Category Archives: sci-fi

Pattern Recognition, William Gibson

Pattern Recognition, book by William GibsonGibson’s first novel, Neuromancer, is a cyberpunk classic and was published in 1984 – an apt year for such a visionary novel. Pattern Recognition is written in much the same style, using ‘hip’ language and featuring computer technology – but it isn’t a science fiction book.

The book is engagingly written in Gibson’s cyberpunk style. Continue reading Pattern Recognition, William Gibson

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Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem

Solaris, book coverPublished in Poland in 1961, this novel is a very interesting work from a Sci-Fi perspective. The book deals with the darkness of the human psyche, communication difficulties and the unknowability of alien life forms.

Narrated in the first person, the novel begins as a seemingly straightforward space adventure – with a scientist called Kelvin leaving a space ship in a small capsule. His mission is to join an established scientific expedition aboard a space station in orbit around the mysterious planet Solaris. Continue reading Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem

The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester

Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester, book review by Ruth Livingstone This book was published in the same year as I was born – 1956. It is the story of the personal journey of an anti-hero – Gully Foyle – as he pursues his revenge against the ship that abandoned him to die in space. During that journey he commits terrible acts, learns new skills and eventually turns from personal retribution to saving humanity.

This book is crammed full of great sci-fi concepts. Continue reading The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester

R is for Rocket, by Ray Bradbury

Today I heard the news: Neil Armstrong, the first man-on-the-moon, died yesterday. So, it is fitting that the next book in my ‘have read recently’ pile is Ray Bradbury’s collection of short stories about space flight.

R_is_for_rocket, Ray Bradbury, cover. Book review by Ruth LivingstoneBradbury wrote most of these stories during the 1950s, the decade when the Russian Sputnik programme began. In 1959, after multiple failures, the Russians managed to achieve a crash-landing of an unmanned craft on the lunar surface. During the 1960s, the American efforts to reach the moon were stepped up and by the second half of the decade, successful soft-landings on the moon were being achieved by both nations. But it was the Americans who set the first human on the moon when, in 1969, when Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder of the Eagle and placed his foot in the dust of the Sea of Tranquillity. Continue reading R is for Rocket, by Ray Bradbury

Now and Forever, by Ray Bradbury

Now and Forever, Ray BradburyI was delighted to find this particular book in my local library. There is so much of Ray Bradbury’s work I haven’t yet read.

This book contains two long short-stories:

1. Somewhere a Band is Playing is a strange little story, with the main character being an aspiring journalist who sets out to report on a small town that is destined for demolition.

The tale blends romance with mystery, and features a town of immortal egyptian characters who hold the knowledge of the books of long-lost libraries in their memories. Part horror story, part fantasy, part ghost story Continue reading Now and Forever, by Ray Bradbury

The World Inside, by Robert Silverberg

This novel is set on a future Earth where most of human kind lives a highly artificial life in giant skyscrapers, freeing up the surrounding countryside for food production.

The constraint of living in an enclosed, structured and crowded society has resulted in social customs that include extreme politeness and the free sharing of sexual partners. Fertility is encouraged. Contraception is a sin. Continue reading The World Inside, by Robert Silverberg