Neuromancer by William Gibson


3 out of 5

This is like reading the script of a video game where the player only has time to react and not to strategize. The prize is attained, but then their hectic life goes on. I migth’ve enjoyed the ending more if I didn’t feel like I had to sprint all the while to get there. This book probably came before video games were established and might’ve been used as inspiration for them. It’d work better as a video game than a book.

Update 07/14/19: Some responses to this post on Facebook made me decide to read a text copy of the work instead of just listen to an audiobook while I multitask. So far it makes more sense this way. I haven’t finished it yet but I already have more respect for this work.

 

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City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty


4 out of 5

I would have rated this higher if not for the slow middle where the main character acclimatizes to life inside the City of Brass. It feels like a leisurely travelogue. It sounds like an enjoyable place to visit, but not enough action for a fantasy
story. However, it picks up in the end, and the characters are interesting.

Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein


3 out of 5

I would’ve liked this more if I came from an age before video games.
A young American gets to play hero, but tires of the game when all is not what it appears to be. It was written before video games were made but feels like a video game that goes on too long and gets too boring. His solution is a akin to a gamer who finds a new game to play.

Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard by Mark Finn


5 out of 5

A sympathetic portrait of man often portrayed as a mama’s boy who wrote wish
fulfillment pulp fiction with macho characters. He had his issues but lived a rugged lifestyle
in rough boom towns in his childhood and youth. I feel this is a balanced biography that does him justice. There may still be people convinced that Robert E. Howard only wrote self insert Gary Stu fiction, but this explains how he was able to turn his Gary Stus
into such a strong and iconic characters while others attempts to do so are laughable.

Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov


4 out of 5

The mule is defeated by a decoy “Second Foundation”, and the main Foundation is established. I liked this part of the Foundation Trilogy the most because it came closest to a space opera. The other books struck me as mere backstory rather than proper installments until now. I know they were meant to showcase the struggles creating the Foundation, but the scientists’ contention they were apolitical when they’re trying to establish a foundation makes them come across as socially dense or hypocrites.

Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asmiov

3 out of 5

The remnants of the Empire resents the Foundation’s expansionism. They encounter a mutant with mind control powers, and I found myself cheering for the mutant. I should say I’m a Mohawk, and I know what it’s like to have a colonial power convinced of its own
superiority imposing paternalistic policies on your people. Dr. Sheldon’s followers are trying to impose social programming on society even as they claim they are apolitical. It’s little wonder they are resented by the society that rejects their rule.