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Book Blog

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 […]
October 12, 2014

War & Space (Review)

like anthologies. They are great for traveling on airplanes (you can always read the start of a story and if you don’t like it, you can move on). This time, I was up in the North Carolina mountains, a reading vacation. Yes, I looked down at clouds at time, but no airplanes, but reading is always fun. But this anthology was almost a bit too much re-reading. So that’s my bitch here – a number of these stories have appeared elsewhere. So bravo for those authors who are making more money for reposting, but as a reader, I’m tired of […]
October 5, 2014

Empire (Review)

his is a first on RobertRaymond.com, a review for an audiobook. But there you go. We listened to it on a road trip up to North Carolina and I figure it counts. A lot of people swear by this form of literature – my commute is too short and often it’s on a bike, but if it works, why not? Anyway, Empire is a tale set fifteen minutes into the future, that of the Second American Civil War. The premise is good – that the rupture between the left and right has grown so significant (on every issue) that a […]
September 28, 2014

Enemies (Review)

sually scifi takes an issue of our world and moves it forward to see how it plays out. That’s the old-school way of doing things: capital punishment, incarceration rates, the Moslem self-awareness, environmentalism, all of these and more have been moved forward to see possible results (for good or bad) of a human concept or condition. In Enemies, Lee Hogan does just the opposite – she takes the people of our world (specifically the people of Russia and it’s surrounding states) and uses them as base populations for her world Belarus. And then she go backwards. The royal family has […]