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Book Blog

April 29, 2014

Bartleby, The Scrivener (Review)

You’ll remember my love [sic] of Herman Melville HERE, how I couldn’t get his stuff down, not with a spoon-full of sugar, not at the point of a gun. I’ve read long windy lofty books, Atlas Shrugged, Anna Karinina, and currently, Quicksilver. I’ve liked them all to various degrees. But Melville, “He tasks me; he heaps me”. In other words, I could never get in tune with him. Even Billy Budd mauled me. But my crazy sometime’s daughter / sometimes groupie Denise mentioned this book years back with the old “You haven’t read ‘Bartleby, The Scrivener’? Oh, you gotta read […]
April 27, 2014

The Vicomte of Bragelonne (review)

Ah, how we associate with our heroic story heroes… Okay, see if you can stick with me here. First, we have the famous Three Musketeers, with the youthful heroes d’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis. Then we have Twenty Years After, which looks at them in late middle age, where these allies of youth find themselves split two against two on matters of royalty (as well as pitted against an evil from their pasts). It is a bittersweet story about growing older, cooler, and more thoughtful. Then, we have the series of three books, The Vicomte of Bragelonne, Ten Years Later, […]
April 20, 2014

Infected (Review)

I mentioned this book (or rather implied it) HERE. Perhaps this just came at a point I wanted a good horror novel. Maybe it was one of those moments where the book and reader come together (so lucky Scott Sigler). But I really enjoyed his book Infected. It’s the usual yarn where of modern scifi where writers, with full understanding of the unlikeliness of interstellar travel, come up with other ways to do it besides big honking spaceships. In this case, it’s spores (nanobot spores, it turns out) that are seeded across the universe and fall to the ground, to […]
April 13, 2014

The Shame of Motley (Review)

Poor Lazzaro Biancomonte, recently dispossessed of his home in Biancomonte by stronger, sharkier nobles. And so, ever the hothead, the young fellow literally storms a count’s castle, demanding satisfaction. Of course, he is dragged before the count for a sobering talk, and suddenly Lazzaro realizes that (a) he’s about to get his ass killed and (b) this will kill his poor mother, reduced to peasantry by their downfall. But our count is a good fellow. He agrees to spare the young noble’s life… if…. he’ll dress in motley and literally play the fool for his count. The young man, now […]
April 6, 2014

The Gun (Review)

Another short story from Planet Stories pulp magazine in 1952, pulled down off my favorite supplier of eBooks, Project Gutenberg. The Gun is a shorty by Philip K. Dick, one of the famous (and struggling, I’m led to believe) writers from the golden era. So astronomers on a planet pick up a fusion flash from a world not too far off, a big flash, an end-of-civilization full-stop flash. They send a space ship out that way to check on it. Of course, all they find is a dead world, fused and cold without a living thing in its ruins. But […]
March 30, 2014

A Doctor at Calvary (review)

I‘m not going to get into the Shroud of Turin controversy. If you want to see conflicting opinions, check out the wiki page. It’s like an article written by a split personality. No, I’m focused this week on a book Pierre Barbet wrote back in 1953, a look at just what happened to Jesus once the Romans (and Jews) decided to dispose of him. Barbet takes the shroud and examines its photographs minutely, determining the result of every injury suffered by the person pictured in the shroud, the lashings, the thorned forehead, the nail holes, the spear in the side. […]
March 23, 2014

Two-for (two Reviews)

Went on a little hunt over at Project Gutenberg, where you can get all the free out-of-copyright ebooks you could hope for. Found two scifi shorties (published in pulps) from the mid-fifties. Since neither of them was long enough for a full review, I decided to knock them both out today. And see if you can spot the irony in these two stories… The Odyssey of Sam Meecham Sam Meecham is a hen-pecked nine-to-five drone. His life at work is checking the two output wires on rocket engines to make sure their generated thrusts are within tolerances. At home, he […]
March 16, 2014

My Brother’s Keeper (Review)

You can never go home. Or so Teke Manion finds out when he does. Having scraped his hometown of White Sands, Florida off his shoe and joined a huge multinational in Paris, our hero is sent back five years later to access wildfire damage to over-leveraged houses (whose owners are setting them on fire ahead of the fireline in hopes of walking away from the ashes). And Teke has cut all ties including those with his “brothers”, the members of “Three Dog Knights”, his two buddies with whom he used to prank through his early years to drive the local […]
March 9, 2014

Scaramouche (Review)

He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. This is one of the best openers ever in a novel, penned by Rafael Sabatini in one of his greatest works, Scaramouche. Some background – it old plays, it was common for known character types to be cast in fixed positions. This way, an audience would know that character on sight, and know his personality and characteristics (modern movies and books do this pretty much today, with their lack of creativity). The character “Scaramouche” is the trickster, the fellow who stirs the pot, creates […]
March 2, 2014

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Review)

I read this years ago, probably because I’d just seen it’s companion movie, Blade Runner. And recalling the sort of person I was in college (half-baked, like most humans under twenty-seven), I remember being slightly disappointed in it. Silly me. Let’s toss the movie and focus on this wonderful book by Philip K. Dick. Do Androids Dream… is centered on a tomb of a world, our world following a nuclear exchange that left the planet dust covered (and slightly radiative, too) and dead. Pretty much all the animals are gone (and those that are left are hoarded and worshiped (in […]