The famous Philip K. Dick wrote some amazing books, but in his later years, penned a few stinkers. Fortunately, Ubik is one of the good ones. It starts out dystopian (the door to one’s apartment requires coins to open and close every single time) and quickly gets very weird, as characters become unsure of what time they’re in, or even how alive they are. It’s bizarre fun.
I get excited by a good book, and sometimes read more quickly than I should. Audiobooks slow me down to a more humane pace, allowing me to really spend time in the words of a book instead of blasting through it. Listening to an audiobook can give me a surprisingly deeper reading experience than, well, reading. I’m not ever giving up paper books, but I’m impressed at the depth of the experience of a really well-done audiobook.
Starting in the fifties, there were tons of books about the colonization of space. Humans went everywhere, and no amount of alien weirdness stopped us.
There are a few recent colonization stories, but the majority of modern science fiction focuses on dystopian societies and post-apocalyptic wastelands.
Maybe this is a coincidence, or maybe as a species, we’re a lot less optimistic than we used to be. Continue reading
Sometimes, at the end of a long day (or even a short one), I want to be thrown into the middle of a bunch of exploding weirdness and not have to think too hard. Or, if a book is going to make me think when I’m tired, it better be sneaky about it, and do it while I’m having a lot of fun.
If you’re a child of the 80s, reading Ready Player One is like mainlining heroin-strength nostalgia. It’s so ridiculously fun that I frequently imagined author Ernest Cline giggling and saying to himself, “I can’t believe I’m getting away with this!”
One of my favorite moments in any science fiction book or movie is when someone in a spaceship stands up, points at the viewscreen, and says, “What the hell is that?!”
I’m an absolute sucker for stories where hapless humans stumble across mysterious alien megastructures cruising their way through space.
Nominated for a Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards in 1975, The Mote in God’s Eye has not aged particularly well. There are some clever twists and exciting sequences in this far-future first-contact tale, and the alien Motes are, in some ways, truly alien.
Most young adult science fiction books are set in weird dystopias and involve awkward, doomed romances. Based on what I remember from high school, this is completely appropriate.