>The War I Survived

>Well things are certainly busy, a week of the Icicle Works on constant replay followed by another week of Fairport Convention is a panacea for all ills. Very exciting week as it looks like we will be able to attend the Cropredy Festival this year, well Thomas and I will be able to.

A fairly busy reading schedule has been going on, I started out with Dan Simmons Hyperion. This series is one of my all time favourite reads. I only really have a memory of this the first book, I am going to spread the other three books throughout the year as a way of pacing myself on some level. It is one of the few series on my shelf, another being Asimovs Foundation series. Everyone should take the time to read Dan Simmons he is one of the few authors who can cross genres well, covering horror, science fiction, crime novels and now historical fiction  albeit with a hint of the macabre.

Next was Zelaznys Dream Master. I usually enjoy Zelaznys work but this time I was just too distant from the characters, I did not really feel any sympathy for any of them, even the youth in the book was distant and cold. It was a fascinating idea though of a therapist getting caught in the construct of his patients mind.

The Space Merchants was a much more satisfying read. Mostly a political diatribe against consumerism and the influence of large corporations it nevertheless had an engaging story and like able characters. The biggest surprise about this book is how long ago it was written, the majority of people would have the opinion that science fiction written in the 50’s would have little to no relevance for today, in this case they would be wrong.

McCaffrey’s first novel and not her most successful. Ostensibly an attempt to present a strong female lead role into science fiction, the novel reads more like an historical romance were one event after another pushes the main character around from one situation to the next.
Many of the themes McCaffrey would use in the Pern universe are here, the mix of high tech and a more pastoral lifestyle and non-traditional relationships, although the technology is something stolen not something forgotten and rediscovered. The culture of Restoree is not a rich or well realized as Pern though.

Rereading Heinlein is a rewarding experience, sometimes though I wonder how the teenage me got through the long philosophical passages, in fact there is not much what we would call action today. This is true of Revolt in 2100 as well as Starship Troopers, both books are concerned with ideas not necessarily action. Revolt n 2100 is a cautionary tale of allowing radical fundamental Christianity to  meddle too much, if at all  in politics. The book opens with the US in the grip of a theocracy caused by the alliance of fundamental Christianity, TV and an advertising company. Heinlein saw it as a possibility ion the 40’s it is still possible now, this makes the novel even more chilling, a story that is still relevant.

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