Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins caught my attention quickly and held it fast throughout the rest of the book. The cliffhanger ending prompted me to buy the next two books without thinking twice.

A book like this makes you think about your situation as it is today and the direction everything is going. It is clearly set in a futuristic United States, but it's no future any of us (hopefully) would ever want. It has a corrupt government in every sense of the word. People nowadays may not be happy with the way things are going, but at least we aren't publicly whipped or shot if we want to speak out against things that are happening. We still have so many freedoms that The Hunger Games shows us we should be thankful for.

Who could live in a world where "games" are held every year pitting people–teenagers–against each other in a battle for their lives? Aside from that there is a constant fear of starvation or a fear of things getting worse than they already are, though that is hard to imagine. This government has torturous ways of dealing with difficulties that keeps everyone terrified.

One girl, a hunter who just wants to keep her family alive, especially her little sister, is faced with what she considers no choice. She enters the hunger games to save her sister from having to go. This sacrifice leads her down a road she can't turn away from. Her hunting skills and ability to out-think her opponents–and the government–are the only things keeping her alive. For now. But will the government let her truly win the games?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I, Robot

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov is compiled of several short stories with one similar character in the form of a robopsychologist, Susan Calvin. It subtly implies robots can make choices and put the lives of humans in their own hands. Eventually, the robots will have greater memory functions than humans and will be able to handle any situation unless the harm or death of a human comes into play. Would the world be a better place if we all followed the three laws of robotics Asimov created for this novel?
  1. One may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. One must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. One must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Of course, it is easier for robots to follow these laws than it ever would be for humans. They have it programmed into their systems. Technically, a moral human being would follow these as well, but we still have things like wars in the world because there isn't something strong enough embedded into all of our systems to tell us not to harm humans.

These stories about robots and their interactions with humans gives you a lot to think about. How would you handle a situation where there was a mind-reading robot that messed with your mind because he didn't know better? Or if there was a robot who believed a piece of machinery created him and served this machine as a master instead of following your orders? Is this our future if we continue our research in robotics?

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown is another thrill-seeking adventure steeped in the history of Washington D.C. with religious and scientific implications. Throughout this novel you learn a lot about the Masonic society that has been shrouded in mystery while also learning more about our country's capital than you've probably ever learned in your history classes.

Robert Langdon is back for another wild tale, this time set in just one evening/early morning. Langdon is put through a series of tests and trials in order to decipher a code for a maniac holding one of his dear friends captive. Twists and turns throughout the plot keep this story moving at a fairly rapid pace. It was difficult to put the book down and it was very easy to get through large chunks of it in one sitting.

It not only tests your knowledge of history and Langdon's knowledge of ancient texts and codes, but also brings about interesting revelations that will keep you pondering their implications long after you've finished the novel. If you like rollercoaster-like books, this one's for you!