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Book Blog

August 21, 2016

Guns, Germs, and Steel (Review)

aught out this week – still slugging through Seven Eves, and didn’t get a short story done that I was also attempting a stopgap with. So, to fulfill my effort to review every week (something I’ve managed for years) I’m hauling something off the shelf and doing it out of memory. So, Guns, Germs, and Steel looks at the broad idea of racial technological acceleration. Why do some races have everything (and are rich, floating in iPads and Burger Kings and nuclear bombers) and others are nothing more than muddy townships of rusting castoff technology? Is it the people of […]
August 12, 2016

The Blockade Runners (review)

eeded something to tide this column over while I chew through the massive Seven Eves. Of course, I turned to my old friend, Project Gutenberg, for assistance. Was looking, actually, for Journey to the Center of the Earth (which I’d just seen (the old one, not the crappy, stupid new one. Please!). Anyway, it wasn’t up except in audio format. But I did find this book, The Blockade Runners, which you gotta admit looks like a promising short story. So without further ado, let’s start the review. And my opening hook to this review, late yet relevant? So, you think […]
August 7, 2016

Cæsar’s Column (Review)

sually change-the-world socialist stories of the sort I read from the late 1800’s, such as In the Days of the Comet or The Sleeper awakes, the break between rich and poor, privileged and oppressed is generally specific, antiseptic, and clear-cut. The poor are good, the rich bad. Usually there is a happy sort of ending (or a expected continuance of the system, as with The Time Machine). In the end, things get solved pretty neatly. There is also an expectation that our fore-authors wrote nice and clear fiction, without too much grime and grit. Hate to tell ya, but Ceasar’s […]
July 31, 2016

The Search for Fierra (Review)

knew there was a reason to store all those paperbacks up in the attic. Found this scifi-er, something I bought in 1985 (before I was married, b’Gad. I was still at NRL and going to college to learn Fortran on punch cards). But this review isn’t about my life, it’s about Orion Treet, a traveler and gentleman of the world, and also a historian (meaning a man running ahead of his debts) who gets hoodwinked into a mission to fly out to a corporation’s hidden colony world and report back about their efforts now that they’ve been there a year. […]
July 24, 2016

The Eyre Affair (Review)

his is a weird book. Man, what can I say? It takes place in a world where French time-travelers are mucking with things downstream, where the Germans won World War Two but life is going on pretty much as it should, the war in the Crimea has been going on for a century and where literature is such a big deal that there are flying brigades of police assigned to track down book crimes. And overall, I liked it, weird as it was. This bastard story of The Big Over Easy and Shades of Grey was a fun deal. The […]
July 17, 2016

The Race for God (Review)

t’s gotta suck to be Brian Herbert. Everyone always identifies him as “you know, son of Frank Herbert, the Dune guy”. And Brian’s put out a lot of books but nothing really comes to mind (then again, look who’s talking – Robert Who?). But I picked up The Race for God over at Mayas and figured I’d give it a go. So the story is that a religious fraudster, a guy who (on a lark) started a church about a cosmic chicken, he gets a clear voice from God in his head telling him where He happens to be located […]
July 10, 2016

My Tank is Fight! (Review)

kay, first thing – don’t ask me to explain the title. I never did understand it. So what this is is a book on the more incredible (and idiotic) weapons systems that had been cooked up on the drawing boards of the military designers of World War Two. Of course, it could have been called Wacky  Wehrmacht Weapons  since only the flying tank (you gotta be kidding) and the trans-Atlantic iceberg base were allied ideas. Everything else, the super-gigantic tanks, the London guns, the helicopter packs, all that crazy stuff, it was all German. I was hoping for some mention […]
July 3, 2016

The Last American (Review)

his was a crazy little book pushed out in 1889, evidently hardcover (from the Gutenberg pictures), the cover bright yellow fabric, Middle-eastern stylized with patterns and a side view of a sailing cog, yet braced with the curious title The Last American). It’s short, a lunchtime read (I can attest to that – that’s when I read it). And it’s a lot of fun. It’s the year 2951, and off a wildly wooded coast a Persian vessel staggers towards shore, jubilant (and who wouldn’t be, facing starvation as they were) by land-ho! So the next day, they sail into the […]
June 26, 2016

United States of Japan (Review)

his one is a bit strange – a mash of alternative reality, anime and mystery. Had some good points and some bad points, with the good far outweighing the bad. So, yes, I had a fun time with this, but I had a little inner-ear imbalance over it. So here we go. We discover PDQ that the world is not the one outside the book’s covers, that the Japanese pushed into east Russia, helped out the Germans, crashed the Soviets which freed all the Axis powers to pull off a Man in the High Castle (to which this book pays […]
June 19, 2016

Shades of Grey (Review)

erhaps it was because I came off a hard read with The Republic. Or maybe it was one of those “right book – right time” things. Don’t know why. But when I entered Jasper Fforde’s newest world, I was confused, befuddled, and then delighted. Yes, the first chaper or two are tricky to navigate around. You’ll wonder about this supposed future world of little villages and gryro-monotrains (with their two wheeled cousins rusting by law on disused sidings). You’ll ponder about the abject fear of the populance towards swans, ball lightning and mildue. And you know that by the end […]