Thursday, September 02, 2004

Red Thunder
John Varley

Wow! This was a fun Heinlein-esque book. Young kids and ex-astronaut build a spaceship to go to Mars. Better than that makes it sound; Essentially a what-if that involves the equivalent of an Orion-drive without nukes (i.e. what could you do if you had unlimited thrust?). A little bit hot-and-heavy re the young kids (2 ~19-20 year old couples) though not *really* dirty (sex never "happens" during the narrative)... There is even a plot device that makes them clean up their language. The other good device (I think) is that the genius who comes up with their power source is sort of an idiot savant, so nobody goes into much technobabble.

It presents a good example of a hard SF story that takes one basic "what if," and then plays fair as to what the consequences would be, and how you might use that idea.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Summer Reading Catch Up

The Naked Sun (The Robot Series)
Isaac Asimov

A visit to Boston University turned my thoughts to the good doctor (Asimov was on the faculty there). So I found this in the (far too sparse) Asimov books at the library. A really great book from the golden age! I've grabbed another stack, so I'll probably have more Asimov entries in a while.

Year's Best SF 8
David G. Hartwell, Kathryn D. Cramer, Kathryn Cramer

More fun short fiction - lots of good stuff.

Live Without a Net
Lou Anders (Editor), David Brin, S. M. Stirling, Pat Cadigan (Afterword)

Some fun stories, but... I'm not much of a bio- kinda guy. Too much squishy stuff I think. I can imagine non-cyber tech SF books. Look at Heinlein's Rolling Stones-era books; it is possible to be high-tech without computers.

This reinforced my opinion that short collections are better if they DON'T have a theme.

... Giving this one a pass for now...

Stephen Baxter

I really like his "Voyager" and was looking forward to this... but found it too paleontological. Maybe another day...