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Book Blog

June 27, 2021

The Librarian of Auschwitz (Review)

‘ll admit I watch Handmaidens Tale and The Man in the High Castle, stories of fascism and purging that comes to our own United States. And always, as I see the political hero worshiping and the insurrection of January 6th, I think Yes, it could happen here. But that’s still only a possibility, of course, a worst-case fantasy. But if you really want to know what it’s like, and what this powder keg near which our own monkeys play with their matches, The Librarian of Auschwitz gives you a full, total accounting of a state gone mad. This is the […]
June 20, 2021

The Glass Teat (Review)

nother one of those lucky finds in a curb-side library, both books of Harland Ellison’s TV reviews that he wrote while on the staff of the Los Angles Free Press in 1968. It was meant to be a review of what was on the tube each week in the LA area. What it became was a radical criticism in the age leading up to the fall of Nixon. I lived though that time (I was ten) and living (I believe) somewhere in California. Life was nice with brown hills and humming power lines. The sounds from my parent’s TV during […]
June 13, 2021

Demon (Review)

nd now we are at the third and final book of the Gaea Trilogy, Demon, the last of John Varley’s famous scifi work from the late seventies/early eighties. I’ve brought you Titan and Wizard, and now this. So Cirocco Jones, one time space captain, one time wizard for the floating bio-wheel Gaea, has finally gotten herself cleaned up and back on the rails. And Gaea, living goddess, she is descending into madness, now taking on the role of a fifty-foot tall model of Marilyn Monroe. Yes, it’s come down to this. Gaea now lives in a fortified film lot, Pandemonium, […]
June 6, 2021

The Virginia Creeper (Review)

kay, so some of you are thinking that this is pretty strange, that I’m reviewing something that sounds like a gothic horror story. Nah, it’s just railroading, so it does make sense. See, my sister provoked my mom and I to ride the bike trail that follows the old roadbed of the Virginia-Carolina (or VC, hence the nickname “Virginia Creeper”) a couple of weeks back. The ride is a thrilling one, coming down from Whitetop, flying down a 3% grade across some significant bridges, following the river through thick woods and lush valleys, all the way down to the town […]
May 30, 2021

Captain From Castile (Review)

ere’s one that I’ve read before (and enjoyed) and have now reread (and enjoyed even more) – Captain From Castile by Samuel Shellabarger. It was written in the mid 40s and a big hit back then. Of course, here’s the caveat for this – occasionally it is a bit racist (in the faintest of ways). It carries a bit of white man’s burden (where whites are given the task of civilizing everyone, and the Aztecs are stone age barbarians). Fortunately his value-judgements don’t happen often and are just minor stones in the road of a crackling good novel. You read […]
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 […]