A Prayer for the Crown-shy by Becky Chambers

About halfway through Becky Chambers’ A Prayer for the Crown-shy I realized what it was reminding me of: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig’s 1974 novel. I’m not a fan of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Mr. Pirsig’s novel is an autobiographical account of a cross-country trip he took with his young son. Along the way he reviews the history … Continue reading A Prayer for the Crown-shy by Becky Chambers

A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers

The premise of Becky Chamber’s novel A Psalm for the Wild Built really appealed to me. Set in the future or maybe on another planet, a travelling monk leaves his order to go back into nature hoping for time alone. He meets a robot, one of several thousands who left humanity behind generations ago after achieving sentient intelligence. A robot and a monk traveling the … Continue reading A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers

The Emissary by Yoko Tawada translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani

I don’t really understand this book. But I enjoyed it; it touched me; it’s my new favorite book. The story concerns Yoshiro and his great-grandson. They live near Tokyo in the not-too-distant future. Things have gone wrong. Not one big thing, but many small things over a period of generations. Honestly, I can’t tell you what happened to society, but things are a mess. Japan … Continue reading The Emissary by Yoko Tawada translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani

Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny

My current passion for cool cover art led me to this book while browsing at Book Town Books in Grass Valley. The pulpy nature of the story is countered by the classy sophistication of the cover art.  But what does the art here have to do with anything? The book is about a hardened criminal released from a post-apocalyptic prison so he can drive a … Continue reading Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny

Arrival by Ted Chiang

  There is some damn fine writing in Ted Chiang’s volume of short stories Arrival originally published as Stories of Your Life and Others. So much than the next time you hear someone say that fantasy and science fiction tend to be badly written, you should direct them to any of Ted Chiang’s stories. They may not be your cup of tea, but they are all very well … Continue reading Arrival by Ted Chiang

Lightless by C.A. Higgins

I was looking for space opera. If you don’t know what space opera is, it’s Star Wars. Lots of space ships.  Battles between them. A clear-cut hero. A clear-cut villain. Maybe some alien supporting characters. Maybe a little romance. Something fun. Lightless by C.A. Higgins partially delivers the goods as far as space opera goes.  There are space ships. There is some romance. There are battles. … Continue reading Lightless by C.A. Higgins

No Blade of Grass by John Christopher

There world has been coming to an end since 1956. There has been an explosion of dystopian futures of late.  If you wandered around any Scholastic Book Faire this year, you saw that just about one out of ever four titles in the fiction section featured some kind of horrific future. It’s oddly comforting to realize that this is really nothing new. The end of … Continue reading No Blade of Grass by John Christopher

My New Favorite Book: The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Our search for the next school wide read continues without success. There have been books some teachers on the “committee” loved, some that were good for grades 6 and 7 but not 8, some good for 8 and seven but not for six.  And the science and math department, along with the forces at large, are still pushing for a non-fiction title, which only makes … Continue reading My New Favorite Book: The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Black Wave by Michelle Tea

When I was in college, I was friends with a group of women who shared a flat on Divisidero Street in San Francisco, decades before it became a trendy neighborhood.  In the 1980’s, four college students living on four or five hundred dollars a month  each could come up with enough money to rent a flat.  As longs as no one spends all the rent … Continue reading Black Wave by Michelle Tea

Earthlight by Arthur C. Clarke

It took me almost three months to read this book. The little page counter/timer on my Kindle claimed that I should have been able to read the entire book in just about three hours, but even when using the audio read-a-loud feature, I never made it more than a few pages at a time without falling asleep. Okay, I was reading in bed, sometimes lying … Continue reading Earthlight by Arthur C. Clarke

Of Men and Monsters by William Tenn

It’s easy to compare William Tenn’s 1968 science fiction classic Of Men and Monsters to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Set far in the future, Of Men and Monsters describes life on earth after a race of Brobdingnagian sized aliens have colonized our planet.  Unable to defeat the invading species, humanity has been reduced to living inside the walls and floors of the new dominant species’s homes, … Continue reading Of Men and Monsters by William Tenn

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

After the earth is threatened by alien invasion William Mandella is drafted as part of the world’s first elite corp of soldiers and sent into battle light years across space.  A story as old as science fiction, perhaps, but what happens to William when he returns to an earth where decades have gone by during the months he spent travelling at nine-tenths  light speed makes … Continue reading The Forever War by Joe Haldeman