1979.02


The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Serious philosophy camouflaged as comedy

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams

The HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY series can be enjoyed on many levels, so it’s tough to decide how to review it. On the surface, it’s just a zany series of dry British humorous skits ala Monty Python, but when you dig deeper, Douglas Adams has a lot to say about life, the universe, and everything. Taken as a whole, he presents a consistent philosophy that our universe is impossibly huge beyond our comprehension, and our attempts to understand it are woefully inadequate. But we shouldn’t get too upset about it, because it’s much better not to take things overly seriously. Just sit back and enjoy the show, folks. It’s an amazing place.

I could try to describe the plot in a linear fashion, but there just isn’t much point. Th... Read More

Clan and Crown: Historical military SF

Clan and Crown by Jerry Pournelle

In this second installment of Jerry Pournelle’s JANISSARIES series, the modern American military unit that was abducted by aliens and deposited on the planet Tran to oversee the harvest of psychedelic drugs for alien drug dealers is still trying to get the planet under control so they can focus on their horticultural task. Though they accomplished a lot in the first book, Janissaries, things have gotten even more complicated (politically) and they make very little progress (at least that we see) with their main goal in Clan and Crown.

Captain Rick Galloway, who is now one of the most powerful people on the planet, wishes he could give up fighting and be a teacher at the newly-formed university, but so far that hasn’t been possible. The same weather pattern changes that are increasing the growth of the psychotropic plant they... Read More

Startide Rising: Sentient dolphins

Startide Rising by David Brin

I had never read a David Brin book before reading Startide Rising. Hearing his background was in math, physics, astronomy, etc., I went about buying one of his books with trepidation. Isaac Asimov, Vernor Vinge, Alastair Reynolds, and other popular science fiction authors may be good scientists, but they lack the touch and feel of an inborn writer and the style of their novels suffers. Though it’s prose is not glorious, Startide Rising was nevertheless a pleasant surprise.

A fun mix of hard SF and space opera, Startide Rising is a unique story that sets itself apart from derivative SF for its premise. A dolphin and human crew are hiding on a water planet, holed up in an attempt to escape a galaxy of species that want the relic ... Read More

Majipoor Chronicles: Explore more of Majipoor

Majipoor Chronicles by Robert Silverberg

In the first novel of the Majipoor series, Lord Valentine’s Castle, Valentine was aided in the labyrinth by Hissune, a clever and hard-working young street urchin. When Valentine was restored to his position as coronal, he elevated Hissune to a government job in the labyrinth. This was certainly a big step up for Hissune, but he soon discovers that government work is pretty dull. To alleviate the boredom, he talks his way into the Registry of Souls, the place where Majipoor’s residents have been placing some of their memories for thousands of years. Pretending that he’s doing some research for his archiving job, Hissune is able to call up and re-live the memories of ten Majipooreans. At first he starts off small, living as a young woman in a remote but developing area of the planet. When he doesn’t get caugh... Read More