Sunday, November 23, 2008

Project 40: October

In preparation for National Novel Writing Month, I stocked up on a bunch of sci fi. Man, I love science fiction. I don’t think people realize how monumental it is to DREAM into the future. I mean, how would we have reached the moon without Jules Verne? Seriously.

“The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury
It took me a couple of stories to get into this one, but once I was able to follow the timeline, I kind of caught on. My favorite story was “Usher II,” where a man builds a mechanical house of horror based on Edgar Allen Poe stories. The book is a collection of stories, so they’re not all that cohesive. The Martians are different in nearly every story, but if you’re going through a timeline and assuming that Mars is a big planet, that’s not too hard to get past. After “Something Wicked This Way Comes” though, I was expecting to be drawn in a little bit more. B-

“Out of the Silent Planet” by CS Lewis
I think this is the first in a series, because it kind of ended like part of a series, which I generally don’t like in books. I like the way it was written though, with a sense of wonder of being on a new world, and the setup for a mythology comparing the Earth to other planets who have a connection to God (CS Lewis isn’t all that subtle) is pretty fascinating. B+

“Doctor Who: The Adventuress of Henrietta Street” by Lawrence Miles
I haven’t been obsessed with a TV show since the X-Files, and even with that, I lost interest after David Duchovny left the show. Now, I’m really really into Doctor Who. So I was excited to read one of the novels because hey, the show’s so great and action packed, the books are bound to be as well, right? Bzzt. Not this one. Within the first 30 pages, I wanted to put it down. I was very disappointed. It was written like it was trying to be a historical account written several years later, except that all of the events “are not clear.” So there’s very little action, just a bunch of things that “might have” happened, but “it is not clear”. Most of the novel involves whores sitting around a brothel for about six months while the Doctor doesn’t do anything because he’s sick. I ended up finishing it, but barely. D+

“Time and Again” by Jack Kinney

This one was recommended by some people at the NaNoWriMo forums when I asked for novels about time travel. Sy Morely is an artist who is chosen by a government agency to participate in a time travel experiment. These experiments don’t involve a machine or anything. The person has to immerse themselves in the time period of their assignment, and then travel back in time through self-hypnosis, and somehow, they “break through” and actually participate in past. Sy goes back to 1880s New York. It’s a very romantic view, because the characters take walks in the park during the winter, with horse drawn carriages and everything. There are a few action scenes involving the nefarious fiancé of the woman that Sy falls in love with in the 1880s, which was bound to happen, but most of the book was an elegant portrayal of the past. I was expecting a little more substance, but it was still a fairly good read. B

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