Notes from a Sci-Fi Newbie on The Leather Library

My latest post on Dune and Solaris is here.

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9 thoughts on “Notes from a Sci-Fi Newbie on The Leather Library

  1. Pairing these two books makes for a very rich analysis! I liked what you brought out about the role of nature in each story. And the mini glossary! I have been watching the new “Cosmos” lately, and your review made me think of the points it makes about the universe. If there are other forms of life out there, they could be vastly different than anything we know. One of the joys of sf is its exploration of questions like this–the truly big questions.
    (I left my comment here because the LL page tried to make me sign in to FB…)

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    • Thanks! I’m thinking for the next, one, Anathem, I’ll definitely have to do a mini glossary. That will be a lot of fun.

      I liked that about Solaris too…the ocean is unknowable, and this could be the case for whatever we encounter in the future. It’s actually a beckoning for deeper philosophical/methodological understanding. Should we just start doing random things like zapping aliens with radiation? Or should we actually think about what would constitute life first? Since they did suppose the ocean was conscious, it makes sense that it should be treated ethically, but this consideration was skipped over very quickly by one character. And what exactly IS communication? (In my mind, they did communicate with the ocean, it’s just that they didn’t recognize that the ocean was speaking through them rather than at them. Of course when it spoke to them, this was sometimes more like a private conversation, which makes outsiders think certain people are simply going crazy.)

      Its themes make clear that we’re talking also about a universal predicament which applies now and always, so the story really operates at different levels. I love that layering.

      The comments section on TLL is kind of strange. If you scroll down further, you’ll see there’s another comment box…a normal one that doesn’t make you sign up on FB. It took me a while to figure that out. But here, there…it doesn’t matter to me. I’ll check them both.

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  2. Nice write ups! Particularly on Dune. (I haven’t read Solaris but you make me want to.) You did a much better job of picking up on Herbert’s foreshadowing than I did when I first read it. You’re also making me consider doing a reread of Dune. It’s been decades since I read the original and I might pick up on all kinds of things my teenage self was oblivious to.

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    • Thanks!

      I think you’ll like Solaris. It’s a very short novel, but jam-packed with interesting ideas.

      I’m sure if you re-read Dune you’ll find it quite different. While I was doing the write-up on these, I re-read a lot of passages and noticed things I hadn’t the first time, and this was after only a few weeks.

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  3. Excellent write up, and neat contrast between the oceans of water and sand! (And the Arrakis desert even has creatures that “swim” in its “ocean.”)

    Dune is definitely one of those rich works that cannot be fully absorbed in a single reading. (I think I’m up to about five or six by now.)

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