Monday, September 25, 2006

On the Bookshelf
I'd recommend this excellent book if your interests lie in history, mythology, travelling, or in cold places. Joanna Kavenna's The Ice Museum takes a look at the mythical land of Thule and explores that theme to the farthest populated regions of the northern hemisphere. Reviewed favorably here and mixed here. Lots of interesting characters and very interesting places. That second review found Kavenna's prose to be clunky and overdone, but I appreciated her descriptions of places and people. A straight-up travelogue, this is not. Kavenna also touches on themes of environment, politics, prejudice, ethnicity, as well as some very human struggles--her own as well as her acquaintances. Robert Reed is a sf author I've enjoyed, if mainly for his fiction on the Great Ship, a massive, planet-sized craft that houses humans and aliens booking passage to various parts of the galaxy. sf Site reviews his books here. Over on the right is a collection of short stories of his, including two tales from the Great Ship. The thing I like about the Great Ship is that Reed doesn't resort to the tried-and-true fallback of faster-than-light (FTL) travel. Human beings are just about immortal in this future, living for hundreds of thousands of years. Reed is prolific, full of ideas, and not always easy to swallow. But I want to read more about the Great Ship. Just in case you thought everything on my bookshelf was theology and such.

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