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Monday, November 07, 2005

Scott Westerfeld, Iain Banks, and John Gray

Over the weekend, I departed from my usual diet of philosophy and go literature, and read some fiction (which is, actually, my true love). Started out with The Risen Empire by Scott Westerfeld and ended with The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks.

Despite a few misgivings, I actually enjoyed The Risen Empire. A not bad, hard sci-fi space opera. Give the man a pat of the back. A pity that the political structures were so...well...old. An emperor with a senate; et tu, Brute.

The Wasp Factory...Iain Banks disappointed me again. There is just something about his straight fiction that I don't like or get. I really enjoy his science fiction (Use of Weapons was fantastic), and, maybe, that's why I'm always left with the feeling I've been cheated after reading his straight fiction. As for the actual story, I prefer American Pyscho by Bret Easton Ellis, a similar book in concept.

One other thing about Banks, he's remarkably inconsistent, swinging from really good to plain bad. At least he can be good, which is fairly rare.

Today, I started Heresies by John Gray, which is a series of essays about progress, biotech, Iraq, and so on. Like I was warned, there has been parts that have made me want to retch, and there has been sections that got my head nodding like a fancy Swiss clock. For example, in a essay entitled Homo Rapiens and Mass Extinction: An Era of Solitude?:

According to the Darwinian, Edward O Wilson, the earth is entering a new evolutionary era. We are on the brink of a great extinction the like of which has not been seen since the dinosaurs disappeared at the end of the Mesozoic Era, 65 million years ago. Species are vanishing at a rate of a hundred to a thousand times faster than they did before the arrival of humans. On current trends, our children will be practically alone in the world. As Wilson has put it, humanity is leaving the Cenozoic, the age of mammals, and entering the Eremozoic--the era of solitude.


  • if you think it's american psycho-esque, then you missed the hook. it's the story of an adolescence. treat everything as possibly metaphor - just retain the strangenesses and intensities. feels like a real description of childhood, now, doesn't it?

    By Anonymous dale, At 9:20 am  

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