Journey to the Center of the Earth Jules Verne

3 out of 5

This classic scifi is a family story that couldn’t be written today. Either the Uncle who drags his reluctant nephew on a dangerous expedition would be guilty of child endangerment or the nephew would old enough to stand his ground and say “no.”
I get the impression he’s no longer a minor, but not quite independent because of his culture’s norms. The Journey is interesting and has creative imagery but the world inside the Earth is not so impressive when we know there would only be a magma core thanks to modern science. Though Jules Verne impresses me with his inventativeness.

 

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Farmer in the Sky by Robert Heinlein

3 out of 5

This book is more about concept than character. A teenage boy becomes a settler on Jupiter and needs to learn the skills it takes to survive. The setting and the technology is more developed than his character which is more about what it takes to survive in such extreme conditions than having a developed identity in and of itself. Lovers of hard sci-fi will love it while other readers may wish the boy had more of a story and personality of his own.

Book Review: George Lucas, A Life by Brian Jay Jones

4 out of 5

George seems to be a talented visual storyteller. He knows how to craft engaging images, but is almost lost when he has to create a movie that requires a plot
and not just pretty images. He works best when he’s got people to collaborate with and fill in his gaps as long as he takes their advice. This became less common when he got older and more established thus the interesting but less engaging Star Wars prequels. Being able to assemble and overlook creative teams is a good skillset but is not one that most artists can emulate. I didn’t find what I wanted from this book, but it was interesting to get this glimpse into his work methods, and his fans may want to read this to satisfy their curiosity.

The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells

4 out of 5

This must’ve been the earliest examples of hard sci-fi. H.G. Wells did the best he could with what information we had. Though we now know the moon is uninhabited and the race he came up for it is unrealistic. He did do a good job illustrating the culture shock and intricacies of socializing with an alien culture. The protagonist goes for what seems like a simple travel adventure experience and then is overwhelmed at the thought of being the representative of his planet to an alien culture. Ethnocentrism is shown when he thinks Europeans “improved” the New World, and voices agreement withe the concept of “The White Men’s Burden.” This makes it is comical when
he is flustered by a culture he considers superior to his own. It’s like reading the travelogue of an ethical space tourist.