Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


10 SciFi Books “Everyone” Claims To Have Read

Filed under: Art,Fun,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:17 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Okay, that may be going a bit far.

I mean, I know a lot of people who aren’t into science-fiction at all, so they may not claim to have read these books or have any interest at all.  But, they are a pretty good hit-list of interesting ideas in science-fiction.  And, I suppose that’s why the folks over at IO9 probably suggested that instead of claiming to have read these books, that you actually read them.  I’m pleased to say that I’ve read several of the books on the list, though not all, and they do make a good suggested reading list for people interested in science-fiction classics.
IO9’s list of 10 Science-Fiction Novels You Pretend to Have Read (and why you should actually read them) are:

  • [amazon_link id=”0060512806″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Crytptonomicon[/amazon_link] – by Neal Stephenson
  • [amazon_link id=”0441013597″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dune[/amazon_link] – by Frank Herbert
  • [amazon_link id=”0140188592″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gravity’s Rainbow[/amazon_link] – by Thomas Pynchon
  • [amazon_link id=”0553382578″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Foundation[/amazon_link] – by Issac Asimov
  • [amazon_link id=”1582344167″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell[/amazon_link] – by Susanna Clarke
  • [amazon_link id=”0452284236″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]1984[/amazon_link] – by George Orwell
  • [amazon_link id=”0486219623″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]First and Last Men and Starmaker[/amazon_link] – by Olaf Stapleton
  • [amazon_link id=”1612420133″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Long Tomorrow[/amazon_link] – by Leigh Brackett
  • [amazon_link id=”0375706682″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dhalgren[/amazon_link] – by Samuel Delany
  • [amazon_link id=”0316066524″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Infinite Jest[/amazon_link] – by David Foster Wallace

I’m pleased to say that I’ve read a significant number of these, namely Cryptonomicon, Dune, Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and 1984.  And, The Infinite Jest is in my To Be Read pile.  I have to admit that I tried reading Foundation, but it just didn’t appeal to me.  I know his work is classic and he was a genius and all, but Asimov’s work always read like a Physics lecture to me.

In any case, there’s a bit more for your Summer reading list to go find and read instead of working on a Friday afternoon.



Review: Snow Crash

Filed under: Art,Fun,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:04 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I finished Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson last night.

Okay, so let me front-load this review with all the bad things up front. The main character’s name is Hiro Protagonist. I mean, can you get any more gimmicky than that? And, as often seems to happen with Stephenson’s books, things come to an end very quickly. And, by that I mean, they build to a state of extreme tension over more than three-hundred pages and then end in less than twenty, often without much in the way of explanations or tying up of loose ends. Snow Crash is no different.

But, those things aside, it’s a damn fine bit of science-fiction.
The story follows Hiro, who’s a hacker that’s currently working for Uncle Enzo’s Cosa Nostra Pizza as a delivery driver. Hiro, however, runs afoul of Uncle Enzo after crashing his delivery car trying to get a late pizza delivered on time. He’s aided by a skateboard courier by the name of Y.T. She’s a little under-age, but she’s a great courier and, now, a friend of Uncle Enzo. That’s a good thing, considering that the Mafia is a nearly ubiquitous franchise in the world of Snow Crash. In fact, most franchises seem to be nearly ubiquitous and have managed to become their own little countries, as are the California suburbs, or “Burbclaves”, where most of the book’s action takes place.
So, when Hiro gets fired from his job at Uncle Enzo’s, he goes to his part-time job as a stringer for the Central Intelligence Corporation and starts selling them intelligence. While in the on-line world known as the Metaverse, which Hiro helped program, searching for some juicy intel, he watches one of his hacker friends get infected with a new computer virus called “snow crash”. Nothing new there, right? Well, not quite… There’s a new twist to snow crash. It seems that this virus not only infects your computer, but it does something to your mind, too. And, now, someone’s trying to infect Hiro with it.

So, that’s the basic premise. I won’t spoil the book by telling you how it all turns out. But, I will drop a few hints. There’s a bunch of religion involved. And ancient Sumerian artifacts and the Metaverse and one of Hiro’s ex-girlfriends and raft-riding refugees and more. It’s complicated, convoluted and entirely entertaining. In many places it seems so light and comical that it’s almost a farce, but, really, that just off-sets the intensity of the other, more philosophical passages.
If you haven’t read it yet, read Snow Crash.  It’s Neal Stephenson at his best and it’s great.

Powered by WordPress
Any links to sites selling any reviewed item, including but not limited to Amazon, may be affiliate links which will pay me some tiny bit of money if used to purchase the item, but this site does no paid reviews and all opinions are my own.