Flash Reviews: Science Fiction Classics

So I have been reading a lot lately.  Seriously, a lot.  And while I’ve been trying to dedicate myself to writing a review for every single book I read, that’s just not really possible.  Sometimes, regardless of my feelings for a book, I just can’t quite come up with a full-length review! This is neither a good thing nor a bad thing — it just means I can sum up my feelings quickly.

So in order to catch up on reviewing, I’m starting a new series of flash reviews. These posts will contain several short reviews of books I’ve recently read. I’m going to start off with two classic sci-if reviews by two of my favourite authors.

 

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

Publisher: Gollancz

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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World War Terminus Had left the Earth devastated. Through its ruins, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalked, in search of the renegade replicants who were his prey. When he wasn’t ‘retiring’ them with his laser weapon, he dreamed of owning a live animal – the ultimate status symbol in a world all but bereft of animal life. Then Rick got his chance: the assignment to kill Nexus-6 targets, for a huge reward. But in Deckard’s world things were never that simple, and his assignment quickly turned into a nightmare kaleidoscope of subterfuge and deceit – and the threat of death for the hunter rather than the hunted…*

2017 was definitely the year of Philip K. Dick for me.  He was an author I had always known about, but never managed to read more than a few pages of.  Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is the second of his books that I’ve read — you can read my review of Electric Dreams here — and it has honestly been haunting me since I finished it in November last year.

What I love about this book, and what turned me off of it when I initially tried to read it years ago, is that it’s an incredibly cerebral book. Much like it’s successor Bladerunner, it is both incredibly quiet and speaks volumes about human nature and our potential future despite its slow start.  Funny enough, Rick Deckard isn’t the most memorable character in this book, despite being the character famously played by Harrison Ford in the film. John Isidore and his story is really what stuck with me.  He’s such an incredibly tragic and haunting character.

I really loved this book, and the gorgeous edition I read, and would highly recommend it to any sci-if reader, but not necessarily to someone who is new to the genre.

 

The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov

Publisher: HarperCollins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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A millennium into the future, two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the Galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain.

On the beautiful Outer World planet of Solaria, a handful of human colonists lead a hermit-like existence, their every need attended to by their faithful robot servants. To this strange and provocative planet comes Detective Elijah Baley, sent from the streets of New York with his positronic partner, the robot R. Daneel Olivaw, to solve an incredible murder that has rocked Solaria to its foundations. The victim had been so reclusive that he appeared to his associates only through holographic projection. Yet someone had gotten close enough to bludgeon him to death while robots looked on. Now Baley and Olivaw are faced with two clear impossibilities: Either the Solarian was killed by one of his robots–unthinkable under the laws of Robotics–or he was killed by the woman who loved him so much that she never came into his presence!*

I think that of all the amazing science fiction authors I’ve read over the past few years, my heart belongs to Isaac Asimov.  If you’ve been lurking around here for awhile, you’ll know that I absolutely love him and his books.  He’s most famous for two series: Foundation and the Robots books.  The Naked Sun is the second of the Robots novels, and it was even better than the first (you can read my review here, but be kind! I believe it was the second one I ever wrote).  

Elijah Baley is a difficult character in Caves of Steel.  He’s arrogant, bigoted against robots, and is stubbornly set in his ways.  However, he is shaken to the core by the events of Caves of Steel and is a very different man on the opening pages of The Naked Sun.  His character arc is one of the best I’ve read, and his relationship with R. Daneel continues to grow.

If you’re interested in Asimov’s books, you should check out my Beginner’s Guide to Science Fiction, where I pinpoint a good place to start with both his incredible series.

 

That’s it for my first series of flash reviews!  Let me know what you think of this format and if you’d like to see more.

 

Have you read these books?  Are they in your TBR?  Do you sometimes struggle to write reviews for certain books?  Let me know what you think!

 

*Copy courtesy of Goodreads

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