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Book Raves from 1993

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Book Raves List for 1993

Against a Dark Background - by Iain M. Banks

A profoundly dark book. Banks kept me on the edge of my seat both with his intricate culture and well organized plot. Rather than giving all the pertinent details of the history and character backgrounds he leaves them lying like small mental landmines. As I made my way through AADB I found myself stumbling over these cunningly crafted bits of information and each time I experienced an explosion of implication that would light up the background only to fade away leaving a spectral images of potential. An excellent read.


Cyteen - by C.J. Cherryh

  • Cyteen
    • Cyteen: The Betrayal
    • Cyteen: The Rebirth
    • Cyteen: The Vindication

Cyteen is one large novel and should be read all at once. It is an excellently crafted mix of technology and society. It is a good (speculative) exploration of the Nurture-Nature debate. How does a human become a human? What role does society play in the nurturing of genius? Is it the right of society to preserve and propagate those individuals that are deemed "more equal than others"? (Just think of the great lengths that have been gone to preserve Stephen Hawking's life.) Also brings up new and interesting perspectives on sexual harassment and corporate control.


A Fire Upon the Deep - by Vernor Vinge

This is one of those novels like Hal Clement's Gravity Mission where the setting is one of the main characters. A very rich, innovative and interesting universe is laid out and exploited. It is not often that one finds things beyond the realm of human experience and knowledge so realistically and sympathetically portrayed. I was kept on the edge of my seat reading as fast as I could, waiting for each new development to reveal more of the lushness of the universe (and to find out what becomes of the characters, as well). Innovative and well crafted.


Steel Beach - by John Varley

This novel presents the journey of one individual into the realm of self discovery. Along the way we are presented with many problems that society will inevitably have to deal with in the face of ever advancing, ever accelerating technology. Some of these problems will be very disturbing to some of us as they threaten the preconceptions that we all hold about what is normal for humans or for air conditioners. Besides, who could find a book that presents some of the followers of Heinlein as religious fanatics to be without critical social commentary?


Bonus Review

The Moon Goddess and the Son - by Donald Kingsbury

Yes, the author of Courtship Rite has written another novel and a damn fine one it is. But then could we expect anything less of Kingsbury? (And yes, I thought he was robbed of the Hugo back in '83.) MG&S is work that shows its scholarly roots without loosing that quality we call literature. It contains an excellent exploration of Russian history and character as well a system that almost rivals a Sky Hook for getting freight to and from orbit. With the added extra bonus that this system could be implemented without any radical break throughs, unlike the currently (mythical) Sky Hook. This novel should be read for its history and technology, but endears itself in a purely literary manner.




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