2061: Odyssey Three: Blandly going where he has gone twice before

2061: Odyssey Three by Arthur C. Clarke

This is not a great book. It's really more of an extended novella or perhaps part one of Arthur C. Clarke's SPACE ODYSSEY finale, 3001. This story has none of the depth, nuance or scale of Clarke's classic original, 2001 nor its solid follow up 2010.

Beware of spoilers for the previous novels below. I’m assuming anyone who reads this review will likely have read the two preceding novels, or at least seen their movie companions.

In 2061, Clarke creates a pair of focal points 60 years after modern man first comes across The Monolith buried deeply beneath the surface of the moon. One story thread fol... Read More

The Dirdir: The best PLANET OF ADVENTURE book so far

The Dirdir by Jack Vance

Poor Adam Reith. He’s still stranded on the planet Tchai where he is the only Earthman on a world where nobody believes in Earth and everyone thinks he’s crazy. All of Adam’s efforts to leave have, so far, only resulted in him becoming a wanted criminal. After escaping from the Chasch in the first book (City of the Chasch) and from the Wankh in the previous book (Servants of the Wankh), Adam wants to travel to the domain of the technologically-advanced Dirdir. They have a spaceyard in the city of Sivishe where he should be able to find the specialized supplies and labor he needs to build a spaceship capable of taking him home.

Since book one, Adam has been traveling with two very different companions, Traz and Anancho:
They ate in silence; disparate beings, each found the other incomprehensible. Anacho, tall, thin and pallid like all Dirdirme... Read More

The Weathermonger: Quick interesting YA

The Weathermonger by Peter Dickinson

Set in a vague idea of the future (or rather as the future may have looked to a writer in 1969) The Weathermonger opens with Geoffrey and Sally, two siblings left adrift on a rock in the sea by their community. Confused by a knock on the head, Geoffrey is informed by Sally that their uncle has been killed after being found working on a motorboat, and that the two of them have been left to be drowned when the tide comes in.

After "The Changes," England has regressed back into primitive times, in which any machine or piece of technology is met with fear and loathing. Those unaffected by this bizarre state of mind have escaped to France, and that's where Geoffrey and Sally manage to escape — only to be sent back by the French authorities on a mission to discover where exactly the machine phobia stems from. The majority of the story concerns Geoffrey and Sally's dangerou... Read More

Swords in the Mist: Uneven

Swords in the Mist by Fritz Leiber

All due respect to the late Fritz Leiber, but overall, this book was weak.

The first story, “Cloud of Hate” was good. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser unwittingly take-on Hate embodied in a noxious mist that turns already shady characters into rampaging serial killers. The next one, “Lean Times in Lankhmar”, starts out interesting as the life-long friends go their separates ways, but goes flat. “Their Mistress, the Sea” builds up well but the ending seemed to be missing something. The rest of the book brings Fafhrd and Gray Mouser to our world’s ancient history, which should’ve made for a great read. But contradictions concerning their memory (they supposedly lost all knowledge of their previous life in the world of Newhon, but yet they make references to it), adventures told as second-hand accounts, and a prose that seems meant to be humorous and clever, only made the story confusing a... Read More

The Farthest Shore: One of the strongest books in the series

The Farthest Shore by Ursula Le Guin

The Farthest Shore is the third book in Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea series, and the concluding one for several decades. Since it's highly recommended to have read the first two, I'll work on the assumption that the reader has. If book one, Wizard of Earthsea has the most action/magic and book two, Tombs of Atuan, is the slowest and most introspective of the opening trilogy, then The Farthest Shore is a nicely-balanced blending of the styles.

We return to many of the basics from Wizard. Ged is once again the main character instead of a side character as in Atuan, the setting once again moves island to island throughout the archipelago rather than being limited to ... Read More