Sunday, January 16, 2011

A tough choice

This is old news, old as in about a week's time.  I was in Borders, facing a difficult choice as to how to best spend my Christmas gift card.  It came down to two books really.  Here's what a I went with:

Blindsight by Peter Watts.
I've heard many a good thing about this science fiction book.  In it, 65,000 alien objects surround the Earth, then scream to the heavens as the atmosphere burns them to ash.  Two months later, a derelict space probe detects a signal from the deep.  Not talking to us, but to someone else.
A noteworthy premise to my tastes as it demonstrates what humanity's likely place is in the scheme of things.  Are we involved?  Sure, but I doubt that we come anywhere near being major players.  In part, it conjures up similarities to Philip K. Dick's VALIS.  What's more, the plot appears to involve an enigmatic AI and a genetically engineered vampire, a biologist who's more machine than human, a linguist with surgically induced multiple personality disorder, a professional soldier who's a pacifist, and Siri Keeton, a man with only half a brain.  How can you go wrong?  I'll post a full review once I've read the book...whenever that is.  I'll give the same trite and redundant disclaimer I spew each time I find a new book I want to read: "I've got so many unread books around here I could stack them into castle walls."  Ohh the plight of the intellectual.  Just kidding.  No, really.

The strong runner-up was Kafka, a graphic novel by R. Crumb.  Given Crumb's disturbing and controversial style, it seems that a bio of Kafka is a natural, well-suited choice.  From what I read of this book in the store, Crumb does great service to the life of Kafka, almost as if the two were souls destined to meet, but never quite did.  Rest assured I will be coming back for this one.

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