Saturday, January 03, 2009

Yesterday I finished re-reading Eon by Greg Bear.

Eon is a classic hard science fiction novel, dealing with a mysterious hollowed out asteroid that arrives in Earth orbit. Inside lie many mysteries and inevitably in a novel from during the Cold War, the Americans and the Russians fight over it. The postulation of a Soviet Union that survived into the future makes things look silly in retrospect, but otherwise it's a fine novel. The characters aren't particularly well drawn and are nearly indistinguishable for the first half of the book, but the flood of interesting ideas makes up for it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 wrap up

Rather than a long year's end list, I decided to just highlight a few things I really enjoyed, and posted about, this year:

Books - I read a ton of books this year, but two stood out: Water For Elephants and Anathem.

Concerts - By far, the standout concert of the year was Town Mountain playing at the Freight and Salvage. Not only was it a great show, but it was a great introduction to a band I'd never even heard of before and now will try to see any time they come to northern California

Movies - Not a lot of standout work this year, but I really enjoyed Slumdog Millionaire. Pretty standard story, but a stunning setting and look made the film a joy to watch

Events - A toss up this year between the Maker Faire and the CBA Father's Day Festival/Music Camp. Two very different events, but both very much about communities of dedicated people creating just for the fun of it.
Yesterday, I finished The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami.

Like Kafka on the Shore, the other Murakami novel I've read, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a convoluted example of magical realism/urban fantasy. It is a lot more obscure than Kafka on the Shore, with a much less straightforward narrative and less explained in the end. It starts off with a man receiving some mysterious phone calls and then develops into a story of a missing cat, a failing marriage, a sinister brother in law and dreams that may or may not be in some sense real, all tied in with some people who were soldiers in Manchukuo, the Japanese created puppet state on mainland China.

Overall, another excellent novel by Murakami.