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Book Blog

September 11, 2016

Go Fundamentals (Review)

o here’s that picture again… Anyway, yes, I like Go. I like it better than Chess. It’s a fun game of placement and encirclement and a little time with a simulator (and getting literally dissected on a small-board game at work) showed me I needed to learn more about it. Go Fundamentals is a pretty good effort on this. The author goes over the history of the game (mentioning Hikaru No Go, so points for that). He also explains the critical elements of the game, how to surround stones and claim territory. All very good to know, since it might […]
September 4, 2016

SevenEves (Review)

ur world ends, not with our planet, but with our moon. Something never specified rifles through the moon one night, splitting it into seven massive fragments (and countless smaller ones). And there hangs that object we’ve taken for granted, the friendly orb which has shown down on our parents and grandparents, all the way through the ages, not longer a sphere but a cloud of debris. Sad, yes. Sadder still when scientists realize that these fragments are grinding, smashing, and pulping ever smaller. In two years time the gravel field will encompass the Earth. Then will come the White Sky. […]
August 28, 2016

The Cartels Jungle (Review)

eh. Nothing much here. Spaceman comes home from years at being at perpetual war on the frontier (two conglomerates are fighting it out), only to discover that the evil workers and their unions have become the third stool leg of  tyranny. Fine. But he doesn’t care since he’s going to marry his girl who happens to be the psychiatrist who just invented a mind-control device that can be used (in good hands) to cure insanity (which seems to run rampant on the hopeless homeworld). Of course, there is no way, with evil and power and mercenary corporate cops all over […]
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 […]