This is not a film review: Star Trek

Cokebaby and I went on a double “date” with another couple to catch dinner at Opa in the Park and Star Trek at the movies (don’t fret, a food review will be posted separately). Again, this is definitely not a film review but I have to say that I really enjoyed the acting in this flick. Acting is something that I don’t recall having ever considered in a predominantly action oriented film but I have to give credit where it’s due and the actors captured the elements of the original characters without going overboard as they easily could have done.

Now, I don’t read a lot of books about space exploration but I do like to pick up the an occasional book that falls under the Speculative Fiction genre. So, the books I’m going to recommend are related more to alternate realities and the whole time-continuum theories. As an aside, I have to mention that if you prefer standard plot devices that are grounded very much in the real world, these books probably aren’t for you. I’ve recommended some of them to friends who wound up not being able to get through them and others who have devoured them.

Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay — Besides being a driving influence to travel to the south of France, this book transcends any categorization. It’s part fantasy, part historical fiction. The protagonist is 15-year-old Ned Marriner who has accompanied his  father to Provence for a six-week photography shoot. He finds himself immersed in a history filled with Celtic tribes and Roman Legions in more ways than one as figures from these ancient battles arrive in the present to claim and change lives.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami — From by far one of my favourite authors comes a dual narrative. The odd-numbered chapters are told from the perspective of a “Calcutec” (a human data processor who has been trained to use his subconscious as an encryption key). The even-numbered chapters are told from the perspective of a newcomer to a strange, isolated walled Town who is assigned the job of “dreamreader.” The two story lines eventually converge to explore concepts of consciousness, the subconscious and identity.

Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall — This book kind of reminded me of a text version of The Matrix. The main character, Eric Sanderson, wakes up one morning to discover he’s suffering from some form of amnesia. He receives a series of letters and packages signed “with regret and hope” from the First Eric Sanderson. Although warned not to do so, Eric tears open the parcels and discovers a complex world where he and his former self are being pursued by a shark that hunts him through written words.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger — I’m not going to lie to you. This book is as much a romance as it is science fiction. But if you’re going to allow the labels to deter you from reading it, I really think it’s your loss. You could just watch the movie when it comes to theatres this summer (starring Rachel McAdams & Eric Bana), but how often does the film version really outshine the book? The novel is told through alternating first-person perspectives: Henry DeTamble, a librarian at the Newberry Library in Chicago, and his wife, Clare Abshire, an artist. Henry has a rare genetic disorder that causes him to involuntarily travel through time. So, when Clare meets Henry at the Newberry Library at the opening of the novel, he has never seen her before despite her having known him since early childhood.

I’m sure I’m not the only person reading this blog that’s seen the movie, so now it’s your turn: what books would you recommend?

[On a somewhat related note, Robert J. Sawyer is interviewed in the upcoming issue of All Rights Reserved literary journal which will be released in the fall of 2009!]


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