Tag: Subverted

Isaac Asimov – The Bicentennial Man | Review

Title: The Bicentennial Man

Author: Isaac Asimov

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 256

Rating: 4.5/5

What we have here is another cracking little collection of Isaac Asimov’s short stories, along with Asimov’s introductions to the stories for a little additional context. There were actually one or two here that I’d already read and so I skipped past those, although I did read the introductory essays as they were different.

I’ve also read a full length novel that Asimov co-wrote with Robert Silverberg and which is based on the titular short story here, but it was nice to go back to the original. I also heard that Asimov wasn’t really involved in the novel, which I can believe because it was published not long before he died.

Asimov’s short story collections are always a lot of fun, and while I’m still yet to find one that’s as good as I Robot, I can’t exactly be mad about it because that book is a masterpiece. I love Asimov’s work and I love the way that he sets up his three laws of robotics only to knock them down again by looking at the different ways in which they can be subverted.

That means reading Asimov feels like so much more than simply enjoying a little science fiction escapism. It’s almost philosophical, and it asks the reader a lot of questions about what it means to be human, as well as what it means to be a robot. I’d definitely recommend picking it up.

Learn more about The Bicentennial Man.

 


Andrzej Sapkowski – Time of Contempt | Review

Title: Time of Contempt

Author: Andrzej Sapkowski

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 348

Rating: 3.5/5

Having got this far with this series, I’m starting to lose a little faith in Sapkowski. Even back when I picked up the first couple of books, I said I was a little worried that he was going to be a better short story writer than a novelist, a prophecy that looked like it was going to be true with Blood of Elves. Unfortunately, I thought the same thing here.

I think the issue for me is that the Witcher is all about morality, for me at least, and when Sapkowski is writing short story collections, he can ask more questions of his readers. The novels just feel like a drawn out short story, and so while they’re by no means bad, they’re not quite as good, either. At least in my opinion.

I think I also feel as though the looming Nilfgaardian war has been cranking up the tension book after book and yet nothing is really happening. Build up is all well and good, but if there’s no payoff at the end then it risks just feeling a little cheap. But hey, what do I know? Sapkowski has sold way more books than I have, so he must be doing something right.

The good thing here is that Ciri takes centre stage of a character and she has some pretty good quirks to her. I particularly liked the way that she subverted one of her lessons about never failing to seize an advantage by sneaking off to go and see Geralt. It said a lot about her that she did that, and it was also believable enough to feel true to character. Kind of important really, because it also helps to set up the rest of the novel.

Overall, if you’ve read this far into the series then for sure keep going, but I do still think that the short story collections were better. Oh, and I’ve never played the games. Or watched the Netflix show.

Learn more about Time of Contempt.