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Joined 6 months ago

Casual reader of science fiction, philosophy and political economics

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dgkf's books

reviewed Neuromancer by William Gibson

Neuromancer (2017, Orion Publishing Group, Limited) 4 stars

Neuromancer is a 1984 science fiction novel by American-Canadian writer William Gibson. Considered one of …

The cyberpunk aesthetic, but lacking in substance

2 stars

Had I read Neuromancer upon release I'm sure I would have loved it. But I didn't. I'm reading it years after its legacy has cemented itself as a tone-setting hallmark of the cyberpunk genre. I've seen this story told in movies and games to the point that its world, terminology and themes have been exhausted of what original value they brought to the table.

For its part, Neuromancer has an incredibly detailed, thoughtful backdrop. It is effectively the encyclopedia of cyberpunk tropes. Its language is so evocative that it has become the de facto standard for how dystopian futurism is communicated to this day. If you want to be a tourist in such a world - to experience the voyeurism of a futuristic anti-corporate heist while being roped along in a criminal military-industrial plot - this book is your ticket to that gritty, nihilist amusement ride. In this regard the …

The Lathe of Heaven (1971, Scribner) 4 stars

The Lathe of Heaven is a 1971 science fiction novel by American writer Ursula K. …

A development of medical and societal ethics through the lens of a sci fi thriller

5 stars

A slow-burn psychological thriller that ramps up to a fever pitch while hitting quite a few strong notes along the way.

The Lathe of Heaven is uniquely gripping because its themes seem to morph so fluidly throughout the novel, giving just enough breath to each to offer social commentary while still leaving plenty of air for the reader to ponder the implications. Just to name a few, the book hits on self medication, spiraling into incarceration, medical/psychological research and its ethical implications, weighing ethical responsibilities to individuals against humanity at large, our duty to monitor our unconscious biases and an amnesic fading grasp on reality. Explored in a surrealist fictional present, these topics are provided with enough distance from our real-world understanding to mull them over with fresh eyes.

Of these, I was particularly interested in the ethics of research science as these considerations still ripple through the field of …