Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke is considered on of the classic, must-read books of science fiction. The book has a good plot which is easy to follow and does not make your head ache to understand what is going on (unlike Neuromancer… which I’m still trying to figure out). Because of this, it is a very enjoyable book, but at the same time it seems a bit shallow.
The book starts when the people of the solar system find that an unknown spaceship is entering it’s neighborhood, and then goes on to tell the story of the group of astronauts that, by chance, get to land on this spaceship and explore it. And this spaceship has a lot of surprises for them at each step of the way. There are places where these surprises are a bit dumb and left me with a feeling of “duh, I though of that, how didn’t those smart astronauts think of it”, but other times the surprise was deep and thorough.
On a scale of 1 to 5 I’ll give it a 4. But definitely worth reading and buying.
Hyperion, by Dan Simmons, is a great Science-Fiction that is also loaded with Fantasy. It is a novel told using many short stories (much like I, Robot), told by the last pilgrims to the Time Tombs located at the Hyperion world, at the edge of the current galactic civilization.
Each story tells a different angle on what is Hyperion, or more to the point, what are the Time Tombs and what is the Shrike, a mythical type of monster that lives on Hyperion and does very strange and magical things. No one know why the Shrike exists, what is it’s purpose… nothing. And all the pilgrims have been somehow affected by ether the Time Tombs or by the Shrike in some way that makes them want to return to it and close the circle.
Each on of the book’s stories is very different, which I liked because if one of them was not very good, it did not ruin completely the book. There are also references to other great Science Fiction woks – for example, someone tells that “Cowboy Gibbson” once managed to access the core of the matrix, and who is that “Gibbson”? probably William Gibbson, the author of Neuromancer (actually it was Case who accessed the core, but still, the reference is nice).
One thing I didn’t like in the book is it’s end, which leaves the book unfinished. This is done too briskly in my opinion, and I was expecting at least some closing. But well, I guess I’ll have to read the next book in the series.
Overall a good, enjoyable read.
“I, Robot“, by Isaac Asimov, is on the first science fiction books I read, and in my memory it was a very good book. How sad that now that I read it again it seems very shallow.
“I, Robot” introduces the three laws of robotics and then tells a number of short stories about how some robots seemed to break them but in reality this was not the case. It tells us how the robots evolved and how their understanding of the three rules evolved with them. It feels much like typical american self-help books like “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” or “The Power of a Positive NO”, where one point is introduced in the first chapter and then repeated time and again from different angles in the rest of the book.
The language used and the storytelling is very simple, which is probably one of the reasons that I liked it so much when I was young. I would assume that a book like necromancer would have been hard for me to read and may have killed my later love for science fiction. So overall it is a good read, simple and fun.