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Book Blog

December 20, 2014

To have and have not (Review)

his one’s been on the Hemingway stack for years, part of a wifey Christmas gift from long ago. Been meaning to read it. And then, tired of modern plot devices (and having seen the namesake movie with Bogart over at an outdoor showing), I decided I had to read it. Well, the movie was good. And the book was nothing like it. Yeah, better. Much better. To Have and Have Not is a collection of four short stories following the declining fortunes of Harry Morgan, an honest, pragmatic, and (at times) ruthless man who owns a boat and plies the […]
December 14, 2014

Accelerando (Review)

f I had to review this comment in a single line, I’d tell you this – it’s Snow Crash for a new century. Accelerando follows three generations of a family, from 2010 (or so) through the hundreds of years to follow. We start with Manfred Macx, a “venture altruist” (meaning he has great ideas, but because he thinks the economics of scarcity is a dying concept, he’s giving them away to make others rich and hasten the in the brave new world). He’s married to a business-blade dominatrix, a rocky on-again, off-again, divorce-and-hatred sort of thing (she rapes him and […]
December 7, 2014

The Kill List (Review)

his one was a tough one to review. Not because I had a difficult time with it or couldn’t find anything positive, but because I’ve got a sick wife. Five times, when I started the review, we had a crisis. The sixth was today. So now she’s settled. And now I can review. Drones. This is what the book is about. The liberal bugaboo, the conservative uncertainty. Drones. Yeah, so there is a fellow raising cain out in the Middle East somewhere, the Preacher. He’s calling for Jihad with untraceable internet speeches. All one needs to do to go to […]
November 30, 2014

City of Widows (review)

hat Western writers often miss in all the flying lead and howling Indians is that there is something in the western genre that goes beyond all this. There is the thing that makes a western a western, and not simply a historical fiction with guns. It’s the pragmatism of the western hero. It’s the saddle bum with nobility, the tramp with a strong sense of right and wrong. That’s what makes a western, and why the same story with Russians or Hawaiians or Eskimos does not work. And Page Murdock, hero of City of Widows, has it in spades. I […]
November 23, 2014

Iron Sunrise (review)

egardless of what you see in movies, stars don’t just explode, not without long years of warning. Which is why when the G2 star warming the planet Moscow just blows, sweeping everyone away, certain people (and AIs) take notice. And the worst thing? Moscow didn’t trust it’s neighbor New Dresden. And so its own failsafe devices (slow speed missiles that will take decades to reach their target but are now on the way) make this a true double-whammy. Iron Sunrise is a follow up book (I figure) to Accelerando, and interesting universe we see played out here. It seems that […]
November 16, 2014

The 5th Wave (review)

ver since HG Wells swept away England, scorching and red-weeding it to ruination by advancing Martian tripods, we’ve loved our alien invasion stories. And generally we win – what’s the point of the story unless we win? We’re plucky and ingenious, especially with our backs to the wall. Yeah, sure. In Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave, that pretty much goes out the door. We’re losing, on our way to extinction. No alien race, as the author points out, is going to come down and dogfight with F-16s in some sort of even fight. With “intellects vast, cool, and unsympathetic” (Wells […]
November 9, 2014

Exodus (review)

icture a primary power broker in New York City. The sanitation workers are unhappy and want to go on strike (hell, they want to move to New Jersey). So this broker tells them, “Go to the mayor’s office. Make your demands. I’ll make sure he listens. But note that behind the scenes, I’m going to push him to say no. Regardless of what you say, he’ll say no.” “Why would you harden his heart in such a way?” asks the Union Rep. “Because I’m looking for good PR. I want everyone to know me, and know that to get anything […]
November 2, 2014

Derailed (Review)

t was a casual selection, this book on Maya’s dollar rack. I like trains so the title caught me. Read the flap, thought meh, then decided at the last second to pick it up. Just a buck, right? After that, it sat on the bottom of the bedroom stack for long dusty months, occasionally unearthed, pondered, and meh, back it went. Finally, a couple of weeks back, I cracked the cover. And wow. Wow! Here’s the deal – poor Charles Schine rides the 8:43 into New York every day, bemoaning his stalled (and increasingly depressing) life. Then one day, he […]
October 26, 2014

Cat Crimes I (review)

t’s the mark of a true reader when, one day between books, you browse your shelves and find a hardback you simply cannot remember buying. So it was when I spotted Cat Crimes I,II,and III down below the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Yeah, it’s that sort of bookshelf. These three books evidently reflect individually released collections, now sealed up together in one big hardback. All involve crimes. All involve cats. Overall, I find most of them to be very diabolically clever. I guess the only ones I can’t really “let my hair down” for are the stories where cats […]
October 19, 2014

Great World Religions – Hinduism (review)

‘ll admit a curiosity towards Hinduism. I work in a modern American corporation’s software division, meaning I’ve got a lot of Indian coworkers. They flooded the market a couple of tech-booms ago and now over half the team is Indian (as well as other races – at one point, there were only two old white guys left). I’ll also admit that my curiosity got me to explore the Indian lifestyle. My wife and I watch a lot of Indian movies (hey, nothing tells you more than the movies a culture likes). We’ve visisted a local temple and been invited into […]