Monday 30 April 2018

Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley - edited by Alex Abramovich and Jonathan Lethem (2012)

Rating: Sublime

Store of the Worlds is perhaps the greatest collection of science fiction stories I have ever read. Every story is brilliant, thought provoking, amusing and provocative.  Many of these stories were first published in science fiction magazines from the 1950's and 1960s, such as Galaxy Science Fiction and Amazing Science Fiction Stories, even a number from Playboy Magazine! It is obvious that Sheckley helped invent some now well known science fiction tropes, but more significantly he inverted a number of them too, like portraying humans as alien invaders, let loose on the universe. Oh, and his style is polished and erudite, belying science fiction's mid century pulp reputation. Just amazing...

Monday 16 April 2018

Manhattan Beach - Jennifer Egan (2017)

Rating: Excellent

Manhattan Beach is certainly an impressive novel. I found myself becoming emotionally engaged with the principal protagonists on multiple occasions throughout, which is always the sign of above average writing, particularly when it is a novel that I would not normally be interested in reading outside of the book club. Manhattan Beach is compelling, skillfully plotted and Egan certainly has a way with placing you right there with the characters across some varied settings. The novel falls away a bit toward the end, but that was principally because some of the narrative tension had dissipated after various plot-lines had resolved. I'll be delving into Egan's past novels in the future, in particular her Pulitzer Prize winning novel A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010).

Monday 2 April 2018

Fictions - Jorge Luis Borges (1941-1944, this translated edition, 2000)

Rating: Sublime

I have finally read Jorge Luis Borges and I can confirm that it is true, Borges was a literary genius. The stories that make up this collection are unique (even now), inspiring, fascinating and above all the work of what was a highly original mind. If you are feeling jaded with what you've been reading lately then read this book and be inspired by literature once again. The story - The Library of Babel, begins with one of the all time greatest opening sentences: 'The universe (which others call the library) is composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries.'

I always suspected that I worked in a universe within a universe...