On the nightstand

Book Blog

January 17, 2016

Damnificados (Review)

amnificados is one of those weird little books that edge over from the real world into serendipitous fantasy. The real story behind this involves an abandoned office/apartmen  Caracas, Venezuela, one which was taken over by the city’s abandoned people, the trash pickers, the beggers, the squatters, the panhandlers, the crimples, the outcasts, and likely the review writers. Lead by Necho, a little cripple, the hordes are stymied by their first impediment to occupation, namely a pack of wolves denning in the entry. Once these large feral creatures are removed, the tower can fulfil its primary function, providing a place for […]
January 10, 2016

Hunter’s Run (Review)

ave I ever steered you wrong? The Martian? The Name of the Wind? All those novels I read first and either warned you off or pushed you into the bookstore after? Yeah, who’s your friend? Who has your back? It’s almost as if I’m you. So, Hunter’s Run. Goddam. Get it! So a guy is on the run for a back alley dumbass murder, a guy we really don’t care about. Ramon Espejo is nothing more than a back-alley chump on a dirty little back-alley Hispanic colony planet. Knowing that a dozen people watched him gut a gringo, he decides […]
January 3, 2016

Earth Winter (Review)

‘ve remember reading Richard Moran’s earlier book (to which this is the sequel) when it came out two decades ago. Empire of Ice told the story of a massive sub-Atlantic volcano that heaves up in the middle of the ocean, diverting the gulf stream flow away from England and throwing Europe into a terrible ice age. In Earth Winter, we are in the same world only a year later. Now soot from the eruption blankets the northern hemisphere, the ice is advancing, crops are dying (along with millions of people). So, no, not an uplifting beginning. And yes, if you […]
December 27, 2015

19 East, Copy Three (Review)

got my introduction to this thing called TT&TO on a trip to Chicago to run at some model train operations event. Was sitting in the hotel lobby chatting with some guy. He asked me what I was modeling. Southern Pacific, the 1950s, Central California. I was figuring I’d use warrants. “Do you know about TT&TO?” I didn’t. When he came back to the hotel that evening for the later op session, he brought back a sixty page document explaining what TT&TO (Time Table and Train Order) was. Since I was on the board to attend to his TT&TO session the […]
December 20, 2015

The Immortal (Review)

nother from an outstanding collection of space warfare stories, Space Fighters, accumulated by Joe Haldeman way back in 1988. This time, it’s Gordon Dickson’s The Immortal. So a grissled space pilot gets a wakeup call. He needs to head to HQ (on Earth). Here, he’s told that he’s going to fly a top secret mission with a “specialist” civillian (who is also trained as a gunner). Turns out we’re in an endless war with a bunch of baddies, out towards Polaris. They can’t get around us, we can’t get around us, so it’s endless grinding war between us. We’ve got […]
December 13, 2015

The Game of Rat and Dragon (Review)

kay, write a short story that glorifies space fighters and cats and you’ve got me hooked. The Game of Rat and Dragon is a fascinating short story from the old Space Fighter’s analogy by Joe Haldeman (story by Cordwainer Smith). What caught me, when I looked it back up, was that it was written in 1955. See, I think of that time as the end of the “rocket ship with three tailfins” sort of scifi, stories where authors didn’t know WTF space was, how we could work it, and what it would be really like to fly in it. But […]
November 29, 2015

The Real Story – Series (Review)

oing out of memory on this one – see, I’m hacking my way through Rothfuss’s The Wise Man’s Fears (1200 pages!) so that’s like four books. And with his other book, I’ve simply burned off my book review backlog. So with that in mind, I’m doing this one out of my head – after all, I’ve shelves of books. Certainly I can remember a story or two. And I can. And the one that pops to mind is The Real Story by Stephen Donaldson (who you might remember me reviewing for his wonderful book, Lord Foul’s Bane). Here, The Real […]
November 22, 2015

Tyrannosaur Canyon (Review)

am such a book addict. Again, this one from Maya’s up in beautiful Sanford (I can’t go into that place in under $20). This one is a bit of a ride-the-free-publicity-coattails of Jurassic Park, at least for cover art. Bony tyrannosaur skull deal; you summer movie goers know the drill. Happily, the idea stops there. This is a book about a prospector of sorts who, after the thrill of a lifetime of finding “something big”, gets shot before he can spill the beans. In No Country for Old Men fashion, Tom Broadbent, quiet millionaire and horse-farm naturalist, comes across the […]
November 8, 2015

Good Luck, Yukikaze (Review)

he second-parter to the first book, Yukikazi, written some 20-30 years after the first by a master of Japanese scifi, Chohei Kambryash. If you haven’t read my first review, linked above, the Yukikaze universe is one of perpetual (at least, three decades) war. An unknown race, the JAM, pushed through a hyperspace gate over Antarctica and attacked us. So we pushed them back to the planet “Fairie” and established bases. So we’re in daily air combat against the JAM, both sides upping their technology. Yet we are left with questions: Just what are the JAM? And how can we trust […]
November 1, 2015

All You Need Is Kill (Review)

ou might know this one as Edge of Tomorrow. Or you might not. It was a pretty good flick (saw it last night) but, as is true with all books and movies, the book is soooo much better. In this Japanese SciFi story, alien nanotech falls into our oceans and spawn with various creatures to make “Mimics”, starfishy things that are nearly impossible to kill and attack en-mass. All we have to fight them are battle armor, and that isn’t much good – a squad’s gotta pour on firepower to kill just one of these things. But this isn’t Keiji […]