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Book Blog

April 5, 2015

Inverted World (Review)

here is something about a really good book. If you watch a really good movie, you want to go buy the DVD or something. With a book, you want to have the author’s baby, the feeling is so powerful. I’d have Priest’s children after reading through this 1974 classic about a colony settlement that’s in a horrific situation. See, they know they came from Earth. And they know the sun their new planet orbits is strange, shaped rather like a child’s top. And they know the ground beneath them is slowly sliding, a mile every ten days or so, down […]
March 29, 2015

A People’s History of the United States (Review)

know enough to be outraged by slavery. I don’t agree (i.e. I think it’s horseshit) to the droll explanation of economics and time and place that makes slavery in the U.S. into some understandable economic phase. It’s as if we consider that our country is a human being and the slavery phase was when it was rebelliously and petulantly thirteen. We had steam engines, telegraphs, and iron-working to the point where we could build metal ships. And still we had people in chains? I mean, WTF? So that didn’t surprise me. But everything else in Howard Zinn’s massive A People’s […]
March 22, 2015

What Money Can’t Buy (Review)

o I’m a socialist and my best friend is a libertarian. It makes for interesting weekly phone calls. However, What Money Can’t Buy, the new book by Michael Sandel, expresses everything I find wrong with the world (and can’t often articulate). Centrally – that market culture is replacing civil culture. Sandel tracks this across the last thirty years (and before), how often we allow money to determine what’s right and how goods will be distributed (strike that – right has nothing to do with it). Where theme parks used to have lines so everyone would join up in egalitarian fashion, […]
March 15, 2015

War of the Worlds, plus Blood, Guts and Zombies (Review)

his is a tough one to review. I’m feeling like the food reviewer who is assigned to check out the local greasy spoon, a favorite of the lowly locals. Is it proper to equate what you eat there to the finest of French restaurants? Or if it’s a favorite for its clientele, should you pursue it with that angle? Okay, for those who don’t know about this sort of thing, there is a sub-culture of literature (in this case, “Blood Enriched Classics”), which takes a classic and puts zombies or whatever into their story. I first heard about this with […]
March 8, 2015

Lord Foul’s Bane (Review)

wasn’t into Fantasy too much in the 70’s when this originally came out. Oh, I read the Ring stuff and loved Watership Down (a fantasy epic in its own right). But I’d never read Donaldson. Since then, I did read his The Real Story series and loved it. It had a gritty realism and unconventional storytelling that I found appealing. A bookhead friend from work suggested this one day while we were having our Lonely Literary Club chat so I took a look into it. In a nutshell, Lord Foul’s Bane is a stand-alone novel, yet also part of the […]
March 8, 2015

Atlas of the Moon (Review)

he what, you ask? Well, there’s my astronomy interest, bleeding over. Picked this up from the lending library at the Central Florida Astronomical Society (just how many clubs am I a member of?). While mostly the book is made up of plates showing beautifully clear drawings of a section of the Moon (including a side description of all the craters located there), what I really found most interesting were the descriptions of the Moon. Where it might have come from (at least back in 2004 – everything changes so fast). How it orbits. While this section isn’t all that long, […]
March 1, 2015

Northwest Passage (Review)

kay, so I picked this one up at the Forbidden Planet shop (right next to the Strand Bookstore) on my New York trip. I’m not a big graphic novel fan – loved the original 300 and was reading The Spirit way back in the day. I’ll admit that there is a certain depth (dimensionally different from superb writing, but still there) that pictures can add to a story. So, here in Northwest Passage, we open with an Indian getting run down by a mob of Europeans on a ridge overlooking an English wilderness fort, where within, the one-time wilderness explorer […]
February 22, 2015

Some Remarks (Review)

 really like Neal Stephenson. I loved Snow Crash and appreciated Quicksilver (haven’t gotten the guts to follow up with the next two massive books). So when I saw a copy of Some Remarks in a used book store, I had to get it. This is a collection of a number of his articles and interviews, not all of them (some of them he looked back and and decided to leave them buried). But I did like most of it. I’ll admit that his raving about the time period he covered in Quicksilver eventually befuddled me so badly I had to […]
February 15, 2015

The Trampling of the Lilies (Review)

et’s just get this out front – I like Rafael Sabatini. I’ve reviewed Scaramouche, The Shame of Motley, and The Marquis of Carabas. I haven’t done Captain Blood but I’ve read it twice and could review it cold. I’ve liked them all. But The Trampling of the Lilies? I’m going to have to luke-warm this one. I figured it was shaping up to the usual Sabatini fare – low-born clerk loves nobleman’s daughter. He professes his love. Then he gets a horse whip across the face. He then takes a shot at the nobleman who’d slashed him and ends up […]
February 8, 2015

Two short scifis (Review)

his week, I scratched through Project Gutenberg and came up with two short scifi stories, both out of pulp magazines. I didn’t want to spend that much time on them but they deserved some sort of mention (and me? I deserve some sort of weekly blog entry out of them). A Spaceship Named McGuire – this was a shortie written in 1960, just about when Harry Harrison was coming up with the Stainless Steel Rat. It was when humanism was making a push back into the industry, when bold wisecracking heroes were popular. In this story, a clever space detective […]