Jun
17
2017
6

Book of the Week: The Hunt For Red October.

I got turned on to Tom Clancy novels by a buddy in college. The Hunt For Red October was maybe the first one I read, because of the movie (which is, of course, excellent, and not least because it boasts a remarkably good cast). It was about then, I think, that I started coming to the (at the time) uncomfortable realization that maybe Ronald Reagan wasn’t an amiable dunce after all.  …Much followed, from that.

And so, adieu to Hard Magic. (more…)

Jun
03
2017
1

Book of the Week: The Alamo.

This is my week for getting back to books that I inexplicably put down and didn’t pick up again.  In this case: John Myers Myers’ The Alamo (I don’t need to explain to you what the book is about, right?).  I wonder how Mr. Myers felt about the fact that — despite the fact that he was primarily a writer of history, with a focus on the American West — he’s remembered today primarily for Silverlock.  Then again, it’s not like he didn’t write Silverlock, now is it?

And so, adieu to Sweet Silver Blues.

May
27
2017
--

Book of the Week: Sweet Silver Blues.

Sweet Silver Blues is Glen Cook’s first book in his Garrett, PI series. It’s basically hard-boiled detective fiction set in a fantasy medieval city, only not in a gimmicky way because it takes seriously the detective portion of it and the doesn’t use the fantasy portion of it to cheat on the plot.  The series also has the nice quality of allowing the setting to keep evolving; the world is significantly different at the end of the latest book than it was at the beginning of the first. Check it out.

And so, adieu to The Berlin Project.

May
19
2017
1

Book of the Week: The Berlin Project.

Gregory Benford’s The Berlin Project asks the question: What would have happened if my* father-in-law had had the chance to have the high-speed centrifuge method be chosen as the Manhattan Project’s primary method for uranium enrichment? And the answer is apparently We would have had the Bomb in time for D-Day.  Which is arguably true, and certainly interesting. And probably a better situation all around, assuming that you weren’t living in… well, read the book.  Although you’ve probably guess what happens, just from the title.

And so, adieu to The Weapon Shops of Isher.
(more…)

May
06
2017
--

Book of the Week: This Perfect Day.

Ira Levin didn’t write overmuch in the way of science fiction, but This Perfect Day was a pretty good dystopian future novel in the style of, and sometimes in critique of, Brave New World. God only knows how you’d put it on the big screen, though. Which is odd, because Ira Levin had a knack for writing books that could be usefully made into a decent movie.

And so, adieu to Jurassic Park.

 

Apr
29
2017
1

Book of the Week: Jurassic Park.

I know that this is a little bit of a weird choice, but I spent the day looking through my library to see if I still had a copy of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park lying around.  If I spent that much time looking, it’s worth an entry, right?  That seems reasonable.  Even if I wanted to read it as an antidote to the Power Rangers dinosaur series that my children persist in watching. Over and over and over again.

And so, adieu to Brain Wave.

Apr
22
2017
--

Book of the Week: Brain Wave.

Poul Anderson’s Brain Wave, in the hands of somebody less skilled than Poul Anderson, would have been incredibly stupid.  Which is ironic, because the central theme of the book is “What would happen if every living creature on Earth suddenly had its intelligence tripled?”  Fortunately, it was Poul Anderson who wrote it, so we got an excellent book out of the deal.

And so, adieu to The Stars My Destination.

Apr
15
2017
4

Book of the Week: The Stars My Destination.

Al Bester is mostly remembered for writing two books: The Demolished Man, and The Stars My Destination.  But I suspect that he probably wouldn’t mind that, because if you’re going to be remembered for only two things, having it be these two books is nothing to sneeze at. Many people would be pleased to be remembered for writing a book that reminded people of The Stars My Destination. I wouldn’t object, myself.

And so: adieu to Dream Park.

Apr
07
2017
3

Book of the Week: Dream Park.

I’m surprised that Larry Niven and Steven Barnes’ Dream Park hasn’t made the list yet.  It pushes the right buttons: near-future, filk singing, and LARPing as a competitive sport.  Good stuff, good stuff.  And the sequels don’t suck, either.

And so, adieu to The Deed of Paksenarrion. (more…)

Mar
31
2017
3

Book of the Week: The Deed of Paksenarrion.

The Deed of Paksenarrion is a compliation of a fantasy trilogy by Elizabeth Moon about one Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter. It is probably one of the best High Fantasy series ever written: unlike most other modern works in this genre (some of which are quite good, actually), Ms. Moon takes the tropes of High Fantasy quite seriously, and respects what they do and do not mean. There may be better books that try to imagine what it’s like to be a no-fooling paladin; but I can’t think of one, offhand.

And so, adieu to The Stand.

Mar
25
2017
2

Book of the Week: The Stand.

Although, I have to admit: Stephen King’s The Stand has a lot to answer for.  More accurately, the expanded version does. The problem was not so much in the fact that King’s book about medieval Christianity (I’ve seen him cop to that, in those words) set in a post-apocalyptic America was reissued with all the previously-cut bits put back in.  It’s that the book sold like even more hotcakes afterward, convincing the world that expanded versions of previous best-sellers were just what American literature needed.  Alas, this was not true.

Still, the book itself is fantastic. In both versions.  And, I suppose, in both meanings of the word.

And so, adieu to Lords and Ladies.

Site by Neil Stevens | Theme by TheBuckmaker.com