Blogs about novels and literature in general

The Green Brain by Frank Herbert

The novel “The Green Brain” by Frank Herbert was published for the first time in 1966. It’s the expanded version of a novelette titled “Greenslaves” published in 1965 in the magazine “Amazing Stories”.

To try to remedy the overpopulation, nations such as China and Brazil are looking to expand their habitable areas in the jungle. Among the work needed there’s the total elimination of insects with actual weapons but that causes a series of unexpected consequences.

Joao Martinho and his team are supposed to clean up an area of ​​Mato Grosso in Brazil but are hampered by insects that seem immune to elimination attempts. Giant insect sightings seem just nonsense or fraud but even the assistance of the Chinese scientist Chen-Lhu and entomologist Rhin Kelly bring no progress. The insects seem to be under the control of an intelligence but who or what can it be?

If the Stars Are Gods by Gregory Benford and Gordon Eklund (Italian edition)

The novel “If the Stars Are Gods” by Gregory Benford and Gordon Eklund was published for the first time in 1977. It’s a fix-up of stories published in previous years.

Bradley Reynolds already has experience with space missions that have scientific purposes including the search for alien life forms in the solar system. The arrival from outer space of an alien spacecraft forces him to a different mission because he has to understand the way of thinking of beings who think that the stars are gods and speak to them.

After that experience, Bradley Reynolds retires to private life but after many years is called when an alien message is picked up. The search for the meaning of that message brings him to a space station in orbit around Jupiter in a situation made complex also by what happens on Earth.

George Alec Effinger was born on January 10, 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. The greatest successes came for George Alec Effinger in the ’80s, particularly the Marîd Audran series, with the protagonist who operates in the Budayeen, a district in a Middle Eastern city heavily inspired by the New Orleans French Quarter with plenty of transsexuals, transvestites and more. The stories also have strong cyberpunk influences with characters that have cybernetic implants of various kinds.
Throughout his life George Alec Effinger suffered serious health problems that in the ’90s became too serious for him to continue with his work as a writer. The growth of medical costs led him at one point to his inability to pay for the cures. One of the gastric ulcers he suffered from caused an internal bleeding which caused his death on April 27, 2002.

Planesrunner by Ian McDonald (Italian edition)

The novel “Planesrunner” by Ian McDonald was published for the first time in 2012. It’s the first book in the Everness series.

Everett Singh goes to meet his father but only manages to see him while he’s kidnapped in a very swift action. The boy can only take a few photos with his cell phone of the car used to carry away his father, not enough to convince the cops, also because Tejendra Singh is a theoretical physicist, he doesn’t work in the field of atomic energy or other sensitive research.

Disheartened by the skepticism of the police and his mother, Everett tries to analyze on his own the photos he took. While he’s trying to figure out what anyone might want from a physicist who’s working in a research on parallel universes, he finds on his computer a message programmed by his father. What’s the mysterious infundibulum he sent him?

The Arrows of Time by Greg Egan

The novel “The Arrows of Time” by Greg Egan was published for the first time in 2013. It’s the third book in the Orthogonal trilogy and is the sequel of “The Eternal Flame”.

The generation starship Peerless is traveling through space in search of a technology that can save its crew’s homeworld taking advantage of the fact that on the starship time flows differently than the planet. However, after some generations, some people are not interested in working to save a world they have never even seen.

The many scientific and technological advances have also led to profound social changes, not without problems. When an instrument that allows to communicate with the future is created, the reactions are very different. It’s decided to put its use to vote but there are those who want to prevent that possibility by any means.