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Book Blog

June 12, 2016

The Republic (Review)

kay, first things first, Mr. Plato – if you are going to assign a guardian class to your dream city, one which scouts and trains its next generation, one that continues without any input from the people rules, it isn’t a republic – it’s an aristocracy. And screw you for what you said about astronomers. Yes, I know that The Republic is supposed to be one of the major philosophic works, one that turns men on their mental ears and all that. But it didn’t work for me. Two much of it was Socrates leading his pet fanboy Glaucoma through […]
June 5, 2016

The Day of the Star Cities (Review)

needed a break from my long slog through The Republic (“Do you think that a book that goes so long, and is so pedant, can hold your attention?” “Of course I do, oh Great Socrates!”). Picked this one up in a Maya’s raid, a thin scifi (154 pages), and it would make for a nice intermission. So, things on this future Earth (as seen in the 60s, when this was written) ain’t so hot. Aliens have arrived, ones we’ve never set eyes on except for their five great ships. When they show up, all of our nuclear stockpiles and weapons […]
May 29, 2016

Toomai of the Elephants (Review)

suppose that not many are in the Indian space that I’m in while I read this. I’m just back from two weeks in the sub-continent. And I’m in the break room at work. Indians chat in Hindi to each to each other. The spicy scent of their food drifts over me. So, what better place than to read of Little Toomai, the son of a mahout, from a long line of them. His great grandfather was the one who help capture and break the grand elephant Kala Nag (“Black Snake”), a huge, wise elephant in service for proud decades. While […]
May 22, 2016

Industrial Revolution (Review)

was trapped. Lunch had fallen through (nothing else planned) and the doctor’s office called and said they could reschedule for today (always a wait there). Didn’t have my book. Didn’t have my tinytop. I’d have a couple of hours to kill and nothing to kill it with. I was entertainically unarmed. Thank you, Project Gutenberg. Hopped in and opened up Amazing or Astounding or something, downloaded it to my work computer, then stripped out a thirty page story. This I dumped into word, reformatted it and printed it into fifteen double-sided pages. And I was good to go. So, yeah, […]
May 15, 2016

War Dogs (Review)

like when scifi is realistic and sciency. It’s one thing to have space marines drop on a planet on the edge of the galaxy with technology we barely understand. It’s another when they are dropping with crude tech from maybe a hundred years in the future, down onto Mars, that planet next door over. Like The Martian, it takes place mostly on Mars, everything is screwed up (do Marines ever drop and it goes well?). But unlike all those other books you’ve read, likely with scary bugs or elvin forest creatures, this one is about all sorts of crazy situations. […]
May 8, 2016

Rikki-tikki-tavi (Review)

veryone has a dream pet. And regardless of if it’s got fur, fins, scales or lots of creepy legs, it’s gotta have one thing: loyalty. Teddy finds a half-drowned mongoose out near a stream and proposes a funeral for it, but his mother (happily) suggests they dry it and feed it. Given that they have only just arrived in India from England and moved into a recently empty bungalow, this proves to be a good idea given the fact that there as a couple of cobras living in a hole in the garden, and thirty-plus eggs warming up to hatch […]
May 1, 2016

The Historian (Review)

he Historian is a strange little (actually, quite big) novel, one that wanders through many voices (in the form of a father’s letters, a mother’s postcards, old love letters, even doomed scrawlings secured in a crypt) to eventually get around to telling a story horrifying in nature and long in telling. Look, don’t get me wrong – it’s a good read but it’s long in the effort. If you think you’re going to know what’s happening any time soon, you’ve another thing coming. Without giving too much away, we begin the story with the unnamed daughter of a gun-for-hire (it […]
April 24, 2016

The Jungle Book (Review)

o this isn’t your Disneyland version of The Jungle Book. It starts a couple of degrees off. In the film, young Mowgli is orphaned in what looks like a high-speed canoe crash. Bagheera the panther takes pity on the young creature and dumps him with a wolf pack. And that’s what makes him a wild boy. In the book, Shere Khan (who doesn’t show up until the final reel in the flick) is a lame tiger who is not urbanely deadly, but rather a limping posturing loser. When he attacks Mowgli’s woodcutter parents, he accidently leaps into the fire. The […]
April 17, 2016

The Big Over Easy (Review)

wasn’t sure what to make of this at first (an omelette?). Loaned to me after a book chat between adjacent modeling projects at the train club, I looked into this English satiricalists with a slight unease. Humor works differently. I can only point back to War of the Worlds: Plus Blood and Guts and Zombies to illustrate where it doesn’t for certain people. The Big Over Easy follows Detective Inspector Jack Spratt of the Nursery Crime Division (see, what are you thinking, right now?). He’s a not-so-successful copper, having just seen his long case against the three pigs for the […]
April 10, 2016

Beachhead (Review)

t’s unfair to contrast Jack Williamson’s Beachhead against the phenomenal The Martian. Yes, they both involve the abandonment of one or more people against a two-year mission window, a desperate effort of survival. And Mark Watney is more of a likable wisecracker than the driven Texan billionaires’ son, Sam Houston Kellingan (who spends much of the book feeling bad about not getting one of the women sharing his mission, abandoning another woman in Texas (with child, it would seem) and ignoring another mission chum, a sweet puppydog. And then there are father issues, mother issues, brother issues. No wonder he […]