On the nightstand

Book Blog

July 19, 2015

Down these strange streets (Review)

or a recent long vacation drive, I picked up a couple of books on disk for our run through the pineys of Georgia and the Carolinas. Down these strange streets is a collection of urban nightmare tales, interesting takes of old penny dreadfuls twisted in such a way that you aren’t sure what sort of story you are in until the last word. If there is a crime scene sprayed with blood, was it a frantic vampire, a methodical werewolf, a deranged psychopath, or something far stranger? And that’s the great thing that made this collection enjoyable – you never […]
July 12, 2015

Liftport (Review)

strongly believe in the premise of Liftport, the idea that we need a space elevator to cut out the random rocket foolishness (and even the Nasa-dogged shuttle program). We need a way to get up into Earth orbit, something cheap and unrisky and everyday. Liftport is essentially a PR piece put together by a wide range of authors. A few of them are scifi pieces, stories set around (and in the environment) of a working space elevator. Most of them are papers aimed and investors and the public, discussing all aspects of SEs, from implementation to cost to payoff to […]
July 5, 2015

A Watch-dog of the North Sea (Review)

eading lists sometimes work in strange ways. Was at work waiting for one of those stupid lunchtime meetings (I hate when people do these for the dedicated-facetime theater of it) which got cancelled. And, no, I didn’t bring a book (violating my own rule that the weight of a book is not nearly as heavy as the weight of time without it). So I didn’t have my book with me for lunchtime. But I did have my work laptop and access to Project Gutenberg. So, before heading out to lunch, I poked around for something to read. Found something curious […]
June 28, 2015

White Wing (Review)

ere’s another entry for my review mid-eighties, mid-level scifi, this time a novel by Gordon Kendall, White Wing. Endless Galactic warfare is pretty much the law of the ‘verse here, namely by the League against the evil Sejiedi. No crazy creatures here, no. It’s humans on all sorts of different planets, each with tiny differences. For the League, these planets (or confederations) fly space fighters in wings denoted by color (i.e. blue, red, etc). And the late-coming Earthers? We’re White Wing. And we’re hated. I guess it goes back to the fact that our planet was destroyed two hundred years […]
June 21, 2015

War World (Review)

illiam Dietz is an established scifi author with something like forty books to his credit, but everyone starts someplace. His origin was War World, an interesting first effort that launched his career. It’s been sitting one of my book boxes for ages, since the mid-eighties. Anyway, out it came for another read. It’s a fun book, I’ll give it that. In the eighties, we were still gaga over dashing Han Solo (back in the days when he shot first). Now, after thirty years of grim realism (usually with sprawling worlds of mile-high slums and spaceships that take decades to get […]
June 13, 2015

Stardust (Review)

’ve been reading a lot of angry books recently – all fulla leftists and carpet bombing B-52s and Nazis and neo-punks racing across deserts. Thus, it was nice to sit back and crack the cover of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust. He co-wrote a novel with another author I loved, Terry Pratchett (Good Omens), which I most thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve read a couple of his other books, Anansi Boys and American Gods, so I figured I’d be getting a good read after such grim tomes. He didn’t disappoint. With a dose of whimsy, we are introduced to the town of Wall which […]
June 7, 2015

Manufacturing Consent (Review)

he guy who got me to read The People’s History of the United States also sent me a YouTube video of Good Will Hunting, a scene where that book is referenced. Matt Damon is saying how amazing it was, an eye-opener (agreed) where upon Robin Williams counters with Manufacturing Consent. Okay, so since I read one, this lead me to read the other. If you are on any medications for depression, I can’t recommend this effort. That’s not to say it isn’t good. Actually, it’s great – in the way it made me look at the world (and the United […]
May 31, 2015

Clash of Eagles (Review)

triking cover that originally caught my attention back in the 80s – an ME109 shooting down a something or other with the Empire State Building in the background. Yes, the Nazis are invading New York! Well, when I read it, I really didn’t get it. See, after that action-packed cover, the Germans are actually on the ground, having swept down from Iceland and up from Bermuda, taking the Northeast while the US was distracted with the fall of Hawaii and the Japanese fleet off the west coast. It isn’t about the short blitz that took the city – it’s about […]
May 24, 2015

The Glass Hammer (Review)

fter my first not-so-good 80s novel (Venus of Dreams), I started this one, The Glass Hammer with a little trepidation. After all, I remember (echoing so faintly) that I’d not really cared for this the first time around. But evidently the experiences and growth of thirty years can make a difference. Really enjoyed this one. So it’s Cyberpunk from that heyday (dystopian worlds with running-on-the-edge punks manipulating a world equal parts real and meta), a tale about a guy who is really good at the nightly game of running computer chips across the great desert from Phoenix to L.A. while […]
May 17, 2015

Venus of Dreams (Review)

efore heading out on vacation, I broke open one of my old boxes of yellowing paperbacks, to take a handful with me for my relaxing time off. In the coming weeks, I’ll be reviewing a number of older titles from the eighties. You’ve been warned. I wish someone had warned me about Venus of Dreams – why didn’t I write myself a note inside the cover, letting myself know what I was in for? It would be one of those time travel deals, where a past me could have let my current me know what I was getting myself into. […]