Cold War creeping into dying Colonialism (5 stars) It’s hard to grasp that Portugal had African colonies up to the 1970s, when pretty much the entire world had left the Colonial bandwagon and was more preoccupied with the Cold War. While the eyes of the world were on Vietnam, Portugal, one of the poorest countries…

Read More »

Lukewarm conclusion to a great series (3 stars) “There’s a whole new apocrypha out there, really – ghost ships, lost cities…There’s a pathos to it, when you think about it. I mean, every bit of it’s locked into orbit. All of it manmade, known, owned, mapped. Like watching myths take root in a parking lot.”…

Read More »

Seminal cyberpunk (5 stars) Written in 1984, Neuromancer is widely considered one of the seminal classics of cyberpunk, a sci fi subgenre that is pessimistic and dystopic, with themes like the fusion between body and cybernetic technology, corrupt corporations controlling society, hackers and antiheroes. Neuromancer was William Gibson’s first book and the first to get…

Read More »

Military sci fi that transcends the genre (5 stars) The two main military sci fi classics are Starship Troopers and Forever War. While the first is a World War II metaphor, with a somewhat ambiguous message about militarism and even the need of fascism in times of crisis, Joe Haldeman’s book exposes the madness of…

Read More »

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 »