September 7, 2008
James Tiptree writes like a girl, because he was one. Alice Bradley Sheldon assumed a male nom de plume to avoid the discrimination faced by female writers in the early days of scifi (it was not uncommon, for example, to see a leering Isaac Asimov chasing a busty, short-skirted Ursula K. Leguin repeatedly around a desk while imploring her to ‘prove you’re not a robot, sugar pie’). But as this excellent anthology shows, any fear Tiptree had about not being taken seriously was unfounded; her scifi hammer hangs lower than most male writers’. Highly recommended.
On a scale of famous men who were really women ranging from Pope Joan to Billy Tipton, this book is: Samus Aran.
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.
January 17, 2008
A nuke war causes modern society to revert to bleak monasticism, which, over thousands of years evolves into a modern society, which once again launches a nuke war, which starts the whole silly cycle over again. Or as Cypress Hill said, ‘What go around come around, kid.’ This book is a brilliant commentary on organized religion’s pros (provides strength during difficult times) and cons (priest may diddle you in church kitchen; if kitchen in use, supply cupboard) and answers the age-old question as to which of the faiths pleases God the most (Sorry, Jews). Highly recommended.
On a scale of fallen civilizations ranging from the Incan to the Aztec, this book is: the Norte-Chico.