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M_Emrys has commented on (9) products.

Ubik by Philip K. Dick

M_Emrys, June 13, 2009

Life turns upside-down for Joe Chip and 11 of his coworkers when they escape the aftermath of a bomb blast with the corpse of their employer. Various temporal and paranormal phenomena begin manifesting themselves, the cause of which is a mystery - and their lives may depend on solving that mystery.

Ubik is rather confusing, but in this case, to say that is actually to pay it a compliment. It's one of Dick's best novels, a highly enjoyable tale of distorted reality and bizarre metaphysics, by the end of which, Dick clears up the confusion and brings the story to a satisfying conclusion - until, that is, he throws another curveball in the final chapter.
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Elric: The Stealer of Souls (Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melnibone #01) by Michael Moorcock
Elric: The Stealer of Souls (Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melnibone #01)

M_Emrys, May 30, 2009

Elric, the brooding, self-loathing albino anti-hero who must rely on drugs and a vampiric sword for strength, has earned his status as the most well-loved of Moorcock's characters. Stealer of Souls is the first - and thus far, best - installment in an authoritative series of Elric reprints and related material. The seminal Elric stories, reprinted in the first half of this book, are enjoyable if disjointed, and a must have for any fan of Moorcock; however, Stormbringer, reprinted in the second half, is the most essential part of the Elric saga. Stormbringer is an epic sword-and-sorcery classic.
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The Philip K. Dick Reader by Philip K Dick
The Philip K. Dick Reader

M_Emrys, May 30, 2009

Dick is a master of paranoia and of creating cleverly bizarre situations. His short stories tend to be better than his novels, and for the uninitiated, this is an excellent starting point.
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Majestrum: A Tale of Henghis Hapthorn by Matthew Hughes
Majestrum: A Tale of Henghis Hapthorn

M_Emrys, May 4, 2009

The first full-length Henghis Hapthorn novel, following the events of The Gist Hunter and Other Stories, finds the discriminator (as private investigators are known in the Archonate universe) faced with the unpleasant reality that reality is not what he always thought it to be: logical. The influence of the laws of science and logic is slowly but inexorably waning in favor of the ascending power of sympathetic association (magic). Meanwhile, the Archon has hired Hapthorn to investigate the theft of fragments of an old statue and the related murder of a man from whose body every muscle has been mysteriously removed without leaving a wound.

Matthew Hughes is, as far as I'm concerned, the greatest author of fantasy and science fiction, and this is a fine example of his work. As many critics have pointed out, his novels are derivative of Jack Vance's Dying Earth series; this is not, as some would have it, a strike against him. Matthew Hughes may be similarly loquacious and ironic - which is definitely a good thing - but he is unique in his own right, and the compelling plot of Majestrum is utterly unlike anything that transpired in Dying Earth.

Majestrum does refer back to Fools Errant, Fool Me Twice, and The Gist Hunter and Other Stories - all of which are also recommended, especially Fools Errant - but while it is advisable to read them first, it is not necessary.
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Tales of the Dying Earth: Including 'The Dying Earth, ' 'The Eyes of the Overworld, ' 'Cugel's Saga, ' and 'Rhialto the Marvellous' by Jack Vance
Tales of the Dying Earth: Including 'The Dying Earth, ' 'The Eyes of the Overworld, ' 'Cugel's Saga, ' and 'Rhialto the Marvellous'

M_Emrys, May 3, 2009

Jack Vance is a technically talented author whose writings are characterized by verbosity and wit. Indeed, if the stories were as good as the writing itself, The Dying Earth would be a classic. Instead, it is a random assortment of short stories that suffer from a lack of interesting plots and characters.

Fortunately, Eyes of the Overworld and Cugel's Saga (volumes 2 and 3 of this Dying Earth omnibus), are a major improvement. Cugel, the anti-hero of the aforementioned, is a memorable character whose entertaining exploits make this collection worth reading. His quest for petty revenge may not seem like a great premise, but the episodes leading up to said revenge are highly enjoyable and paint a well-realized picture of the dying earth on which these stories are set. Together with the less easily recommendable The Dying Earth and Rhialto the Marvellous, they are an excellent introduction to an author who quite deservedly earned the title of Grand Master from Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
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