47 ( +1 | -1 ) Chess - based novelsHave you read any novels or stories where chess acts a strong part?
I have read one, i'm not sure how known it is, and i certainly don't know what was it's original name, but it should be something like "Flamic painting" or "painting from Flam". Too, bad, i don't remember the writer's name, but it's a murder mysterion, and art acts a large part in a book. Have someone else read it? what was the writers name? any other good "chess - novels"?
428 ( +1 | -1 ) John BrunnerSquares of the City" (1965), the John Brunner’s “mind game”
by Livio Olivotto
“Squares in the City” isn’t the best Brunner’s work. He will be best remembered for the proto-cyberpunk novel "Shockwave Rider" or the intelligent novel "Stand on Zanzibar". Nervertheless the work is a great example of chess novel, based on a real game.
Hakluyt is an australian architectual genius, who is called to a Aguazul, Latin-American country (the whole designed town piece is eerily reminiscent of places like Canberra and Brasilia). There the City, a planned town designed on paper and built from scratch on a empty piece of land, is going off track. Unplanned slums are sprouting within it's precise design. But Hakluyt is unable to get anything done, with people stalling, acting without instructions or pushing him around. He begins to suspect that a much greater game is afoot ...
This novel is not really science fiction - although it is published by "Fontana Science Fiction". It reads very much like a Graham Green novel - mainly because it is set in a central/south american country. The plot is a complex of political intrigue and blood and guts. The protagonist must feel like he was in a pinball machine. In short, it's tough, clever and very well written.
So it is not really science fiction, but a chess novel that is inspired to a famous game Steinitz-Cigorin, played at Havana on 1892. As the same author explains at the end of the novel, the moves of the game and the pieces of the chess board have the right correspondence with the actions of the novel’s characters (for istance Hakluyt is the White Knight of the king). The only difference is really the Hakluyt’s destiny: he doesn’t die, as in the game, because he discovers the truth. Brunner concludes his note dedicated to “curious reader” with a list about novel’s characters and correspondent pieces.
A well done “mind game” by a great british writer.
John Brunner (1934-1995) - British writer
John Kilian Houston Brunner was born in Oxfordshire on September 24, 1934.
He was an officer in the Royal Air Force, 1953-55. After a few quick employments following the military, John became a professional writer in 1958, augmenting income from Science Fiction novels with song writing and poetry.
When he was children he started his love for SF. "When I was in school, and hadn't much cash to waste on things like science fiction, one of my criteria for buying or not buying a magazine was whether or not it included a Simak, a Sturgeon, an Anderson, or a Leiber".
In his SF novels, Brunner liked to follow social issues and civil rights as society progressed, often writing about the environment or computers, and having definitive views about political systems (finding all flawed).
While Brunner has produced a large number of enjoyable adventure and space opera novels, he is best known for his near-future distopias which, without losing our interest in the plot, warn of the dangers of overpopulation (in Stand on Zanzibar), polution (in The Sheep Look Up), and Information Technology (in the Shockwave Rider, 1975, coined the term "worm" to describe computer viruses), among other things. Other important works included, The Squares of the City, 1969; The Crucible of Time, 1983; and, A Maze of Stars, 1991. To show what it is like to live in these futures, Brunner weaves into the main narrative the unconnected stories of ordinary people.
He was awarded Hugo (1969) and British SF (1970) for Stand on Zanzibar and British SF (1971) for The Jagged Orbit.
He died, aged 60, in Glasgow (Scotland).
“I like to think that most of what I've had published was moderately good, could be read as pleasant entertainment, and occasionally - when all factors were favourable - rated as memorable" (John Killian Houston Brunner)