Last week, Ryan posted a spoiler-free review of Ernest Cline’s second novel, Armada. Now, Ryan is on-record of being a big fan of Cline’s first novel, Ready Player One. Seriously, you don’t have to go beyond the first paragraph of that linked review to see it’s either his favorite or second favorite book depending on his mood. Now me, I enjoyed Ready Player One for the most part, but not being as enamored with the 80s as the author appeared to be, it didn’t do as much for me as it did for Ryan and the other podcaster types. Besides, I hate nostalgia.
I have since finished Armada myself and we here at Gabbing Geek are not above having multiple reviews of the same thing by different writers.
So, here’s my review for Armada. SPOILERS after the cut.
This week on the podcast there was a lot of revisiting. The guys and Jenny rewatched Close Encounters of the Third Kind and at least pretended to reread Ready Player One. I couldn’t do the first since I loaned my DVD to a co-worker trying to give her son a geek pop culture education, which I have to approve of. As for Ready Player One, I am on-record for saying that while I did enjoy the book, I wasn’t the huge fan of it that Ryan at least is, since I don’t generally go for nostalgia, particularly 80s nostalgia. I lived through those years once and very much believe in living in the now. A pop culture world that stopped in 1989 is pretty sad in my opinion.
Most superheroes at some point deal with aliens. Heck, many of them are aliens. I’m looking at you, Superman. The same holds true for science fiction that goes into space in any way, shape, or form. In fact, space-based sci-fi that completely omits aliens might be more noteworthy than the ones that include them. Aliens have a tendency to be silly at times when they aren’t handled right, and it is way too easy to not handle them right. Glue a forehead ridge on an actor, give him a couple of odd quirks, and then call it a day.
Aliens in fiction offer too much of an opportunity to really stretch a creator’s creativity. It is easy to see why so many would look down on aliens, so let’s consider some of the more successful attempts to create otherworldly races and cultures.
This week’s Gabbing Geek podcast had, among other discussions, a ranking of Steven Spielberg’s science fiction movies, without counting anything with Indiana Jones. Now, if this were the days before I wrote for their cite, I would be sending them an e-mail with my thoughts on the subject.
But now I write for them and can just post it directly here. And man, do I have room to disagree with them this week!