Well, apparently I'm doing book reviews now. Never thought I'd ever be the one doing the reviewing, but I guess the time has come to weigh in on some of what I'm currently pouring into my brain.
I recently read Childhood's End, a classic science fiction by Arthur C. Clarke. This snappy little book hearkens back to an era when sci-fi was dark, brooding, and taught lessons with every ending. Stories were set in truly alien world and conveyed a strong sense of the unknown. This little gem is a perfect example of the height of such work.
Mr. Clarke's style is refreshingly old-fashioned, with huge blocks of exposition separating chunks of rambling dialogue. Don't get me wrong, Clarke isn't the easiest author to read, but his work is honest, imaginative, and full of exciting twists and turns that force readers to take a hard look at where we are in this world, and who we are in relation to the akashic, cosmic unknown.
As a writer, I think this book will help to enrich my sense of sub-plots. The main plot of Childhood's End is primarily moved along by the numerous sub-plots that take the readers through the three stages of the book. Each portion of the novel revolves around one or two minor plots, happenings of the ever-advancing timeline, and the effect creates a cascading story whose ending crashes together with a grace that must be unique to classic Arthur C. Clarke.
On the whole, I'd put this novel on the suggested reading list for any speculative fiction writer. It's an excellent trip through a future-world that only an author of that classic past could imagine.
-E. St. Sinn