Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke

3 out of 5

A serviceable account of a first contact story with aliens called “Ramans.” I would’ve rated it higher if there were more character types besides scientists in the story. It’s supposed to be epic in scope and a game changer for humanity but the lack of regular people made it feel like an isolated event.


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.

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.