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Book Blog

February 23, 2020

Tiamat’s Wrath (Review)

nd with this, the eight book of the Expanse series (or is that The Expense?), I’m caught up. Now, like everyone else, I’m going to have to wait for the next one. There aren’t unread Expanses on the bookstore shelf anymore. The worlds (all 1300 of them) were pretty screwed. In the last book, the Laconians (a break-away fleet from Mars that discovered alien-tech shipmaking platforms) had sent a battleship through their gate. They trounced Medina Station (which held the hub in a Gibraltarian grip) and then munched the massed fleets of Earth and Mars with their spooky ironclad. And […]
February 16, 2020

Predator’s Gold (Review)

ook 2 of the Mortal Engines series, a steampunky little tale about Tom Natsworthy and Hester Shaw beating about the world in their stolen red airship, of the city of Anchorage grinding about on black northern ice, and of dark science reanimating a character lost in the first book. So, yes, lots going on here. The mark of a good sequel is when an author gives us something new and Philip Reeve did just that, putting us out in the far northern climes. It’s been two years since Tom and Hester escaped London and they are actually growing into a […]
February 9, 2020

On Desperate Ground (Review)

kay, I’m a pretty good historian and know some of the flow of history, but this one I was not really aware of. In late 1950, the North Koreans were pushing south, just kicking the stuffing out of their southern counterparts. Then General MacArthur had a bold plan of landing at Inchon. This broke the North Korean rear and sent them streaming up the continent for safety. Attempting a bold follow-up, MacArthur sent his Army and Marine units pushing for the Yalu River, the border with China. As long as the Chinese kept in their own backyard, he’d have the […]
February 2, 2020

Mortal Engines (Review)

uring a family vacation down in Madeira Beech, I happened to find a supper-massive used bookstore (Haslam’s Book Store). While stuffing loot into my bag, I came across the YA Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve. Looked interesting so I picked up the first four from the five part series. Good for me. Mortal Engines is a book set in the far future (after the Sixty Minutes war). This war was so intense that it shook the very planet’s tectonic plates together. Cities of survivors, in danger because their locations were known to those who would prey on them, decided […]
January 26, 2020

Persepolis Rising (Review)

t’s been thirty years since Captain James Holden sent the last fleet of the Free Navy into a strange unknown using instabilities of the ring gate. Everyone’s getting old. So old, in fact, that Holden and his companion Naomi are cashing out their share of the Rocinante and retiring. Everyone else is sticking to it (with Bobby Draper as the new Captain) except poor Clarissa Mao who is dying from her leaking implants. So they make their plans. And you know about plans. It is then that through the gates sail two ships of the long missing Martian effort to […]
January 19, 2020

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (Review)

his book is the words and work of an Indian Writer, Sherman Alexie, and the collection that won him the National Book Award. It’s an odd collection of short stories (Biographical? Fiction? Hard to tell) about life on the rez, the hopelessness, the alcoholism, the despair. Really, I got about ¾ of the way through and had to take a break. Too many Indians escaping the rez yet falling back in. Too many lives turning dark. Look, I’m a liberal softie and I always get depressed when a bunch of tough settlers shoot the shit out of a war party […]
January 13, 2020

North to the Rails (Review)

o I was in the middle of a book of collected short stories, thoughtful pieces about reservation life by an American Indian. After a while, the hopelessness and despair of it all got to me. I needed a break. So, what, I read a cowboy book? A bit incorrect. But it’s Louis L’Amour, and nobody does chaps and six-guns like Lou. It’s escapism at its best, just wide-open spaces and all that. In North to the Rails, Tom Chantry comes west to save his soon-to-be-father-in-law by getting a herd of desperately-needed beef to the Union Pacific railhead. Of course, he’s […]
January 5, 2020

Babylon’s Ashes (Review)

he Expanse. A series about near-space, the space of something like 200 years in the future (the date never seems to come up). This sixth book of the sprawling series picks up the action – Earth just got slagged by three “military grade” asteroid strikes, leaving the planet dust-shrouded and home of billions of new corpses. Mars has its own problems – a large chunk of its fleet just took off on its own. Some of it popped through one of the new stargates, helling out for the unknown. The rest of it was tossed to the Free Navy, the […]
December 29, 2019

Skybreaker (Review)

he sequel to the much-enjoyed Airborn, a great steampunkish book set in an imaginary world where airships rule and the rest of the world is a dim image of our own. In this effort, Matt Cruse (our hero from the original) teams up with rich-girl Kate, this time to find the ghost ship Hyperion, an airship lost forty years ago, not in the ocean or some jungle but way up in the sky. Way up. Around 20,000 feet up, higher than most lighter-than-air craft can operate. This time Matt has teamed up with an exotic gypsy girl and a bold […]
December 22, 2019

Bowl of Heaven (Review)

ne of the best things I did at my old, late job was to find a corner table in the break room and pile a bunch of books on it, a sharing library. Oh, not many got taken (as of two months ago, I could count them on one finger). But some readers also contributed, allowing me to get a couple of free books. The only cheaper way to get this is to throw a brick through a bookshop window. And bricks (like bookshops, alas) are getting harder and harder to find. So Bowl of Heaven sees Larry Niven (from […]