Books read in April 2014

LongEarthTerry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter: The Long Earth.

I liked the comment “…you have now passed my personal Turing test” to the robot/ambulating unit that had equipped itself with a Fedora hat, a holstered revolver and a bull whip. The rest of the book was as dull as I have come to expect from Pratchett. The idea to have a lot of different Earths could have be entertaining but especially due to the boring main male character the story never got off the ground. The others in the book club were less critical.

 

RevoltLisa Rodebrand: Revolt.

It is nice to have your preconceptions roughly overthrown. After having met the timid and kind author I was quite surprised by the amount of violence and high tempo in this Swedish sf debut novel aimed at young adults. Gene-manipulated, extremely strong humans are using ordinary humans as slaves in mines, and this is unknown by people in a space station where some youths hope for help. The story is somewhat complicated and the way the hero always manages to beat the super-strong klykons is not convincing, but the language is good and you are forced to read on. A thrilling contribution, well worth reading, to the small number of contemporary Swedish sf novels!

 

fru-bengtssons-andliga-uppvaknandeCaroline L. Jensen: Fru Bengtssons andliga uppvaknande. (Mrs Bengtsson’s spiritual awakening.)

After having listened to the author at Confetti I was curious and this book was recommended. However, I was somewhat disappointed. The story is a humoristic story about Mrs Bengtsson who drowns by accident in her bathtub but is given a continued life by God. Her neighbour is taken over by the Devil who helps her to break the ten Commandments so that she won’t have to go to heaven when she dies. The characters and philosophy are too shallow to give any meaning to the story.

 

MammothSteampunkSean Wallace, ed.: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk.

A collection of various steampunk stories and an introduction. Some stories were excellent, like the ones by Caitlín R. Kiernan, Cat Rambo, Aliette de Bodard, N. K. Jemisin, Margo Lanagan, Amal El-Mohtar, James Morrow, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Lavie Tidhar.

 

LemFuturologicalStanislaw Lem: The Futurological Congress.

Being first published in 1971, this novel is heavily influenced by mind-altering drugs, distributed by the government in the drinking water. It is also a satire about conventions, and actually a pleasure to read even if it is often difficult to know what is real and what is a dream.

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Swecon i Uppsala 26-28 maj

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