Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Three short book reviews

I think these are good reviews, so read them!



Infinite Jest

A near-future book which isn't really SF. The reviews I read of this book said that it was 'hard to get into'. I would say the opposite. It is very easy to get into because it is written in an intense manic style, by someone whose head is bursting with connections and ideas. Most individual scenes are interesting as self-contained vignettes. However the connection between the scenes is allusive, and thematic, rather than narrative. There is a story in there, with causality, but it doesn't present itself to you.

I get the impression that more worthy people than myself don't need the bribery of narrative, but I think perhaps I do. There is a lot on pleasure, addiction, and consumption, and how they will supplant things of greater worth (perhaps this isn't what he intended but its how I took it) just as people will eat junk food compulsively.

Under the Skin

An SF book which is not presented or sold as such. Very well written, very sad. It's about an alien female who has been horribly mutilated to look human, and picks up lonely male hitchikers in Northern Scotland. It's about failure of connection and understanding, and failed love. Very sad, very sweet, lots of horrendous violence.

Altered Carbon

An SF book which is sold as such. Ignore the prologue, which is over-written and macho. It then turns into a funny and well-executed pastiche of LA Noir, which gave me a deal of emotional distance and comfort. It then got up to narrative speed and it was quite thrilling and scary. Premise - people's souls can be injected into new bodies. Rehearsal of all the implications of this for love, identity, vulnerability etc. All the implications that I know have already occurred to you. Nevertheless, satisfying adornments to a high speed thriller.

Warning - very horrible torture sequences included in this book.

Got to go to luch now. I'll do the other two books later.
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