The High Crusade by Poul Anderson


4 out of 5

This is an amusing pulp tale of medieval knights who take over a spaceship and
set out to colonize and settle alien planets with it. the first generation has culture shock
but deals with it by conquering. The younger generation is more adaptable but their descendents take on a robust crusading outlook towards the stars. It’s not meant for deep thinking but is enjoyable.

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Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein

4 out of 5

I like this because it’s more of a space opera which is more favorite sci-fi subgenre. It details the life of a slave that grows up to find his family and strike a blow against slavery. He meets many cultures and interesting people along the way, and the worldbuilding for space faring cultures is complex and rich. It still holds up well decades after it was first published.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

4 out of 5

A mentally challenged man has his intelligence surgically augmented to genius level before he comes full circle. It’s a bittersweet tale echoed by the of the mouse Algernon who is the first subject of the experiment. At least Charlie survives the experiment though he experiences a bunch of existential angst during his genius phase. I found Charlie an engaging character throughout the story, and that’s the reason why I rated the book so highly.

The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester


4 of 5

A man’s pysche is deconstructed with a murder mystery puzzle with cosmic stakes. It’s came across as people playing Clue in a in a futuristic setting at first, and I couldn’t understand why it became a classic. He may’ve come up with this concept before the game or movie first but the “people playing Clue in a scifi setting” impression ruined it for me. I gave it the rating I thought it deserved even if the premise is cliche to a modern reader.

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.

 

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.