Sunday, March 06, 2011

Scott Westerfeld Novels

Scott Westerfeld writes Young Adult scifi and steampunk. Leviathon and Behemoth, his steampunk books, are like a good dessert. Sweet, a bit tangy. Probably not great for you, but hard to put down. They take place at the beginning of World War I between the "Darwinist" and the "Clanker" nations. The Darwinists have transgenic, bioengineered, intergeneic species instead of machines. The Germanic Clankers rely on steam powered mech warriors. Great fun. There is one more book to go in the trilogy.

Pretties Trilogy plus one
Extras is the fourth book in a sci-fi trilogy that had to be inspired by web growth and incorporation in daily life. The other three books tell the exploits of Tally who starts as an "ugly" 15 year old just before her first birthday. In their culture, at 16 citizens get an extreme makeover to become "pretty." Pretties are kinda bubbly - due to surgery induced brain damage. Tally is unique because the surgeries do not seem to hold her back.

In Extras, the main character, Asa, lives in an Asian future city that has a "fame-based" economy. She is a "kicker" - like a blogger or someone that posts to Youtube, with few hits. Kinda like this blog, although if it was ranked against the rest of the net it would be near the very, very bottom. The storyline is OK, but the beauty of the book is the mirror it holds up to the world of the web that is superimposed on everything we do. Just look at how much money the top highest ranked websites (google and facebook) have: Facebook makes $2 BILLION in profits every year!!!

The jargon of the book is viral, very thought-making. Now opening a website or kicking a story on my blog it makes me wonder how our fame economy works and how I want to be part of it - or if I want to drop out and away. Is it enriching our world or debasing it?

1 comment:

Tracy Loewer said...

I'm a huge fan of Scott Westerfeld's, although I haven't read the new series yet. Soon!