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August 05, 2006

Really Good Books 

For me, a book is really good if when I turn the last page I feel a pang of melancholy at the idea of saying goodbye to the carachters of the story and the world where they lived their adventures. Because you want to stay with them and see more of their places.

The last book to do that to me was the one I just finished: Judas Unchained, by Peter Hamilton - the second book of the Commonwealth Saga.

When I turned the last page, I really felt a twinge of melancholy; despite the sizable length of the two books combined (the gig gets on the road in Pandora's Star), I wanted more of the Intersolar Commonwealth; more of the inflexible Investigator Paula Myo; more of the ingenious quasi-hippy physicist Ozzie Isaacs; more of all those marvellous wormholes and later starships, high-power weapons and extremely cool technology.

There also are improvements from his earlier Night's Dawn trilogy: a more manageable length; less gratuitious sex; more overall optimism - instead of the shroud of dread covering a good three-fourths of Night's Dawn. And no deus ex machina - though a title like The Naked God should give you clues, no?

Many criticize Hamilton's carachterization of women, and they're in part right. But I'd like to say a couple of things. First, in a world where altering radically your physical aspect is even easier than getting a breast implant today, it's little wonder that severe ugliness is very rare. If you add a generally high income, the result is obvious.

Second, it's par for the course that women in leading roles must be beautiful and/or interesting (and that includes not being exactly chaste, fur us guys...); only post-modern, socially-committed authors have ugly, boring female persons as leads.

Third, Hamilton makes pretty clear almost from the start that Paula Myo is the product of extensive genetic manipulation aimed at producing specific and dominating personality traits. She looks human, but her thoughts are human only in part.

Or at least this is my opinion. I really enjoyed the books, and that's it.

Comments:


A me di voltare l'ultima pagina a malincuore capita sempre con i romanzi di Patrick O'Brian.:-)

Questa recensione e la tua frase sulla "extremely cool technology" mi ha fatto venire in mente che c'era qualcosa che volevo chiederti.

Sapresti per caso consigliarmi un buon libro (o più d'uno), anche in Inglese, di DIVULGAZIONE scientifica che copra le future tecnologie (biotecnologia, cibernetica, nanotecnologia ecc.)? Insomma qualcosa che anticipi in maniera plausibile, e non fantascientifica, quali tecnologie potrebbero essere a nostra disposizione nei prossimi cinquant'anni. Dovrebbe essere tecnicamente corretto ma comprensibile anche a chi come me viene da un background umanistico.

 

Ah Wellington, mi trovi un po' impreparato: ultimamente le mie letture si sono divise fra blogs, pubblicazioni specialistiche e semplive narrativa.

Comunque, puoi provare a guardare le sezioni "Libri" o "Recensioni" di riviste come New Scientist o Le Scienze; lí dovresti trovare buoni libri di divulgazione.

 

Grazie molte.
 
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