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Book Blog

October 30, 2022

Railroad Signalling (Review)

his book came to me through sad circumstances. One of our train club members passed away a while ago and his widow asked if we’d like his train books. What I didn’t know is that there would be two eight-foot shelves packed with books. It took three trips in a loaded Jetta to get them to the club (and yes, club members, I’ll pay for them). Anyway, the guy I was lugging loads with pointed this one out to me – Railroad Signalling by Brian Solomon. Now, I’ve gotten model railroad books about signalling that were kinda meh – all […]
October 23, 2022

Invincible (Review)

an you believe it? I’m already at book twelve of the Ark Royal series! Anyway, true to author Christopher Nuttall’s usual way of doing things, we get a three book set with the latest British hull/class in spaceships. This time, it’s the Invincible, and England is trying to see how fast attack carriers (armored, and with fighters and big guns) will work. So, shortly after its shakedown cruise, Invincible is sent to a listening station at the edge of human space. So we’ve had Pearl Harbor alien contacts, Indian history alien contacts, straight out warfare with alien contacts, but this […]
October 16, 2022

Zoe’s Tale (Review)

his book, Zoe’s Tale, is the fourth book (and opener for the second 3-part set) of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series.Now, I’ll tell you that I loved the first set, the entire idea that when you get older, you can trade your old broken-down body (trust me on this – regardless of all the exercise and diet you work on, it still breaks down) and get a new body. The trouble is, this new super-body is yours if you work for the Colonial Defense Forces and fight for years. And never come back to Earth. Once you are all […]
October 2, 2022

The Rising Tide (Review)

guess I’ve been in a World War Two mindset these days. Saw Jeff Shaara’s The Rising Tide in one of those curbside libraries and it caught my eye. I’ve never read any of Shaara’s books and even though this is book one of three (and since it’s a used book, it’s doubtful I’ll stumble over the other two like this), I decided to give it a try. So The Rising Tide has an interesting premise – the author fictionalizes history just a bit, telling the stories of WW2 from the battles in North Africa to the Torch invasion to Sicily […]
September 25, 2022

A Guide for Working Breeds (Review)

hort story this time (since I’m deep in a World War 2 fictionalization right now), located in The Year’s Best Science Fictions Volume 2 (and Volume 1 brought me so much enjoyment). First story in the set, A Guide for Working Breeds by Vina Jie-Min Prasad, was a crazy begining. This tale does a great job of unconventional storytelling – specifically email exchanges and purchases between a couple of robots. We have Kleekai Greyhound (K.g1- 09030) who has just come online and has been assigned a mentor bot – namely Constant Killer (C.k2-00425). The exchanges are funny and help define […]
September 18, 2022

Persephone Station (Review)

n interesting idea for a book, a feminized version of The Magnificent Seven set in a scifi space opera. But instead of poor Japanese peasants or poor Mexican farmers, this time it’s an unknown alien culture that is hidden away in a planet where the only spaceport is surrounded by poisonous plants and dangerous animals, artificially placed by the indigenous race to contain the humans. But even as I write this, it feels awfully thin – nobody ever dropped so much as a probe elsewhere to confirm if the rest of the planet is such a hellhole? And the aliens […]
September 11, 2022

A Storm in Kingstown (Review)

t was a shame that Nina Allen’s short story A Storm in Kingstown was placed in a volume of short stories called “Out of the Ruins”. See, the story takes place in a medieval town (complete with drunkards and a plague and cloistered nuns and witch-hunters). Our heroine, Doris, works pouring ale and slopping pigs, just grinding through her days. But a friend of hers named Saira, a young girl who escaped the convent, has come and brought strange thoughts to Doris before disappearing (in the night a storm flooded out the section of town she was in). But Doris, […]
September 4, 2022

If the Allies had Fallen (Review)

ound this on the bargain aisle-cap at Barnes-n-Noble while holding an armful already. Very catchy cover with a picture of Big Ben draped with a huge Nazi flag. And the title. For ten bucks, why not? There has been a lot of speculative literature on this. In The Man in the High Castle, it’s just a given that the Axis had won. Same thing in a lot of alt-hist. The problem comes down to the actuals, which this collection of pieces studies. If the Allies had Fallen is not written by scifi writers looking for a nifty new background for their […]
August 28, 2022

The Alchemist (Review)

n a way, Paulo Coelho’s book, The Alchemist, reminds me a lot of reading Richard Bach’s books back in the 80s. He was a pilot who discovered new age ways and wrote about it, coupling flying and out-of-body experiences. The Alchemist is more a work of fiction (with thoughts and ideas you can bring to your normal life). It is the story of a Spanish shepherd in a time where there are guns yet no cars (so, maybe the late 1800s) who dreams of traveling to the pyramids, for there (his dreams tell him) is his undiscovered treasure. As the […]
August 21, 2022

The Art of War (Review)

his book is actually two books in one. First off, there is the codification of rules and strategies of war, from the basic (don’t attack uphill) to the abstract (don’t be guided by anger). In this first half, we get the transcribed words of Su-Tzu (or someone else, or even a collections of someone elses) from the sixth century BC, listing his principles of warfare. I decided to have a read of it when a scifi story I read made open mention of the Art, but not by name (I guessed it correctly, through). So the first half are the […]