In 1934, an African-American doctor invented a surgical procedure that allowed black people to become white (specially, Nordic) in all respects. Black No More, Incorporated, became a highly profitable business, and the people of world were forever changed.
Such is the premise of George S. Schuyler’s Black No More. It caught my eye because of the science fiction/dystopian aspect. I don’t normally read science fiction, but to come across a Harlem Renaissance science fiction novel seemed so far out of the norm for that decade of African-American literature that it intrigued me.
I know I missed a lot of the humor of the era because of my unfamiliarity with most of the characters of the Renaissance. The novel’s pacing, characterization, and development also had plenty of flaws. But overall I loved the issues it raised about self image and society. It reminded me of issues today, especially the world’s obsession with body image. Today we have plastic surgery and liposuction to attempt to make everyone alike the world. (more…)
I did not like being a teenager. Particularly ages 13 through 17. I was awkward. I was easily embarrassed. I was unpopular (or so I thought). I was nerdy. I was shy. I felt powerless. I wanted to be someone, and I was stuck just being me.
I suppose that’s why I’ve always avoided reading Young Adult fiction: why would I want to relive those years in a novel?
Because my goal for July was to go out of my comfort zone, I picked up the YA fantasy/science fiction novel Uglies by Scott Westerfeld despite my reservations. My goal this month has been to try something new in various genres. I’m glad I did: Uglies was very good. I can’t say I loved it, but I’m immensely glad I read it. I probably shouldn’t avoid the YA moniker as I have in the past. (more…)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley on the 101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers list, and I know I’ve seen it on many other “must-read” lists. I never read it in high school when many people apparently did, so I thought I should give it a go now. But I just cannot.
I’ve listened to three chapters of the audiobook, and I have yet to meet a solid, identifiable character. The dialog is forced and the setting is an unrecognizable scene many hundred years in the future. Huxley has spent three chapters “telling” me about the setting and characters. Thus far, it reminds me very much of Foundation by Isaac Asimov, which I disliked when I read it a few months ago. (more…)
When I mentioned at the beginning of the month that I don’t like science fiction, someone reminded me that “dystopias” are a type of science fiction. Since I have enjoyed the few dystopias I’ve read, I thought I should continue to give the genre a try.
In response to my post about Anthem, Stewart suggested I try We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, which was written in the 1920s and was, essentially, the first dystopian novel. I enjoyed We and I can see how it was the first of many: all others that I’ve read do seem to echo it. I’m glad I read it. But I didn’t love reading We. To me it seemed overly “scientific” and political, and it was rather depressing overall. I suspect many books about dystopian societies are sad, but this one didn’t grasp me as others have. (more…)
For the Try Something New Mini-Challenge as part of the Dewey’s Books Challenge, Jackie from Farm Lane Books and I teamed up to read something a little bit out of our comfort zone. We chose to read science fiction, a genre neither of us is completely comfortable with. Our choice was Isaac Asimov’s Foundation. (more…)