Sci-Fi Review Blowout!

2008 May 31

So I read all these books this semester. I’m not sure I want to finish up that Philip K. Dick novel collection anytime soon.

The Forever War – You can tell it was written by a Vietnam vet. Just look at the title. So just extrapolate that senseless war to a galaxy. Not a bad novel, but compared to the best I read this semester, it seems fairly pedestrian. It’s a great personal story, I’ll give it that. I definitely enjoyed it.

Starship Troopers
– The previous novel was a response to the pro-military stance of this novel. I thought this novel was better, and more thought-provoking. But it’s barely sci-fi. Anyone that criticizes the movie on the grounds that it completely rapes the book — that was the point. Paul Verhoeven obviously found the philosophy in the book ridiculous.

A Canticle for Leibowitz – Even more thought-provoking than Starship Troopers, and a very different sci-fi novel. Once again, not much science here. It deals more with the cyclical nature of history, from the viewpoint of a monastery after a nuclear holocaust. Yes, I know it sounds thrilling, but I would recommend it to anyone with religious or spiritual leanings. It also has a very unorthodox structure that I found really, really interesting, that also helped emphasize important turning points while also having a story cover over 1000 years. Much better than all that Left Behind shit.

Dragon’s Egg – Not sure if I can recommend this to anyone who isn’t VERY interested in speculative science. Even then, it’s a stretch. There is enough in-depth science to make most people want to toss in the garbage. And its literary merits are almost non-existent.

Dune – Pretty damn great. I can see why it’s regarded as a classic. I recommend giving it 100 pages, as it took me that long to get into the story. It throws you right in, leaving you overwhelmed and confused by the sheer amount of weird terms and names getting tossed around. Once it gets going, though, it more than takes advantage of its length.

Earth – The opposite of utilizing length well. Holy shit, this book is long. I found it extremely interesting at first, but unfortunately, it completely turns to shit towards the end. I was pissed. Don’t bother with this massive thing.

The Martian Chronicles – This is a collection of short stories held together by a timeline and some common characters on Mars. A really quick read that I recommend to anyone. The stories, for the most part, are really simple, but they range from the mundane, to the psychotic, to the transcendent. Many of them could be Twilight Zone episodes. I loved it.

I, Robot – The fact that this was written 60 years ago is incredible. SO much science fiction had to have been influenced by it over the years. I know it influenced me when writing my short story for this class. It’s also a collection of short stories, but these are tied together more — enough to be truly called a novel. Just so you know, it’s nothing like the Will Smith movie. The book is a mass of logic puzzles, not an action-packed extravaganza.


I, Robot
The Martian Chronicles
A Canticle for Leibowitz
Starship Troopers
The Forever War
Dragon’s Egg

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  • honest_ape

    I’ve only read “I, Robot”, “Dune” and “Starship Troopers.” Love each of them. You ever read “Ender’s Game”? That’s a sweet book.

  • CajoleJuice

    Nope, but I’ve heard all about it. Seems like required reading.