On the nightstand

Book Blog

November 6, 2016

Red Hill (Review)

othing makes the miles go by faster on a road trip than audio books. I only wish I could listen to more of them but my commute is only twenty minutes and most of the times I’m biking anyway. But we had to go to Atlanta for a model railroad function and stopped by the library the night before for a couple of audios. And that’s where we picked up Red Hill. I’d shown the description to the wife – a brief read of the back cover made me believe that some vague disaster had happened to civilization and a […]
October 30, 2016

American Flagg (Review)

OGANG: 7:32 For those who have never read American Flagg, you simply have missed one of the more interesting comics ever produced (listen to me speak like an authority – I gave up on comics when Cerebus started to drag). But still, American Flagg. It was the first comic I’d ever read that captured the idea of media overflow (and this, in the 80s before the internet). Every panel was awash with infographics, trade marks, click throughs and raunchy videos attempting to get you to “stick your card into the slot (bum ba bum) and you’re going to see something […]
October 23, 2016

Transmetropolitan (Review)

omics. Love ’em. And Transmetropolitan is why I love them. Yeah, some of them are superhero yarns, the same as they were for eighty years. But sometime they push the boundaries forward. Transmetropolitan is one of these. In ways, it reminded me a lot of American Flagg (review to follow next week – yeah, Transmet got me to read all those old back issues). Across ten collected compilations (I was missing #2, but that’s a minor blip), we see a dark story unfold, one that watches a corruptly evil man (yet with a seemingly good heart deep down) make an […]
October 16, 2016

The Siege of Dome (Review)

his is the second part of Empyrion, which started with The Search for Fierra. I’d finished the first monster part, and after wandering through a number of other books, came back to see where Orion Treet and his heroes had gotten to. As we left them, there was blood in the sand – Treet hiding in the evil colony of Dome, his girlfriend and another fellow traveler remaining with the elf-loving Fierrians, and former pilot Crocker (having been brainwashed) having pulled a Manchurian Candidate by tearing out the throat of their cute guide and going, literally, jungle, so yes, lots […]
October 9, 2016

The Story of the Treasure Seekers (Audio Review)

nother audio book to while away the excel auditing hours, this time from a story written by Edith Nesbit. She wrote The Railway Children, a story of children with pluck which I enjoyed (but alas, which I read long before I’d gotten into the review-blog business). And this one is also of pluckish children but written before, well back in 1899. So we’ve a largely offscreen father whose children (Dora, Oswald, Dicky, Alice, Noel, and H.O. (Horace Octavius)) (who seem a little overkeen on adventure books) attempt to win back the family fortunes of the Bastables (which, I need to […]
October 2, 2016

Floor Games (Review)

can only imagine what being H.G. Well’s kid must have been like. Sure, his dad was a bit out there, with Free Love and his divorce and such. Who knows what that would have been like, at the tale end of the oh-so-proper Victorian Age. But then again, it must have been fun, too. I mean, wow, your dad was writing about Martians striding about in fighting machines, blasting crowds of people. He wasn’t, say, a chemist. He was an early pioneer of writing. Imagine the bedtime stories. Or the play sessions. This one came out in 1911 (and predated […]
September 29, 2016

Ready Player One (Review)

eady Player One is, in a nutshell, a geeky love-affair with the eighties, the era’s games, its movies and media. And just like some of my girlfreinds from that time, I think I remember them more fondly than they actually deserved (no, not you. If you read this and are mad about it, this isn’t about you ) Like the console games of that time – which were simple and fun – this pretty much discribes this book. So, the setup – Wade is a poor kid (in the future, pretty much everybody is poor) living in stacked trailers in […]
September 18, 2016

Little Wars (Audio Review)

grew up with war games. From our early Avalon Hill games, from playing Jutland with my dad in a living room with all furniture removed, from summer games with my friends: Africa Corps, Midway, Panzerblitz. I owned probably a hundred games and played them all. But I fondly remember my father, before going on a nine-month cruise to Vietnam, purchasing two Napoleonic armies made of lead figures, one English (for me) and one French (for him). And during this time, we painted them up. When all is said and done, we probable spent more prep time than play time on […]
September 11, 2016

Go Fundamentals (Review)

o here’s that picture again… Anyway, yes, I like Go. I like it better than Chess. It’s a fun game of placement and encirclement and a little time with a simulator (and getting literally dissected on a small-board game at work) showed me I needed to learn more about it. Go Fundamentals is a pretty good effort on this. The author goes over the history of the game (mentioning Hikaru No Go, so points for that). He also explains the critical elements of the game, how to surround stones and claim territory. All very good to know, since it might […]
September 4, 2016

SevenEves (Review)

ur world ends, not with our planet, but with our moon. Something never specified rifles through the moon one night, splitting it into seven massive fragments (and countless smaller ones). And there hangs that object we’ve taken for granted, the friendly orb which has shown down on our parents and grandparents, all the way through the ages, not longer a sphere but a cloud of debris. Sad, yes. Sadder still when scientists realize that these fragments are grinding, smashing, and pulping ever smaller. In two years time the gravel field will encompass the Earth. Then will come the White Sky. […]