Sci fi meets counterculture (4 stars) A great book of the “psychedelic science fiction” of the 1960s and 1970s. It’s the sci fi of censorial experiences, of questioning reality, conspiracy theories, the nature of identity and dystopic worlds. It was loosely adapted to cinema in Blade Runner, as well as several other works from Philip…

Read More »

The limits of human misery (5 stars) I live in Brazil, a country of great social inequality, but even so the misery and cruelty shown in Behind the Beautiful Forevers is impressive. This work, winner of the 2012’s National Book Award and written by Pulitzer winner Katherine Boo, is the result of three years she…

Read More »

The fragility of machines (3 stars) The attributes of robots that are usually emphasized in fiction are super-human strength, speed and intelligence. That’s why it is curious to find a story that exposes the fragility of machines and their reliance on humans for maintenance. The Alchemy of Stone is set in a steampunk city on…

Read More »

A king whom emperors have served (3 stars) Originally published in 1895, The King in Yellow is a supernatural horror classic. It has a series of short stories that involve in some way a mysterious character and play called the King in Yellow. The first part of the play is banal and mediocre, but the…

Read More »

A hive mind space opera (3 stars) Ancillary Justice is a space opera about an artificial intelligence that lives divided between an ancient spaceship and several modified bodies, the ancillaries. The perspective of this character – that has many names, but not to spoil anything let’s call him Breq – is very well constructed. Breq…

Read More »

An uneven compendium of the strangest side of science (3 stars) Elephants on Acid is a collection of some of the most bizarre, curious and plain cruel experiments executed in the name of science. Among them, the LSD induced elephant of the title, Russian two-headed dogs, monkey head transplants, sleep deprivation, monkeys brought up as…

Read More »