Review: Crash by J.G. Ballard

“The long triangular grooves on the car had been formed within the death of an unknown creature, its vanished identity abstracted in terms of the geometry of this vehicle. How much more mysterious would be our own deaths, and those of the famous and powerful?”
~J.G. Ballard, Crash

Plot summary

“In this hallucinatory novel, the car provides the hellish tableau in which Vaughan, a ‘TV scientist’ turned ‘nightmare angel of the highways,’ experiments with erotic atrocities among auto crash victims, each more sinister than the last.

Continue reading “Review: Crash by J.G. Ballard”

Review: His Master’s Voice by Stanisław Lem

“And yet we knew, for a certainty, that when first emissaries of Earth went walking among the planets, Earth’s other sons would be dreaming not about such expeditions but about a piece of bread.”
~Stanisław Lem, His Master’s Voice

Plot summary

“A pulsating stream of neutrino radiation from a source with the power of a sun has been detected on earth and a team of scientists assembled to study and decode the mysterious message.

Continue reading “Review: His Master’s Voice by Stanisław Lem”

Review: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

“You mean old books?”
“Stories written before space travel but about space travel.”
“How could there have been stories about space travel before -”
“The writers,” Pris said, “made it up.”
~Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Plot summary

“By 2021, the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remain covet any living creature, and for people who can’t afford one, companies have built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. They’ve even built humans.

Continue reading “Review: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick”

Review: Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison

“One time we had the whole world in our hands, but we ate it and burned it and it’s gone now.”
~Harry Harrison, Make Room! Make Room!

Plot summary

“A gangster is murdered during a blistering Manhattan heat wave. City cop Andy Rusch is under pressure solve [sic!] the crime and captivated by the victim’s beautiful girlfriend. But it is difficult to catch a killer, let alone get the girl, in crazy streets crammed full of people.

Continue reading “Review: Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison”

Review: Hard to Be a God by Arkadi and Boris Strugatsky

“And no matter how much the gray people in power despise knowledge, they can’t do anything about historical objectivity; they can slow it down, but they can’t stop it. Despising and fearing knowledge, they will nonetheless inevitably decide to promote it in order to survive.”
~Arkadi & Boris Strugatsky, Hard to Be a God

Plot summary

“The novel follows Anton, an undercover operative from the future planet Earth, in his mission on an alien planet, that is populated by human beings, whose society has not advanced beyond the Middle Ages. The novel’s core idea is that human progress throughout the centuries is often cruel and bloody, and that religion and blind faith can be an effective tool of oppression, working to destroy the emerging scientific disciplines and enlightenment.

Continue reading “Review: Hard to Be a God by Arkadi and Boris Strugatsky”

Review: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

“But now isn’t simply now. Now is also a cold reminder: one whole day later than yesterday, one year later than last year. Every now is labeled with its date, rendering all past nows obsolete, until — later of sooner — perhaps — no, not perhaps — quite certainly: it will come.”
~Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man

Plot summary

“When A Single Man was originally published, it shocked many by its frank, sympathetic, and moving portrayal of a gay man in midlife. George, the protagonist, is adjusting to life on his own after the sudden death of his partner, and determines to persist in the routines of his daily life: the course of A Single Man spans twenty-four hours in an ordinary day.

Continue reading “Review: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood”

Review: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”
~Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Plot summary

“At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war.

Continue reading “Review: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller”