Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Newish Science Fiction

Alan axed about newish science fiction. I can recommend a couple of things. I don't read science fiction as much as I used to. There is still a lot of good stuff out there.

I highly recommend Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. It's the story of a smart teenager in San Francisco that rebels against his government after getting roughed by the Homeland Security people. It reads like an old Heinlein juvenile novel at times.

Another young adult novel that blew me away is the book Peeps by Scott Westerfeld. It's a unique take on the vampire novel. And, no, it's not about a vampire detective investigating murders by a serial killer ghost pirate from another reality.

Michael Swanwick's novel called Dragons of Babel takes the fantasy novel and stands it on its head. It's set in the same world as his novel The Iron Dragon's Daughter. That one really knocked me off my feet. He does genre bending right.

There's an older book by Vernor Vinge (pronounced Vin-jay) that every reader of science fiction should read. It's called A Fire Upon Upon the Deep. It has one of the most creative alien species I have ever experienced, a canine hive mind creature. I first read it in 2005 and I couldn't believe I hadn't before.

Joe Hadleman is still writing excellent novels and a recent favorite of mine was The Accidental Time Machine. His most recent novel called Marsbound is going to have a sequel. If you haven't read his novel The Forever War you are missing out on a seminal work. Some say it's a response to the glorification of the military in Starship Troopers and it definitely is the retelling of his Vietnam experiences. As Joe puts it it: 'Basically, The Forever War is “all about Vietnam,” said Haldeman, a draftee who served in Vietnam’s Central Highlands in 1968. “I didn’t sit down and make a chart or anything,” he said, “but the [Vietnam] war was my model.'

As far as re-reading Heinlein, I've been doing that myself over the last couple of years. Recently I re-read "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" and before that I read "Between Planets." I really enjoyed the latter and I found this quote in it: "There were many, many times thereafter that Don regretted having enlisted - but so has every man who ever volunteered for military service." Amen to that. I'll probably read another Heinlein this summer. I haven't decided which one yet. Maybe "Time Enough for Love." It's been a long time since I read that one.

Another writer in the vein of Heinlein is supposedly Charles Stross. He wrote a book called Saturn's Children that is dedicated to Heinlein and Asimov. Stross himself describes the book as "A space opera and late-period Heinlein tribute." I haven't read it yet.

I have to leave and get ready for work but I have to mention Un Lun Dun by China Mieville. It's another young adult fantasy book and it's magic.

That was fun, I haven't written a nice long blog entry in a while. It's all about content.

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