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Contemporary Sci-Fi

My dad and I started giving a shot at some recent science-fiction novels lately. Here are my feelings about the ones I read, may they benefit anyone.

Voyage by Stephen Baxter, 1996

This novel depicts an alternate space program in which the USA land a manned mission on Mars in 1986. It tries — and unfortunately manages — to be extremely realistic and tell with pin-point accuracy how things could have happened if the American space program had taken a different direction after the Apollo missions.

If I needed help sleeping I’d read a real history book, thank you. It would have the same soporific effect but would at least compensate for it with authentic facts.

Une porte sur l’éther by Laurent Genefort, 2000

The hero of this book is the pollen of a plant, Ambrosia, that transits between two planets through a giant artefact, the Axis— Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

The only amazing thing about this book is that I read it in its entirety. The ultra-basic story (each planet needs the other one but also hates it, so they go to war) is told in a ridiculously complex manner using a plethora of invented words (described extensively, did I say zzzzz already?) in an attempt to make a book about politics look like a science-fiction novel.

Wang : Les portes d’Occident by Pierre Bordage, 1996

The author seems to enjoy describing torture so much that he had to write two books about it. This one went straight to the trash.

So much for batch one. I am now taking a break with modern science-fiction before I start batch two. I just re-read some novels I thoroughly enjoyed the first time:

  • City (Demain les chiens) by Clifford D. Simak, 1952
  • The world of Ā (Le monde des Ā) by Alfred E. Van Vogt, 1945
  • The players of Ā (Les joueurs du Ā) by Alfred E. Van Vogt, 1948

Boy, it feels good.

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