Buoyed by the success of our Deadly Bookish Sins tag we decided to even out the playfield – and created a corresponding Bookish Heavenly Virtues tag 😉 We had a lot of fun writing the questions and answering them, and now we hope you’ll enjoy reading them – and, if you do, we invite you to participate in the tag as well :).
CHASTITY: Which author/book/series you wish you had never read?
Ola: Aaand we start with a bang 😉 The two that most easily come to mind are Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind (DNFed around the junkie dragon mark and I only wish I threw it down sooner) and Justin Cronin trilogy (DNFed within first 100 pages of the third installment – what a waste of time). I’m usually pretty lenient when it comes to books, as they are in fact someone’s years of hard work and dreams. But I absolutely abhor waste of time on things I dislike, as the theory of alternative costs plays in my mind different scenarios of what I could have done with that precious resource, and the two examples above represent exactly that.
Piotrek: It’s a hard one. I usually only go for books I can be sure to enjoy at least a bit, and some of the really terrible ones I revenge-reviewed, so it was not a waste of time, was it?
One case where I could have saved the time and read something else, even at a cost of not having a vitriolic review to write, was the Iron Druid Chronicles. Details – in the linked review 😉 but I have to say, the more time passes, the more I’m convinced it’s a case of urban fantasy tropes tortured inhumanely for no good reason.
The second part of my list of favorite novels by Lem seems more lightweight – and indeed, the books listed below are definitely easier to read than those described previously. That said, these novels and short stories compilations still tackle all of the principal themes in Lem’s work: ideas of consciousness, identity and intelligence, human morality, philosophical problems of life and death and all that is in between. Continue reading →
His works have been translated to many languages, adapted to film and television (Lem’s most famous novel, Solaris, was filmed three times already), and sold in millions of copies worldwide.
His impact on science fiction is undeniable – not only because of what Lem wrote and predicted (e-paper, for example), but also due to how he wrote it. His prose is very precise, carefully planned, seemingly concise and distant, only to reveal at a second glance an incredible depth of emotions, breathtaking imagination, painful questions and even more harrowing answers about human nature and the Universe. It’s paradoxical, at times absurdly funny, at times depressing, almost always unsettingly convincing. And in many cases, it’s just utterly brilliant. I won’t hesitate to put many of his novels among the best of the best in sf, ever. Mulling over Lem’s more difficult novels takes as much time – or more – as reading them; and they stay with the reader for a long time afterwards. But Lem also wrote wonderfully funny, witty satires, little morality plays dressed up as fables, hilarious accounts of interstellar travelers, and twisted crime novels with no perpetrators. During his later years he turned toward philosophical essays, analyzing the significance of nanotechnology, AI, and virtual reality – but his most influential, and the best in my opinion, are his science fiction novels.