On the nightstand

Book Blog

December 9, 2018

End of Watch (Review)

icked this one up (as I usually do) in a used bookstore. And as I started reading, I realized it was a continuation from another Stephen King novel I’d read, Mister Mercedes. And that crazy kook from the first novel (with his nasty backstory) is now geeked up in an intensive care hospital, his brains all mushed from a sack of ball bearings swung by plucky Holly just as he’d been about to detonate his bomb in a kiddy concert and scythe down something like 2,000 preteen girls (you say it like it’s a bad thing, right?). But let me […]
November 11, 2018

The Massacre of Mankind (Review)

I always wanted to write my own version of a sequel to my favorite novel of novel, War of the Worlds. Read it at least twenty times and thought about it often. But now that Steven Baxter wrote this version (with the full backing of the Wells estate), I can move on to some other Great Novel. Here’s the first thing – if you are going to read this work, make sure you go back and breeze through the original. It’s far better to know the story, the details and the characters than to hit them cold. And pretty much […]
October 28, 2018

The Last Days of Magic (Review)

o imagine that all you stuff you wish, think, or dream was true – fairies, elves, giants and, of course, magic – really was. And that you (as a modern twenty-first century human) know it is only myth because books tell you the real history of the world. But maybe that is only a false narrative. What if there really had been magic, all the way through until the late fourteen hundreds, that various civilizations slowly spread, conquering the magic on their frontiers. The Vatican, of course, with its own league of magic-using exorcists, continues to fight actual witches, not […]
October 6, 2018

The War in the Air (Review)

kay, since I’m in the middle of a couple of gigantic books with no end in sight, I needed to go back to the shelves and pick something for review. Yes, even thought this isn’t DOG EAR, I must say that I’ve forgotten big chunks of some of my favorites, so much that I’m not comfortable reviewing them. But War in the Air, much like that other Wellsian classic, War of the Worlds, has thoughts and scenes that stick with me. So were stuck in this world of 191- with Bert, a humble bicycle mechanic. Bert labors through his days […]
September 30, 2018

The Edge of the Knife (Review)

n a recommendation by a friend after I’d reviewed The Keeper, I had a run at The Edge of the Knife, again, by H. Beam Piper. And, not to be anticlimactical, it was a good solid read. It involves one Professor Chalmers, a teacher of Modern History IV class at at modest Blanley College. With a slip of the tongue, he notes the assassination of an important Arab diplomat in Basra. The reason this was a slip was that it hadn’t happened, not quite yet. For you see, Professor Chalmers is a bit of a prophet. For some time now, […]
September 23, 2018

The Shack (Review)

y readers and friends know that I am sometimes (on a whimsy) spiritual. But I am not religious. And last year, when I lost my dear Mookie, I really had an issue with God. After all, if He’s willing to snuff a cat at her halfway point, to erase all her lives, then he’s not much of a God, is He? Well, that’s the idea behind The Shack, a metaphysical/religious debate masked as a story. And here it is – Mack, our hero, is a loving father. While on a camping trip with his kids, a serial killer kidnaps his […]
September 16, 2018

Raising Steam (Review)

kay, I’m going to admit to a number of relationships that should have me thrown off the jury of review; I love trains, especially steam trains. And I love Diskworld (Terry Prtchett’s wonderful fantasy world). So what’s not to love? And that, I will get to. Over the thirty years of Diskworld books, we’ve seen themes rise in his stories. Cleverly he takes things that changed our world (Hollywood, Central Banking, Newspapers, etc) and extended them into his swords-and-sorcery-and-satire world. And now we’re got an engineer with his sliding rule who has figured out how to harness steam, and how […]
September 9, 2018

The Keeper (Review)

t was one of those stupid days in the twilight of my career. The internet connection was down and there was nothing I could do. I didn’t think reading my book was a good idea (even through, quite frankly, that’s exactly the sort of thing we did at the beginning of my career when work computers went down daily). But I really didn’t have anything, nothing outside of my local drives. And then I remembered a downloading of short scifi stories and started listening. At least it would pass the time in this tedious afternoon. Listened to one interesting one, […]
September 2, 2018

Closer (Review)

f there is a story classification that I seldom if ever read, and that includes chick-lit, religious-inspirational and foodie books, it’s sports. I really don’t get into them (possibly because I never was very good at nor very interested in sports). But I have to say that Closer, out of Jurassic’s The End collection, was really, really good. The story starts by informing us that it’s great weather for Baseball, the sun out, the sky clear. And as the bus of baseball players rolls towards the Midwest we begin to discover that something is wrong. Chicago is in ruins. Small […]
September 2, 2018

The Lathe of Heaven (Review)

“ have a dream.” A famous speech by the Martin Luthor King, Jr. But George Orr has dreams too. And his can, literally, in a wink, change the world. You see, when George hits deep sleep and dreams, his “effective” dreams change reality. And let’s face it, reality in the 2002 (of this 1971 novel) is pretty sucky. Global warming. Overpopulation. A middle-eastern war spreading out of control (it’s not far off, so it seems). But then George, under the guidance of his government-assigned therapist, Dr Haber, begin to change things “for the better”. Right. In little tests, George can […]