The Simulacra by Philip K. Dick

Standard

Leggi questo articolo in Italiano

This novel is full of different characters, whose stories starts uncorrelated and then start intersecting in the plot, of various topic, such time travel machines, trip to Mars, kinetic powers and so on.

The novel is set in a future Earth where the WWII ended differently  (this same theme is present also in  The Man in the High Castle) and where the democratic republican that governs the America  and part of Europe is represented by the president (der Alte) and by the first lady (Nicole). The political situation is full of secrets and the fact of knowing them divides the population among the Ge (the few who know) and the Bes (the rest of the people).

IOn this background the novel follows what happens to a couple of brothers employed in the competitor factories that produce the simulacra, the story of another couple of brother who want to win the talent show of the White House (this story is a born as a stand alone story: “Novelty Act”, from here Dick built the whole novel), and the story of a telekinetic but psychotic piano player and the one of the last alive psychiatrist and so on (because there is a lot more).

The novel skips from a story to the other ones until they have more and more common point until the conclusion; the themes are various, but one – declared by the title of the book itself – is about the fact that sometimes what we believe to be true is not, what we see is sometimes a simulacra, which function is to confuse and reassure us, while the actual power – and our fate – is in other hands.

_______

* The Simulacra by Philip K. Dick – ★★★★☆

*I read this book in English

[ARC] Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson

Standard

Leggi questo articolo in Italiano

In Burning Paradise Earth – or at least a few clever scientists – faces the alien menace: the radiosphere is a giant extraterrestrial colony that behaves like a hive; during 2007 lots of scientists studying it were killed by the simulacra, alien emanations in human form.

Years after that massacre the novel follows two narrative lines: on one hand Cassie, her brother Thomas, Leo and Beth running away from their homes after spotting out a simulacra and on the other one Cassie’s uncles, Nerissa and Ethan, in search of their nephews and of the most updated scientist concerning the alien presence in the radiosphere.

The novel is very fast paced, unfortunately concerning the science fiction elements there are some weak points; the fact that almost no one, since 2007, had made hypothesis on how the aliens create the human simulacra (if the reader knows about science fiction a couple of ideas may come to him), moreover it’s not clear why a war between two alien colonies have to include human beings.

Concerning the plot the ending is quite foreseeable – when it’s clear how the simulacra appear it’s normal to start searching them – and not coherent with the premises about characters and the colony’s way of behaving.

There is a lot of action, but from a good science fiction novel I expect something more.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

_______

* Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson ★★☆☆☆

*I read this book in English

[ARC] Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson

Standard

Read this post in English

In Burning Paradise la Terra – o almeno un certo gruppo di illuminati – affronta la minaccia aliena: la radiosfera in realtà è una gigantesca colonia extraterrestre che ragiona come un formicaio; nel 2007 gran parte degli scienziati che si stavano dedicando al suo studio sono stati sterminati dai simulacri, ovvero propaggini aliene dalla forma umana.

Anni dopo il massacro il romanzo segue due linee di narrazione: da una parte Cassie, suo fratello Thomas, Leo e Beth che fuggono dalla loro casa dopo aver avvistato un simulacro nelle vicinanze e dall’altra gli zii di Cassie, Nerissa ed Ethan, alla ricerca dei nipoti e dello scienziato più dedito allo studio della radiosfera.

Il romanzo ha un ritmo molto incalzante, purtroppo dal punto di vista della componente di fantascienza ho trovato diversi punti deboli; il fatto che nessuno scienziato si sia posto – dal 2007 al tempo della storia – il problema di capire come prendessero forma i simulacri (e se non si è digiuni di fantascienza un paio di idee sul meccanismo possono venire), non si capisce poi perchè la “guerra” tra due colonie aliene debba coinvolgere gli esseri umani.

Dal punto di vista dell’intreccio il finale è abbastanza prevedibile – appena si capisce come si sviluppino i simulacri viene da localizzare quelli in incognito – e poco coerente con le premesse fatte, sia per il carattere dei personaggi che per le modalità di comportamento della colonia.

E’ un gran rincorrersi con molta azione, però da un buon romanzo di fantascienza mi aspetto altri elementi.

Ringrazio l’editore per avermi fornito la copia necessaria per stendere questa recensione.

_______

* Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson ★★☆☆☆

*Ho letto questo libro in Inglese