Richard J. Gatling invented the world’s first successful machine gun hoping its terrible destructive firepower would quickly and humanely end the Amer...moreRichard J. Gatling invented the world’s first successful machine gun hoping its terrible destructive firepower would quickly and humanely end the American Civil War. This particular hope was never truly tested because no Gatling guns were bought by Abraham Lincoln’s Ordnance Office but the Gatling gun’s “hopeful” promise was tested elsewhere on other battlefields around the world. Author Julia Keller argues that Gatling’s hope in war-ending firepower and the military’s resistance to using it characterize the unforeseen “sorting out” of the man and the 19th century’s Industrial Age of mass manufacture and developing mass markets. Mr. Gatling’s Terrible Marvel is the story of a man of genius propelling and being propelled by the 19th century’s tradition-busting lurch into the Machine Age.
Richard Gatling and his machine gun, says Keller, is a vivid case study of the 19th century‘s massive “sorting out” of the transition of America and other advanced nations from agriculture, piecemeal craftsmanship, and individual dignity to industry, mass manufacture and depersonalized mass markets and culture. Gatling’s individual “sorting out” reflects and affects this transition. Gatling and the rest of the world learn the rudiments of “progress”: marketing, interchangeability of parts, assembly lines, and cheap accessible patents (the American patent system). The world also learns the price of “progress”: depersonalization, growth of a large labor class, increased tension between labor and management, and Gatling gun-enabled racist empire-building. America in particular, says Keller, begins during this era of “progress” its long ponder of what it means to be a superpower. (less)
Teenagers. Some things never change. It does not matter if they are human or alien or live in the 21st or 24th centuries; hormones, inexperience, idea...moreTeenagers. Some things never change. It does not matter if they are human or alien or live in the 21st or 24th centuries; hormones, inexperience, idealism, questioning authority and the search for truth, justice and self all conspire in jagged fits and starts to propel adolescents into adulthood. In William Shatner’s Star Trek Academy: Collision Course, seventeen year-old James T. Kirk and nineteen year-old Spock stumble into adulthood and each other as soul-tearing memories of planetary slaughter and a struggle for ethnic identity collide with a threat to Federation frontier colonies.
James T. Kirk hates Starfleet. It bristles with incompetents who make mistakes that ruin careers and kill entire planets. Starfleet Academy falsely accuses Kirk’s girlfriend, Academy midshipman Elissa, of stealing dilithium crystals. Kirk scrambles to prove Elissa’s innocence by exposing Starfleet’s incompetence; the same type of incompetence a younger Kirk saw four years ago kill thousands of Federation colonists on Tarsus IV.
Spock, son of a Vulcan father and human mother, stationed with his family at the Vulcan embassy in San Francisco, home of Starfleet, battles father, fellow Vulcans, and self for acceptance as a Vulcan. Spock unexpectedly learns something about his true self during his clandestine investigation of a series of archeological thefts at the embassy. Spock’s self-discovery crystallizes when his investigation collides with Kirk’s effort to exonerate Elissa. Both Kirk and Spock soon realize there is a connection. It is a connection linking the slaughter on Tarsus IV, an interplanetary crime ring of children, Starfleet, and a threat to the Federation’s far-flung colonies. Kirk and Spock must work together but only after they are forced to join Starfleet Academy.
Characterization is compelling in Star Trek Academy. Kirk- and Spock’s inner struggles are richly described. Kirk’s flashbacks to the horrors of Tarsus IV provide the bloody details which explain his hatred for Starfleet and his obsession with exposing it. Spock’s teetering between human and Vulcan is vividly displayed during his painful, soul-plumbing discussions with his father. (less)
It’s the time of knights and kings, evil lords, grotesque armies of telepathic monsters and hideous, almost invincible creatures from an ancient race...moreIt’s the time of knights and kings, evil lords, grotesque armies of telepathic monsters and hideous, almost invincible creatures from an ancient race of assassins. The forces of good and evil are massing for a final showdown and you are a clueless fifteen year old boy who dreams of battles, adventure and glory as a knight in the king’s service. What do you do when your dreams are shattered? And what do you do about all that homework?
Choosing Day is the big day for 15 year-old Will and the rest of his fellow castle orphans. Will wants to be a knight and hopes to be chosen for the Kingdom's Battleschool but is told he is too small. Instead, Will is selected by a mysterious Ranger named Halt for training in an elite and secretive military organization. Will resists being pulled into the Rangers but soon finds his unusual natural talents transforming him into a Ranger Wunderkind. Will has the ability to blend into any background. He’s quick. He’s agile. He can climb tall trees and walls. And he’s smart. Halt trains Will to improve these skills and teaches him to use a bow, throw knives and how to track. There is much homework.
Gradually Will learns how to be a spy in the king’s service and realizes how important the job is. Just in time too because the evil, exiled, Baron of Gorlan, Lord Morgarath, is amassing an army of hideous telepathic Warguls to again invade the Kingdom of Araluen. Mysterious things are afoot in the Kingdom—key military officers are dying or being killed in strange ways. There have been sightings of the rarely seen deadly Kalkara; a race of almost invincible assassins. They are hunting. Who are they hunting? And why? (less)
What do the Russian mafia, 12 foot poison-oozing trolls, a farting dirt-eating dwarf, a beautiful ray-gun-toting leprechaun, fairy gold, a computer-ge...moreWhat do the Russian mafia, 12 foot poison-oozing trolls, a farting dirt-eating dwarf, a beautiful ray-gun-toting leprechaun, fairy gold, a computer-geek centaur, and a 12 year old Irish criminal genius have in common? They’re all in this book!
Young Artemis Fowl Jr. is desperate. The family’s criminal fortune is bleeding dry. Artemis and his family are mere millionaires now. He needs more money to continue his search for his legally-declared dead father, Artemis Fowl Sr., presumably killed in a shipwreck off northern Russia while attempting to establish a soda pop franchise in Russia. Just in time, internet-surfing Artemis discovers the hidden underground world of The People--magical fairies, sprites, trolls, dwarfs, goblins, leprechauns, and centaurs. Super brain, Artemis, sees a way out of financial ruin. Kidnap a leprechaun and hold it for a ransom of gold. That is the ancient rule; a treasure of gold for the return of a kidnapped leprechaun.
Sounds simple, huh? Do you really think so? Consider this. Not once in all the centuries have The People paid a ransom of gold for a kidnapped leprechaun. Why? Possibly, it might be the incredible magical powers and super weapons they can unleash on anyone foolish enough to try. It might also have something to do with those mindless blood thirsty 12 foot poison-oozing trolls and the Blue Rinse.
But then again, The People have never met a human like Artemis Fowl Jr. (less)
Another goodreads reviewer says the book has an interesting start but fizzles after the first 100 pages. He has it backwards. The subsequent pages red...moreAnother goodreads reviewer says the book has an interesting start but fizzles after the first 100 pages. He has it backwards. The subsequent pages redeem the slow and tedious beginning. It's only later in the book that we find an interesting web of conspiracy linking an Hasidic crime-lord rebbe and his heroin-shooting messiah-son, powerful American evangelicals, destruction of Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock, reinstitution of the Hebrew priesthood and Temple sacrifices, and the first/second coming of Christ.
But even with this redemption, Yiddish Policemen's Union is a tame and navel-gazing thing. It was a chore to wade through it.(less)
Whiny,obsessive,navel gazing dabbed with moments of real interest and humor. I vow never again to read a book written by a recently divorced woman (or...moreWhiny,obsessive,navel gazing dabbed with moments of real interest and humor. I vow never again to read a book written by a recently divorced woman (or man). Heavy-duty editing and cutting would immensely improve this book. Dumping "Love" from the title would be a good start.(less)
I hate this book. It was presented in my YA lit. class as an example of realistic fiction. There is nothing realistic about The Chocolate War. But wha...moreI hate this book. It was presented in my YA lit. class as an example of realistic fiction. There is nothing realistic about The Chocolate War. But what's most irksome about the book is the lack of hope. There is no satisfying resolution. I felt cheated.