Tag: Fantastic

H. P. Lovecraft – The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Other Stories of Horror | Review

Title: The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Other Stories of Horror

Author: H. P. Lovecraft

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 256

Rating: 4/5

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room in the form of Lovecraft’s concerning personal beliefs. I’m of the opinion that you can separate the art from the artist, especially when the artist is dead, but I also know that that’s not true for everyone.

I’ve only read one Lovecraft book before and so I’m still relatively new to his work, and I can’t quite decide what I think of him. There are times when his stories are fantastic and they more than live up to the hype, and then there are times when… well, maybe not so much.

For example, there’s a story here that Lovecraft ghostwrote for Harry Houdini, and while the story behind the story is pretty interesting, the story itself isn’t great. I think if you didn’t know it was ghostwritten, you’d believe that Houdini wrote it – but then, Houdini wasn’t known for being a writer.

The title story in this collection was fantastic though, and it was made even more interesting because I was talking to somebody about it and they’d done an adaptation of it. There are only around six stories in here and so you could probably ask for more, but they are at least pretty chunky and so there’s a bunch for you to enjoy here. I’d definitely recommend this one if you’re interested.

Learn more about The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Other Stories of Horror.

 


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.