Dispossessed

I read the Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin. Finally an interesting book! It did have aspects of the socialist utopia that threw me into such a rage last time and it also had a capitalist society fully justified in its own self righteousness. The author actually struck a pretty good balance. Since one has to win in the end there obviously was some thumb on the scales but the argument was not totally one sided.

I also felt that the feel of this sci-fi was timeless. I’m pretty sure it’s modern (yep, 2010) but nothing dated it to now. The technology could have existed in a Asimov book from 1950, but the physics was so much more involved, without going off the deep end like Rainbows End.

It was not perfect, but it was a nice surprise give some of the mediocre sci-fi I’ve had recommended by Audible lately. Also, perfect would have been predictable, and this largely escaped from that crime.

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Ramayana

I listened through the Ramayana. Twice.

It’s not that it was so great I had to enjoy it again, nor was it overly complicated. The best reason was that it was short. It was also enjoyable and the kind of archetype laden story that can be used as the basis of other stories I make up for my boys. A hero so talented he can shoot a tree on the horizon and it blasts trough the 6 trees behind it and then returns to the quiver. A ten headed demon who knows the best way to hurt the hero is to steal the woman he loves. And a monkey warrior who flies and battles mountains for fun.

Only drawback is the ending which is so sad if only because it is considered happy for the audience it was written for a few hundredodd years ago. The woman, though blameless and untouched in her captivity is so ostracized by her husbands people after her rescue that she must not only be banished, but when their twin sons come of age and she is inconvenient, she is swallowed up by the earth for her piety.

But it’s so episodic that you can just stop the story at any point. Say the earth swallowed the ending for being inconvenient, and the family lived happily ever after.