Monday, June 27, 2005

Three books I... uh... haven't read

Okay. I suck. I'll cop to it. Here I was meaning to read and comment meaningfully on work in the field, and while I have managed to be possibly the last person on earth to read "Sargeant Chip" (which I liked very much), I've let my real life sideline me.

I did want to ask the community a question though. Partially inpsired by the above Sargeant Chip, what have y'all read recently that takes a strong political stance and still remains decent as fiction?

Specifically, I was recommeded:

Candas Jane Dorsey's A Paradigm of Earth
Louise Marley's The Masquirade
Liz Williams' Nine Pieces of Sky

I've already picked up the Dorsey. Since I clearly fail outright as a critic, what's the best stuff out there that still engages with the world?

6 Comments:

Anonymous azureus said...

Of the books I've read recently, Lethem's Gun, with Occasional Music had some interesting political commentary. Not exactly a new book ('92?) though.

My wife just finished reading The Iron Dream -- early 70s, that one -- and that had a very cool subtext. In Iron Dream, Norman Spinrad writes as if he's Adolf Hitler, except he's a Hitler who came to the States in 1919 and became a pulp SF novelist. Here's the cool bit -- and I guess I should issue a spoiler warning here:

SPOILER




The real objects of satire in Iron Dream are the high fantasy authors (like Tolkien) whose stories have disturbing undertones of fascism.

As for Sgt. Chip: I didn't think it was too memorable.

2:33 AM  
Blogger Safe Light said...

Spoilers, no end of spoilers for Sgt. Chip and Gun, with Occasional Music


In re Sgt. Chip:

I may just be a sucker for political stories that criticize the practice of war.

In re Gun, with Occasional Music:

I took that as much more a psychological book. It's my favorite of Lethem's stuff (at least the stuff I've read), though I enjoyed the hell out of Motherless Brooklyn too.

The thing that made Gun for me was the ending. The question of whether to play out his vengeance against the person who was responsible or the role (or job or position).

3:49 PM  
Anonymous azureus said...

You like criticism of war/govt/politics? Hopefully my NiP will get published & you'll have lots to read.

Re: Gun. I found the second part of the book, post-sleep, to be very chilling -- and so believable, given that I'd already accepted the premises laid forth in the first part. Totalitarianism & mind control, yet spun in a way I'd never read before.

9:03 PM  
Blogger David Moles said...

What do you mean by strong political stance?

12:12 PM  
Anonymous John C. Bunnell said...

You could do worse than take a look at John Barnes' latest novel, Gaudeamus. It isn't as overtly a political book as some of the Barnes oeuvre, but there's a good deal of implicit commentary in the way the adventure evolves. And I have yet to read a John Barnes book that doesn't deliver strong plotting and SFnal gosh-wowness.

Also in the category of "not a political tract per se, but pays attention to the political consequences of its assumptions" might be Susan Shwartz's Hostile Takeover. The theme is near-future industrialization of the solar system with narrative zing, strong characterization, solid hard-SF rivets, and political/economic logic that actually makes sense.

I'd count those two as among the best books I read in 2004.

3:48 AM  
Blogger Safe Light said...

David asks:

What do you mean by strong political stance?

I mean is there any good agitprop fiction out there these days that I've missed. Not just agitprop, you understand, but also good.

2:16 PM  

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