1967 science fiction


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1967 science fiction

joulukuu 31, 2022, 6:14 am

City Of Illusions - Ursula K Le Guin
A science fiction novel published in 1967 and early in the career of acclaimed author Ursula K Le Guin. The novel received little critical attention when published and I picked it up only because of its publication date ( my own category of science fiction novels from 1967). I thoroughly enjoyed the read and it took me back in time to the excitement of reading science fiction as a teenager.

The story starts with a humanoid figure crawling through a forest and finally coming across a clearing whereupon it stands up on two legs and is noticed by a young woman (Parth) working in the fields. Parth goes over to him and leads him into the small community; they call him Falk and Zove a father figure of the community with the help of Parth help to educate him. Falk's mind has been wiped clean, but his intelligence enables him to learn the ways of the community and become a useful member. He learns that the world is made up of small communities separated by immense forests and that the inhabitants have been subjugated by the Shing an alien species. The scattered communities are left to their own devices as long as they do not band together and threaten the aliens. After a four year period Falk feels the need to travel, to visit the city of Es-Toch which people of the forest commune have heard speak. The first part of the book describes Falk's adventures as his path westwards leads him to various other settlements and many hostile encounters. He meets Estrel a woman captured by a nomad tribe on the great plains. They escape together and she leads him to Es-Toch the home of the Shing and where Falk feels he will meet his destiny. The second part of the book details Falk's struggles against the Shing who were responsible for wiping his mind and who now hold open the option of restoring his other self.

The novel therefore falls into two distinct parts, the first a dangerous journey through a hostile environment, which is America after the Alien conquest and the second part is Falk's mind games with the aliens themselves. They are both voyages of discovery for Falk and the reader and the mystery of Falk is revealed carefully by Le Guin. There is mystery and imagination throughout, although the final battle with the aliens is perhaps oversimplified to ensure the reader is not left behind. Le Guin's writing is a cut above much of the pulp science fiction of the era and she handles the adventure story well enough. She imparts that sense of wonder that keeps the pages turning and the resolution is satisfying. Themes of identification and truth telling in City of Illusions add another layer and so a 4 star read.

elokuu 29, 2:11 pm

Philip K Dick - The Counter-Clock World
This 1967 novel from Philip K Dick is a bit of a car crash, even for a science fiction novel. It starts off well enough with people coming alive again in their coffins and calling out for help. The Hobart Phrase has caused time to run backwards and so people are coming alive again and regressing to childhood and then back into the womb. An enterprising group led by Sebastian Hermes are touring the local graveyard looking for signs of life and when they hear something, they dig up the coffin give medical aid to the old-born before auctioning them off to family members. Once the opening phase of the novel moves to a story of the rebirth of a cultist religious leader of a negro sect then the story starts running into trouble.

It was originally a short story expanded to novel length and the gaps in the story telling are far too obvious. Time moving backwards only seems to affect certain aspects of the lives of those who have been reborn and so the author can be selective in what happens to them. In the case of the religious leader Anarch Peake; it is his experiences of being dead for fifteen years that makes him a prize amongst those being reborn. His welfare is the subject of a fight between, the catholic church, his cult followers and the Library which is embarked on a project of removing from the world all those inventions, books and works of the old-born as they move backwards through time. All that Sebastien Hermes is interested in is making a profit and holding his marriage together and he gets caught in the middle.

The action and the characters become so preposterous that I was not sure whether this was just an elaborate satire, an action story with too many plot holes, or an outline onto which Dick could come up with even more fantastic ideas. This didn't work for me on any level, I just got bored 2.5 stars

elokuu 29, 3:06 pm

thanks for the reviews Bas
I might give a try of Ursula Leguin.

elokuu 29, 5:52 pm

>3 Macumbeira: There are some good novels to choose from