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Book Blog

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 […]
October 11, 2020

Contact (Review)

ust like everyone else, I’ve seen the movie. But if you haven’t, Contact is about a driven young woman, Elenore Arroway, who loses her father and, indirectly because of his teachings, becomes and astrophysicist. Too driven for any sort of real life, she finds herself running a part of the SETI program (the search for extraterrestrial life). And wouldn’t you know (hey, it’s fiction – can’t have it any other way) that she’s on duty and present when a clear alien message comes in. Happily, they find out that it’s a coded picture. Unhappily, they find out it’s one of […]
October 4, 2020

Night Flights (Review)

he fifth of the Mortal Engines series, a YA franchise where, following the 60-second war, towns rebuilt on tracked platforms and chase each other, practicing “Urban Darwinism” by eating each other. And there’s airships and strange tech and interesting people, the usual. It’s a breezy-easy read, perfect for YAs and for reviewers who need to come up with a review a week to keep the blog fires burning. About the book – this time its about Anna Fang, anti-tractionist terrorist, kick-ass air captain, and later a nasty cyborg that launches an all-out global war. But this is about young Anna, […]
September 27, 2020

The Three-Body Problem (Review)

p front: Fantastic book! I’m not sure how this one showed up on my shelf. I was looking for something to read and found this at the bottom of a pile (actually, I do think I know where it came from). But this is a review, not a confession. The Three-Body Problem is a story from China by Cixin Liu, one of the greats of Chinese literature. It starts off in our real world, during the horrors of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. And all that seems normal enough (it its humanically horrible sort of way). Then we get a strange […]
September 21, 2020

Candide (Review)

he driving idea of Candide comes from the titled character, a young man of some privilege who lives in a nice castle and has food, entertainment, a girl he’s sweet on, everything he could hope for. More in amusement than anything else, he chats with the court’s learned philosopher. Doctor Pangloss, with smug certainty, denotes that everything is here for a reason, and hence (by the chain of logic) this reality must represent The Best of All Possible Worlds. Hence the alternate title to the book, Optimism. And hence the coming irony. Of course, almost immediately, Pangloss has his way […]
September 13, 2020

A Man Without A Country (Review)

s with Kurt Vonnegut and his style, we hop all over the place, looking at the world through this lens and that, reflecting as randomly as a pond on a sunny day. And I rather like it. A Man Without a Country was written at the end of the author’s life, a look at his own history, his experiences in World War Two (and the bombing of Dresden), as well as the current political climate (which was during the Bush/Cheney years). And a note on that – everything he said about the corruption, the abuse of power, the criminality of […]