Starplex has everything: a galactic empire; several human-comparable alien species; hints of at least one god-like, far-advanced race of beings; hyperspace travel and wormholes; space battles and time travel and the secret of the universe . . .
So by all means, read all about it (before reading “it”, itself, that is), in my review at AE.
Getting hungry? I have a new restaurant review up at the Spec Trib, for an old haunt of mine. Actually, I think I may swing by for a meal today.
Karl Schroeder makes a living plausibly guessing at the future. This might seem like it should be true of all science-fiction writers, but it’s really not. Some use fantastic situations to put the human soul under the lens; others dream up future settings, not because they’re likely, but because they make good jumping-off points for obliquely considering present-day societal issues. Others just want laser blasts and space battles. Few are professional futurists.
As fans know, however, Schroeder actually is a professional futurist, which is perhaps why he’s the one who works out plausible (albeit, yes, futuristic) new ways of reordering all society instead of writing an adventure story on Mars and calling it a day. You can read about which long-standing conundrum in space opera Schroeder has solved by reading my full review at the Free Press.
I’ve decided to revisit a favourite author of mine, Robert J. Sawyer, by checking out some of his early works. I’m starting it off with a review of his very first novel, The Golden Fleece. I’ll be reading at least a couple more of his books, but meanwhile my review of the first one is up now at AE.
Today on AE, five books you can forgo in favour of the film. I’m a die-hard bookworm, so when I say the movie’s better, well, opinion is still opinion, but you might pay a little closer attention. Of course, the films in question are all genre (with Fight Club perhaps straddling the line a bit). Here’s one more that wouldn’t have fit on the list at AE:
Non-genre Bonus Example!
Into the Wild. The film is a dramatized version of the true story of Christopher McCandless, a thoughtful, adventurous young man with an inspiring zest for life. The book is a stunning example of long-form journalism by a master of the craft. Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction account of the McCandless story grew out of an article he wrote for Outside magazine. The book is a mix of narrative, interviews, the history of adventure travel, and some of Krakauer’s personal anecdotes.
In fine journalistic fashion, speculations are clearly labelled as such, multiple theories are floated and batted around. But in the movie version, a single interpretation is taken, a single cohesive narrative emerges, and it really feels like we see things from Chris’ perspective. In the film, we have a protagonist. In the book we have a subject. Most of us would choose the former.
Nintendo wanted to draw on a broader range of human experiences. With its motion controls and sensor bar the Wii created a new sort of shared space between our living rooms and the dimension implied by the glowing screen. The revolution was that anyone now knew how to play a videogame.
But here’s the thing, Nintendo already did this, without lasers or gyroscopes or accelerometers or even more than eight bits of memory. I’m talking about Nintendo’s 1984 creation: the NES Zapper.
You can read my full article at Unwinnable.
Just in time for its centenary, Robert Charles Wilson asks, what if the First World War had never happened? What if all the little things that go wrong before a breakdown in diplomacy had, instead, gone right? What if we were today celebrating a Great Armistice instead of a Great War?
Final review submitted in 2013, and first to be published in 2014. The full review is live at the Free Press.
I did a quick write-up last spring on a book called The Science of Miracles — in fact, this was the last title I covered before resigning from the Library Journal due to my over-committed writing schedule. I missed its publication, however, until now. It’s reprinted in full on the book’s Barnes and Noble page, and elsewhere. On the B&N page you’ll find it as the first editorial review.
The Winnipeg Free Press has another favourite books of the year list, which includes my own pick: A Tale for the Time Being by American/Canadian writer, Ruth Ozeki.
It really is quite excellent and deserves to be on a year’s favourites list (my editor was careful to explain that this is not a “year’s best” list; we’re not jurying a prize, here and having made an exhaustive survey). Along with his caveat, I’ll add two of my own: not every book I’ve read is for FP review, and not every book I read is for review, period. Many of the books I read are not even recent releases.
So if I expand the list to include anything and everything I’ve read this year, what was my absolute favourite?
I dunno. The older I get the harder it is to pick favourites. Let’s just say it was a good reading year and leave it at that.
Everything’s better when it’s crusty. Read my review of this traditional German deli/café at the Spectator Tribune.