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Wiadomości - Chris J.

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Forum in English / Re: Game Over Theory [Review of Fiasco]
« dnia: Marzec 24, 2011, 02:35:27 pm »
Thanks to everyone who voted! I was a bit apprehensive about submitting it because I'm not a very good writer. This definitely made my week! :)

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Forum in English / Game Over Theory [Review of Fiasco]
« dnia: Styczeń 31, 2011, 04:46:09 am »
Hi everyone! My first post here is a review of one of my all time favorites!

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Game Over Theory (Review of Fiasco)

The idea that Mr. Spock could be a cross between a human being and a life form independently evolved on the planet Vulcan is genetically far less probable than a successful cross of a man and an artichoke. – Carl Sagan

If science fiction doesn’t make you uncomfortable, then it is not doing its job. If I close a book or turn off a movie without some sense of unease, I feel cheated. More often than not, seemingly bizarre deus ex machina plot lines suddenly weave themselves into center stage in order to allow the protagonists to come out victorious over a threat that should have logically defeated them (Take The Night’s Dawn trilogy for example – which was otherwise a great series!) Fiasco was the first book of its kind that I had ever read and, to say that it had an impact on me is a complete understatement. For the first time in my life, I finally encountered a book that critically examines what exactly it is that drives us to do what we do.

The crew of the Hermes begins, innocently enough, studying the culture, technology and motives of a species of alien simply called the Quintins. And just as I have used human words to describe to describe aspects of an alien society, so does the crew apply an (unavoidable) anthropomorphic slant to their questions and answers. This mostly manifests itself in the form of game theory – an area of mathematics used to describe the cost and benefit relationship of actions when applied to two warring groups of sentient creatures. The group of scientists, not until it is much too late realizes the error in their assumptions.

While the main focus of the novel deals with the futility of communicating with aliens, to say that that is all to it would do a huge disservice Mr. Lem’s mind-blowing imagination. Even after many years between re-reads, there are parts of this novel that have never left my head: Parvis’s adventure on Titan and subsequent struggle of what is left of him to find an identity, the story of the termite mound (Which is actually much more important than it first seems!) and descriptions of Quinta and the aliens that inhabit it. After reading literally hundreds of science fiction books, I can honestly say that none of them have ever drawn me in to the extent that Fiasco has and made me not only ponder what is Out There, but what would go on in my head were I in the same situation as the crew of the Hermes.

Written by: Chris Jackson

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