2022, Week the Fourth: Sweet Scintillating Science Fiction

January 27, 2022 Science Fiction 5

Hey Bookworms,

This week was all about trying to get back into “normal” routines (you know, as normal as anything gets anymore.) I thought about throwing together a quick post about children’s books because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to articulate my thoughts about these two complex reads, but I’m going to make an attempt because, honestly, writing either post sounds kind of exhausting and this one is already halfway done. Besides, I liked both of these books a lot, and it’s fun to talk about things you enjoy. Let’s talk about some sweet, scintillating science fiction today!

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro- Nobody does odd, melancholy science fiction better than Ishiguro. This book has a different premise than Never Let Me Go but similar vibes. This book centers on Klara, an Artificial Friend (companion robot) who begins our story by sitting in the front window of a store, hoping a child will wander by and bring her into their home. Was there a part of my brain that kept accidentally picturing the robot kid from Small Wonder when Klara was discussed? Yes, but I can’t control that sort of thing. I digress. Ishiguro doesn’t lay out exactly what’s going on in this novel, you’re left sort of piecing it together based on what the robot child overhears. It’s sad and confusing and tender- something that people much smarter than me would have eloquent things to say about. I’m not here for literary criticism- that’s too much like homework. I am, however, here for sad, somewhat self-aware robots, and the humans who would want to bring sad, somewhat self-aware robots into their homes.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir- Ryland Grace wakes up aboard a spaceship, unaware of his own name, flanked by corpses. (A scenario I’ll try to keep in mind next time I wake up crankily…) His memories begin to come back in fits and starts, and it eventually becomes clear that he’s the sole survivor of a desperate, last ditch effort to save all life on planet Earth. I don’t want to fill this little blip with spoilers, because it might compromise the tension and suspense of the reading experience. I will say, however, that it was an awesome book with a very satisfying ending. I’m so excited for Andy Weir! Sophomore novels have a nasty habit of being underwhelming, especially when your first book is a massive hit. I mean, The Martian (review) was awesome, but Artemis (review) when held up to the same expectations was a bit of a letdown. (Unless you wanted to learn stuff about welding on the moon, in which case, jackpot.) Seeing an author bounce back from a sophomore slump makes me SO FREAKING HAPPY FOR THEM. Project Hail Mary took everything cool about The Martian and turned the intensity up to 11. Higher stakes, higher emotions, and WHEW. I was blown away and stayed up way too late reading.

Alright kiddos, that’ll do it for me this week. I still have a kid-lit post in mind and I have some romances to tell you about next week, so NEVER FEAR. I am hear to spout nonsense about books. If you’ve managed to avoid the plague, GREAT JOB! If you haven’t (and I assume you tried to) YOU DID YOUR BEST. Drink some water and wear your seatbelt. Love you.

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5 Responses to “2022, Week the Fourth: Sweet Scintillating Science Fiction”

  1. Rhian Jenkins

    Both of these books are on my wishlist so I’m pleased to read that you liked both of them.

    We’ve remained relatively plague free here in Western Australia by essentially cutting ourselves off from the rest of the world, including the rest of the country. But Omicron has arrived and it seems our isolation is ending.

    I’m not so worried for myself but have an almost irrational fear of getting it and inadvertently passing it on to my elderly parents-in-law or my immune-compromised niece. Locking myself in my house seems like a very attractive option.

    • Words for Worms

      Australia by and large seems to have been less of a COVID mess than the US (though, truly, the US has been spectacularly bad.) If it’s any consolation, my parents caught it last week. They’re triple vaccinated and while it wasn’t pleasant, they bounced back quickly. I’m too nice a daughter to out their ages on the internet, but they’re both firmly in senior citizen discount territory.

    • Words for Worms

      Rocky is the absolute BEST and I love them so much. And, yeah, Klara and the Sun was definitely heavy on the symbolism but I like that sort of thing every once in a while. Not as much fun as a save-the-world Space Party, but good for a melancholy January.

  2. Katie | Doing Dewey (@DoingDewey)

    I seem to be the odd one out on this, but I actually liked Artemis more than Project Hail Mary! I did love Rocky, but the writing style with the childish only-kind-of-swearing really bothered me. I also thought this story was more similar to The Martian, while Artemis was more original, and I found the often very basic science and math in this one boring compared to The Martian.

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