Tag: Science FIction

Book Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Author: Douglas Adams

Published: October 12, 1979
215 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of the The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out of work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin their journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitch Hiker’s Guide “A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have” and a galaxy-full of fellow travellers: Zaphod Beeblebrox – the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out to lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ball-point pens he has bought over the years.

Kim’s Review:

Easily one of the greatest books ever written. I’ll admit that not everyone will like this book. The plotline is thin and definitely more character driven. But even then, the writing is dry and technical and random. Being a sci-fi fan is the absolute minimum of being able to appreciate this book. The characters are random and hilarious and, in many cases, confusing and shallow. Arthur Dent is the one that I identified with. The lone human in this amalgam aliens, creatures, planets, probabilities, drink recipes, space ships, robots, and sea creatures; he’s the grounding influence.

It’s so hard to describe this book to those who haven’t read it; it’s hard enough to describe to those who have! I think the most accurate comparison I can make (super random, I know, but stay with me) is to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Definitely one of the greatest films ever made, but don’t ask me to explain why, because I can’t. I put Hitchhiker’s Guide ahead of Rocky Horror because I actually got it while I was reading it. Rocky Horror Picture Show is more of a hindsight enjoyment. Even though not everyone will enjoy it, I still encourage everyone to read it! Those who will love it, will love it with all their hearts and be so thankful that someone suggested they read it. Hitchhiker’s Guide is one of my new all time favorite books!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Sea of Tranquility
Author: Emily St. John Mandel

Published: April 5, 2022
255 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

A novel of art, time, love, and plague that takes the reader from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon three hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and space.

Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal–an experience that shocks him to his core.

Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She’s traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony, a place of white stone, spired towers, and artificial beauty. Within the text of Olive’s bestselling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.

When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.

Kim’s Review:

What a fascinating book. I bought it on a whim and while it had its small bit of annoying idealism, I truly enjoyed reading it. I’m liking this multi-timeline trend. Not the historical fiction, lady walking away on the cover kind, but this sci-fi kind. And this one added a thread that is definitely unique. While it had some of those typical factors that are oh so overplayed, the overall product felt like something I hadn’t read before. And considering how technical some of the concepts were, I still felt like I knew what was going on. I enjoyed this book! Will I read it again? Probably not, but it’s definitely worth the read!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Short Story Sunday: Graceful Burdens by Roxane Gay

Graceful Burdens
Series: Out of Line
Author: Roxane Gay

Narrator: Samira Wiley
Published: September 1, 2020
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: June 8, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars     

Book Description:

From New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay comes an unforgettable tale of nightmarish bureaucracy in which genetic profiling has redefined the “unfit mother.”

A trip to the library prompts one woman to question her fate in this galvanizing short story. For a woman like Hadley, deemed not acceptable to procreate, there’s only one recourse. Unlicensed for motherhood, she can alleviate her grief and frustration at a “baby library,” where a curiously endless supply of infants is available for a two-week loan. But the borrowed life that serves as a temporary balm leads to a journey of self-discovery that will forever change the direction of Hadley’s future.

Roxane Gay’s Graceful Burdens is part of Out of Line, an incisive collection of funny, enraging, and hopeful stories of women’s empowerment and escape. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting. 

Jessica’s Review:

This story takes place in a dystopian world where women are evaluated to determine whether or not they will be permitted to have children. They undergo testing at age 16 to see if they will be allowed to procreate. We see both sides of this world through Hadley who is unlicensed to have children and Seraphina who is licensed. 

There are libraries in this world where only women can ‘borrow’ a child for up to two weeks.  These children are no longer ‘borrowable’ once they hit three years old. Hadley checks out a baby girl as only girls can be ‘borrowed’. We also see Seraphina who has children but doesn’t really want them.  It still seems like the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ even in this dystopian world.

I can’t say much more than this because it would give away what happens in the short story. There is much more that could be done with this story: It is another one I would like to see expanded because of the direction it goes in. It is an intriguing story that also makes you think. 

Purchase Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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