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Book Blog

November 17, 2019

Red Limit Freeway (Review)

o Jake (and his sentient truck Sam) is back for the second book following StarRigger. Predestined by road lore to be the trucker who makes it to the end of the universe (via the skyway, a series of jumpgates built into a highway system) and back with a working road map, Jake continues his travels. Along the way, he continues to pick up more and more people in his quest, those voluntarily coming (or otherwise). And tagging in his wake, the evil forces of a rival trucker union and a tree-planet boss (whose huge hotel Jake burned down in the […]
November 11, 2019

Nemesis Games (Review)

nother installment of the Expanse series (is that what it’s really called, or is that just the amazing scifi show it spawned?). Fake writer James S.A. Corey (he’s actually two guys) keeps this chapter in the big sprawling series back in our own solar system. The whole thousands-of-colonies-await-you bit is kept to a minimum – this books is about the four principles – Jim, Naomi, Alex and Amos, as they part ways for “small errands” that should have been corner-store-walks but don’t end that way, given the fact that the OPA (Outer Planets Alliance, i.e. the skinny low-grav belters) are […]
October 27, 2019

Starrigger (Review)

o this was one from the recovered attic book boxes, a rollicking space opera in a strange universe. On Pluto (according to backstory), giant cylinders were discovered with a road leading into them. If you went fast enough and stayed right on the center line, you’d pop through to another planet. Eventually enough gates were mapped to establish the Terrain Maze, a collection of planets that we’ve colonized. But there are other gates, pot lock portals, that lead God knows where. And every so often, on these mega freeways, strange aliens in stranger cars can be seen. Our protagonist in […]
October 20, 2019

Infinite Jest (Review)

here is a scene in this monster of a book, in tiny print in a footnote that spans pages. A character is trying to plagiarize a flowery-penned writer and is furious he can’t do it verbatim (since the voice is so radical and baroque). He visualizes slapping the author: left, right, left. That’s kinda how I feel about this book. Infinite Jest is, as I’ve said elsewhere, a monster of a book. The primary story is 981 pages long. The footnotes (some of them as long as a chapter on their own) adds another 96 pages (in tiny print). It […]
October 6, 2019

Fighter Pilot (Review)

s mentioned in my Dog Ear piece, I needed a break from modern arty storytelling. I’ve had Fighter Pilot on my shelf for a decade and never read it (I don’t even know where it came from). Anyway, it’s the story of the first American ace in World War Two, William Dunn. All in all, it’s a roiling tale of a guy who joined the army to try to be a pilot in the thirties, and got put in the infantry. Then he joined the Canadians and still got put into the infantry. About all the air action he got […]
September 22, 2019

Goshawk Squadron (Review)

nother review from way back, this from one of my favorite fictional World War One flying novels, Goshawk Squadron. This book is from Derek Robinson, who would go on to English infamy for a later book, Piece of Cake. And this is pretty much a proving ground for what he’d do in Piece, that being create a squadron of misfits and unassuming youth and then fling them into war. The book starts with Major Woolley sitting in a deck chair, watching his squadron float towards the frosted landing field. Uncouth, foul, always angry, as his adjutant announces each pilot’s name […]
September 15, 2019

Pennsylvania Railroad Facilities – Volume 10 (Review)

nlike our model railroad club sectional layout, which was designed and evolved along the stretch between Jacksonville, Florida to Folkston, Georgia, our sprawling permanent layout was little-planned (with an overall concept design or two and a clay mockup). Originally it was transcontinental (which is pretty damn foolish, looking back from twenty years later). About a decade ago, we decided to shorten this to a realistic concept and modeled Bound Brook, New Jersey to Cincinnati, Ohio (still rather big, but better). In the middle (closest to the entry) we have Pittsburgh. Because that’s what it was, not because we’d actually lain […]
September 8, 2019

The Custodian (Review)

nother short story (sorry about this) while I lubber through Infinite Jest. Again, a short story about the end of the world, this time from the sun going nova. So, in The Custodian, we learn through backstory that humanity has learned that the sun would be going nova in a century and that two beliefs were formed – Custodians, who thought we should preserve what we could and try to get those who wished to leave left. And the Affirmers, who believe that everyone goes, nobody stays, and that to make this happen, everything (and I mean everything) must be […]
September 1, 2019

Stars, Won’t You Hide Me (Review)

nother short story (from the Catastrophies collection), this time from 1966 by Ben Bova (back from when most of your weren’t even sperms nor eggs, and I (kiddies) was a potential-loaded kid of eight). It’s a great short piece that really catches the scifi theme of distance and time. We start with Holman, a fellow wired up to a damaged star ship, racing away from the debacle of a battle where Humanity just lost to the Others. All we know about the Others is that they skirmished with humans once, put us back into the stone age, capped us with […]
August 25, 2019

No Other Gods (Review)

till crushing my way through a major book. And given what’s going on in my life (details in Thursday’s Dog Ear) I’ve got a lot of short story collections floating around. So this one comes from Catastrophes, a collection of short end-of-the-world scifies edited by Asimov, Greenberg and Waugh. It looks at disasters that end life, from the galactic to the localized. I’ve just puttered through two stories and picked this one to pass along. So it turns out Yvonne and Quinton, doctors of science and seemingly out in a spaceship, in and out of hyperspace, come back to find […]