Posts from April 2018

  • Review: Flowers for Algernon

    Review of Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (9781857989380)★★★★★ #books (https://b-ark.ca/aceg_m)

    When brain surgery makes a mouse into a genius, dull-witted Charlie Gordon wonders if it might also work for him. With more than five million copies sold, Flowers for Algernon is the beloved, classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance, until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie? An American classic that inspired the award-winning movie Charly.

    I was pretty sure I knew how this book was going to end when I started it, but that didn’t stop it from breaking my heart.

    This is the book I would hand to someone who was new to Science Fiction. Beautiful, insightful, and incredibly powerful.

    Update (2020-02-26):

    I’m writing this long long after originally writing this sparse little review. Two years after reading this book, it continues to haunt me as one of the most emotionally powerful, affecting books I’ve ever read. I suspect if I read the last page or two, I’d start crying once again (after the original read I was sobbing uncontrollably). This book is truly remarkable.

  • Review: Going Postal

    Review of Going Postal (Discworld #33.0) by Terry Pratchett (9780060502935)★★★★ #books (https://b-ark.ca/_UMkgW)

    Suddenly, condemned arch-swindler Moist von Lipwig found himself with a noose around his neck and dropping through a trapdoor into ... a government job?

    By all rights, Moist should be meeting his maker rather than being offered a position as Postmaster by Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork. Getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again, however, may prove an impossible task, what with literally mountains of decades-old undelivered mail clogging every nook and cranny of the broken-down post office. Worse still, Moist could swear the mail is talking to him. Worst of all, it means taking on the gargantuan, greedy Grand Trunk clacks communication monopoly and its bloodthirsty piratical headman. But if the bold and undoable are what's called for, Moist's the man for the job -- to move the mail, continue breathing, get the girl, and specially deliver that invaluable commodity that every being, human or otherwise, requires: hope.

    Who knew a book about starting up a post office could be so enjoyable! While not one of my favourite in the Discworld, Pratchett still cuts deep with his satire, taking hard shots at short-sighted corporations, ruthless financiers, and, randomly, naturopathy.