The Gods Themselves

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Gods Themselves
Isaac Asimov, 1972

Hugo Winner - 1973

Premise: The Electron Pump is the most revolutionary invention in history, creating free energy through a complicated exchange system with another universe. Only young physicist Lamont begins to believe that the downsides to the Pump might soon outweigh the benefits...

This was a great read. It’s divided into three sections, which were originally published as (and still work as) separate but interlinked stories. The first part works the best on its own, and I was actually a little disappointed that the story continued; it has such a great, pointed ending.

The second section takes place in the parallel universe, focused on an utterly alien, three-gendered race. This was equally fascinating for completely different reasons. The social structure and norms of the aliens are not completely divorced from human culture, but there are tons of intriguing wrinkles. If you’re not paying attention, you might miss the allusion to masturbation in the description of one character's experiences growing up, it’s subtle. The ways that these characters interact, socially and physically, are really interesting. Dua, the “Emotional” in the trio the story follows, is the most compelling and sympathetic character, for all that she’s single-minded and sometimes shallow.

The third section is back in Earth’s universe, although it takes place with a new group of characters on the Moon. It’s well written, interesting, and enjoyable to read, however it didn’t have the same impact as the first two sections. Now, bear in mind, ‘not having quite the same impact’ still places it pretty high up on a list of great works of science fiction. Overall, I found this to be an extremely satisfying book, both to read and to think about later.

5 Stars - An Awesome Book

List of Hugo Winners

Locke & Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom

Monday, June 17, 2013

Locke & Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom
Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez, 2011

Premise: Sequel to Crown of Shadows. Life continues to get stranger for the Locke family as Tyler, Kinsey and Bode keep trying to solve the puzzles of Keyhouse, and trying to stay alive as Dodge steps up his pursuit of the Omega Key.

Locke and Key continues to be awesome and disturbing by turns as the action ramps up even more. I’m torn on this volume between being happy the pace is picking up and sad that there are so many new adventures and new keys that we’re only getting to see in passing, or in a montage. The power of the keys is starting to influence our heroes in more insidious ways, though, which is interesting.

The plot threads are starting to pull further together here, all the minor characters getting lined up for the next act. Each issue in this collection is very different from the last, and each is special.

The ending was shocking and amazing and horrifying. So, yeah, par for this series. I’m ordering Book five through the library now, and Book six (the end of the series) is coming out soon. I think I’ve said it before, but whether or not you generally read comics, if you like supernatural horror, you should give Locke and Key a try.

4 Stars - A Very Good Book