Book Review: And Chaos Died, Joanna Russ (1970)

4.5/5 (Very Good)

Nominated for the 1970 Nebula Award for Best Novel

“The ground was covered with old names…” (76)

Joanna Russ, famous for her feminist sci-fi novel The Female Man (1975), weaves together a bizarre (and difficult) novel filled with strange images, peculiar characters, and a fragmented/layered/bewildering narrative structure.  And Chaos Died (1970) is a startlingly original take on the staple sci-fi Continue reading

Book Review: Journey to the Center, Brian M. Stableford (1982)

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3/5 (Average)

Brian M. Stableford’s Journey to the Center (1982) is a poor man’s Ringworld (1970) mixed with a light dose of Pohl’s Gateway (1977).  The combination is pleasantly surprising in parts but also downright dull.  Stableford’s alien species are interchangeable and uninteresting and his descriptions of the world — although a fantastic idea — fail to encapsulate the awe Asgard should inspire. Continue reading

Book Review: The Time Hoppers, Robert Silverberg (1967)

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2.5/5 (Average)

For me Robert Silverberg has finally lost his aura.  I knew it would happen eventually if I delved into his lesser read 60s works — but I’d been impressed recently with a string of his best (Thorns, Downward to the Earth, The World Inside) which created the aforementioned aura.  I believe in the demystification of an author (for nebulous reasons) however painful the reader’s experience might be — at least The Time Hoppers (1967) clocks in at a mere 182 pages.

The Time Hoppers takes place in an overpopulated world Continue reading

Book Review: The Steel Crocodile, D. G. Compton (1970)

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1971 Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel

3.75/5 (Good)

D. G. Compton’s novel The Steel Crocodile (1971) is a thoughtful yet ultimately unspectacular exploration of the intersection of religion and science.  Although the work is nowhere near the level of Compton’s masterpieces (Synthajoy, The Unsleeping Eye), it infinitely surpasses the later The Missionaries (1972) which attempted to explore similar themes.  I find his strong female characters Continue reading

Book Review: Earthworks, Brian W. Aldiss (1965)

3.5/5 (Average)

Brian Aldiss’ Earthworks (1965) takes place in a future Earth wrecked by the effects of overpopulation and the resulting environmental repercussions of intensive, expansive, and destructive over-farming.  In this disturbed world of increasing automation and devaluation of human life, robots are worth more than people and the hungry diseased hordes of mankind have reverted to Continue reading

Book Review: Downward to the Earth, Robert Silverberg (1970)

4.75/5 (Very Good)

1971 Nebula Nominated Novel (Silverberg declined the nomination)

The first two-thirds of Robert Silverberg’s masterpiece Downward to the Earth (1970) is easily in the pantheon of the best sections of a science fiction book I’ve ever read.  I found it emotionally engaging and often downright nerve-racking, moody and disturbed, and engages in an intelligent and poignant manner with the issue of de-colonization which was coming to the fore in the 1960s. Continue reading