff Huxtable’s son. The catch is that religion is actually powered by long-lost science; ‘miracles’ are performed by machines and computers and used to keep ignorant peasants frightened and in line. Toast land buttered side up? Don’t thank God – thank the engineers in IBM’s Toast Research Division. Eventually, the peasants revolt and establish a less oppressive, cuter Rudyocracy. And when that fails to entertain, an Olivaocracy.
On a scale of fashion designers ranging from Tommy Hilfiger to Calvin Klein, this book is: Gordon Gartrelle.
June 23, 2008
Authour Yevgeny Zamyatin (whose name, oddly enough, has never been a ‘Famous People’ puzzle on Wheel Of Fortune) lived in an oppressive 20th century autocracy. So he wrote a book about (drum roll, please) an oppressive 30th century autocracy. Basically, it’s about a guy in a hive-like society who learns to think as an individual, only to have his spirit crushed by the powers that be. On the bright side, the juice from a crushed spirit contains 40% of your daily requirement of Vitamin A, and the fibre can be used to make muffins.
On a scale of colours ranging from grey to grey, this book is: grey.
April 11, 2008
A time traveler named Scop tries to thwart the JFK assassination and prevent America from turning into a horrific dystopia by 2045. And a dystopia is worst kind of topia, except for Fruitopia, which is like fruit stomping on a human face, forever. Anyway, he fails and humankind goes down the ol’ crapper. As an avid JFK assaniation fan, this book blew me away. I found it on a shelf at the local library and read it in one sitting, then I put it back and left. Back and left. Back and left.
On a scale of Presidential assassins ranging from Charles Guiteau to Leon F. Czolgosz, this book is: John Schrank.
February 25, 2008
A fascist ruler controls every aspect of average citizens’ lives, demanding to know where they are and what they’re doing twenty-four hours a day. But enough about my marriage – let’s talk about this book. Its true authour is unknown; ‘Owen Gregory’ is widely believed to be a pen name, and if I’d taken a subject as interesting as a fascist dystopia and made it this boring, I’d want anonymity, too. Dude or dudette couldn’t even pen an interesting pen name. ‘Owen Gregory?’. Was ‘Snoozy McGee’ taken? It was? Oh. Sorry, Snoozy. I didn’t see you there. What about ‘Sleepy McGillicutty’? That’s also taken? And he’s Snoozy’s cousin? Damn. Writing is harder than it looks.
On a scale of states ranging from California to Hawaii, this book is as super as: Delaware.
January 4, 2008
A book is always more exciting when exclamation points are added to the title: The Old Man And The Sea! To Kill A Mockingbird! Absalom, Absalom!!!!!!! This book is no exception. It’s a series of stories set in S.M. Stirling’s Domination timeline, where British South Africans who call themselves ‘the Draka’ have enslaved humankind (you don’t have to have your body and spirit broken under the yoke of servitude to work there, but it helps). While interesting, the premise itself is far-fetched: only in science fiction could South Africa be an intolerant dystopia where an elite few withhold basic human rights from the masses. Recommended for fans of the Domination series.
On a scale of spin-offs ranging from The Golden Palace to Archie Bunker’s Place, this book is: Frasier.