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Book Blog

May 23, 2021

Wizard (Review)

he second book of the Gaea Trilogy, the mid-point of the sprawling saga about this huge space-going alien with a world inside her. And now the world is at war. Cirocco Jones, the Captain of the wrecked exploration ship to Saturn and stairmaster of the greatest uphill climb the world has ever seen, has confronted Gaea, the God of this spinning hub, and accepted the job as Wizard. It seemed like a good idea at the time – it sounded like some sort of roving repair woman – it turn turned out to have consequences. Like, one big one – […]
May 16, 2021

Titan (Review)

ell, blogkids, after spending a couple of weeks reading meh books from the 70s, I finally turned away from the used bookshop piles and pulled something off my favorites shelf. And there it was, one of my old beloveds from my VPI college days, John Varley’s Titan. Okay, so Titan begins with a deep space mission to Saturn with a handful of astronauts. As they near the ringed planet, they discover a body never glimpsed before, a pinwheel-shaped form slowly spinning in its orbit, the radar returns indicating it as hollow, filled with air and life and obviously artificial. It […]
May 2, 2021

Becoming Alien (Review)

omeone once told me that Star Trek: Voyagers was essentially “Star Trek for Women”. I suppose I’d have to agree. Not weighing in on that series (I’ve heard a lot of gripes about it), I’m actually focusing on the novel Becoming Alien, by Rebecca Ore. This is another one of my Used Bookstore finds, another one that came from 1988. So, Tom lives in poverty in a backwoods farm with his brother Warren. Parents dead, the chickens just not making the revenue, the brothers turn to drug manufacturing. And during this time a strange alien vessel crashes in the woods […]
April 25, 2021

Hurricane Claude (Review)

ack before writers wrote to fulfill publishing needs, when they just wrote stories and submitted them to publishers and magazines in manila envelopes, writers ended up with all sorts of story-chunks, from a million words to a couple of hundred. And publishers, trying to fill a potential book, had to dip into a writer’s backups to get enough to flush out a paperback. That seems to be the case with the short story Hurricane Claude, which showed up as a 45 rpm flip side in Steam Bird (which I reviewed HERE). This story was actually quite good. Oh, there were […]
April 11, 2021

Hey Nostradamus! (Review)

rom the brilliant cultural writer Douglas Coupland comes this (as always) social commentary of the cheap-landscapes and aimless-times we live in (you might remember him from his breakout work, Generation X, the book which defined that term decades ago). As always, he’s a good writer to produce a book you can curl around when you feel the world is tragic, stupid and pointless. So Hey Nostradamus! is told from the points of view of four primary characters. And they are: Cheryl, in 1988, a young high school girl who is comfortably religious, a member of a group of high school […]
April 4, 2021

Dirty John (Review)

irst, I’ll say that I have no idea where this book came from. I was going through my read-stack and there it was, as if some literary hopeful planted it there (I really don’t think the Blogatorum has that sort of pull, but who knows). Maybe I got it out of one of those curb-side libraries. But if you gave it to me, thanks! I really enjoyed it. So let’s get into why I enjoyed it. Dirty John is a collection of short pieces by Journalist Christopher Goffard, interviews involving “true stories of outlaws and outsiders”. And, as he says […]
March 28, 2021

Steam Bird (Review)

ell, this one jolted me in surprise – written in the mid-eighties by Hilbert Schenck, who worked on feasibility studies for the USAF for a nuclear-powered bomber (impractical, given that conventional bombers could do the job easier, cleaner, and didn’t radiate like the bombs they’d just dropped when they returned home). Anyway, what caught me is that the story opens in a model train operations session (where, before Digital Command Control, they are using “microcomputers” (whatever that means in 1985) to simulate how steam engines work in their session). Overall, I really enjoyed the tension and repartee most sessions have. […]
March 21, 2021

The Flag Captain (Review)

ulled this one of my late father’s shelf, one of those 1979 age-of-sail swashbucklers written by the great Alexander Kent. Just one from the shelf run by the same author, a tale of his hero, (now Flag Captain) Richard Bolitho, facing the events of The Great Mutiny. See, I thought we were talking India, but no, this was apparently a massive mutiny that swept the Royal Navy at the time. It came as a poke in the eye to captains and their belief in rule by rank, that they could beat and punish anyone they damn well pleased. Concessions were […]
March 15, 2021

Pirates’ Hope (Review)

his week, I continue with my crush through dusty old books. This time, a modern day adventure (modern day if you are thinking of the early 1900s). But the book Pirates’ Hope followed very close to the trail of Treasure Island – an island, a band of desperate heroes, and a group of horrid buccaneers. So how did we get to this point? It seems Bonteck Van Dyck is one of the idle rich. He’s got everything. Further, he’s a skilled football player and a leader of men. Being who he is, he approaches his old college chum Dick Preble […]
March 7, 2021

The Hollow Needle (Review)

he Hollow Needle; Further Adventures of Arsene Lupin: how could I miss? Spotted this while pulling the original book from Project Gutenberg (which I rather enjoyed). And I’ve heard this is one of his most famous episodes. So here, again, we have a crime that takes place – several men invade the palatial home of the Comte de Gesvres. While his daughter Suzanne seems rather useless, her cousin Raymonde, a more practical girl, spots one of the fleeing thieves from the balcony, picks up a rifle from a trophy case (it appears it is kept loaded, bad gun safety there), […]