The Man in the High Castle

May 1, 2011

The Man in the High Castle (1962) is a science fiction alternate history novel by American writer Philip K. Dick. It won a Hugo Award in 1963 and has since been translated into many languages.

The story about daily life under totalitarian Fascist imperialism, occurs in 1962, fourteen years after the end of a longer Second World War (1939–1948). The victorious Axis Powers — Imperial Japan, Italy and Nazi Germany — are conducting intrigues against each other in North America, specifically in the former U.S., which surrendered to them once they had conquered Eurasia and destroyed the populaces of Africa.

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Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said

April 29, 2011

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said is a 1974 science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick about a genetically enhanced pop singer and television star who loses his identity overnight. The story is set in a futuristic dystopia, where America has become a police state after a Second Civil War.

After his former lover throws a Callisto-based parasitic lifeform at him, celebrity entertainer Jason Taverner wakes up to find himself to be completely unknown to the outside world. He has no identification, there is no record of him in the extensive databases of the police government, and neither his friends nor his former fans have any memory of him. As an ex-celebrity and an ex-citizen, he has real problems. These are exacerbated for him as a “Six”, a highly rated stratum of covert genetic engineering of humans that apparently began in the 1940s.

Site – http://en.wikipedia.org


VALIS

April 8, 2011

VALIS is a 1981 science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick. The title is an acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System, Dick’s gnostic vision of one aspect of God. VALIS is the first book in the VALIS Trilogy of novels including The Divine Invasion (1981), and the unfinished The Owl in Daylight.  VALIS represents Dick’s last major work before he died.

The major subject of these dialogues is spirituality, as Dick/Fat is ostensibly obsessed with several religions and philosophies, including Christianity, Taoism, Gnosticism and Jungian psychoanalysis, in the search for a cure for what he believes is simultaneously both a personal and a cosmic wound. Near the end of the book the messianic figure appears, incarnated in the young child Sophia (a name associated with Wisdom in many Gnostic texts, literally meaning “wisdom” in Greek).

Site – http://en.wikipedia.org


What are the ingredients for great science fiction?

September 22, 2010

What makes for truly great SF?  Consider 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, Ender’s Game, The Forever War, even the Foundation trilogy. Then it struck me that isn’t simply this dystopian, social commentary mold.  Great science fiction deals first and foremost with the human condition – who and what we are, how and why we live together – and what that implies for the world and our future.  In science fiction we’re looking at conditions at the edge of what we know, we’re asking what we might feel and do, what we may become, if we pushed things beyond the here and now. The worlds of science fiction have to be plausible or else there is nothing new to learn. Ask what we would become and the answer not only sheds light on who we are now, but on what we feel about the worlds we might create for ourselves.

Site – http://io9.com/

The City & The City

July 5, 2010

When a murdered woman is found in the city of Besźel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlű of the Extreme Crime Squad.  To investigate, Borlű must travel from the decaying Besźel to its equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the vibrant city of Ul Qoma.  But this is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a seeing of the unseen.  What stands against him are murderous powers in Besźel and Ul Qoma – and most terrifying of all, that which lies between these two cities.

In April 2010, the novel was named a 2010 Hugo Award nominee in the Best Novel category.  In the same month, it won the BSFA Award for Best Novel of 2009, as well as the 2010 Arthur C. Clarke Award.

With shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984, The City & The City is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.

Site – http://en.wikipedia.org


Technology That Outthinks Us: A Partner or a Master?

August 26, 2008

In Vernor Vinge’s version of Southern California in 2025, there is a school named Fairmont High with the motto, “Trying hard not to become obsolete.” It may not sound inspiring, but to the many fans of Dr. Vinge, this is a most ambitious — and perhaps unattainable — goal for any member of our species.

Dr. Vinge is a mathematician and computer scientist in San Diego whose science fiction has won five Hugo Awards and earned good reviews even from engineers analyzing its technical plausibility. He can write space operas with the best of them, but he also suspects that intergalactic sagas could become as obsolete as their human heroes.

The problem is a concept described in Dr. Vinge’s seminal essay in 1993, “The Coming Technological Singularity,” which predicted that computers would be so powerful by 2030 that a new form of superintellligence would emerge. Dr. Vinge compared that point in history to the singularity at the edge of a black hole: a boundary beyond which the old rules no longer applied, because post-human intelligence and technology would be as unknowable to us as our civilization is to a goldfish.

Site – http://www.nytimes.com


TIME – Top 100 Novels

February 15, 2008

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Welcome to the massive, anguished, exalted undertaking that is the ALL TIME 100 books list. The parameters: English language novels published anywhere in the world since 1923, the year that TIME Magazine began, which, before you ask, means that Ulysses (1922) doesn’t make the cut. Even so, there are many titles we couldn’t fit here that we’re still anguishing over. Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood dropped in and out. Aldous Huxley’s Point Counter Point hovered for a while at the edges. This project, which got underway in January, was not just a reading effort. It was a re-reading effort. It meant revisiting a lot of novels both of us had not looked into for some time. A few titles that seemed indispensable some years ago turned out on a second tasting to be, well, dispensable. There were also first time discoveries.

Site – http://www.time.com