defrog: (Default)
defrog ([personal profile] defrog) wrote2017-04-30 11:58 pm


Well, I sure didn’t get a lot of reading done this month, did I? Blame it on the fact that I was on the road for the first half of the month, and the fact that I was often too tired at night to do much reading, and I didn’t get much reading done on the flights there and back either.

Oh well, here’s what I have for you.

Mortal EnginesMortal Engines by Stanisław Lem

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an anthology of selected robot stories by Lem that had not yet been translated into English at the time the volume was compiled. Most of them are from Lem’s Fables for Robots, and indeed they’re written as fables – foolish kings, noble knights, duplicitous court advisors, damsels, monsters, quests, etc, but all of them set in robot worlds. There’s also two robot-themed stories featuring two recurring Lem characters (Ijon Tichy, who visits a sanatorium for insane robots, and Pirx the Pilot, who gets roped into a mission to hunt a rogue robot on the loose somewhere on Luna), and a surrealistic story about a shapeshifting insectoid robot assassin that falls in love with its target. It’s all good, really –highly imaginative, satirical and often funny. I like Lem a lot, and I really enjoyed reading this.

Wind/ Pinball: Two NovelsWind/ Pinball: Two Novels by Haruki Murakami

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Technically this should count as two books towards my Reading Challenge, but then Haruki Murakami’s first two novels kind of go together as a single unit – partly because they predate what he considers the start of his pro career with A Wild Sheep Chase, and partly because they both follow the same trio of characters – the nameless narrator, the Rat and bar owner J. What readers make of them may depend on whether they prefer Murakami’s magic realism novels (Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, for example) or his relatively normal novels (like Norwegian Wood). These two are mainly the latter type, and for my money, Pinball, 1973 is the more satisfying of the two, mainly because of the pinball angle (though disappointingly there’s far less pinball than the title suggests). Hear The Wind Sing is alright but it's mostly the narrator and the Rat feeling alienated, drinking beer and talking about pop culture, with a doomed love affair mixed in. It’s hard to be too critical, since he was just starting out, and even then Murakami had style. But I tend to prefer his weirder books, and while Pinball, 1973 offers some surrealism by the third act, it’s such a shift in tone that it seems to come out of nowhere. Overall both books are okay, but I think they work better as bonus tracks than as an introduction to Murakami’s work.

View all my reviews

Sure plays mean pinball,

This is dF