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Book Blog

September 6, 2015

Great Pirate Stories (Review)

kay, less a review, more of a social rant. Pirates. Co’mon. What is this suburban fascination with pirates? How many Baldwin Park Freds do you see driving around with pirate decals (usually skulls and over-ornate crap) pasted over their Tahoe rear windows? Really? Like, so, you live in suburbia and have a green lawn and a good job and house payments, but it if wasn’t for all that, you’d be cannonading a Spanish Port? Really? So clearly you desire the blood of innocence running down your elbows, and your pockets stuffed full of church gold? That you’d rape children and […]
August 23, 2015

Casino Royale (Review)

think I read Ian Fleming back when I was a teen, Dr. No I’d guess. So it’s not that I don’t like him – I’m just not a spy thriller guy (as my review list HERE will illustrate – few spy books). Still, they can be fun and a nice diversion to the ruts all readers fall into. Casino Royale is early Bond, before all the super-agent crap and gizmos and stuff. He’s just a guy, see, and while brave, he is quite human (a plus to the story). Bond has been sent to the gambling halls of this picturesque […]
August 16, 2015

Bad Monkey (Review)

‘ve read a lot of Hiaasen. My shelves are loaded with him. And I’ve been wanting a crack at Bad Monkey, just not a hardback crack. Well, I never got the book but noticed the audio disk in the library right before we went on a vacation trip. Perfect. It would be great for the run home. For those unfamiliar with Hiaasen, he writes whimsical (if you can call foul-languaged, gristly-event crimes whimsical) stories. I love them. He centers them all in Florida, his champions rough but honest heroes and our state’s imperiled beauty against developers, politicians, lawyers, tourists and […]
August 9, 2015

I Am Legend (Review)

eah, you’ve seen that stupid Will Smith movie. It isn’t that. I am Legend is the title story of a collection of Richard Matheson works. He was doing cutting-edge stuff a few years before I was born, and he really deserves better credit than a plate of CGIed audience-rated bullshit that we got out of this. In the true version, the main character is one of the last humans left after a plague sweeps the Earth, turning everyone else into things resembling, well, vampires. We follow the hero’s mental craziness at this situation, his drinking, his ravings, all that. And […]
August 2, 2015

Days of Infamy (Review)

eah, you read that right. Days. Plural. This one’s a Harry Turtledove epic, an alternate history tale of the attack on Pearl Harbor. And like everyone who’s ever played the old Avalon Hill game Victory in the Pacific, now we get a chance to see what happens when the Japanese go for a third attack run on Pearl. And, oh, they happen to have an invasion force this time. As one would expect from Turtledove, we have a number of different characters (becuase one character can’t carry the POV for an epic this size). We have an American artileryman (who […]
July 26, 2015

The Tenth Planet (Review)

nother book from the dusty stacks, this a gem from 1973 from the wonderful wooden shelves of Maya’s Books & Music. This is an old scifi yard that has a taste of the late-hippy, anti-Vietnam-war, ecology and brash-Earthman-bad-kickback era. And it’s got about the most desperate opening chapters you’re likely to find. The last ship lifts off a doomed Earth, always a depressing topic. Global warming has taken place, with flooding and rains, rains and more rains (sounds a little like my current vacation). With all this going on, Captain Idris Hamilton has a lot on his mind, namely getting […]
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 […]