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July Reads: A Month of Sci-Fi

This month, I got as far away from the heat as I could: mentally, at least. What better way to cool off than with some sci-fi escapism?

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham: A sci-fi classic, this short novel explores an apocalypse that brings sudden blindness and killer plants. As good as it is weird.

The Invincible by Stanislaw Lem: I read his better-known Solaris last month, so I had to go back for more. This one wasn't as satisfying since it was more in line with modern tropes (missing star-fleets, dangerous exoplanets), but I did a little digging and found that, well, it was pretty original when he wrote it.

The Cabinet by Kim Un-Su: Um, I'm in love. Cabinet 13 contains the files of people who may not be human at all: a man who has a ginkgo tree growing from his thumb, a woman who lives off gasoline. It's like a existential X-Men that focuses on loneliness, productivity, and personal responsibility. (Side note: This has convinced me to try more Modern Asian Lit. Hurakami, Un-Su, and Myung-hoon all share this introspective voice that I crave more of.)

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes: This is one of those classics that I knew existed but couldn't tell you what it was about. A man with severe cognitive disabilities is enlisted in an experiment to become smarter; the novel focuses on the interplay between personality and intelligence, as well as what makes a person a person, and whether ignorance is truly bliss. I'm Waiting for You by Bo-Young Kim: This is a collection of four stories that weave together to create something magical. The main plot centres around a couple who try to schedule their separate returns to Earth around relativity, so that their age and time match up; the secondary plot is basically a new cosmology myth. Honestly? One of my new favorites.

Upgrade by Blake Crouch: Yet another example of returning to an author I love. I'd recommend starting with Dark Matter if you're new to him. I didn't enjoy this one as much as his typical work (this one is more action packed, almost like a Hulk retelling), but I'll still list him as one of my favorite modern writers.

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhonvsky: Imagine an apocalyptic world where the only remains of civilisation are in a subway station. It's a neat idea, but I hit a stumbling block: since this book later became a video game, that's all I could think about. It felt very action-packed, which is fine, but I don't like feeling like I'm watching something rather than reading.

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