On the nightstand

Book Blog

July 24, 2016

The Eyre Affair (Review)

his is a weird book. Man, what can I say? It takes place in a world where French time-travelers are mucking with things downstream, where the Germans won World War Two but life is going on pretty much as it should, the war in the Crimea has been going on for a century and where literature is such a big deal that there are flying brigades of police assigned to track down book crimes. And overall, I liked it, weird as it was. This bastard story of The Big Over Easy and Shades of Grey was a fun deal. The […]
July 17, 2016

The Race for God (Review)

t’s gotta suck to be Brian Herbert. Everyone always identifies him as “you know, son of Frank Herbert, the Dune guy”. And Brian’s put out a lot of books but nothing really comes to mind (then again, look who’s talking – Robert Who?). But I picked up The Race for God over at Mayas and figured I’d give it a go. So the story is that a religious fraudster, a guy who (on a lark) started a church about a cosmic chicken, he gets a clear voice from God in his head telling him where He happens to be located […]
July 10, 2016

My Tank is Fight! (Review)

kay, first thing – don’t ask me to explain the title. I never did understand it. So what this is is a book on the more incredible (and idiotic) weapons systems that had been cooked up on the drawing boards of the military designers of World War Two. Of course, it could have been called Wacky  Wehrmacht Weapons  since only the flying tank (you gotta be kidding) and the trans-Atlantic iceberg base were allied ideas. Everything else, the super-gigantic tanks, the London guns, the helicopter packs, all that crazy stuff, it was all German. I was hoping for some mention […]
July 3, 2016

The Last American (Review)

his was a crazy little book pushed out in 1889, evidently hardcover (from the Gutenberg pictures), the cover bright yellow fabric, Middle-eastern stylized with patterns and a side view of a sailing cog, yet braced with the curious title The Last American). It’s short, a lunchtime read (I can attest to that – that’s when I read it). And it’s a lot of fun. It’s the year 2951, and off a wildly wooded coast a Persian vessel staggers towards shore, jubilant (and who wouldn’t be, facing starvation as they were) by land-ho! So the next day, they sail into the […]
June 26, 2016

United States of Japan (Review)

his one is a bit strange – a mash of alternative reality, anime and mystery. Had some good points and some bad points, with the good far outweighing the bad. So, yes, I had a fun time with this, but I had a little inner-ear imbalance over it. So here we go. We discover PDQ that the world is not the one outside the book’s covers, that the Japanese pushed into east Russia, helped out the Germans, crashed the Soviets which freed all the Axis powers to pull off a Man in the High Castle (to which this book pays […]
June 19, 2016

Shades of Grey (Review)

erhaps it was because I came off a hard read with The Republic. Or maybe it was one of those “right book – right time” things. Don’t know why. But when I entered Jasper Fforde’s newest world, I was confused, befuddled, and then delighted. Yes, the first chaper or two are tricky to navigate around. You’ll wonder about this supposed future world of little villages and gryro-monotrains (with their two wheeled cousins rusting by law on disused sidings). You’ll ponder about the abject fear of the populance towards swans, ball lightning and mildue. And you know that by the end […]
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, […]