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Book Blog

September 22, 2013

Existence (Review)

I really didn’t think about how far distances were in space until my friend Jesse and I started working on Solar Trader, a game to be released off our Gridsims.com site eventually. See, Solar Trader deals with flying around this solar system. It’s done with squares, and the distance between Earth and the sun is nine of them. That’s cool, until you work out that Pluto (yeah, still a planet – I’m a purist) is something like 530 squares out (and I’ve flown it – it’s a long haul). The Ort Cloud (where the comets hang out) is something like […]
September 15, 2013

Zombie Apocalypse! (Review)

Zombies. I love ’em. Got into them with Shawn of the Dead and worked backwards through Dawn of the Dead (and other flicks) to understand them more. The appeal, I’ve read, to zombies is the human feeling of being threatened and swamped by mediocrity and obstructions. That these staggering, stumbling things that all get in your way can actually be overcome by a blow to the head. Placed against a no-rules world of an apocalypse, it makes for fun watching. Or reading. Zombie Apocalypse! is a collective effort by a group of writers assembled by Stephen Jones, with the rising […]
September 8, 2013

The Fencing Master (Review)

My book. A book about me. Don Jaime Astarloa is a Fencing Master in 1866 Lisbon. He is growing older, his moves slower. Worse, his clientele is dwindling, not wishing to invest the time into an art that is no longer serving a purpose (pistols are becoming more common). Everything Don Jaime believes in: honor, nobility, the monarchy, the way things were and should be, all that is slipping from him. But Don Jaime (like myself) has decided to maintain himself in his own graces, fixed in his belief of right, of the narrow path and why he should maintain […]
September 1, 2013

Get out of our Skies (Review)

This short story was Astounding, literally. It came from Astounding Stories in 1957. And I’ll say why I had so much fun with it in just a moment. First, the story. Advertising Exec Tom Blacker just pulled a boner – his attempt to literally light up the Manhattan skies with a giant image of an actress/client produces the buzz he’d hoped for (and the fallout he’d not anticipated, when the civil authorities pressure his boss to can him). Now without work, he allows a pretty skirt to lead him to Homelovers, Incorporated. Now, Homelovers is a real-estate conglomerate with a […]
August 25, 2013

Sketches Old and New (Review)

Mark Twain’s Sketches Old and New, first published in 1882, is an anthology of his earlier works, sweepings and scrapings of his various observations and lampoonings from thirty years as an editor and writer. In that, it’s very interesting how similar it is to the collections other artists might offer today. Among them are observations of specific professions (watchmakers, barbers, doctors, chambermaids and newsroom hangers-on), races (Irish, Chinese, and those who bait them) as well as stand-alone bits. That Twain was anti-government is apparent in his many mockeries of its massive size and complexity (even for its day, particularly in […]
August 18, 2013

Astounding Stories July 1931 (Review)

Another dip with the iPad Kindle reader in the pool of Project Gutenberg, this time a pulldown of Astounding Stories, July 1931. Astounding Stories was the pulp monthly that later grew and grew, becoming Analog, whose existence, with the closing of our local scifi shop and the general inability of the current generation to read anything longer than 144 characters, is a fact just short of amazing these days (yes, monthly for eighty years). So it’s a nifty and back-laughing view of the “past’s future”, six stories of plucky heroes (all of them men, all of them sterling and bold, […]
August 11, 2013

The Red Room (Review)

Short stories are often a neat little side-jaunt from longer and windier stories. And sometimes it’s a delight to discover a story from a collection by an artist crossing a genre into something he normally does not do. So that’s why I delighted in The Red Room, an old H.G. Wells story I discovered in the collection The Plattner Story and Others, easily obtainable via Project Gutenberg (right here). Maybe because I’d had a long week and was comfortably tired, perhaps that’s the reason this “ghost” story appealed. Maybe because I had a beer in my gut, that it was […]
August 4, 2013

The Serene Invasion (Review)

Finally, a book for the left! I’ve grown tired with right-leaning sausage-grinders. I’ve also grown tired of the old plotline, that aliens who come to earth have a hidden agenda. I got through Live Free Or Die with bleeding eyeballs. So it’s nice, sometime, when aliens ARE beneficial, when communication and coexistence and cooperation actually work. It’s just too bad that in doing so, The Serene Invasion loses a bit of its edge. The the race we name as the Serene come to Earth and make big changes. I’m not sure why they dome some of our cities, since they […]
July 28, 2013

A Storm of Swords (Review)

It’s 1am, I’m in the epilog, and com’on, George, let’s wrap this thing up. 924 pages. Not that it isn’t good. The Storm of Swords is the third installment (some 1800 pages in) of The Song of Ice and Fire saga, a massive and sprawling tale from George R.R. Martin. It moves well, and most chapters always have a reason for being. Better yet, he engages in a practice I most fully approve of – killing off main characters. But that’s the joke I’ve seen on the net – “Whenever a fan asks Martin when the book is coming out, […]
July 21, 2013

Stories of the Sea (Review)

I‘m really slanted on this book. See, it led to the resolution of a wonderful life-moment for me, just before it was too late. I picked this up at Slightly Foxed. Published by “Everyman’s Pocket Collection”, it is truly a pocket collection, dozens of great sea stories packed into a small hardcover – pocket-sized – book. I’ve read collections before – rather like them. A good collection will give you a wide range of selections; perfect for airplane rides – you get one you don’t like, skip to the next. And this, let me tell you, is one of the […]