I will briefly comment the books I've read this year so far:
( Updated December 29th 2013 )
Ursula K. Le Guin:
"The Dispossessed" , "The Word For World Is Forest"
Both belong to the author's Hain cycle, although the author says that it was just a coincidence to have a large chain of books passed in the same universe; both are something I like to think as some of the finest science fiction ever made. Le Guin dissects political issues in imaginary worlds, still, I like to think her worlds exist somewhere out there. She, line after line, outputs a striking manifest for the freedom of exist and think, against the oppression, the steady and well known condition of man and woman of thinking more on the self than on a collective existence completely disregarding mutual respect and tolerance to the other. Two of of her paragraphs simply hit you in the head. Dispossessed is a tale about two separate worlds that seem quite opposite: one of them is a capitalist world and the other is an anarchist colony. World For World Is Forest is short novella about a world and its denizens being explored by the greedy human race. It is known as the book that James Cameron mostly ripped off while creating Avatar.
"The War Hound and World's Pain" , "The City In The Autumn stars", "An Alien Heat", "Hollow Lands" and "The End Of All Songs".
See below my review of World's Pain. I bet you know how much I admire Moorcock. "Dancers At The End Of Time", depicts the life of the final lights of the human race, when we actually became so highly technologically advanced that our deeds seem quite magical. It is also a brilliant homage to the late 19th century way of living.
Dark Tower volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4
King has been a long time favorite of mine since my adolescence. Weirdly I had not read his well known and highly praised Tower series. I must say that SK fans were not wrong to say that The Dark Tower series is his most inspiring, well written, imaginative, verbose, intense and dark books. The four books are "The Gunslinger", "The Drawing of the Three", "The Waste Lands" and "Wizard And Glass". It is a magnificent fiction work, which varies from meta linguistic dark fantasy, to post apocalyptic western, something that dwells between fantasy and science fiction, a marvelous work which constantly puts you in awe. To be quite honestly, sometime on "The Gunslinger" I forgot it was a fictional work. I immersed my self so much on it that I hardly want to stop reading it. Despite that, this is probably King's most inspired work.
"City of the Chasch", "Servants of the Wankh", "The Dirdir" and "The Pnume"
The great master of fantasy and science fiction has passed away this year. I was coincidentally reading his magnificent spatial fantasy saga. Vance was a master of his language, but was also great creator of worlds, societies and costumes. Somewhere in the book I had immersed my self so much on it that I was virtually seeing a conversation in an arcane, exotic restaurant. Vance - besides his erudite treatment of the English tongue - likes to criticize the individualism and lack of moral and ethics in a very satiric way. It borders the comedy sometimes ( like in "Cugel's Saga" ). Although Vance did mean to write a good adventure, he simply cannot avoid creating an universal portrait of something some people call "human condition".
Philip K Dick:
Is there any better book than this ? Something to scary you while you read it at night and wonder about the nature of reality and existence? I like to think Dick has created a projection of a future that he might probably have seen somewhere in his complex mind. Ignorant that I am, I really lack the skills to describe it critically.
"An Ocean At The End of the Lane", "Neverwhere"
Gaiman, notably my favorite living author, tells the story of a small kid, that might in many ways replicate the 7 old years old Gaiman, in a weekend where lots of things happen. Strong female characters, fantastic atmosphere and as always a marvelous recreation of our favorite dark fairy tales. Neverwhere is a tale passed in the magical underground of London, a place full of gloomy, boisterous villains, plot twists and magic aura.
"Perdido Street Station".
I had actually postponed reading this book because it frankly hurls so many new words at my face that I more than usual saw my self grabbing a dictionary. But I decided to go ahead and read it. Must say that it was a very demanding reading, but it was worth due to the author's highly cool imagination and scenarios. Well, I would definitely recommend it for a dive into a steamy post cyber punk adventure.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Monday, April 08, 2013
I have just finished the book City Of The Autumn Stars written by Michael Moorcock.
In a way this is a sequel to "The War Hound and the world's pain".
In this book there are many layers, so many multifaceted characters, the main theme of the book is man always dealing with the boundaries of fanaticism regarding one kind of belief: religious faith, political faith, moral and ethics. I see that Moorcock wrote this book as he said "briefly and for entertainment" but it is hard to put the plot in the backyards of your conscience after reading it.
The books starts dealing with the French Revolution and at the dawn of a century where mankind is transitioning from the dark age to a new age of science and reasoning. At the same time it seems man is still not tolerating well the different, the disagreement.
As the book progresses Manfred, a natural atheist , man of reason and science is confronted with the lust of a real strong and HOT woman that turns his view towards life. Then we have lots of companions that seem to share respect for friendship and tolerance. And a lot of praise for the steam technology which would guide the early 19th Century.
Besides that we have the supernatural and religious aspects. With all due respect I think Moorcock despite clearly fighting for the free will of man, without the need of a God, I believe he did chose to refuse the evil, that he calls it the "beast", which is the essence of the what the devil is for religion, although this has been misinterpreted by those who read the Bible literally not trying to give it bunch of literary meaning. Devil worshipers are not different from nazis or killers and the essence of their evil is human not supernatural. I think despite that Moorcock clearly admits him self to be an Atheist he is not attacking the meaning of a God, which is essentially a meaning that has been twisted by the acts of man and his misuse of God's will.
So, if you show this book to a blind religious person he will definitely think about "devil" in the terms of the religion that hits the regular people these days: Good x evil, and no thoughts given to the complex meaning. In a way, this is not a book about devil worshipers and it is clearly a book about freedom, choices between the right and wrong.
As a religious person I did not feel threaten by the book or scared by the references to Lucifer, after all this is fictional work. I am not sure if I did read it well enough at this point.
And that journey from 18th century Europe to the wonderous setting of Mittlemarch/Mirenburg is quite amazing as well as the descriptions of that ancient, dark city with so good characters, which obviously influenced the fictional cities of Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore or Jeff Vandermeer.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Unlike Watchmen that put a great effort to conjure an universe where super heroes had to have an explanation and around them the whole reality would change, "The Lifes And Times Of Savior 28" by J.M. DeMatteis and artist Mike Cavallaro affirm that reality would not change a bit.
While Watchmen can be seen as a realistic critic of the human race, "The Life And Times Of Savior 28" is a portrait of a superhero that perhaps you and I would become. Unlike Dr Manhattan, Savior or Jimmy did not distance him self from the human race, he did not turn into something else.
This is a story of a man that was turned into a superhero and his good and bad choices, anguishes, fears, mistakes and joys. There was always something something of naive on Captain America, yet, this is what makes him the decent hero he is, that is something DeMatteis explores with a critical eye on Savior.
We know DeMatteis, he likes to craft characters that we will end relating to, and his text is pure poetry. But at this time it is a punch in the face. The art of Cavallaro exceeds the concept of brilliant, it is intense and fantastic. Perfect.
Highly and absolutely recommended.