I’ve finally gotten around to reading some of A.E. van Vogt’s longer works, specifically, the future fix-up, Empire of the Atom, and the serialized follow-up novel, The Wizard of Linn. This also happens to be the first time AE has covered its Canadian namesake. The full review is here.
I’m very fond of animal tales. Sometimes you can tell a story featuring non-human characters that just wouldn’t work with regular people. Check out my full essay at AESciFi.
The Ballad of Danny Wolfe is very much a Prairie story, and understanding Wolfe, IP, and Indigenous street gangs in general means understanding the West, particular Manitoba and Saskatchewan: our small towns, life on “the Rez”, the history of colonialism and residential schools, modern racial tensions, and the unique way these cultural strands all play out in Winnipeg’s core, IP’s birthplace.
Read my full review at the Winnipeg Free Press.
Wilson imagines how a series of neurological, psychological and physiological tests might determine a sort of modern-day Zodiac, sorting humankind into “affinities” based on their deepest truest selves. Early on, he makes the point that the families we’re born into might be arbitrary, but he does suggest that being loved because you’re part of the same affinity with someone rather than because of a shared genetic lineage comes with its own problems.
Read the full review at AE.
I forgot to post about this short essay that ran on AE last spring. I take a tour of alternate societies from Jo Walton’s version of Plato’s Republic, Robert J. Sawyer’s Neanderthal society in a parallel universe, and the Big Three on human society in the next few centuries, millennia, or even eons.
Well, time for some updates. I’ve still been writing, just not here. For this September past I penned a little essay for AE, appropriately, on education-themed science fiction. Perhaps just as appropriate a topic as the school year draws to a close.
You’ll notice my opening paragraph refers to the proverbial cocktail party. Often, when a person is going to pontificate on their career, and especially public perceptions thereof, they start off with, “When I meet people at cocktail parties . . .” I don’t actually go to a lot of cocktail parties, but in fine speculative as well as Einsteinian tradition: assume a perfectly spherical cocktail party. . . .
No, I’m half-kidding. But really, if I’m at the proverbial cocktail party, or some near analogue (gas-station nacho bar), and introduce myself as a teacher, I really do find it gets people talking. But I’m more interested in the deep thinking of smart writers on the topic than your typical non-educators. Thus, the essay. Please read it here.
As time goes by and I keep thinking about the ideas in this novel, I’m increasingly convinced that Three Body Problem will go down in science fiction history as one of the all-time great works. This novels asks some of the deepest questions there are in science, and in a compelling and imaginative way.
No quote from the review this time. I just wanted to give my heartfelt recommendation for this work. You can read my (perhaps understated) review at the WFP.