Tidbits: Forever Machine

Whoosh! That is the sound of me breezing through the pages of this book. I’m halfway through, and it’s so much more easy to read than The Demolished Man. It still has some slightly silly and preachy bits, but definitely not to the extent of the previous title on my list. So here are some tidbits.

The action revolves around two scientists and a young telepath, who is helping them to develop a machine that will grant people youth, health and immortality in exchange for their beliefs and prejudices. The Government is obviously hunting them, because nobody wants to have such a machine around. I particularly enjoyed how a secondary character described the three main protagonists at one point: “It was easy for him not to notice that this was an old geezer, a middle-aged bum, and a young punk.”

Then there are references to Jesus (you see what I mean by preachy, har har): Continue reading

Next up: Forever Machine

This year I unexpectedly fell into a job, and it’s proving hard to keep up a blog. (How do people have hobbies? I’m so tired.) But one must persevere. At the moment I’m mentally preparing to read the next book on the list: Forever Machine also known as They’d Rather Be Right.

I must say I am apprehensive. Apparently this book has been received as the worst book to ever win the Hugo. Sam Jordison, who amusingly is the editor of Crap Towns series, described it as ‘a basic creative writing ‘how not to’. Sounds promising.

The plot revolves around two scientists, who create a machine capable of making certain people immortal and telepathic (oh yay, telepathy again!). The machine is called ‘Bossy’ and it gives you a choice between abandoning your prejudices, and getting eternal youth and life instead. Why would you ever say no?

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Young old lady

The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester or What the heck happened here?

There will be dragons… aka spoilers!

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I suppose the cover conveys the cheese appropriately.

Oh, where do I even start? It took me ages to read this book, and even longer to write a review. I’m not that slow normally, I swear. I think the problem is that I don’t enjoy giving negative reviews (enamoured fervour is much more preferable), but it seems in this case it’s unavoidable.

This book was hard to read from the beginning, as I pointed out in a much earlier post. The problem is that interesting concepts and ideas are regularly interspersed with seriously cringeworthy scenes. Then at the end of the book you realise that the whole premise of the story is pretty daft, but it’s too late. You’ve read it now.

Continue reading

Tidbits: The Demolished Man

WARNING! The post will contain some 60-year-old curse words.

I’m now four chapters into The Demolished Man, so I wanted to share some of my first thoughts and observations about the book. I’ve been particularly slow with this book, because of Christmas malarkey, but I’ve also been reading other books. I suppose, being distracted from it means that it’s not as good as it could be. There were some bits that I found a bit off, and some that were particularly amusing.

The main premise of the book is that in a far future a filthy rich businessman Ben Reich is being outdone by a competitor, therefore, he decides to kill him. The only problem is ‘peepers’ – telepaths that are present in all parts of society as doctors, lawyers, accountants, shop assistants, butlers, clerks, etc. In other words, simply contemplating murder would be seen by the telepaths that are everywhere and he would be locked up. Reich has to come up with a plan that would allow him to get away with the crime. Continue reading

Zero Gravitas: What is this all about?

To put it simply: I read Hugo and Nebula award winners, I blog about them. You read, hopefully.

As my About page explains, I have found myself having a gap in science fiction literature and a lot of time on my hands at roughly the same time. I have also just recently forayed into this whole blogging business. So I decided that reading a set list would be an interesting thing to do (especially since usually I’m pretty chaotic about what I read). It’s a challenge.

I have chosen to combine the lists of Hugo and Nebula awards for two reasons: one, to make list longer, two, they overlapped an awful lot in terms of both nominations and winners, so it all made sense in my mind. I ended up with 89 titles. I reckon it will last me a while.

I will only read novels, because you have to set limits somewhere. Maybe I’ll expand on this later, when I’m finished with novels. Who knows?

I have also chosen to read the books in chronological order. I think it will be interesting to see how science fiction themes and trends have developed over the recent decades. Having in mind that Hugo began in 1953, and Nebula in 1966, it’s a fair amount of ground to cover. I feel rather excited.

Here’s the list of all the books I’m planning to read: The List.