This year I did some science fiction reading. This is something not particularly helpful for software developers in their professional life. Nevertheless, I’ve read four sci-fi books and I would like to share my thoughts on them.

The Dune

Now I understand what is meant when people say “sci-fi classics”. This is really a book that ages very slowly. It is written in nicely phrased English but not too much overcomplicated for non-native speaker.

I remember when I was studying in university, one of my friends would go on and on about some game he was playing. There were huge sand worms and some people called fremen. It is only now that I can refer to this. Even if you are not much into reading sci-fi literature, you must have seen a picture of giant worm in Sahara-like desert somewhere, at least in Facebook with some funny text on it.

I was really surprised to know that this story was written in 1965, it continues in 18 books and many credit it for influencing such things like Star Wars and other great works in sci-fi world.

A top rated quote from the book at goodreads, which I also enjoy, goes like this:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

The Ender’s Game

A quick to read and enjoying story. Just recently I had a chat about world sport champions. Most of us, discussing, have very young children 1+ 2+ 2+ years old. We all agree that for someone to become a world champion a training is needed starting from age of 3 years. One of us told that this is effectively stealing of childhood. Well, probably.

If you want to read about stealing of childhood, Ender’s Game is the right book. Target audience for the book is probably boys 12+, but it reads very well by adults as well. Plus the book somehow manages to bring some big questions into picture.

The Hyperion Cantons

There is probably something wrong with me or with the book or with me reading this particular book. I didn’t enjoy it much. The book is organized in six stories told by six people on a journey to mysterious planet Hyperion. Out of six stories told I liked only two or three. A lot of techno-mambo-jambo was something I extremely didn’t like about the book. The author was just making things up that are no close to existence or in correlation with the science.

This is an actual quote from the book:

To be a true poet is to become God. I tried to explain this to my friends on Heaven’s Gate. ‘Piss, shit,’ I said. ‘Asshole motherfucker, goddamn shit goddamn. Cunt. Pee-pee cunt. Goddamn!’ They shook their heads and smiled, and walked away. Great poets are rarely understood in their own day.

I’m probably one of those who doesn’t understand this. I’m not trying to say that the book is so bad. I was really gripped by the Father’s story. I’m just not sure if the book is something that everyone can enjoy.

The Martian

A have a separate post on “The Martian” available here. “The Martian” is mostly kept within hard science boundaries. And since it is about one of my favourite topics I greatly enjoyed reading it. I also went to see the movie. It was good as well, but as per me the book conveyed many more interesting details. Probably something not so easy to convey into a movie, otherwise it would become extremely boring super long one.

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