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Book Blog

December 20, 2020

The Vagrant (Review)

kay, so the hero is a kickass silent man, with a cloak and a magic sword with an angry blinking eye in its hilt. And under that cloak, he’s toting a baby. And to feed the baby, he’s hauling a goat, an angry bitch that kicks and bites with attitude, the perfect sidekick for laughs. The only thing it hasn’t got is Eddie Murphy doing its voice. But that’s the trick Peter Newman set up – a party in which nobody speaks. Oh, eventually they pick up someone who can actually talk but until then, it’s all nuanced gestures and […]
December 13, 2020

Diamond Sam (Review)

ince I’m still deep in another book, I met this week’s deadline by peeking into the next story in my Sam Gunn Omnibus, a collection by the recently-late Ben Bova. This time, it was Diamond Sam. So the collection continues with Jade, a young girl attempting to make a historical drama out of the late, great Sam Gunn, spaceman and adventurer. In this, she interviews Grigory Protov, an aging cosmonaut living out his last days in a Russian old-spaceman-home on the moon. And Grigory has nothing good to say about Sam, calling him a spy and a thief. Turns out […]
December 6, 2020

First Contact (Review)

f you don’t like Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams, you might as well stop here. Because First Contact, by Evan Mandery, is very much in this class of storytelling. Me, I loved it. Written in 2010, it’s got a clueless president (so dense and self-centered, it’s nearly prophetic). It’s got his aide, Ralph, the hapless young man who he sends to get his sub sandwich lunches. It’s got Ralph’s new girlfriend, who is second-guessing her decision of going to law school. And it’s got the ambassador from Rigel, who is a bit of a practical joker, and his own aide […]
November 29, 2020

Angles of Attack (Review)

ne thing I don’t do in the bookstore: I don’t pick up books that say (under the title) things like Book Two of the Franchise Series. And with Angles of Attack, I got punked. So main character Andrew Grayson, a combat coordinator a century in the future, finds himself in the middle of a battle with his prior enemies, the Russians, on his side. Weirder yet, they seem to be fighting the Lankies, huge armored creatures that wipe out colonies and terraform them to their linking (at the cost of all human occupants). Mars has already fallen. Earth might be […]
November 22, 2020

Light-fingered Gentry (Review)

his this was a pot-boiler from 1907, a real eye opener that starts with an uncomfortable couple meeting in a park and discussing how they should get a divorce (which really would have stunned a reader back then (and not in these times when the President of the United States has had three of them)). The story shifts to a retirement party for outgoing insurance company president Shotwell organized by one Fosdick, who is counting up how much everything cost (paid for by the shareholders and policyholders, of course), and how he reflects on the magnificence as “glory-just as, when […]
November 15, 2020

The Long Fall (Review)

’m currently plowing through a large 1907 drama, at lease a week out on that one. As a side-issue, I’ve been reading The Sam Gunn Omnibus, a huge collection of Ben Bova stories about his spaceman hero, Sam Gunn. I don’t think I’ve ever read any of these (or I may have in some long-forgotten collection perhaps). Either way, the stories are great – short and sweet and funny. So Sam Gunn is an astronaut. Unlike your usual hero, Sam is short, not that handsome, and loud. He’s just a bit of a nutball poised in the position to be […]
November 8, 2020

A Hundred Years Hence (Review)

was sitting outside in a restaurant, waiting to place an order, my plague mask seated from nine months of experience, watchful for a don’t-give-a-shitter to come too close and breath all over me. Beyond my table and my Ipad, Corrine Drive flows with its morning hostility. Even though it’s a school zone, half the motorists are blasting through, and the other half have their phones balanced on their steering wheel. It’s voting day, and I’m waiting for reports of armed militia taking over the poles. And on my kindle, A Hundred Years Hence, The Expectations of an Optimist. Written in […]
November 1, 2020

Interesting Facts (Review)

came across this short story in the Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2016 collection; was digging for a filler review today since I’m not quite done with a philosophical book from 1905 – it’s a bit of a grind with all the flowery language. And Interesting Facts was a thankful discovery – the first story of this collection really didn’t do it for me and the second one was too clever by half – gave it up after a page or so. This was a weird tale – not science fiction by any stretch, and only kinda fantasy. […]
October 25, 2020

Pilgrim (Review)

t’s a tale as old as time, even in the literary branch of fantasy. The experienced assassin wants out. Last job. And after he pulls it off (granted, it doesn’t go so well, what with him getting cut and his inner demons (literally!) releasing), he managed to kill the target, all the released monsters, all that. And then he finds out his guild wants him dead. So, no retirement party, I guess. Danzen Ravja is now a man (or some sort of superman, maybe) on the run. Two years later, he fetches up in a little collection of villages in […]
October 18, 2020

Wild Time (Review)

or you folks who want your Shakespeare more accessible, I give you Wild Time, a twist on A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Rose Biggin (who wrote a short story I particularly enjoyed) and Keir Cooper. So, as Bard Bill wrote it, the Duke of Athens and the Amazon Queen are getting married and the fairies of the forest are all abuzz (you can actually imagine that, right?). They want to give the newlyweds something they can really use, not just a toaster but a stud. The problem is that the king of the fairies gets his knob bent about how […]