Tag: Development

George Eliot – Silas Marner | Review

Title: Silas Marner

Author: George Eliot

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 290

Rating: 3/5

I basically picked this book up because my friend Dave has written a musical based on it and so I wanted to see what the fuss is about. I’ve also never read any Eliot before, and so it seemed like a good excuse to finally get started.

Unfortunately I didn’t particularly enjoy it, and in fact having seen the musical, I think I enjoyed that more than the book. With that said, I also understand the hype, and I do think that Eliot is a very talented writer. She got a little bit screwed over by the times that she lived in, really. And in fact, for a book of its period, I think it’s aged rather well. Let’s put it this way – I enjoyed it way more than I enjoy reading Jane Austen.

So would I recommend it? I don’t think that’s a fair question here because I went into it reading for a different reason than most people would have. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed it and I’m glad that I picked it up, but I don’t think that’s a good call for a general reader. Even if you’re a fan of the classics, you should proceed with caution.

But yeah, I liked the story itself, even if it did take a while to play out, and I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of Raveloe and the development that Marner himself goes through between the start and the end. I still kind of feel as though the story could be condensed and that it would probably work better as a movie (or a musical), but hey ho. I read it.

Learn more about Silas Marner.

 


Isaac Asimov – The Robots of Dawn | Review

Title: The Robots of Dawn

Author: Isaac Asimov

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 480

Rating: 3.5/5

This book is one of the installments in Asimov’s Robot series, and so that makes it essentially a science fiction detective novel with a whole bunch of ethics thrown in. Asimov is probably most famous for creating the three laws of Robotics, which are the following:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

What’s fun about this book, like the other books that tie in with these laws, is that Asimov basically created them only so that he could bend and break them. We get some great examples of that here, including some suggestions of scenarios which could cause two of the laws to come into conflict with themselves and to cause a robot to overload.

Then we have the morality side of things. In fact, the whole case here revolves around the murder of a robot, and so there’s a lot of discussion around whether such a thing is even possible. After all, robots aren’t alive, right? There’s even some stuff on how while you can use roboticide and homicide, the word murder” doesn’t seem to quite apply.

Obviously I don’t want to go too much into the details of the plot, because the last thing that I want to do is to spoil it for people. What I will say is that it holds its own both as a science fiction novel and as a mystery novel, and indeed I think that Asimov is one of the underrated masters of the genre. I’ve read a mystery of his called A Whiff of Death which was set in our world on an American college campus, and that was fantastic.

Another piece of good news is that despite the fact that this is the third book in a series, you can still read it as a standalone if you want to. Sure, you’ll get a little more out of it if you follow the series through from start to finish, but it’s not a hard and fast rule and all that you miss out on is a little character development.

So all of this brings us on to the final big question of whether this is worth reading or not, and my answer to that would be 100% yes. Asimov is a fantastic writer no matter what he’s doing, and while there are other books of his that are a lot of fun, this is great too. Jeez, he always is.

Learn more about The Robots of Dawn.