Unnormal Normalcy

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Some Great SciFi

I recently read two books that I’m ashamed to have never read before: 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I’m not going to write long and detailed reviews on these books because, frankly, they are great works of fiction and everyone should read them. That’s not just my opinion – both books have won numerous awards. I give both of these books five stars.

2001: A Space Odyssey

When an enigmatic monolith is found buried on the moon, scientists are amazed to discover that it’s at least 3 million years old. Even more amazing, after it’s unearthed the artefact releases a powerful signal aimed at Saturn. What sort of alarm has been triggered? To find out, a manned spacecraft, the Discovery, is sent to investigate. Its crew is highly trained–the best–and they are assisted by a self- aware computer, the ultra-capable HAL 9000. But HAL’s programming has been patterned after the human mind a little too well. He is capable of guilt, neurosis, even murder, and he controls every single one of Discovery’s components. The crew must overthrow this digital psychotic if they hope to make their rendezvous with the entities that are responsible not just for the monolith, but maybe even for human civilization. (Goodreads)

Oh, and the movie is not as good, despite the script being co-written by Clarke. And disregard the “WHAT?!” ending. When you think about it, it all makes sense.

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Ender’s Game

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives. (Goodreads)

I loved this more than 2001, even. It was so amazingly good that I was tempted to read it again. I might, at some point.

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April 30, 2011 - Posted by | Reading

1 Comment »

  1. I recently enjoyed 2001 again, and 2010. I’ve been impressed by Orson Scott Card a few times but I’ve never read Ender’s Game. I’m going to have to change that. It sounds great. Thanks for the review.

    Comment by MichaelEdits | April 30, 2011 | Reply


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