Thursday, July 23, 2009

Science Fiction 34 – Ian Watson, Stanley G Weinbaum, Kate Wilhelm & Connie Willis

A miscellany of books by authors whose names start with W...

Ian Watson is a British SF writer of note. I appear to have two of his books - The Gardens of Delights, with a fantastic cover showing a detail from Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, and The Jonah Kit.

watson_garden watson_jonahkit

Stanley G Weinbaum died at the extremely young age of 33, but gained lasting fame for his remarkable short story A Martian Odyssey. It is contained in the following Best of Stanley G Weinbaum collection.

weinbaum_bestof

Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang, by Kate Wilhelm is a remarkable novel about the possible consequences of human cloning. Influenced quite a bit by Huxley’s Brave New World, it depicts a fascinating futuristic dystopia. It won the Hugo Best novel Award in 1977.

wilhelm_wherelate

Connie WillisDoomsday Book was also a Hugo and Nebula winner. A wonderful and deeply moving time travel novel set in both the near future and in the Middle Ages during the time of the Black Death, it cleverly reflects the potential for a deadly viral epidemic, on the scale of the Black Death, in our present time and near future.

Also a time travel novel with a few of the same characters as the Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of The Dog, is a far more light hearted affair and a tribute to Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men In A Boat, surely one of the funniest and wittiest books ever written.

willis_doomsdaybook willis_dog

Lincoln’s Dreams is about parapsychology, metaphysical speculations, death, and love. A more recent novel, Passage, was inspired by reports from people who have had a near death experience. In this novel a neurologist has discovered a way to induce near death experiences artificially. Strangely, these induced near death experiences connect the volunteer to the Titanic on the night it hits the iceberg.

willis_lincolnsdreams willis_passage

Next – Gene Wolfe

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