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Book Blog

June 28, 2020

The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (Review)

his strange little book came to be in my Astronomy Club – they had a “for a good home” cart of books and I scooped this one up. Oddly, it comes from quaint old 1989, so yes, a lot changes in thirty years. I’ll take my cheap shots early – the book is certainly dated. Mr. Ashpole (the author) is operating in the post-disco era. Several times he notes that no extra-solar planets have been detected (now there are hundreds). The Hubble is still a dream. All the technologies he discusses are outdated. Not his fault. That’s looking back from […]
June 21, 2020

Treasure Island (Review)

y opening shot from the fo’c’sle: this is a great book! I’ve read it years back and loved it. Watched the pretty-close 1990’s version and loved that too. And now, after watching the show Black Sails (which serves as a prequel , but I’ve my own issues with it), I pulled this one out of the public library and had another go on it. Did I already tell you to get it and read it? So the story opens with young Jim Hawkins (who works in his parent’s inn) taking on a new boarder, an old salt of the sea […]
June 14, 2020

Escape from Heaven (Review)

uj Pepperman is a talk radio host working the LA market. He’s dealing with his usual wide range of crazy callers when, suddenly, God’s on the line. This comes as a shock to Duj, of course. He blows off the call but later he’s abducted by two beautiful angels, goes for a nice drive, and ends the evening duct taped in his car, abandoned by the angels, and sailing off a pier. And he dies. And reawakens in Heaven. Turns out God wants a word. It turns out Lucifer wants to turn the end of the world into a populist […]
June 7, 2020

The End of the Empire (Review)

ith the CORVID-19 virus raging, I’ve been moving though my old stacks, pulling books out that look interesting for a read four decades after purchase. And while the last one I noted was The Somme on old Earth, this one looks at the end of the “Holy Human Empire” in future-space. Colonel Saloman Karff is in deep shit. The rebels are pushing into the capital and he’s an officer in what is technically the Gestapo (i.e. the internal intelligence service). But he’s got a heart under that grim exterior – we open with him burning the files of all his […]
June 4, 2020

Old Fiction (DOG EAR)

he library has reopened for book delivery. Coming off a Black Sails binge, I decided to reread Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. What did I notice as I finished that first chapter? I noticed how lame some of the other books I’ve recently read are. I just finished a Libertarian fiction that was, frankly, pretty damn dumb (if you now have literal heaven on earth, if the dead can return and you can visit, then why are we talking about the second amendment (with the author putting words in Jefferson’s mouth))? And then there was that yellowing space opera I […]
May 31, 2020

The Somme (Review)

ent Military History this week, all the way back to World War One and the deadlocking, dead-making trench warfare that took place. Now, the Somme took place in summer of 1916, up northern-France-ish. It was a joint attempt by the British and French forces in the Somme valley to break through the three lines of heavy German defenses, to distract them from their own efforts currently underway in Verdun. Now, I held the opinion (before reading this) that an offensive as conducted by generals was largely them pointing at a map and saying “take this spot”, and the PBI (poor […]
May 24, 2020

The Blank Shot (Review)

’m running slow on my reading these days (this week’s DOG EAR will address that). I’m nowhere near finishing my current book. But on Saturday lunch, I pulled out a favorite book from a favorite author, Rafael Sabatini, a tale from the follow-up collection of short stories detailing the adventure of that most urbane pirate, Captain Blood. In The Blank Shot, we pick up the thread of our Irish captain’s narrative just after he stole the massive Cinco Llagas in in first book. His crew really still don’t know him and are prone to second-guessing him. And there are only […]
May 17, 2020

A Dove against Death (Review)

remember reading this book on the return flight after my first solo overseas adventure to England in the early eighties. And I distinctly remember thinking (as I closed the cover while we descended into ORL) two words: African Queen. So in this book, set in the same time and place (1914, Africa) as Queen, three English soldiers, the survivors of an attack on a German base with now-discovered radio capacity to direct ships all about the Southern Atlantic, attempt an escape. And it’s running and horses and a stick-up-his-ass German commander with a Quasimodo sergeant sidekick in hot pursuit. And […]
May 10, 2020

Invasion (Review)

his one was an old hardback from the shelves the cats selected for me by knocking it to the floor. Gave the dust a blow and thought, “Man, I haven’t read this in literal ages.” Yeah, it’s copyrighted 1980, so it’s as far from me today as it was from World War Two when it was written. Anyway, it was penned (probably, given the date) by Major Kenneth Macksey, MC (Retired), who spent twenty-seven years in tanks. So he knows his shit. This one is an alternate history study, a look at what would have happened if the Germans, looking […]
May 3, 2020

Fire and Bronze (Review)

kay, I might be a little biased on this. After all, I literally wrote the book. But I’ll do my best to give you an honest assessment. Fire and Bronze is the story of Princess Elisha of Tyre (a city on an island that used to be off Lebanon (as for why it no longer is, refer to my own Early Retirement)). At a young age her father the king passes and she ends up in a power struggle against her brother for the throne of Tyre (and her very survival). She opposes him with her own power faction, noble […]