On the nightstand

Book Blog

February 10, 2019

The Swarm (Review)

’ve got a friend in a hospital sixty miles off whom I visit three times a week. This is an extra 300 miles a week in the car, or five hours going putt-putt-putt. There was a serious concern that, following a long day at work, I might fall asleep at 80mph on the lonely swamp-crossing highway, go into the brush, get eaten by alligators and never be seen again. Listened to music CDs and actually drifted off the road one night. This wasn’t working. Next trip out, I stopped at the local library and fingered through their audio books collection. […]
February 3, 2019

Powers of the Earth (Review)

ith apologies to my best friend (a Liberaltarian) who gave me this book, I simply couldn’t finish it. I finish almost every book I start. I make a specific effort to do so. But this one, I could not. Let me go over the idea of the novel first, and then I close with my personal pain point about it. So, Powers of the Earth is a tale of a lunar colony founded by those fleeing the slow system’s failure of Earth. Everything is quite touchy-feelie back at home, with the military forced to accept handicap soldiers, with CEOs put […]
January 26, 2019

Gyo (Review)

oo boy. Okay, so Gyo means “fish” in Japanese, and not “a dreamlike nightmare that gets worse and worse until you are screaming to awake”. Which was my first guess. Gyo is a manga (a Japanese graphic novel) produced by a macabre-spewing author/artist named Junji Ito. My wife gave it to me for Christmas, a little thing she thought I’d like. So let me put it this way – I found it disturbing. Sickening. Crazy. Bleak. Strange. And just goddamn weird. It was also pretty good (from a horror viewpoint). I’m not going to spoil too much. At the start, […]
January 20, 2019

Dead Man’s Chest (Review)

reasure Island, one of my favorites. Anyone who reads that is in the little club that knows that Long John Silver is not a fearsome blood-soaked pirate, no. He’s a manipulator and odds-player, changing sides as needed and playing his cards clever. And at the end of that story, he’s sprung by Ben Gunn, the cheese-drooling castaway, and apparently sails off to freedom, wealth and anonymity. And good for him. Dead Man’s Chest is a sequel to this tale of pirates and buried treasure. We meet Captain John Paul Jones (of later naval valor, so we think), on the run […]
January 13, 2019

Caliban’s War (Review)

nother installment of my up-in-the-favorites scifi series, the crazy-interesting books by a writer team carrying the pseudo name of James S. A. Corey, and what you can view as Season 2 of the Expanse on some of your streaming services. You’ll remember that in our last review, James, Naomi, Amos and Alex had discovered that there was an alien molecule that was being dicked with by a soulless corporation – their thought: hey, we can really save on space suits if we could alter humans by changing their bodies, down to their DNA, to make them into whatever we want […]
January 6, 2019

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Review)

eil DeGrasse Tyson is a science popularist, rather like Bill Nye and Carl Sagan. He brings science down to the level where normal nabobs (such as your humble reviewer, with his small backyard scope) can understand. And he does a good job at it. His book on general astrophysics was very good. Starting with the complete history of the universe (at least for its critical first day or so) was quite fascinating. Moving out to the scale of the universe, how scientists calculate things, how we basically know what we know, was quite revealing. It got me to realize just […]
December 30, 2018

The Travelling Cat Chronicles (Review)

kay, backstory – while visiting Japan, I saw a movie poster with a shot of a cat that looked exactly like my late Mookie. Stunned me. Looking further into it, I discovered the book the movie was based on, The Travelling Cat Chronicles. Part of me will continue my search for the flick. But part of me will finish the review of the wonderful book it uncovered. The novel follows a strange and interesting journey of Nana the cat and his companion (not owner – it’s not that sort of relationship) Satoru the human. Satoru, it seems, had found Nana […]
December 22, 2018

Leviathan Wakes (Review)

f you’ve seen The Expanse on the Sci-Fi network then you’ve seen this book (the first in a series of seven or eight). It’s set in the solar system a century or so forward from ours. Earth is a UN dominated world, Mars bold and fascist. And the belt, it’s free-wheeling yet controlled by the inner worlds (and falling more and more under the sway of the OPA (Outer Planet Alliance)). So, yes, this is a universe set for conflict and action. Into this backdrop we find four people, late crewmembers of the ice rigger Canterbury (destroyed as part of […]
December 16, 2018

The Gum Thief (Review)

like Douglas Coupland’s work. I really enjoyed Generation X and his gritty observations of modern Americana. And The Gum Thief, which I’d intended to last a week of easy reading got brushfired-off in one weekend (I was at a train operating session and there was a lot of down time between runs). So the novel is an interesting store about intertwined relationships, all that begins, laughingly (or depressingly enough) in a Staples store. Two of the drones here, Bethany the goth chick and Roger, the washed-out forty-year-old life failure, suffer through their days in this bleak consumer hell. But the […]
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 […]