Archive for the “Speculative Fiction” Category
Dec 03 2010
In 2067, a potent virus known as Elisha’s Bear wipes out 97% of the world’s male population. My first thought was the feminists will be happy: no spousal abuse, no war, greatly reduced crime, no rape, prisons become unnecessary. Most companies’ CEOs have perished, few people are left in governments but women quickly fill their places and life goes on. Birth engineering ensures that few males will be born. The males that have survived are looked upon with suspicion. Many of the men who did survive moved to isolated areas to live freer lives.
Kellen discovers that a recurrence of the Bear threatens his father at the mostly-male community he lives in. Along with two female friends, cousins Tia and Sunday, Kellen journeys to find his father and warn him of the impending viral outbreak before it’s too late. In doing so, however, they discover the truth behind the Bear, their society as it is, and a future threat that they must stop before all hell breaks loose.
This dystopian young adult novel while not great is worth the read.
Dec 07 2009
Another dystopian novel for the young.
Honor Greenspoon, is 10 when the book opens, sometime in a not-too-distant future. Climate change has devastated our planet. Ninety percent of the population has died in a uber-catastrophe known as the Flood, the continents erased by rising sea levels. Now, eight years later, the Flood’s survivors live on hundreds of scattered islands where reproduction is regulated, recycling is as natural as breathing, and all reading material is censored. Won’t librarians love that part.
When she shares that she saw a polar bear at school, she was severely censured: “Mrs. Whyte looked so severe that Honor’s heart began pounding.
” ‘We do not lie in this classroom,’ said Mrs. Whyte. ‘We do not exaggerate or tell untruths, ever. . . . The Polar Seas and Northern Islands are Enclosed. What does that mean?’
” ‘They’re Safe,’ said Hiroko.
” ‘Secure,’ said Hildegard.
” ‘They have a ceiling,’ said Hortense, tossing her blond hair with some importance.
” ‘Yes, they are ceiled,’ said Mrs. Whyte, smiling.”
Mother Earth Corporation now controls everything. Including how you think! An alluring satire on corporate globalization and organized religion. Well worth a read.
Nov 04 2009
The New World is a harsh and dangerous place. We don’t know why people left the old world but the first settlers were religious people seeking a simple life. They came to create a utopian society but what they formed if far from perfect. On the New World men’s thoughts are open and broadcast for all to see. They call it Noise. But women’s thoughts are quiet. It makes for interesting and bizarre sexual politics.
“The first thing you find out when your dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say ” is the first sentence. Highly engaging. The narrator comes from an isolated town where there is no women. They all perished in a plague. He is the youngest in the community, soon to become an adult. But his “parents” tell him he has to flee days before his adulthood. They can’t tell him why because then his noise would draw too much attention.
KNIFE is an excellent book; it’s a page turner. But is does have a couple of drawbacks. Length: it did not have to be 500 pages. Ending: books need a definitive ending rather than setting up for the next book in the series.
Oct 27 2009
I ‘m sorry another dud. What is happening to Can Lit? I usually laugh out aloud reading Coupland.
A is speculative fiction in the near future where bees have gone extinct. Today a frightening possibility. But after several years of extinction five people are stung around the world. As soon as they are stung they are seized by officials and studied by computers. After they are released they are drawn together. At this point all is well. But this is what looses me. The five characters are taken to Canada’s most remote archipelago, Haida Gwaii. There they are told to tell each other stories. So a third of the book is pithy, little allegorical tales.
Maybe you will get more from it than I. Doug write us a book for heaven’s sake!
Oct 26 2009
one word: DISAPPOINTING. Much to my surprise and dismay. I love Atwood’s writing. What got me with this book is that it did not live up to it’s hype. The hype being that FLOOD starts off where Oryx and Crake left off. I kept waiting for that to happen. It does around page 350. Before that she is exploring the life of a couple of characters before the apocalypse. All very interesting. All superbly written. I am likely the only one in all of Canada who was left embittered by this novel. Be for warned. I wish I had been. I could have enjoyed it more.
Oct 12 2009
Arresting concept: the youth of the nation pitted against the youth of the nation for public entertainment. Each year a male and female youth are chosen from each district. A complex draft chooses the contestants. At age ten each name goes into the draw; each year after the name goes in draft an additional time. Eleven twice, twelve three times, thirteen three times. All names are kept in the draw year after year. When the kids have been chosen, they get a bit of training and then are throwen into an arena for a fight until death, for the amusement and control of the masses.
A good book but at 350 pages it needed serious editing. Unfortunately GAMES does not come to a complete finality. It sets the scene for a sequel. Even within a series a novel should be complete on its own.
Oct 08 2009
Since Atwood’s newest novel starts where ORYX ends, I thought I would refreshen my mind by reading this excellent saga. Wow what a book. No punches held. Not post- apocalypse, this novel tackles the devastation from before and during as well as post. Snowman is the last human left alive after an engineered virus designed by Crake is dispatched to the populous. Crake spared Snowman to take care of his new species: a humanoid creation made by splicing different DNA.
It is a dark look at our future. It reminds me of the song (first line ) I Can Ride My Bike with No Handlebars. Starts off as simple braging but graduates into a megalomaniac ready to destroy the world.
I can hardly wait to read The YEAR of the FLOOD.
Sep 29 2009
J M RINGUET
Best Graphic Novel I have read recently. Hickman iluustrates genetic engineering and the creation of super-humans, from a corporate, profit point of view. The book is a documentary telling the story of two rival scientists who were both trying to bring about the next step in human evolution but solely for a profit. The rival scientists are both trying to create superhumans; one via genetic engineering and the other using technological modifications. Au cureent is the inclusion of venture capatalists who fund the research again for a profit share.
I enjoyed the way Hickman slowly revealed the consequences of this human engineering.
ALAN MOORE and DAVE GIBBONS
This graphic novel made Time’s 100 Best Novels! Superheros in 1985 are vermin, hated and not trusted by most people. Being a masked hero enforcing law and dispensing justice is illegal. Fear is flowing through the nation – Russia has just invaded Afganistan. Some suspect that Pakistan will be next. Advisors are advocating Nixon to use the nuclear arsenal in a strike first scenario. And someone is executing the masked heros. Classic comic book themes. Good vs Evil. But who decides what is good and what is evil? Interestingly Watchmen is not a quick read. The plot can be confusing.
It was good to read something so completely different.
Grace is a young hispanic woman totally into mechanics and refurbishing old vehicles. Stepped into a local connivence store to pick up a pack of smokes and is shot and killed by a junkie robber. MYSTERY is her story. Fantasy isn’t a genre I usually read but I enjoyed this novel. I do not want to say to much and spoil the book. Read it. Thought provoking. Good ending.
Physicists doing a new level of experiment at CERN, the underground Hadron Collider that has a twenty-seven kilometer circumference and is in both France and Switzerland, created a temporal distortion is their office. All of the scientists and workers had visions of their lives 30 years in the future. One man did not have a vision. Did that mean he had died before the 30 years? Some people were hurt. They had all fallen when the experiment started. But when they called for ambulances none were available. There was a huge pile up on the nearby freeway. All the drivers had lost consciousness when they blacked out also. How wide spread was this phenomenon? What did it all mean? Is the future changeable?
This book is scheduled to become the next LOST! They are developing it as a tv show. The author is going to writer-in-residence at Saskatoon’s light source synchrotron.