Science Fiction, when the science is not fictitious

20 januari 2010 | In Uncategorized | Comments?

Around 50 pages before the end of a Richard Powers novel, I pause and hesitate and fret a bit. Once again, I’m heading towards that unenviable state of having nothing by Richard Powers left to read. ”Generosity” is highly recognisable, veering towards the parodically Powerisian (”Powerful”? The New Yorker ought to have a field day setting titles to reviews). On the one hand, there is the Science (this time around: the science of affective enhancement), on the other: the people doing the science, or being affected by the science (Geneticist, Science-reporter,Psychologist, Writing-Class Teacher, Unaccountably Happy Algerian girl). Powers is that rare thing, someone who writes excellently stuff on both topics. The science is a bit pushed aside this time, made redundant by common knowledge perhaps, and there might be something a bit off about some of the characters (the theme of his former book, the Echo Makers, btw), but in the end, the objection just boils down to the fact that it is too short.

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