Friday, December 1, 2006

Book Review: The Time Traveler's Wife

This is not your typical book about time travel.  In fact, I would venture to say that while time travel is important here, it is not the main point or focus of the book.  This book, in fact, is a love story about an ill-fated man (Henry) that cannot control his travels through time and a woman (Clare) that must suffer through their out-of-synch relationship.  Most readers will find this book highly enjoyable and interesting.  The ending is a foregone conclusion, but you spend a lot of the book looking and hoping for an out.  Ultimately, this is a sometimes sad, but poignant book about two lovers and the human condition.  A few parts made me wince, but overall, I really enjoyed the book.  One other note, Henry and Clare tend to do the dirty-dirty a lot – so, fair warning to younger readers.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Book Review: Rainbows End

Everything that Vernor Vinge writes is pretty much pure gold and this book, while the weakest of his offerings, is still a great read.  The author paints a future in which computing has become so pervasive that without it people have difficulty functioning in every day society.  With largely believable networking and software concepts, this book seems like it is peeking into an all-too-believable near future.

The main character, Robert Gu was a widely read poet from the 90's that developed Alzheimer's and slowly wasted away for the next 50 years.  A cure is discovered that gives Robert his mind and body back, but does not prepare him for how the world has changed while he was lost in his own mind.  A tech neophyte, Robert is forced to learn what children pick up as naturally as language.

Readers of Vinge's previous work will see a lot of similarity in Robert's character with Pham Nuwen who plays a major role in his other Hugo Award winning books (highly recommended, btw): A Fire Upon The Deep and A Deepness in the Sky.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Book Review: House of Sand and Fog

This book is a bit like a train wreck that you can see coming from miles and miles away.  Kathy has lost her house because of a mistake made by the local government.  Massoud has purchased the house for a steal at an auction.  Kathy wants her house back and cascading series of tragedies ensures.  The main characters are deeply flawed individuals.  Reading this book can be frustrating at times because you just want to beat the characters since it is so obvious that most of this conflict could be avoided.  Any rational person would see what they were doing and take a different option – but then that would not be a good story would it?  The book is worth reading as a study of greed and stupidity, but at the end you might be hard pressed to find any sympathy for the actors.