Friday, December 14, 2007

2007 Books in Review

Howdy all! I thought there might be some interest in seeing the books I read this year. So! Here's the list and my brief comments.

William Gibson - Neuromancer
My first exposure to the cyberpunk genre was Stephenson's Snow Crash (thanks Jessica!) and The Diamond Age.  I really enjoyed Neuromancer, especially considering it's as old as I am (published in 1984), and some of its predictions were pretty close to the mark.  (4/5)

George Orwell - Animal Farm
I didn't get to read this one in high school, and I'm glad I picked it up.  Definitely a reminder of the dangers of those who would deny our freedoms.  (4.5/5)

Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse Five
Kara suggested I check out Vonnegut.  This was a great read and was a cross between science fiction and satire with an anti-war theme.  Definitely check it out.  (4.5/5)

Dan Simmons - Hyperion
Several travelers seemingly independent stories about the mysterious Shrike of Hyperion come together to form a well-woven SF tale.  The only downside is there's no ending... so it's really (secretly) part 1 of 2!  But, I'm sufficiently hooked that I'll be picking up The Fall of Hyperion to finish the story.  (3.5/5)

Issac Isamov - I, Robot
A novel by the SF master, I, Robot shares some themes with the recent movie, but it's really a different story.  It's really a collection of short stories that share a moral theme of the three laws of robotics.  Definitely a classic.  (4.5/5)

Orson Scott Card - Shadow of the Giant
A story about Bean and his adventures as the Hegemon of Earth.  If you've read all the Ender series books up to this one, go ahead and read it.  It does advance the Earth-bound plot (and Card's political views) while being a fun read.  But it's nothing compared to Ender of Speaker for the Dead.  (3/5)

China Mieville - Perdido Street Station
Erin suggested this "steampunk" novel and I'm glad she introduced me to the genre!  Mieville reminds me a lot of Gaiman in his writing style, and that's a good thing.  Reading this adventure made me feel like I could see every detail in New Crobuzon without feeling like I'm reading pages of description.  This one has elements of SF and fantasy with magic and strange creatures.  Mieville has a great command of the language and a skill for weaving a story.  Check this one out!  (4/5)

Roger Zelany - Lord of Light
I really enjoyed Zelany's Amber series.  Zelany wrote this book first and has been out of print for some time.  I saw it on the shelf with a pull-quote from Gaiman on the front cover and I couldn't resist.  This is definitely an interesting story based on another world where the original settlers from Earth have set themselves up as the gods of the Hindu pantheon.  We follow our protagonist Mahasamatman (Sam), Binder of Demons, Lord of Light, against those who would deny humanity the technology and science of Earth.  (4/5)