Review “Hard to be a God” by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky were writing in Soviet era Russia, and the environment in which they worked gives their books an added nuance, knowing the societal constraints under which they were working, and what they managed to achieve. This is the second book I have read by these authors, and I have enjoyed it just…

Review “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut.

(First published 1963.) Vonnegut is not for everyone, and I suspect many would find him far too cynical to truly enjoy. His world view has always seemed to me to be without illusion, though sometimes lacking in joy or hope. That being said, his books are always interesting and thought-provoking. “Cat’s Cradle” starts with the…

Review “Colossus: The Forbin Project” (1970)

Take cold war fears of nuclear annihilation, and add in an intelligent super-computer gone amuk, and you have ”Colossus: The Forbin Project”. This was certainly not the first time a computer taking over had been depicted on film – both “2001 A Space Odyssey” and “Alphaville” predate this, for example. The idea also appeared in…

Review “Timescape” by Gregory Benford

First published in 1980, “Timescape” won the Nebula Award that year. It is a science fiction novel, dealing with ecological disaster in the year 1998. There seems to be no way to resolve what is happening, but technology that uses tachyons allow researchers to attempt communication with the past. In 1962, a scientist starts to…

Review “Annihilation”

“Annihilation” is a science fiction film that was released in 2018. It’s about a mysterious phenomenon referred to as the ‘shimmer’, and an expedition comprised of five scientists that enter it to investigate. They are the latest in a long line of teams that have been sent in and not returned. There has been one…

Review “The Endless”

This is a weirdly compelling low budget film which is kind of science fiction, kind of horror (a bit), kind of supernatural. This 2017 film starred and was directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. Two brothers are living a hand to mouth existence after having escaped from a cult some years earlier. The younger…

Review “The Door into Summer” by Robert Heinlein

This is a relatively early work for Heinlein, having first been published in 1957. More famous works such as “Stranger in a Strange Land” are still ahead of him. As such, this book, while quite good, is not great. The story concerns protagonist Dan Davis, an inventor who is cheated out of his life’s work,…

Review “The Giver” by Lois Lowry

Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. – Benjamin Franklin “The Giver” is a book full of questions. It sets up a situation that demands questions, and thought. The author expertly builds the situation slowly, so little by little more is revealed about the…