As is often usual, I got some good reading in during the vacation transit time. Here are the books I touched this past "long" week.

  • A Scanner Darkly - Phillip K. Dick's psychodelic book of psychosis and drugs involving the twisted schizophrenic cop narcing on his own undercover drug-using identity. I felt I had to read it as it is the next PKD work up for the Hollywood Chopping Block. I'm not sure what to expect of Richard Linklater (screenplay/direction), but I am frightened of Keanu Reeves taking the emotion out of the main character's dual roles. Charlie Kaufman wrote a screenplay that was not used for the film, and I'm guessing that I'm going to end up unfavorably comparing the film to Kaufman's screenplay.
  • The Man Who Folded Himself - Great, quick read of a man and his travails in time, as he deals with meeting himself (over and over). I'm always a sucker for a good time travel tale.
  • The End of Eternity - Yet another time travel book, this one a classic from Master Asimov. I've always loved reading Isaac Asimov's works. The contrast of End of Eternity to The Man Who Folded Himself was striking and fun, one a light "diary" and the other a complexly plotted "crime novel".
  • Mortal Engines - I finished only about half of this book, but will probably finish the other half relatively shortly. Whereas Asimov and PKD are both "old friends" now, Lem is much more a new friend. I was delighted by The Cyberiad and its whimsical tales of robot life. Mortal Engines was also translated by Kandel, and I found myself nodding when Kandel spoke (in the introduction to Mortal Engines) of how much he enjoyed the "Baron Munchhausen Lem". The first several tales of Mortal Engines are "robot fairy tales", and as with The Cyberiad, I love the poetry and finesse of the language. It is amazing to think that the alliterations, rhythm, rhyme, (bad) puns, and quirky humor was translated from another language. I can only admire both Lem and Kandel's hard work. (I also find it intriguing that Lem and Asimov share both a love for humane robots and humorous word play.)