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Book Blog

January 9, 2022

Fight for your Long Day (Review)

picked this one up on the fly from a used bookstore just around the corner, a tiny epic about an adjunct instructor teaching in Philadelphia who is living an ironic life – being a collage-educated professional making less that a bartender, with no health insurance or safety net thanks to the income inequities so common everywhere in America (and the globalized world) these days. I’m kinda torn on this. Parts of it I just loved (one of them I quoted in a recent DOG EAR). At it’s best, Fight for your Long Day  spoke to me as Snow Crash and […]
January 2, 2022

The Commodore (Review)

his was one I got off the shelves at my local used bookstore, a roaring sea adventure set in the dark days of World War Two when the Japanese were pushing their ships down the “slot” and the Americans were doing everything they could to keep them from reinforcing and re-invading islands in The Solomon Islands. Into this hell-battle comes Harmon Wolf, an American Indian with his first command, a new destroyer. Wolf finds himself thinking outside the typical blue-navy box, willing to take full advantage of the new American radars to offset the threat from the Japanese Long Lance […]
December 26, 2021

Conagher (Review)

very so often, I need a mental health book. Sometimes SciFi pulls too much at me. And those recent political histories I’d dabbled into are stone-cold depressing. So I need something, the literary equivalent to eating a bucket of ice cream in my jammies. And for that, there is always Louis L’Amour. In Conagher, a young couple (married in typical economic desperation) with kids from his former wife rattle west in their wagon to start a new life. He’s built a small house in the middle of absolute nowhere. Once everyone is settled, the husband rides off to purchase cattle […]
December 19, 2021

Warspite (Review)

he fourth book from the Ark Royal series (which seemed odd at first, given the ending to the third book). But in this book, we have a recovering Earth launching a colony attempt way, way out into the black (as a fall back in case we come that close to extinction again). Here, Captain John Naiser finds himself in charge of Warspite, an experimental cruiser operating on escort duty. And he’s got his work cut out for him. It turns out that piracy has been occurring in space; a transport to a beleaguered colony has gone missing (through the wonder […]
December 12, 2021

A Pirate’s Life in the Golden Age of Piracy (Review)

y friend Brian loaned me this one, a book about the history of piracy over the golden age (1600’s, mostly). I went into it with my engine room set to dubious speed – author Robert Jacob notes in his opener that he isn’t really a historian in any way. He is just into pirates (his author picture shows him in pirate cosplay garb). So, I figured, let’s see about pirates. I’ll give him this – he did a very competent and thorough job. He works his way from 1640 onward, following each captain as he plunders and blunders about, picking […]
December 5, 2021

Redshirts (Review)

love John Scalzi’s writing – enjoyed Old Man’s War and The Collapsing Empire. And I’ll admit I was looking for a light-hearted book, a lampoon of sorts of Hollywood sci-fi franchises and the characters who are in them. Expecting nothing more than a reheating of Galaxy Quest, I dove into Redshirts. So Ensign Andrew Dahl of the Universal Union has just been assigned to the Intrepid, flagship of the fleet. Since it is a forward exploration and combat vessel, one would expect casualties. But, as the nerd joke goes, the security forces (i.e. the “redshirts”) suffer appalling losses. And they die […]
November 28, 2021

Make Room! Make Room! (Review)

ritten in 1966 (just as overpopulation was becoming a known concern), this novel by Harry Harrison was the driving force behind the movie Soylent Green. Focusing on the book (the whole cannibalism aspect is absent), we have detective Andy Rusch sharing a small tenement flat with Sol, a retired engineer who has cobbled together a bike-generator for their small fridge and TV. Andy has been assigned a case looking into the murder of a known racketeer – it’s thought to be the work of a new mob moving into New York (it’s actually the result of a frightened burglar who […]
November 21, 2021

The Last Emperox (Review)

or this review, I’m going to avoid spoilers. It’s the last book of the The Interdependency Trilogy. I won’t tell you who lives and who dies. However, the flow passages between the planets of the Empire are shutting down, entire habitats with billions of souls dependent on trade will die, and the only planet (End) with a natural biosphere that could keep humans alive is controlled by evil Noble House Nohamapetan, and even if they lifted their blockade the planet would be overrun by billions of displaced people. So it’s pretty grim. We see Emperox Grayland II trying to mature […]
November 14, 2021

The Trafalgar Gambit: Ark Royal III (Review)

o this is book three of the Ark Royal series, the final book (final, did you say? That sounds like foreshadowing. Uh oh). In a nutshell, the Ark Royal was an old Royal Navy space carrier, built along specs thought important eight decades past, put out to pasture with a goof-ball crew and suddenly pressed back into service when all those lighter, newer carriers were all turned to scrap by the Tadpoles (an alien race that seemingly attacked us out of the blue (well, black, since this is space)). If you are curious about all this, read my earlier reviews […]
November 7, 2021

The Consuming Fire (Review)

kay, i’m way behind on my reviews. However, I can still remember that the second book of John Scalzi’s Interdependency series was as sharp as the first, The Collapsing Empire. So, yes, let’s give this a shot. To avoid spoilers, I’m just going to mention that the only danger in this book is that that Kiva Lagos, a secondary character behind the Emporox Grayland II, continues to outshine all the other characters with her foul tongue and action-figure manners. Of particular delight is when a rival house attempts to assassinate her and shoots her lover instead. In retaliation, Kiva beats the […]