Monday, January 30, 2017

The World of Star Trek by David Gerrold - Book Report #168

This was the second edition of Gerrold's original insight into the Star Trek TV show.  This volume also included insights into the making of the first three movies in the franchise.

It was a terrific read.  It wasn't just gushy about how wonderful the show was.  As a matter of fact he goes into great detail to show how there were more bad episodes than good.  What made Star Trek so good was that, when an episode worked, it worked very, very well.

Even though it predates The Next Generation it is still a relevant book today.

It was interesting to read that the frustrations the fans had with NBC and Paramount are the same today with Paramount and CBS.

The book was written with warmth and love to the actors, crew and fans.  As it was admitted by the author; he is a fan as well and holds the creation in very high regard.  He blames the faults of the shows on the producers and the pressures the studios pressed onto them.

Gerrold expressed hope for more Star Trek to be produced in the future.  In the fullness of the 33 years that have passed since this edition was published we know that the franchise certainly enjoyed years of unimagined popularity with The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise.

I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the show.

David Gerrold

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume I edited by Robert Silverberg - Book Report #167

I've decided to collect all the reviews of each individual story from this anthology into one post.

This may make it easier to read my thought on the book instead of trying to search out each story from the blog.

Fun fact:  I started to read this book in August of 2012.  That's right, it took me nearly five years to get through it.

A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum

Twilight by John W. Campbell

Helen O'Loy by Lester del Rey

The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein

Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon

Nightfall by Isaac Asimov

The Weapon Shop by A. E. van Vogt

Mimsy Were the Borogoves by Lewis Padgett

Huddling Place by Clifford D. Simak

Arena by Fredric Brown

First Contact by Murray Leinster

That Only A Mother by Judith Merril

Scanners Live in Vain by Cordwainer Smith

Mars is Heaven! by Ray Bradbury

The Little Black Bag

Born of Man and Woman by Richard Matheson

Coming Attraction by Fritz Leiber

The Quest For Saint Aquin by Anthony Boucher

Surface Tension by James Blish

The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke

It's A Good Life by Jerome Bixby

The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin

Fondly Fahrenheit by Alfred Bester

The Country of the Kind by Damon Knight

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

A Rose for Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Rose for Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny

A poet laureate is sent to Mars to translate ancient religious Martian texts.

While he is there he discovers the fate of the inhabitants and falls in love with one.

Through his experience he finds his humanity.

The poet, who was also the narrator, was an unlikable person; difficult and arrogant.

To be honest the story did not work for me.  I simply found myself uninterested in this character.

Roger Zelazny -

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

This is a real hart-ripper.

Charlie is a mentally challenged adult working as a janitor in a factory.

One day he has the opportunity to have an operation that will make him smart.

Throughout the story he is compared to a  lab mouse, Algernon, who has had the same operation before Charlie.

You already know how this will go; whatever happens to the mouse eventually happens to Charlie.

The story was gentle, hopeful and tragic.

It was a terrific read.

But now I feel I need a breath of fresh air.

Daniel Keyes -

And -

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Country of the Kind by Damon Knight

This was a quick and odd little one.

In a society where violence and cruelty have been eliminated (genetically, I suppose) what does a community do with a person who has crossed a line that is incomprehensible and thought to have been left generations behind?

Our narrator committed an act of violence as a result of passionate youthful emotion.  But because cruelty has been eliminated from society they could not imprison him and instead set him free.

He as genetically altered so as not to be able to commit the same kind of crime again but in crafting their sentence they inflicted a subtler kind of cruelty.

In the story we get to see how our narrator has adapted and learned to cope with his unique situation.

It was not one of my favourites but writing this post has helped me to understand it better.

It was certainly thought-provoking.

Damon Knight