Friday, February 18, 2011

Quick Reviews

I recently read a couple of short stories, so I thought I'd give my thoughts on them.

First up, is Hunter, by Wil Wheaton.  I've obviously written about this story a short while ago, but unfortunately I couldn't read it the minute I downloaded it because I couldn't figure out how to get the story onto my Blackberry's e-reader app.  Thankfully I remembered that I have Stanza on my iPod Touch, and I reconfigured the settings on that thing and had the most amazing small-screen e-book experience in a long time.

Anyway, the story was good.  It starts off with a character in his element: a bounty hunter, I suppose you could call him, chasing prey in a futuristic world ruled by a mysterious alien race.  Mysterious only because we know very little about them other than that they are invaders.  And they invaded Earth.

The story quickly reveals that this hunter really ISN'T in his element, and, well - I don't want to spoil it, but his world does get flip-turned upside-down.  A very brief glimpse into a possible future by Wheaton, and it was good.  I want more.  So I give "Hunter" an A+.

Second story: I, Robot by Cory Doctorow.  This story originally appeared in a short story collection, so I'm not exactly sure how I downloaded JUST "I, Robot" and not that particular collection - but I did.  I started reading it a LONG time ago; it was sort of just something to fill time.  Unfortunately, I got a bit bored of it at the time because I didn't know where it was going.  Determined to finish it though, I opened it up again in Stanza and I remembered where I left off.

The story starts out simply enough: an experienced Detective in Toronto is on the chase for his daughter, who disappears following an explosion in a mall.  It's a futuristic world along the lines of the classic sci-fi novelists, so some of the descriptions might seem "familiar".  For instance, references to Eurasia and the Social Harmony remind me immediately of 1984 - but it's fairly apparent that this is a completely different world (which is a good thing).

I wasn't getting why it was titled "I, Robot" until the payoff at the very end.  I thought that was well-done.  However, for losing me a little at the beginning (I thought I was given a little too much information to handle), I'm going to have to give Cory a B+ on this one.

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