A recent Facebook question had me wondering at books that had stuck in my mind. Not necessarily good books, or ones that I liked. Just ones that stuck.
Here are three more that stuck with me, sometimes for reasons unknown, vague, or not all together solid.
Clarke examines the possibility of consciousness in robots through the eyes of a girl/woman. For Cat, the mad scientist’s daughter, there is no question and no hesitation that Finn, a robot acquired by Cat’s father, this is conscious and sentient. Further, she gives it no thought. It just is. Finn comes into Cat’s life when she’s a child, unassuming and sequestered from regular life because of her father’s work. Finn is a constant, and, to her, normal.
I found this book sticking with me because, about halfway through, I realized that Cat was more robot than Finn. It was interesting to view a sentient and “human” robot through the eyes of an unemotional, desensitized human. I find myself every now and again drifting back to this book, it’s content, it’s characters, and how things have changed (or haven’t) since Asimov’s I, Robot. Would I recommend this book? Yes, if only because it’s not what you expect.
I didn’t know this was the third book in a series; there was no mention of it on the blurb or cover. It wasn’t until I was a couple chapters in that I really wanted to know what happened before and consequently figured why I was missing out. (Wide Open [#1] and Deep Down [#2] are the precursors.)
This is an interesting read for a few reasons. It doesn’t read like a fantasy or even speculative fiction. It’s too real. There’s a lot of reality and today in the story between the fantastical stuff. As well, it’s character heavy. There’s a lot of internal dialogue going on, a lot of baggage from before, and a lot of character-driven stuff going on between characters. There’s also no background download. You pick up what information she drops along the way and it ain’t much; you just go with it and ride the story. I finished the book, held it up, and thought, “Not a lot happened plotwise or mythology-wise. But there was 300+ pages of stuff going on. Character stuff. Character arcs, and lots of baggage-sorting via the sparse events.” If you’re not into internal monologues, pass on this book.
This book reminded me of the sense of place developed by Susie Maloney in A Dry Spell. It also reminded me of the mini-series The Lost Room. There are photographs of odd places and “objects” and it’s a twist on today’s reality. “The Lost Room” stuck in my brain because of it’s originality and this book is lodged into the mental bookshelf beside it. Would I recommend this book? The jury’s out; I’ll let you know when I finish the first two!
(As of this post, I have zoomed through the first two. Report: good! Great sense of place.)
I picked this book off a table piled with books during the World Fantasy Convention in 2008. I picked it up because the cover reminded me of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (DON’T PANIC!). It is like HHGG, but only vaguely. Maybe with a side of “Total Recall” (not the original Philip K. Dick version, either). There are some lovely turns of phase, some nifty ideas, but mostly I was just along for the ride, as was the protagonist (I sense a pattern here…..). Again, I would recommend this book because it isn’t what you expect.