Give me all the (post-apocalyptic) books

I mostly lurk but I'm trying to write reviews of books.

Whoah

Stand on Zanzibar - John Brunner

I can't properly review this book because it's already been done here:

 

http://www.themillions.com/2013/03/the-weird-1969-new-wave-sci-fi-novel-that-correctly-predicted-the-current-day.html

 

Also I listened to it which to some people is not the same as reading and sometimes you are right and sometimes you are very wrong. I am not a very sophisticated reader. I like watching histrionic interpretations of Shakespeare because when I read it without an instructor or a buddy to guide me, I miss out A LOT. So here are the bits about the story I enjoyed most:

 

Fun bits:

 

  • Information Overload - The reader did a great job of acting out all the information overload chapters, it helped me notice how advertising, no matter how myopic you are, enters into our subconsciousness and organizes our thoughts. For advertising to be most effective, we cannot give ourselves a moment to pause and consider what we are buying into. Also in the face of having everything available to us, we are all miserable.

 

  • Mucker - People who commit random acts of violence. Similar to our homegrown terrorists in America. A commentary on the disintegration of society as people feel abandoned by society and react violently. Similar story line with the rise of incest.

 

  • BIotechnology and Babies - The newest trend in biotechnology is tailoring your drugs to suit your unique genetics. So maybe we are not too far away from this reality what with some personal genomic information available for $99 and a spit sample (just a year ago it was $400). Religion and overpopulation clash as the people who have multiple children are the target of the genetically flawed who are prohibited by law from having children. We don't have those sorts of laws but we do one way to dissuade people from having children is to make childcare prohibitively expensive. 

 

  • Corporations vs. Controlling Governments - Lots of ennui from Norman, a VP in a firm called General Technic (reminds me a lot of today's GE). If you ever felt useless in your big corporate job, Norman is your guy. He rises quickly in the ranks but is dissatisfied because although he is busy he realizes he has no purpose. Until he is approached with the possibility of helping a small country in Africa by swaying GT to setup and develop the country and thus end rampant famine and poverty. On the other end of the earth, a small southeast asian country, Yatakang, suffers from a controlling government so Donald is sent to uncover their plan to take over the world, one perfect baby at a time. In one case, espionage and military tactics were used to ensure the balance of power remained in the U.S. In the other, a large corporation was approached to use the countries natural resources in exchange for developing the country. Which option works out best? What is the human cost? Can we bring our technology without bringing the other problems of our society? How do we help developing countries? By espionage or monetary coercion or full-out war? In an overpopulated world, what is the cost of human life? 

The Kite of Stars and Other Stories

The Kite of Stars and Other Stories - Dean Francis Alfar The book took me back to some of the tales I grew up with in the Philippines. Dean Francis Alfar modernized those myths and told me more stories I hadn't heard but wished I'd known as a child. Maybe I would've been a little more proud, a little more patriotic.

Every time I thought I knew where the story was going I didn't. Maybe because the characters felt a little more fallen and resigned but not without hope and definitely without remorse. I loved it.

The more nuanced take on the long term effects of colonization were refreshing because it happened and it changed us and now what. How does it affect the stories we tell each other and even our sense of identity?

With that said, some of the stories did not stick to me. That's okay, because the others linger on.

The Dream of Reason: A History of Philosphy from the Greeks to the Renaissance

The Dream of Reason: A History of Philosphy from the Greeks to the Renaissance - This book was very informative but also a bit overwhelming for me, a philosophy newbie. I listened to this on audiobook and the reader did a great job of telling this story. She was animated and delivered the little jokes perfectly but I still should have read this instead of listening to it so I could have put the book down to ponder every confusing point.
Fahrenheit 451 - Christopher Hurt, Ray Bradbury The audio version was incredible. The author commentary at the end was soo inspiring. He wrote the book at a UCLA library pay per use typewriter. Now I want to go figure out which library it was and retrace Ray Bradbury's steps.
The Ghost Bride: A Novel - Yangsze Choo I really enjoyed this book. A lot of the Malay myths reminded me of Filipino myths (i.e. Pontianak similar to tianak). The blend of Chinese and Malaya culture made for a very fun world to explore. I have burned gifts for my friend's grand parents without understanding why, this book gave me an exciting world to imagine the Chinese after life. I also found myself craving laksa and all sorts of fruits from Southeast Asia. This book made me miss my own upbringing in Southeast Asia with all the smells associated with high humidity, the sounds of insects and birds and the bustling households full of family and yaya's (house help).

The ending was a little too rushed and a little too tidy, but I've been reading a lot of YA lately and that's just the nature of the beast I guess.

The Universe in a Nutshell

Universe In A Nutshell - Stephen Hawking, Simon Prebble Read it don't listen to it.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke, Simon Prebble It was a slow start but it was really fun towards the end.
The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin I just finished it and I already want to re-read it.
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein One of my favorite books. I think back to it constantly and I want more. I'm reading other Heinlein books but nothing has come close so far.
A Scanner Darkly - Philip K. Dick I hate this audio book. Not my style of sci-fi.