Samstag, August 12, 2006

short notes on some SF novels

I just finished a couple of books. So here is what I think about them.

Starting a Vonnegut novel is always a thrill, knowing it's going to be weird, and you'll be dazzled with a lot of quotations to learn from. So I was a bit disappointed reading Galapagos. Although the storyline is absurd, and Vonnegut does his 'timetrick' again, something is missing.
In contrast, I was surprised reading The Cosmic Puppets from Philip K. Dick. It's one of his earlier works (before Time out of Joint), so expectations were not that high. I always heard Dick's earlier work was lousy, but reading The Cosmic Puppets tells me otherwise. OK, it's not a masterwork, but it's fun to read, it's easy to read, and there's suspense. The story is simple: a guy returns to his birthvillage and cannot recognize anything: the people and the buildings are all changed. So what happened?

Finally, I'm racing through Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, also known as Tiger! Tiger! It's refreshing reading a SF novel that is probably not contaminated by Dick's ideas, it being written in the fifties. The central theme is teleportation, inbedded in a story of hate and revenge. The leading character Gully Foyle is, in my humble opinion, really unique. Now I'm almost at the end of it. Will the tiger be eaten?

In Bester's novels The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination, there are always one or more telepaths involved. Is that why the 'head'-telepath in the series Babylon 5 was named Bester? I wonder.