Several years ago, I had downloaded a Kindle copy of the first Wool installment, but just never found time for it.
When I finally returned to it, I wasSeveral years ago, I had downloaded a Kindle copy of the first Wool installment, but just never found time for it.
When I finally returned to it, I was overjoyed to be thrust into the masterful universe of the Silo trilogy, already completely written. While a series of books is nice because of the extended plot and time in a fleshed out world, I also commonly find myself losing interest as an author takes the time to produce follow ups and release new stories.
I wanted to horde the story as it unfolded, but relenquished self control to the book demon of addiction. When I completed book one, I was able to immediately move to the second, then the third. With minimal pauses, I could loosely control my consumption. I was a book glutton, gorging myself and fattening on the succulent verbose descriptions.
In the silo series, several hundred years, and generations after the uprising, a man is put out to clean. Cleaning is the action of leaving the safety of the Silo to die. Folding oneself into an environmental suit and step outside onto the skin of planet earth's corpse. With you, you take scrubbing wool, and spend precious moments of your remaining life cleaning the camera lenses that allow insiders to see the external world. You scrape off the grime and grit, leaving a clear image of the apocalypse, a visual reminder to others that the outside is uninhabitable.
Everyone cleans, but noone understands why. Even the most desperate, depressed, and suicidal spend precious moments before death scrubbing the external camera lenses. After completion, they are dead and littering the viewscreens with their still suited body. The world is so poisoned, even a human in a can will only last minutes.
Two years after his wife was sent to clean, Sheriff Holston follows her. His body lay next to hers on the hillside. Juliette from Mechanical has a knack for making complex machines function. She has been, questionably, promoted to fill Holston's shoes. She moves from the lower 144th floor range, where mechanical, water treatment and mining occur, to the upper five. She is an outsider digging into the lives of outsiders.
The Silo trilogy is about these people, living breathing and creating within the confines if a 144 floor reality. New life is restricted to lottery, food/air/water/electricity require the expertise of others, and one dangerous thought can kill everyone. Existence within a snowglobe, buried within a landfill.
The risk of spoilers is high on this novel, so let's leave it here:
This is the best scifi I have read since Dan Simmon's Hyperion Cantos. Get it. Read it. Thank me later.
The flow of the story was a bit off kilter since each character in the book is strictly rationed. Paper is scarce, and books are relatively inaccessible, air water and food. In the world of the Silo, Howey is careful to portion out characters (both loved and hated) in a well defined balance. Much like a generator out of alignment, Howey was able to take all the parts, mishmash, refurbished elements, and turn it into an engine that purrs like a satisfied kitten. It warms your lap and lowers your heart rate until the little bastard pulls it's claws out as cats will do at whim.
The series was released via ebook in serialized format, so ebookers make sure that you purchase the Omnibus formats rather than the individual serial issues.
Howey was picked up for print distribution so dead tree copies are also available.
While I am no stranger to a good romance novel, I must admit that Passananti's Hazards of Hunting while Heartbroken threw me for a loop. The thing is,While I am no stranger to a good romance novel, I must admit that Passananti's Hazards of Hunting while Heartbroken threw me for a loop. The thing is, I misread the blurb or misunderstood it at the time I came across the novel. The book blurb references a New York City headhunter and a loose reference to the plotline. When I finally started reading it two weeks later all hope was lost for me. Too much time had passed for me to have any chance at detail oriented factual remembering.. In rereading the blurb after the fact I have NO IDEA WHAT I WAS THINKING.. I am laughing at myself, not with myself ;)
My brain instantly made the misguided leaps as follow:
1) I remember this book was about a Female Headhunter.. That is super strange for a protagonist profession. I wonder how many references to Dog the bounty hunter will be slopped into this.
2) love story with a head hunter? Wtf? This will be just strange enough to justify the reading.
3) What a strange cover. I suppose a NYC female head hunter would try to be very well dressed, especially if she is Manhatten based.
As you can see, I made my first wrong turn immediately and was oblivious to all reality.
This is a novel about a Corporate Headhunter, helping place highly skilled people with primo jobs in a rough market... She falls in love while still trying to get over her recently torpedoed engagement after she learned her fiance is gay. The man she starts dating seems too good to be true, and as we have learned in post year 2000 Disney America, it is ok for prince charming to have flaws.
Imagine my surprise when I found myself embroiled not with an action filled seedy detective style plotline, but instead a white collar office environment filled with angry bosses and trips to the opera.
Sigh, I did it to myself. Good thing I really loved the book.
Cover to cover read found this book to be well written and highly enjoyable. The twists were not terribly surprising, but it is a love story, so it is appropriate. I could have done with fewer angsty teenage emotional responses from the 30+ age group characters, but besides that, this was a damn fine novel.
I know i know. What the hell kind of review is this. Why should others pick this up..
Simple answer? Because I was dead wrong.. It is a very good book that does not need a justification for reading as, no surprise to other readers, it is not about Dog the Bounty Hunter. Except for main character Zoe, As far as I can tell the other characters are too 'well to do' even to reference Dog at a drunken socialite party. Zoe however, I am sure she has binge watched a few episodes while drips of Ben and Jerry's congeal on her rumpled sweat pants.
The movie Wrath of Khan has been ruined forever. All hail the Wrath of Khan (book)! Let me explain, because Vonda McIntyre owned this.
For father's dayThe movie Wrath of Khan has been ruined forever. All hail the Wrath of Khan (book)! Let me explain, because Vonda McIntyre owned this.
For father's day, I do not require much. Give me a hot meal, a warm cuddle, and a chilly blanket covered viewing of StarTrek: The Wrath of Khan. Family time at it's best. Unfortunately, this year my children are of an age where this movie would cause undue stress. Earworms, explosions, blind revenge and blood really dont jive too well with toddlers, so it is on pause for a couple years. We watched The Voyage Home instead, yes, the awesome time travel whale movie.
Why are you reading this?
The Lack of Khan meant my wonderful wife felt concern that my father's day would be lackluster. She searched out and located me a copy of the 1982 paperback edition Wrath of Khan. Giddy and sweaty palmed, I jigged in my seat when I opened my gift from her. Also included was a hardback copy of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but I can discuss that at a later date.
This geeky film will never be the same. The story of Wrath of Khan is no secret. Dumbed down- On Federation/Civilian research mission to a dead planet, Khan Noonien Singh is found, crazed and vengeful. He plots to find and punish James T Kirk, who he blames for the death of his wife and followers. In the process, he captures a starship and a device which can reorganize the structure of matter, destroying whatever previously existed and rebuilding habitable worlds from the blocks.
Kirk is in a fight to save his inexperienced trainee crew, while protecting innocent lives from the damage a deranged madman can wreck.
It has been thirty years since this movie and it's novelization were released. The geek in me picked out several elements requiring highlight.
First and most verbosely- In reading this, the Wrath if Khan has NOTHING to do with Khan or Kirk. Some aspects of this are displayed on the movie, but nowhere to the depth the novelization took it. This novel is about Savvik.
Savvik's backstory in the movies is rediculously thin. She is 'just' a Vulcan cadet on the path to becoming an officer. She 'just' questions human behavior and is 'just' under the tutelage of Spock. In the novelization, 'just' is a description which can never be.
Separate yourself from what you know from the film. The Wrath of Khan easily becomes Savvik's story. Born of a forbidden and potentially disturbing relationship between a Vulcan and a Romulan, she was orphaned and abandoned on a planet with all the other halflings. Spock, on a research mission, finds her feral and removed. He brings her back to society and treats her as an equal, almost like a daughter. She has warring genetics and culture, she has a desire for logic and an emotional flame that wants to burn the entire universe. It is Spock's assistance and training which allow her to control herself.
The story revolves entirely around her actions and reactions to her environment, people she meets, internal warring, and ultimately grief.
Having read this, Khan becomes irrelevant. He is a tool to harness a greater storyline. It is disappointing that Savvik in film is relegateted to the role of trainee and nothing more. In the follow up film, she takes on the role of mother and lover. Nothing literally nothing to the level of required character definition that she deserves based on this novelization. In film she exists as a plot tool to move action or set Kirk up for his lines.
Though not all perspectives were hers, hers were the most relevant and genuine feeling. STARTREK REBOOTers: pay attention to Savvik! She is more than she was allowed to be!
Second point- Wonderful backstory and characters fleshed out for scientists on the Genesis research station. Who are they? How did their roles lead them to being tortured to death in the name of Genesis.
Third- Through the same scientists, it is introduced that the building blocks of all matter are five subcomponents of quarks. In the novel they are named after the five elements of a Lewis Carrol poem. The timing of this reading could not be more properly timed. Only ten days before I began reading this, the Large Hadron Collider was able to prove PentaQuarks.. I was reading poetic references to the very same elements that we now are proud to have proven.
Fourth and lastly- Apparently a 50MB hard drive must be stored in a liquid nitrogen based cooling system in order to handle the data loads that Genesis algorythms require. Likewise reproggramming something would require OCR feeds of raw paper printouts, which would need mass QA to remove optical character recognition errors. To quote Sulu, "Oh, My!".
This book was amazing. Go find it nerds. It is worth shelling some bucks out for it.
Harry Potter fans rejoice! Harry's children have adventures as well.
This book series focuses on G. Norman Lippert's fan homage. From what is intendedHarry Potter fans rejoice! Harry's children have adventures as well.
This book series focuses on G. Norman Lippert's fan homage. From what is intended to be a five part series, this review only references the beginning two books as I have not yet had time to delve further. A follow up review may touch in those, of which I believe are similar quality.
Quick backstory: To my understanding based on varied sources, the series was written by Lippert, purely to please himself, wife, and children. Lippert found very quickly that he has a knack for this sort of thing. His ability to string words together in a pleasing manner and formulate detailed and original plotlines is pretty stellar.
Releasing his fanfic in official ebook format, an instant following has organically grown. A couple cease and desist processes later, he has been officially unofficially allowed to continue his work, provided he makes no money from Rowling's IP.
**Several derivitive works exist which he can make cash off of that do not infringe on any element of Rowling's IP and if you read this series, you should absolutely show your thanks and appreciation by also enjoying his other books. Doing so would allow him to feed his family whilst feeding your imagination.
Voila. A new story line exists.
The James Potter books pick up immediately where the last Rowling book ends. HP son James Potter climbs aboard the Hogwarts Express and heads to his first school year.
James Potter is dropped into a world where his father is a hero. Where his entire family history is tied to location based mythology and he is expected to achieve great things due to his genetic tie to his father. James however is a bit more clumsy. He cannot ride a broom and is terrible at Quiddich. Teachers who remember his father (now Head Auror) call him by his fathers name, or immediately treat him different. His peers mock him as a relative to celebrity. JP has to find his own voice. He resents his fathers shadow, while unconciously wishing he could live up to his image.
The plot of the initial book revolves around a tri-storyline. First: Hogwarts is visited by several ambassadors from an American sister school system. The American ambassadors approach magic in a manner which is confusing and contrary to to Hogwarts and old world fashion. With this Ambassadorship comes several branches. Included is an American student, enrolled in Hogwarts while his father works at the Ministry as an american representative.
Second: Older year Slytherins have started an inquisition. Their goal is to disprove that Harry Potter is a good man, to show that he was a bully and in many ways a terrorist and a liar.
Third: James and his friends are drawn into the Forbidden forest by circumstance of being idiotic preteen kids and doing what idiotic preteen kids do. They find themselves confronted by an ominous and magically protected living island. As all kids will do, they poke it with a stick until it reacts and violetly shows you why you should have not poked it in the first place. Queue The Hall if Elders Crossing"...
All in all, it was a great book and led me to reading the second which was equally enjoyable.
Before we get too far into this, please note that these are LOOONG books. The first is an ebook equiv of 550 pages. So if you are expecting watery pages of exposition, recognize that official fevered effort went into these.
The novels have parallels to the original in design. To start, they are formulaic. Kids get into trouble, they gather bits and pieces of a plot Hardy Boys style, ultimately finding that they overthought everything, as kids do. Even the titles follow the proven pattern, James Potter and the insert ominous image here. There are even some blatantly lifted elements which are applied in a wholly original fashion, I suppose this cannot be entirely avoided. As a derivitive work, it is bound to swipe an idea or two, but it is also a series about kids 20ish years after the a war that their families were involved in and that their media applies virtual levels of sainthood against.
Advanced readers may also find references to the original works a bit overwhelming at first. The author is still world building for his new characters and capitalizing on the existing text. This is temporary. Looking at the first novel alone, you can see striation marks where his skill or confidence took a leap.
Highly suggested original plots in a detailed world that the author is blatantly comfortable writing in.
The books are free in ebook format, remember to check out Lippert's other paid works.
Read: James Potter and the Hall of Elders' Crossing James Potter and the Curse of the Gatekeeper
Unread: JP and the Vault of Destinies JP and the Morrigan Web JP and the Crimson Thread (currently unreleased)
** Not to be confused with alt fan series about James Potter Sr (HP's father) and the Marauders **
**spoiler alert** Sometimes someone might staunchly assume a simple book shall certainly be simple to read. Such books may serve as evidence supportin**spoiler alert** Sometimes someone might staunchly assume a simple book shall certainly be simple to read. Such books may serve as evidence supporting the opposite. Some Smug Slug is a single silver straw standing out in a serving of standard yellow straw. Striving to solidify conceptually, it sometimes stumbles. Sneakily, it still suffices to supplant itself as a super-champ of spawn book love.
In all seriousness, SS Slug is like an amazing spectacular sinking ship (see what is did there? Yeah? Yeah??) overflowing with gold and jewels and poor little puppies. You want to look away, but you cannot. This book requires a read before you start with the kiddos. It is filled to the brim with S words. To. The. Brim. Every page painfully projects alliterative postured prose, perfectly placed. The difficult reading distracts you from the trudging plot line of a slug slowly moving up a hill. The hill that is not a hill, but in fact, impending doom..
Doom doom dooom!
But wait? What is that at the end? It is an explanation of why you should read this twice!! Each page is covered with S words, s animals, hidden letter S's exist on every page. It is an Lisp treasure hunt of joy and doomy doom.
Perspective from my Spawn: Laughter. Crazy laughter and rapid flippings of the last and next to last pages. Spoiler ahead (this is a kid book, so get over it). The hill is a toad, and in the final page, the toad eats the slug. My son finds this to be the coolest concept ever. A book where the protagonist dies and the slimy toad gets fed. Twice a night, and moved from room to room. Though he has yet to do so, sometimes I think he is going to tell ME the story.
My 11 month old daughter is naturally attracted to the giddy laughter of Spawn1. The joy of this book does bring her via quick crawl when it is being read, so that is pretty awesome She likes to sit and watch this book being read, but has no desire to participate in the reading, it is definitely something she wants because Spawn1 wants it.. Plus, It is a real paper book, not one of those 'baby books'.
Adult perspective: Practically every animal in this book would eat a slug. I felt it was a bit disingenuous to see a sparrow or a skink trying to warn a slug of his mistaken trek toward the mouth of death.. Why would they not eat it themselves? Were they full after gorging in various slug relatives? Are their veiled warning nothing more than the wilderness version of skipping seconds and saving more for later?
The last page had me laughing aloud in surprise and not so silently applauding the author. Seriously, this was great. It is worth the tongue twisters. There are obvious areas where the author was stretching for the thesaurus to find an S word that would fit. This is definitely forgiven, though I have a couple words I need to look up but can never remember till they are mid sentence. '[...] Which is a word daddy needs to look up [...]" is proudly inserted into the story every time.. Hasn't helped me remember, though.
Graciously provided by my 'Badass Alaskan Cousin Crew' (Mary and Ramon), Some Smug Slug was a story none of us had heard of. They found it on their honeymoon. Dragged it up to our area (mental high fives all around for this). Amazing choice and highly appreciated ;)
Another slug book was also gifted. Possible review to follow. It details slug etiquette, fat slugs vs sporty ones. Also contains near death by eating, though survival is the final event. ...more
Interested in getting your feet wet in the world of Agile project management?
So was I. My office is dabbling in an Agile migration. We have been a clInterested in getting your feet wet in the world of Agile project management?
So was I. My office is dabbling in an Agile migration. We have been a classic waterfall development process since dirt was invented. New blood however brings new process. As my teammates began getting excited, discussion increased and I quickly found myself lost in the mixture of paradigms and language. The last time I used the word Epic was in relation to video game companies. Waterfall? I know you should never chase them and you should stick to the rivers and streams that you are used to. Scrum and Scrummaster? Lets not go down that path. None of this helped me. I felt like an noob, and rightly so, because I was exactly that. Pride kicked me into gear.
I took to the web and found a myriad of resources. Who would have guessed that agile is this thing that helps you be quick and flexible (the least helpful website)... The resources presented were countless, the level of approach-ability in most cases was lacking. There were always assumptions that you had SOME experience, this left me always 20 steps behind or with out a frame of reference to show WHY certain concepts were important.
What I ultimately stumbled upon was a gimmick that lends itself to a sane and readable primer in the topic.
Don't stop reading yet... The title of this book was misleading in it's verbosity and almost frightened me away.
The Dream Team Nightmare: Boost Team Productivity Using Agile Techniques
What made this accessible? The gimmick is Choose your own adventure. What you say? Yes I say, Choose your own adventure Agile style (big A).
Tung's primer is 300 pages of learning gold. You are dropped into an office environment as an Agile expert, focused on getting a team back in motion and on track for efficient releases. You can succeed, you can fail, you can succeed by the skin of your teeth and come away with scrapes and some learned lessons.
Through the book you primarily make decisions based in interactions with others on the team. Most concepts are repeated via internal dialogue or written open discussion on the team. This made it easy to adopt the thought processes. Often I found myself mentally reviewing my own office to see where these process elements could be enacted now.
The actual choose your own adventure metaphor breaks down eventually, but by then it has served it's purpose. At one point, in the thick of an important task, the page turns kept me going for over 16 pages in a row. Did it matter? No. It worked well and the fact I was embedded was proof that this was no longer needed.
Suggested approach is definitely to read through once and succeed or fail. After, give it a second read and really consume the details. If you read CYOA books like I do, a third read is probably unneeded, as this book lends it's self well to turning back the clock on decisions and seeing how the alt path shakes out. There are several choices which will lead to the same result, only your internal dialogue and sense of satisfaction changes.
Interestingly, I would harbor a guess that the novel itself was written using Agile techniques. Most adventure decisions are short, concise, and specific. Each section has topic headers, and you can actually envision the entire novel on sticky notes, lining a wall. Planning, creation, editing/qa, critique and feedback; every action on a KanBan board being tracked for process.
As a primer, this was by far one of the most successful and engaging presentation I have dealt with. Deeper topics can be found in other works pretty easily now that I have a strong basis for concepts to build off of.
ReBlurb: Not needed, though I believe the title should be changed. Seeing the spine of this book on a shelf leads a viewer to believe that this is more complex than it is. It is definitely descriptive, but does itself a disservice by making it appear seemingly inaccessible to the same noobs it caters to (folks like me).
Publisher Description: This first-ever interactive Agile Adventure is the gripping tale of an experienced team struggling with agile adoption. In this unique mashup of a business novel written in the gamebook format, you'll overcome common yet daunting challenges that come from using agile methods. As Jim, the agile coach, you'll learn to apply a range of thinking tools and techniques to real-life problems faced by teams and organizations. Find out what really works and what fails miserably from the consequences of your choices. And, unlike in the real world, if at first you don't succeed, you can make different choices until you get things right.
Management is ready to disband your new agile team and outsource your project. Can you save The Dream Team?
The Dream Team started their journey 18 months ago. Since then, life has become a nightmare. Progress has ground to a halt. Morale is low. Quality has become taboo. You have five days to figure out how to get the team back on track. There will be conflict and maybe tears. One thing is for sure: there will be plenty of tough decisions to make.
Inspired by a classic gamebook series, this fun and interactive story has eight different endings designed to enrich and put your agile development knowledge and experience to the test. Packed with familiar scenarios an agile team faces every day, The Dream Team Nightmare offers you the chance to see what would happen if you could do things differently so you can change the way you do things for real with confidence.
Combining practical team-building exercises with effective facilitation and Systems Thinking, by the end of the book you'll be ready to rescue projects in trouble, and get new projects off to a better start.
Donald O'Donovan... I owe you an apology.. On March 2nd 2011, you sent me a copy of your novel Tarantula Woman. It was an interesting title and the stDonald O'Donovan... I owe you an apology.. On March 2nd 2011, you sent me a copy of your novel Tarantula Woman. It was an interesting title and the story sounded bery interesting, but at the time, the description of it just didn't jive to start reading it. I never sat down and got involved with it. Other books took precedence and eventually it was shuffled to the bottom of a tall tall 'To Be Read' pile.
4 years and change later I ran across it in my Kindle library. I don't know what caused me to start reading it. Some universal churn pushed it from the underside if the TBR, and placed it in my view. I did not reread the blurb for it, nor did I look up the topic matter. I just blindly opened it and began reading.
I owe you an apology because this novel was freaking excellent. It was a gritty flesh filled drunken Mexican word fest, I read and re-read passages. I forced those around me to slog through key sections which were beautiful both with or with out the context of the plot. I was consistently making mental comparisons to classic literature. The strongest similarity was to Hemingway's "The sun also rises". Amazon blurb mentions Charles Bukowski, I can see the reference, but am stuck on my own perception. There is no formidable plot line that leads the reader down a clear cut path of good and evil. No quaking Everest sized eventuality (besides death itself) which forces the universe to conform and play nice with the characters. Tarantula Woman is a debauchery filled booze fest, with humanist characters trying to live given the cards dealt and the cards they have drawn from the deck themselves. They siesta in the shadow of society.
For those new to the book, Jerzy Mulvaney is a perpetual layabout. Holed up in a border town, Cuidad Juarez Mexico, he floats about in a drunken battle against consciousness and responsibility. Mariscal Street, the red light district, is his primary stomping ground. It is here that he hangs his hat on which ever bed post he can gain access too. He scrapes by fueled by odd jobs here and there. He is an aspiring author whose only current writing is the translation of letters from Spanish to English. This allows the letters from prostitutes to be mailed to their American beau's and potential saviors..
Jerzy's story begins with a wide range of these women of the night, but nothing really matters till he meets Ysela. The part time love and companion of local boxing legend, Ysela strings Jerzy along, dragging his heart along like a stone in the dirt. Neither of them are faithful, neither of them will ever be satisfied with life, they are a perfect pair.
Jerzy himself is a connoisseur of the flesh. The man recounts in graceful detail the curves and crevasses of each woman he is acquainted with. If you approach the story with the wrong mentality, there is a risk that some readers may misread him as being a misogynist. Quite the opposite really. This man dedicated his very being to the occupation of spending time with these women, of making them smile, of learning their likes and dislike. He will do everything to please them with the exception of marrying them, only Ysela the Tarantula Woman could bestow this honor on him.
The book takes a turn when Jerzy decides to buckle down and do right by her. He gets a job in the local crate factory to save money. There are a number of very dark passages in TW. Descriptions of the Coffin factory are particularly so, but very beautifully presented. In a nutshell - "Here I am at the crate factory, and I am getting ready for the coffin factory." Paragraph after paragraph of finely crafted metaphor.
I salute you sir.
READERS BEWARE: Skip the last three pages. Turn off your kindle, or tear them out of your paperback. They are a sham. I have no idea why the author added them and they do the story as a whole a bit of a disservice. Placing this novel in a box and slapping a nicely wrapped bow on it is something the authors editor should have advised against. Jerzy's story should have remained as rough cut as it was presented throughout. It was a real disappointment, and it happened to be the very last thing I read.
-- Disclaimer: This book was provided by the author for review purposes. If it was shit, I would have advised such. This one just happened to be worthy of a super positive review.