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Reading Wednesday

Been meaning to do this meme for a while.






What I just got done reading: I've been searching for books to fill my "realistic solar system exploration" story kink, and there aren't a lot of them. I read James SA Corey's Expanse series, of course, and Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars series. Alas, searching book lists for novels featuring specifically what I'm looking for invariably returns noise: interstellar travel or aliens hovering over Earth. So I returned to the classics, and read all of Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey series.

The first and most well known, 2001 (1968), was written simultaneously in the mid-sixties with the movie script, but actually veers from the script in that the big climactic stuff takes place at Saturn, and its moon, Iapetus. Kubrick, who was collaborating with Clarke, presented a monolith orbiting Jupiter instead.

Interestingly, Clarke ret-conned himself in the sequel, 2010, by relating that the events of nine years earlier took place as they did in the movie. It was the early 80's by the time 2010 came out, and the Voyager probes had shown us how complex the Jovian moon system was, so Clarke wanted to stage the events around Jupiter's moon, Europa, which remains the best chance of life in the solar system beyond Earth even to this day. And also interestingly, the book differs from the film version of 2010 because, although it depicts a still-intact Soviet Union, there is no use of Cold War hostilities as a subplot to push the action forward as there is in the film.

2061 is a great third book in the trilogy, and Clarke ret-cons himself yet again just so he can refer to actual space exploration history he had to invent in earlier books. Only downside to this book is he sets up a necessity for a fourth book, 3001, he didn't need. Frankly, I found the events of 3001 hard to follow. Which might have something to do with the fact that I read it mostly right before bed each night. I think 3001 only existed so Clarke could start a new interstellar series featuring the monolith aliens.

Amusingly, though, more re-con: Soviet Russia gets written right out of Earth's 21st century, as if Clarke had never featured it in his earlier books. He is refreshingly honest about his ret-cons in his numerous late-1990's forwards.


What I'm reading now: Fluency, by Jennifer Foehner Wells. Not sure it's totally what I'm looking for, but it's good so far.


What I'll likely be reading next: K.S. Robinson's 2312 is still on the back burner, as I'm a bit burnt out on Robinson. And I have a gazillion short stories to read for my fiction writing class. So must get on that.






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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
cactuswatcher
Oct. 15th, 2014 06:33 pm (UTC)
Amusingly, though, more re-con: Soviet Russia gets written right out of Earth's 21st century, as if Clarke had never featured it in his earlier books.

Well, I know the feeling. My 1980s novel of the distant future had cordless tablets replacing books and combination wristwatch-communication devices. They wouldn't exactly seem like bold predictions for the future these days.
masqthephlsphr
Oct. 15th, 2014 06:54 pm (UTC)
Even Star Trek (90's vintage) is dated that way.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )