August 30th, 2004

Books

Rocannon's World, Ursula Le Guin

Rocannon's World
Ursula K. Le Guin
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Second book read during vacation. Ursula Le Guin's Rocannon's World. I wasn't as impressed by this as I was by The Left Hand of Darkness. No real theme to this book, other than fumbling to take the worst of fantasy (Tolkienesque feudalism) and apply it to science fiction. There are a race of lords, a race of elves, and a race of dwarves. Throw in a bit of telepathy and some off-world Star Trek technology, and you have a first SF novel.

Le Guin, Ursula K.
Rocannon's world / Ursula K. Le Guin.
ix, 136 p.; 22 cm.
ISBN 0-06-012568-3
I. Title.
PS3562.E42
813'.5476-047250
Books

Exile, Michael P. Kube-McDowell

Exile
Michael P. Kube-Mc...
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Third book read was Michael P. Kube-McDowell's Exile. Not quite space opera, cause there's very little of space involed. An authoritarian world exiles those who don't fit in. They establish their own city elsewhere on the planet. A judge in the main city of Ana travels to the exile city to retrieve the body of his former friend who became a leader of the exile city. There, he finds the exiles might not have been so wrong after all. Blah blah blah.

Kube-McDowell, Michael P.
Exile / Michael P. Kube-McDowell.
289 p. ; cm.
ISBN 0-441-22212-9
I. Title.
PS3561.U184 E96 1992
813'.5491-038698
Books

The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones
Alice Sebold
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Finally, a book I really liked for this vacation. (Not completely true though. I also read The Maltese Falcon, but my copy is part of a collection of Dashiell Hammett novels, so it doesn't count until I finish the collection.) Ms. Sebold's The Lovely Bones is the story of Susie Salmon's murder, told by Susie Salmon from heaven. That and the aftermath as it affected her family and several friends. Writing a story based on heaven is difficult, and in fact the story drags and gets into flights of theologic fancy in its denouements in heaven. It's somewhat like reading someone else's dream. I'm sure it means something to the author and a few new-agey type people, but for the rest of us one person's view of heaven is abstract art. It's hard to get it. But I liked the bittersweet view of her family. One of the few novels I've read that showed grief realistically. Not everyone grieves the same, and not everyone does positive things as a result of grief. Sometimes they get self-destructive. I also like that none of her family is a Rambo. When they do confront the killer, they don't. They do it passive-aggressively, and they run away. That's realism.

Sebold, Alice.
The lovely bones : a novel / Alice Sebold.
328 p. ; cm.
ISBN 0-316-16881-5
1. Murder victims' families--Fiction. 2. Teenage girls--Crimes against--Fiction. I. Title.
PS3619.E26 L68 2002
813'.62001-050622