Daneel Lynn 的科幻奇幻必讀書單:外文科幻奇幻小說作品(作者姓氏 N~Z)(作廢)

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30.01.14 新增譯本資訊:

Charles Yu's How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is a clever, quirky, jargon-infused debut novel about a man in a time machine trying to find his father. It's also, as the title might suggest, a sort of postmodern survival guide. But perhaps most importantly, it's a science fiction novel about science fiction. Standard genre tropes such as time travel and its many paradoxes are explored here with a fresh perspective, and by using these concerns as buttressing to his otherwise fairly conventional central story, Yu turns his worldbuilding lens inward, focusing on the existential angst that lurks deep within our modern souls by revealing all the problems associated with thinking too much about everything. Which is to say, more simply, that maybe you can't find all the answers in instruction manuals. -- Strange Horizons


Patrick Ness, Monsters of Men (2010) ◎◎◎◎
派崔克‧奈斯,《噪反 III:獸與人》
As a world-ending war surges around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. And as the ceaseless Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many. The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist? To save the life of the one you love most, or thousands of strangers? To believe in redemption, or assume it is lost? Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale. (from amazon.com)

Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife (2004) ◎◎◎◎
This highly original first novel won the largest advance San Francisco-based MacAdam/Cage had ever paid, and it was money well spent. Niffenegger has written a soaring love story illuminated by dozens of finely observed details and scenes, and one that skates nimbly around a huge conundrum at the heart of the book: Henry De Tamble, a rather dashing librarian at the famous Newberry Library in Chicago, finds himself unavoidably whisked around in time. He disappears from a scene in, say, 1998 to find himself suddenly, usually without his clothes, which mysteriously disappear in transit, at an entirely different place 10 years earlier-or later. During one of these migrations, he drops in on beautiful teenage Clare Abshire, an heiress in a large house on the nearby Michigan peninsula, and a lifelong passion is born. The problem is that while Henry's age darts back and forth according to his location in time, Clare's moves forward in the normal manner, so the pair are often out of sync. But such is the author's tenderness with the characters, and the determinedly ungimmicky way in which she writes of their predicament (only once do they make use of Henry's foreknowledge of events to make money, and then it seems to Clare like cheating) that the book is much more love story than fantasy. It also has a splendidly drawn cast, from Henry's violinist father, ruined by the loss of his wife in an accident from which Henry time-traveled as a child, to Clare's odd family and a multitude of Chicago bohemian friends. The couple's daughter, Alba, inherits her father's strange abilities, but this is again handled with a light touch; there's no Disney cuteness here. Henry's foreordained end is agonizing, but Niffenegger has another card up her sleeve, and plays it with poignant grace. It is a fair tribute to her skill and sensibility to say that the book leaves a reader with an impression of life's riches and strangeness rather than of easy thrills. -- Publisher Weekly (cited from amazon.com)

George OrwellNineteen Eighty-Four (1949) ◎◎◎◎
One of the greatest novels of the 20th century, which anti-SF critics still insist is not science fiction. Although British in flavor, this is a universal future projection of the totalitarian state: its nature, purposes and prospects. Plotted like a suspenseful pulp thriller, but with characters with whom the reader emphasizes, it carries one along to its last ironic line. And it should be read that way, freshly, even though a substantial cottage industry of criticism had grown up around it. That fact that 1984 came and found not a Big Brother watching in London but an indulgent and inattentive Old Uncle in Washington does not diminish the importance of the warning: eternal vigilance, well before the event, is still the price of liberty. ......
Themes: Dystopias (p. 329)

Mervyn PeakeTitus Groan (1946) ◎◎◎◎
Mervyn Peake's gothic masterpiece, the Gormenghast trilogy, begins with the superlative Titus Groan, a darkly humorous, stunningly complex tale of the first two years in the life of the heir to an ancient, rambling castle. The Gormenghast royal family, the castle's decidedly eccentric staff, and the peasant artisans living around the dreary, crumbling structure make up the cast of characters in this engrossing story. ...... (cited from amazon.com)

Mervyn Peake, Gormenghast (1950) ◎◎◎◎
Gormenghast is the second volume in Mervyn Peake's widely acclaimed trilogy, but it is much more than a sequel to Titus Groan--it is an enrichment and deepening of that book. And back in single volumes for the first time in years, a new generation of fantasy fans will grow to love this tour de force that ranks as one of the twentieth century's most remarkable feats of imaginative writing. (cited from amazon.com)

Frederik Pohl, Gateway (1977) ◎◎◎◎○
Mankind "inherits" the stars by finding and exploiting (with considerable difficulty) the starships and gadgets left behind by the alien Heechee. The flippant, guilt-ridden hero has greatness thrust upon him by degrees as he picks up his winnings in the game of Russian roulette that men must play in gaining control of the Heechee artifacts. His luck continues to hold in Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (1980), which ends with his finding out why the Heechee ran away. This is fine contemporary space opera, with some neatly ironic characterization. .....
Themes: Space FlightSpace Opera (p. 336)

Christopher Priest, The Separation (2002) ○○○○
Priest's only venture into alternate history is a critique of the whole idea of alternate history. Twins with the same initials (J. L. Sawyer) compete for British in the Berlin Olympics. By World War II they are estranged; one is an RAF pilot and one a conscientious objector. On the day Rudolf Hess (or a doppelganger) flies to Britain, one J. L. Sawyer is killed. Depending on which one dies and which survives, Hess's mission fails and history follows a course (roughly) like the one we know, or Hess succeeds and the consequent peace treaty creates a very different world. Building on his familiar obsession with twins and doubles, Priest extends questions of identity to consider the way each individual shapes his own world. ......
Themes: Alternate WorldsHistory in SFPsychology (p. 342)

Mike Resnick, Kirinyaga (1997 c.) ○○○○
Seeking a return to the simpler life of their Kikuyu ancestors, a group of Africans colonize the planet Kirinyaga. As mundumugu (wisdom keeper), European-educated Koriba strives to protect his people from the corruption of modern civilization, enforcing tribal traditions with a ruthlessness and clarity born of his commitment to a dream. Written over a decade, from 1987 to 1997, the ten linked stories in this collection chronicle the birth, decay, and death of a Utopian vision. Resnick writes with eloquence and compassion, offering keen insights into the conflict between humanity's desire for stable perfection and its need for dynamic change. ...... -- Library Journal (cited from amazon.com)

Joanna Russ, The Female Man (1975) ◎◎◎◎
A contemporary woman encounters three "alternative selves," including a version from the feminist utopia Whileaway, a version from a world where patriarchy is more powerful and more brutally imposed, and a version from a world where the sex war has exploded into armed conflict. The juxtaposition of these alternatives, phantasmagoric and very witty, provides an extraordinary rich and thought-provoking commentary on sexual politics. A key novel of feminist SF. ......
Themes: Feminist SFPoliticsSatirical SFSex in SF (p. 358)

Carl Sagan, Contact (1985) ◎◎◎◎
Who could be better qualified than the author of the highly successful Cosmos to turn the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence, and humankind's first contact with it, into imaginative reality? This is precisely what Sagan does in this eagerly awaited and, as it turns out, engrossing first novel. The basic plot is very simple. A worldwide system of radio telescopes, in the charge of brilliant astrophysicist Ellie Arroway, picks up a "Message" from outer space. Ellie is instrumental in decoding the message and building the "Machine" for which it gives instructions (despite stiff opposition from religious fundamentalists and those scientists and politicians who fear it may be a Trojan Horse). Then she and fellow members of a small multinational team board the machine, take a startling trip into outer spaceand on their return must convince the scientific community that they are not the perpetrators of a hoax. Sagan's characters, mostly scientists, are credible without being memorable, and he supplies a love interest that is less than compelling. However, his informed and dramatically enacted speculations into the mysteries of the universe, taken to the point where science and religion touch, make his story an exciting intellectual adventure and science fiction of a high order. -- Publishers Weekly (cited from amazon.com)

Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn: The Final Empire (2005) ◎◎◎◎○
Sanderson's eerie second fantasy (after 2005's Elantris), set in a mist-haunted, ash-ridden world, pits Kelsier, "the Survivor of Hathsin," against the immortal Lord Ruler's 1,000-year domination of both the Great Houses and their serflike "skaa." Through Allomancy acquired in the Ruler's most hellish prison, Kelsier can "burn" 10 metals internally, fueling superhuman powers he uses to assemble rebels in a loose plan to destroy the nobility, the empire and the Lord Ruler himself. Kelsier uses Vin, a street urchin with the same Mistborn powers Kelsier possesses, to infiltrate the Great Houses' society, where she falls in love with philosopher prince Elend Venture. This mystico-metallurgical fantasy combines Vin's coming-of-age-in-magic and its well-worn theme of revolt against oppression with copious mutilations, a large-scale cast of thieves, cutthroats, conniving nobles and exotic mutants. The fast-paced action scenes temper Vin's interminable ballroom intrigues, while the characters, though not profoundly drawn, have a raw stereotypic appeal. -- from Publishers Weekly (cited from amazon.com)

Brandon Sanderson, The Well of Ascension (2007) ◎◎◎◎○
Sanderson's entertaining second Mistborn novel begins after most fantasy series end, when the team of brave and cunning heroes find that holding on to power is even harder than overthrowing the previous tyrant. Elend Venture, the scholarly new Lord Ruler of Luthadel, clings to power while Luthadel's aristocrats and merchants grumble and two enemy armies—one led by Elend's father, Lord Straff—camp outside the city gates. Fortunately, Elend can rely on help from his lover and unofficial court assassin, the young allomancer Vin, but her magical metal-using ability makes her a target. An orphan of decidedly low origins, Vin is also having trouble adapting to her position as royal consort, especially since the underclass skaa, newly freed by Elend, look to her as their protector. Meanwhile, the ancient evil known as the Deepness is rising once again. This entertaining read will especially please those who always wanted to know what happened after the good guys won. -- from Publishers Weekly (cited from amazon.com)

Brandon Sanderson, The Hero of Ages (2008) ◎◎◎◎○
This adventure brings the Mistborn epic fantasy trilogy (after 2007's The Well of Ascension) to a dramatic and surprising climax. Tricked into releasing the evil spirit Ruin while attempting to close the Well of Ascension, new emperor Elend Venture and his wife, the assassin Vin, are now hard-pressed to save the world from Ruin's deadly Inquisitors, the insidious lethal mists called the Deepness and the increasingly heavy falls of black ash that threaten to bury the land and starve its inhabitants. As the duo search for the last of the former emperor's cache of atium, source of the strongest Mistborn energies, they battle Ruin's forces as well as monsters and prophetic powers. Sanderson's saga of consequences offers complex characters and a compelling plot, asking hard questions about loyalty, faith and responsibility. -- from Publishers Weekly (cited from amazon.com)

John Scalzi, Old Man's War (2005) ◎◎◎◎
Starred Review. Though a lot of SF writers are more or less efficiently continuing the tradition of Robert A. Heinlein, Scalzi's astonishingly proficient first novel reads like an original work by the late grand master. Seventy-five-year-old John Perry joins the Colonial Defense Force because he has nothing to keep him on Earth. Suddenly installed in a better-than-new young body, he begins developing loyalty toward his comrades in arms as they battle aliens for habitable planets in a crowded galaxy. As bloody combat experiences pile up, Perry begins wondering whether the slaughter is justified; in short, is being a warrior really a good thing, let alone being human? The definition of "human" keeps expanding as Perry is pushed through a series of mind-stretching revelations. The story obviously resembles such novels as Starship Troopers and Time Enough for Love, but Scalzi is not just recycling classic Heinlein. He's working out new twists, variations that startle even as they satisfy. The novel's tone is right on target, too—sentimentality balanced by hardheaded calculation, know-it-all smugness moderated by innocent wonder. This virtuoso debut pays tribute to SF's past while showing that well-worn tropes still can have real zip when they're approached with ingenuity. -- Publishers Weekly (from amazon.com)

Clifford D. Simak, City (1952 c.) ○○○○
Eight quietly told stories from Astounding, 1944 to 1951, which describe the decline and disappearance of humanity once it abandons its most chracteristic habitat, the city. Some of the more venturesome leave civilization to imprint their psyches on wild, non-tool-using animals native to Jupiter ("Desertion"); others retreat to automated estates, as in "Huddling Place," a locale that recurs in later stories. In book form the stories are framed as "legends," told around campfires by the dogs, who politely debate whether humans in fact ever existed. A haunting, elegiac tale, diametrically opposed to the "can do" spirit of most Golden Age SF. An additional story, "Epilog," was added for a later edition (Ace, 1981). ......
Themes: CitiesPastoral (pp. 382)

Clifford D. Simak, Way Station (1963) ◎◎◎◎○
A Civil War veteran comes home to the family farm, which becomes a station for interstellar travelers. Time passes more slowly inside the disguised farm-house, so that stationmaster's longevity in the outside world attracts the attention of hostile neighbors and a CIA agent. The story gets its effect from casual juxtaposition of bizarre alien visitors and artifacts with realistic southwestern Wisconsin locale. It carries Simak's perennail message that all sentient beings can and must get along, or perish; the various galactic races face the same danger from themselves as do Earth's own warring peoples. A sentimental but effective story.
Themes: AliensPastoral (p. 383)

Dan Simmons, Song of Kali (1985) ○○○○
"O terrible wife of Siva / Your tongue is drinking the blood, / O dark Mother! O unclad Mother." It is remarkable that prior to writing this first novel, Dan Simmons had spent only two and a half days in Calcutta, a city "too wicked to be suffered," his narrator says. Fortunately back in print after several years during which it was hard to obtain, this rich, bizarre novel practically reeks with atmosphere. The story concerns an American poet who travels with his Indian wife and their baby to Calcutta to pick up an epic poem cycle about the goddess Kali. The Bengali poet who wrote the poem cycle has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
Horror critic Edward Bryant calls Song of Kali "an exactingly constructed, brutal, and uncompromising study of the degree to which an evil place may permeate and steep all that makes us human" and writes that it embodies "the stance of a psychologically violent novel about a violent society as a defensible and indisputably moral work of art." (from amazon.com)

Dan Simmons, Hyperion (1989) ◎◎◎◎◎
無責任翻譯:187 頁至 189 頁
Hyperion is the first half of one of the most complex space operas ever written. With a structure based on the Canterbury Tales, it tells the story of a pilgrimage of sorts to the planet Hyperion, where the Time Tombs, alien artifacts that run backward through time, are about to open. As in Chaucer, each pilgrim has his or her own story to tell; stories that are individually riveting and contribute thematically to the novel as a whole. The book ends just as the travelers reach their destination. ......
Themes: ComputersGalactic EmpiresIntelligenceLife on Other WorldsSpace Opera (p. 383)

Dan Simmons, The Fall of Hyperion (1990) ◎◎◎◎○
This densely plotted book concludes the futuristic tale begun in Hyperion. Earth has long since been destroyed, and humans now occupy more than 150 worlds linked by the Web, an instantaneous travel system created and operated by artificial intelligences (AIs--self-aware, highly advanced computers). These worlds are about to war with the Ousters, a branch of humanity that has disdained dependency on the AIs. At risk are the planet Hyperion, its mysterious Tombs that travel backward in time, and the Shrike, its god/avatar of pain or retribution. The narrative focuses on the government of the Web and its leader, Meina Gladstone, as observed by Joseph Severn, a cybernetic re-creation of the poet John Keats, and seven Shrike pilgrims, who may affect the war's outcome. Simmons pits good against evil, with the religions of man and those of the machines battling for supremacy. Despite his grand scale, however, he fashions intensely human individuals whom the reader will take to heart. -- Publishers Weekly (cited from amazon.com)

Dan Simmons, Endymion (1996) ○○○○
Two hundred and seventy-four years after the fall of the WorldWeb in Fall of Hyperion, Raoul Endymion is sent on a quest. Retrieving Aenea from the Sphinx before the Church troops reach her is only the beginning. With help from a blue-skinned android named A. Bettik, Raoul and Aenea travel the river Tethys, pursued by Father Captain Frederico DeSoya, an influential warrior-priest and his troops. The shrike continues to make enigmatic appearances, and while many questions were raised in Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion, still more are raised here. Raoul's quest will continue in at least one more volume.
This series has something for everyone: Simmons's prose is imaginative and stylistically varied; point-of-view and time-scale are handled with finesse; the action is always gripping; the device of Old Earth allows Simmons to work in entertaining references to present-day culture; and the technology raises bizarre questions of ethics and morality in its use of repeated death and resurrection. (from amazon.com)

Dan Simmons, The Rise of Endymion (1997) ○○○○
The time of reckoning has arrived. As a final genocidal Crusade threatens to enslave humanity forever, a new messiah has come of age. She is Aenea and she has undergone a strange apprenticeship to those known as the Others. Now her protector, Raul Endymion, one-time shepherd and convicted murderer, must help her deliver her startling message to her growing army of disciples. But first they must embark on a final spectacular mission to discover the underlying meaning of the universe itself. They have been followed on their journey by the mysterious Shrike--monster, angel, killing machine--who is about to reveal the long-held secret of its origin and purpose. And on the planet of Hyperion, where the story first began, the final revelation will be delivered--an apocalyptic message that unlocks the secrets of existence and the fate of humankind in the galaxy. (from amazon.co.uk)

Dan Simmons, The Terror (2007) ○○○○
Hugo-winner Simmons (Olympos) brings the horrific trials and tribulations of arctic exploration vividly to life in this beautifully written historical, which injects a note of supernatural horror into the 1840s Franklin expedition and its doomed search for the Northwest Passage. Sir John Franklin, the leader of the expedition and captain of the Erebus, is an aging fool. Francis Crozier, his second in command and captain of the Terror, is a competent sailor, but embittered after years of seeing lesser men with better connections given preferment over him. With their two ships quickly trapped in pack ice, their voyage is a disaster from start to finish. Some men perish from disease, others from the cold, still others from botulism traced to tinned food purchased from the lowest bidder. Madness, mutiny and cannibalism follow. And then there's the monstrous creature from the ice, the thing like a polar bear but many times larger, possessed of a dark and vicious intelligence. This complex tale should find many devoted readers and add significantly to Simmons's already considerable reputation. -- Publishers Weekly (cited from amazon.com)

Dan SimmonsDrood (2009) ◎◎◎◎
Bestseller Simmons (The Terror) brilliantly imagines a terrifying sequence of events as the inspiration for Dickens's last, uncompleted novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, in this unsettling and complex thriller. In the course of narrowly escaping death in an 1865 train wreck and trying to rescue fellow passengers, Dickens encounters a ghoulish figure named Drood, who had apparently been traveling in a coffin. Along with his real-life novelist friend Wilkie Collins, who narrates the tale, Dickens pursues the elusive Drood, an effort that leads the pair to a nightmarish world beneath London's streets. Collins begins to wonder whether the object of their quest, if indeed the man exists, is merely a cover for his colleague's own murderous inclinations. Despite the book's length, readers will race through the pages, drawn by the intricate plot and the proliferation of intriguing psychological puzzles, which will remind many of the work of Charles Palliser and Michael Cox. -- from Publisher Weekly (cited from amazon.com)

Norman Spinrad, Journals of the Plague Years (1995) ◎◎◎◎○
The Plague's origins were mysterious, but its consequences were all too obvious: quarantined cities, safe-sex machines, Sex Police, the outlawing of old-fashioned love. Four people hold the fate of humanity in their hands...... A sexual mercenary condemned to death as a foot soldier in the Army of the Living Dead; a scientist who's devoted his whole life to destroying the virus and now discovers he has only ten weeks to succeed; a God-fearing fundamentalist on his way to the presidency before he accepts a higher calling; and a young infected coed from Berkeley on a bizarre crusade to save the world with a new religion of carnal abandon. Each will discover that the only thing more dangerous than the Plague is the cure. (cited from back cover)

Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash (1992) ◎◎◎◎
An outrageous combination of cyberpunk tropes, sophisticated linguistics theory, and postmodernist satire, Snow Crash is set in a near-future America where government has broken down and just about everything is done by franchise. The main character, Hiro Protagonist, a.k.a. the Deliverator, is a genius hacker and samurai warrior, but he makes his living delivering pizza for the Mafia. When a deadly disease, the snow crash virus, begins to take out hackers and threatens virtual reality itself, Hiro is the man to tame it. The novel is a complex stew of cyberspace high jinks, religion, off-the-wall humor, and action-adventure sequences. It's crammed with delightful throwaway ideas, such as Mafia-enfored, potentially deadly, 30-minute pizza dilivery deadlines and semi-intelligent, nuclear-powered watchdogs. Although not calculated to bring pleasure to fans of old-fashioned, meat-and-potatoes hard SF, Snow Crash is a genuinely dazzling novel. ......
Themes: CyberpunkSatirical SFVirtual Reality (p. 396)

Charles Stross, The Atrocity Archives (2004 c.) ○○○○
查爾斯‧史卓斯,《暴行檔案》[krantas 版]
Lovecraft's Cthulhu meets Len Deighton's spies in Stross's latest, as the Scottish author explains in his afterword to this offbeat book offering two related long novellas, "The Atrocity Archive" and "The Concrete Jungle" (the latter previously unpublished). With often hilarious results, the author mixes the occult and the mundane, the truly weird and the petty. In "Atrocity," Bob, a low-level computer fix-it guy for the Laundry, a supersecret British agency that defends the world from occult happenings, finds himself promoted to fieldwork after he bravely saves the day during a routine demonstration gone awry. With his Palm, aka his Hand of Glory (a severed hand that, when ignited, renders the holder invisible), and his smarts, he saves the world from a powerful external force seeking to enter our universe to suck it dry. In "Jungle," Bob teams up with a cop, Josephine, to save the Laundry from a powermonger who seeks to stage an internal coup by using zombies as her minions. Amid all the bizarre happenings are the everyday trappings of a British bureaucracy. Bob gets called on the carpet by his bosses because he requested backup during an emergency without first getting his supervisor's okay and filling out the requisite forms. Though the characters all tend to sound the same, and Stross resorts to lengthy summary explanations to dispel confusion, the world he creates is wonderful fun. -- Publisher Weekly (cited from amazon.com)

Jeffrey Thomas, Letters from Hades (2003) ○○○○
A man awakens in Hell where he is schooled in the ways of the damned. And once educated, he is released to wander Hell on his own. He journeys from one city to the next, dodging demon patrols and avenging angels hunting the damned for sport. Along the way to the city of Oblivion, he discovers a band of rebellious damned have left a tortured and beautiful demon to rot. He rescues her and sets in motion a series of events that could lead to the final battle between Heaven and Hell, angel and demon, demon and damned.
Letters From Hades is a travelogue of Hell—a world not that far from the very world we live in now. It is a story of rebellion, a story of love and a story of hope and rebirth set in a beautifully dark and textured world brought to brilliant life by Jeffrey Thomas, the acclaimed author of Punktown. (cited from amazon.com)

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (1937) ◎◎◎◎◎
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."
The hobbit-hole in question belongs to one Bilbo Baggins, an upstanding member of a "little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded dwarves." He is, like most of his kind, well off, well fed, and best pleased when sitting by his own fire with a pipe, a glass of good beer, and a meal to look forward to. Certainly this particular hobbit is the last person one would expect to see set off on a hazardous journey; indeed, when Gandalf the Grey stops by one morning, "looking for someone to share in an adventure," Baggins fervently wishes the wizard elsewhere. No such luck, however; soon 13 fortune-seeking dwarves have arrived on the hobbit's doorstep in search of a burglar, and before he can even grab his hat or an umbrella, Bilbo Baggins is swept out his door and into a dangerous adventure.
...... (from amazon.com)

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (1954) ◎◎◎◎○
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Two Towers (1954) ◎◎◎◎○
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Return of the King (1955) ◎◎◎◎○
The Lord of the Rings was written in 12 years by J. R. R. Tolkien. It is a single novel consisting of six books plus appendices. The Book tells the tale of Frodo Baggins, a Hobbit who suddenly finds himself faced with an immense task: He must leave his home in The Shire, and make a perilous journey across the realms of Middle-Earth to the Crack of Doom, deep inside the territories of the Dark Lord. There he must destroy the One Ring forever and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose. (from lordotrings.com)

Catherynne M. Valente, The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden (2006) ◎◎◎◎
凱瑟琳‧M‧華倫特,《孤兒的故事 I:荒原之書》
凱瑟琳‧M‧華倫特,《孤兒的故事 II:海之書》
A lonely girl with a dark tattoo across her eyelids made up of words spelling out countless tales unfolds a fabulous, recursive Arabian Nights-style narrative of stories within stories in this first of a new fantasy series from Valente (The Grass-Cutting Sword). The fantastic tales involve creation myths, shape-changing creatures, true love sought and thwarted, theorems of princely behavior, patricide, sea monsters, kindness and cruelty. As a sainted priestess explains, stories "are like prayers. It does not matter when you begin, or when you end, only that you bend a knee and say the words," and this volume does not so much arrive at a conclusion but stops abruptly, leaving room for endless sequels. Each descriptive phrase and story blossoms into another, creating a lush, hallucinogenic effect. -- Publishers Weekly (cited from amazon.com)

Jeff VanderMeer, The City of Saints & Madmen (2002 c.) ◎◎◎◎◎
A master of postmodern game playing, VanderMeer here gathers all the fiction published in his earlier trade paper collection (also titled, in a typically Borgesian maneuver, City of Saints and Madmen), plus an equal amount of new material. Set in the haunted city of Ambergris, with its Borges Bookstore, these stories feature bizarre recurring characters and intensely self-referential plots. Among the highlights are the World Fantasy Award¤winning "Transformation of Martin Lake", the tale of a talented painter who's obsessed with a great composer; "The Strange Case of X," which concerns an incarcerated lunatic found wandering the streets of Ambergris carrying the very book being discussed in this review; the wonderful new story "The Cage," in which an antiques dealer becomes infected with a fungus that's slowly taking over much of the city; and, oddest of all perhaps, an untitled short story, which fills the entire dust jacket and concerns an unnamed traveler who has a close encounter with a giant squid in the river that runs through Ambergris. Other pieces take many forms, including a history of the city complete with footnotes, psychiatric records from a local hospital, an amazingly funny work of pseudo-biology entitled King Squid and entirely bogus bibliographies and glossaries. This beautifully written, virtually hallucinatory work isn't for every taste, but connoisseurs of the finest in postmodern fantasy will find it enormously rewarding. -- Publisher Weekly (cited from amazon.com)

Jeff VanderMeer, Veniss Underground (2003) ◎◎◎◎○
In this dark and intensely allegorical tale, VanderMeer portrays a complex and decandent far-future city populated by Living Artists who create mosnters from human flesh, sentient meercats who plot the end of the human race, and doomed lovers who wander the streets of the city and its capacious underworld in black despair. Shadrach, a man of dubious morality, must travel deep into the bowels of Veniss Underground, in search of Nicola, his former lover. Allusions abound to Dante, Orpheus and Eurydice, Hieronymus Bosch, Cordwainer Smith, and Edward Whittemore. ......
Themes: CitiesClones/CloningCrime and PunishmentGenetic EngineeringMonstersMythology (p. 422)

Jeff VanderMeer, Secret Life (2004 c.) ◎◎◎◎○
This collection of mostly older stories from the talented VanderMeer features a variety of tales that walk the border between literary surrealism and genre dark fantasy, many of them taking place in the author's two favorite locales, the haunted city of Ambergris, setting for the much-praised City of Saints and Madmen (2001), and the even darker metropolis featured in the novel Veniss Underground (2003). Perhaps the finest of the Ambergris stories is "Learning to Leave the Flesh," the tale of a writer who makes his living crafting individual perfect sentences whose life is transformed when he's assigned to write an epitaph for a dwarf who has committed suicide. Among the Veniss stories are "Balzac's War" and "Detectives and Cadavers," with their monstrous, sentient flesh dogs, and strangely mutated human beings. The title story may be the best of all, a surreal fable about the intrigues and battles among the employees who work in an office building, a struggle cut short when one woman's trumpet vine infiltrates the crawl spaces and ventilation shafts of the structure, pulling it down on the heads of everyone within. Not everything in the book is outstanding—a number of interesting but unexceptional apprentice pieces are included—but this is a solid collection overall and clearly points the way to the author's more recent, major work. -- Publisher Weekly (cited from amazon.com)

Jeff VanderMeer, Shriek: An Afterword (2006) ◎◎◎◎○
An epic yet personal look at several decades of life, love, and death in the imaginary city of Ambergris—previously chronicled in Jeff VanderMeer's acclaimed City of Saints & MadmenShriek: An Afterword relates the scandalous, heartbreaking, and horrifying secret history of two squabbling siblings and their confidantes, protectors, and enemies.
Narrated with flamboyant intensity and under increasingly urgent conditions by ex-society figure Janice Shriek, this afterword presents a vivid gallery of characters and events, emphasizing the adventures of Janice's brother Duncan, a historian obsessed with a doomed love affair and a secret that may kill or transform him; a war between rival publishing houses that will change Ambergris forever; and the gray caps, a marginalized people armed with advanced fungal technologies who have been waiting underground for their chance to mold the future of the city.
Part academic treatise, part tell-all biography, after this introduction to the Family Shriek, you'll never look at history in quite the same way again. (from amazon.com)

Jeff VanderMeer, Finch (2009) ◎◎◎◎○
VanderMeer's third book set in the fungus-laden city of Ambergris is an engrossing recasting of the hard-boiled detective novel. Traditional tropes—femmes fatales, double-crossing agents, underworld crime lords—mix seamlessly with a world in which humans struggle to undermine the authority of sentient fungi a century after the events of 2006's Shriek: An Afterword. By the time titular detective Finch solves the double murder of a human and a fungus, he's been drawn into a conflict in which he's rarely sure who's manipulating him or why he's so important to their plans. VanderMeer's stark tone is brutally powerful at times, and his deft mix of genre-blurring style with a layered plot make this a joy to read. Though the book stands well on its own, fans of the earlier Ambergris novels will appreciate it even more. -- from Publishers Weekly (cited from amazon.com)

Vernor Vinge, A Fire Upon the Deep (1992) ○○○○
The Milky Way is divided into four concentric zones: the Unthinking Depths, the Slow Zone, the Beyond, and the Transcend. Inherent in the basic physics of these zones are limitations to intelligence; intellect increases as one moves outward. Humanity, originally from the Slow Zone, is merely one of uncounted races on the Known Net. It is a mark of our success, however, that we have planted thriving colonies well into the Beyond. A human research team exploring the edge of the Transcend accidentally releases a Power, a malevolent superbeing that begins laying waste to the galaxy, wiping out entire intelligent species in a matter of days. Two human children, survivors of the accidental realease of the Power, hold the key to its defeat, but they have been shipwrecked on a distant planet on the edge of the Slow Zone and their rescue will be difficult. Vinge's plot is big and bold, almost in the manner of E. E. Smith, but his scientific content is quite sophisticated and his character development is solid. His doglike aliens, with their limited group minds, are endlessly fascinating.
Themes: AliensFuture HistoryHard SFIntelligenceLife on Other WorldsSpace Opera (pp. 428-9)

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) ◎◎◎◎○
Billy Pilgrim survives the Dresden firestorm as a POW during World War II but subsequently becomes unstuck in time after being kidnapped by Tralfamadorians and caged with a pornographic film star. Thus he learns that everything is fixed and unalterable, and that one simply has to make the best of the few good times one has. A masterpiece, in which Vonnegut penetrated to the heart of the issues developed in his earlier absurdist famulations. A key work of modern SF.
Themes: Time TravelWar (p. 432)

Bernard Werber, Les Fourmis (1991) ◎◎◎◎
"Don't go into the cellar" is the warning given the Wells family as they move into the dingy Paris flat inherited from Jonathan's Uncle Edmund. But when the family dog disappears down the basement steps, the Wellses follow, one by one, into the mysterious darkness below. Uncle Edmund was an eccentric author and scientist whose particular passion was ants. Thus, it must follow that the mystery of the Wells's basement lies in the parallel universe of an exotic ant kingdom. Struggling to rebuild what was once a vast empire in the face of the terrors of contemporary human society, the ants are compelled to deal with cars, tools, and other technopredators. The sf movies of the 1950s are immediately brought to mind here. The one-dimensional humans definitely take back seat to the anthropomorphized ants as characters in this novel of survival. Werber tells us much more about the intelligent and highly structured world of the ant than we may care to know. ...... -- Library Journal (cited from amazon.com)

T. H. White, The Once and Future King (1958 o.) ○○○○
Quartet of novels by T.H. White, published in a single volume in 1958. The quartet comprises The Sword in the Stone (1938), The Queen of Air and Darkness--first published as The Witch in the Wood (1939)--The Ill-Made Knight (1940), and The Candle in the Wind (published in the composite volume, 1958). The series is a retelling of the Arthurian legend, from Arthur's birth to the end of his reign, and is based largely on Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur. After White's death, a conclusion to The Once and Future King was found among his papers; it was published in 1977 as The Book of Merlyn. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature (cited from amazon.com)

Robert Charles Wilson, Spin (2005) ◎◎◎◎
One night the stars go out. From that breathtaking "what if," Wilson (Blind Lake, etc.) builds an astonishingly successful mélange of SF thriller, growing-up saga, tender love story, father-son conflict, ecological parable and apocalyptic fable in prose that sings the music of the spheres. The narrative time oscillates effortlessly between Tyler Dupree's early adolescence and his near-future young manhood haunted by the impending death of the sun and the earth. Tyler's best friends, twins Diane and Jason Lawton, take two divergent paths: Diane into a troubling religious cult of the end, Jason into impassioned scientific research to discover the nature of the galactic Hypotheticals whose "Spin" suddenly sealed Earth in a "cosmic baggie," making one of its days equal to a hundred million years in the universe beyond. As convincing as Wilson's scientific hypothesizing is--biological, astrophysical, medical--he excels even more dramatically with the infinitely intricate, minutely nuanced relationships among Jason, Diane and Tyler, whose older self tries to save them both with medicines from Mars, terraformed through Jason's genius into an incubator for new humanity. This brilliant excursion into the deepest inner and farthest outer spaces offers doorways into new worlds--if only humankind strives and seeks and finds and will not yield compassion for our fellow beings. -- Publishers Weekly (cited from amazon.com)

John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids (1951) ○○○○
Expanded from a serial in Collier's, this tale of monsters from a botched experiment marching over the world is a superior example of its breed. Triffids are sentient plants that walk, sting, and feast on carrion. To even the odds, a shower from space, probably from one of the erstwhile dominant species' own secret military satellites, has rendered most of humanity blind. What raises this novel far above almost others in the subgenre is the quality of the writing and characterization. Details unfold with leisurely novelistic richness and the characters' actions make logical and psychological sense. ......
Themes: DisasterMonster (p. 461)

Charles Yu's How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is a clever, quirky, jargon-infused debut novel about a man in a time machine trying to find his father. It's also, as the title might suggest, a sort of postmodern survival guide. But perhaps most importantly, it's a science fiction novel about science fiction. Standard genre tropes such as time travel and its many paradoxes are explored here with a fresh perspective, and by using these concerns as buttressing to his otherwise fairly conventional central story, Yu turns his worldbuilding lens inward, focusing on the existential angst that lurks deep within our modern souls by revealing all the problems associated with thinking too much about everything. Which is to say, more simply, that maybe you can't find all the answers in instruction manuals. -- Strange Horizons

Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light (1967) ◎◎◎◎
In the 1960s, Roger Zelazny dazzled the SF world with what seemed to be inexhaustible talent and inventiveness. Lord of Light, his third novel, is his finest book: a science fantasy in which the intricate, colorful mechanisms of Hindu religion, capricious gods, and repeated reincarnations are wittily underpinned by technology. "For six days he had offered many kilowatts of prayer, but the static kept him from being heard On High." The gods are a starship crew who subdued a colony world; developed godlike--though often machine-enhanced--powers during successive lifetimes of mind transfer to new, cloned bodies; and now lord it over descendants of the ship's mere passengers. Their tyranny is opposed by retired god Sam, who mocks the Celestial City, introduces Buddhism to subvert Hindu dogma, allies himself with the planet's native "demons" against Heaven, fights pyrotechnic battles with bizarre troops and weapons, plays dirty with politics and poison, and dies horribly but won't stay dead. It's a huge, lumbering, magical story, told largely in flashback, full of wonderfully ornate language (and one unforgivable pun) that builds up the luminous myth of trickster Sam, Lord of Light. Essential SF reading. (from amazon.com)

1 comment:

Fox M and Dana S said...

Daneel Lynn大你好,「How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe」 by Charles Yu,這本書好像有繁體版本了, http://0rz.tw/nccMP

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