It's been some years since I read this novel, but I do recall the general tale: about a group of boys in some future world that is being terrorized by...moreIt's been some years since I read this novel, but I do recall the general tale: about a group of boys in some future world that is being terrorized by alien invaders, akin to the insect aliens from Heinlein's Starship Troopers.
These boys are gathered for their skill in games. They get into competitions where they play for domination of Earth. The story revolves around Ender, a boy who is a bit of a runt but very smart. He deals with his gang and others who want to see him fail.
Orson Scott Card has a way with describing his characters and interactions that is quite attractive and interesting. Ender is fleshed out at the end and the surprise ending (well, at least I didn't see it coming) really grabs you.
Orson's sequels are not so interesting, such as Speaker for the Dead. The insectoids have a fascinating civilization and the story is "OK" in regards Ender's involvement but I couldn't finish it. Still, I want to check his next book in these series, I believe it's Ender's Shadow, Battle School. The Ender's Shadow Series Box Set: Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant
In July 2009 Marvel Comics has published the comics versions of these books and I can't wait to pick these up.Orson Scot Card Ender's Game: Battle School #1
I was hoping for another Foundation Asimov trilogy but still, quite an entertaining read.
Recommended Card Books:
Another book Orson wrote is called Pastwatch; The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. Great time-travel tale that has some pretty gruesome physical aspects, such as a sharp object being thrust through some male anatomy. Ouch! A very R-rated time travel tale. Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus
He's taken a stab at the Stephen King-like genre with such books as Homebody, a book I have yet to read, which I may review as well. Homebody: A Novel (less)
Well, Self Analysis and I are old buddies going back about thirty years. There are so many principles that I had forgotten about or had re-discovered...moreWell, Self Analysis and I are old buddies going back about thirty years. There are so many principles that I had forgotten about or had re-discovered in reading the book and doing the exercises.
Hubbard's Science of Survival emphasized concentrating on the pleasure moments in the person and in yourself. In Self Analysis, he gives the way of doing that. Going over the various kinds of recall, such as imagination, general incidents and such to better know ourselves was really a treat to read about and to remember.
The chapter on "On Our Efforts of Immortality" was very interesting as he describes life force as another kind of energy and its purposes and he echoes what he talked about in SOS - that life must procure pleasure and avoid pain. Good advice!
Another principle I enjoyed was the concept that many of our fears are really merely shadows and like the natives who catch fish with shadows, we usually mock up or others mock up these flimsy traps for us. All we really have to do is disagree and get some auditing.
Also the book helped rehabilitate what I liked about Self Analysis and its simple yet effective technique in bringing people up and not having to live with their painful or sorrowful memories.(less)
**spoiler alert** Even though I still have not seen the film, I thought I'd explore Harris' world when I discovered a paperback very cheap at a local...more**spoiler alert** Even though I still have not seen the film, I thought I'd explore Harris' world when I discovered a paperback very cheap at a local book swap. Though the book is marketed as all about Hannibal Lecter "the ultimate villain," it's really about the minds of criminals and the people who wish to stop them.
It's interesting that each side is set in pairs -- the criminal side and the justice side of the equation.
At one end of the spectrum we have Clarice Starling, an FBI agent who is learning the ropes. I mean, she hasn't even finished school yet! She runs into prejudice all the time -- "how long have you been at the FBI Ms. Starling?" to which she quickly changes the subject. Her mentor and confidant Jack Crawford is in his own world. Struggling with his wife's terminal illness, he yet makes an effort to teach Starling the ropes -- and an ulterior motive to use her to get into Lecter's mind -- the only man who may have the clue to find Buffalo Bill -- the mad serial killer who is skinning women and leaving them floating in rivers.
The other end of the spectrum is Dr. Lecter, an expert of the mind and behavior, but also rather insane -- he literally will bite the hands that feeds him! His sense of smell is startling. His ability to see deep into Starling's core is also a bit unsettling -- for Starling as well as the reader! Lecter's pair is Buffalo Bill himself whom we meet as he prepares to skin a senator's daughter!
Will Clarice find the killer in time, despite the arrogance of bureaucrats and the curtains everyone of the characters seems to hide behind? And is she willing to give up a bit of herself to Lecter in return for some information?
**Spoiler - Fascinating pace of story, especially at the climax when she actually meets the killer and has no idea who this guy is -- but then does and man, you can't turn the page fast enough! ** End Spoiler
I am mighty impressed with Thomas Harris bit of crime fiction here. I may pick up his earlier work, Red Dragon [Red Dragon.
The year 2010 marks the Sixtieth year of publication of Dianetics. Clearly, you want the new edition. This entry is Amazon.com's o...moreA Bit of Background:
The year 2010 marks the Sixtieth year of publication of Dianetics. Clearly, you want the new edition. This entry is Amazon.com's older paperback. Get this one instead: Dianetics: The Modern Science Of Mental Health (English); Or better yet, get the book & audio kit: Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health [With Booklet]; Or get the video presentation of how it works: Dianetics Self-Improvement Package; Dianetics: A Visual Guidebook to the Mind - L. Ron Hubbard.
OK, here's my review. I've actually read the book and used it. It is a manual that is meant to be used. Use it to help your friends and family. Joining organizations and such is not necessary. Just read the book, and use it to help your friends.
What's new in the new edition? Well, nothing! The publisher didn't change anything in the book itself other than typos and punctuation errors that were introduced by Hermitage House Publishers back in 1950. In comparing the original manuscript and putting those footnotes in the back of the book, enlarging and darkening the font size, it makes for a more comfortable read.
Dianetics is an alternative to psychology and outlines several basic things that can help a person help themselves (thus the phrase "self-help") as well as help others.
Table of Contents:
Among the chapters in this book we find the following: The Goal of Man; The Dynamic Principle of Existence; The Four Dynamics (a dynamic is a drive upon which life is compartmented); a descriptive graph of survival (which was interesting - I never knew survival was more than "just barely making it" until I read Hubbard's definition); and the discovery and complete anatomy of what Hubbard calls the "Reactive Mind", which commands one to act irrationally against their own wishes and goals. Since I have been known to act irrationally, it's good to see what's causing it and what to do about it.
It's a thick book, 491 pages of actual text, divided into Theory and Practical applications; a 5 page glossary of important terms; a chapter called Dianetics in the 21st Century that brings us up to date from those long-gone days of 1950 (the year Dianetics was published) which has reprints from the LA Star and The Daily News, which did news articles on Hubbard and Dianetics at that time. Lots of photos in this section, too.
It's interesting to see what their view was. And finally, an appendix that briefly lists other self-help books by Hubbard, which are all new 2008 editions!
Oh, and finally, finally, The Editor's Glossary, that gives dictionary definitions to English words as they were used in 1950 as well as specialized Dianetics terms, as they were used at that time of writing. This is real handy and makes reading the book that much more easily read.
Summarizing a Long Book!
It's tough for me not to write a long review on a book that is over 600 pages thick. It has every imaginable area of human relationships clearly delineated and how Dianetics can help problems associated with these: alcoholism, post partum depression, divorces, domestic violence and drug abuse amongst them.
So get this book but use Amazon's latest and greatest 2008 edition of the book, as I've described above. Remember, Dianetics is not Scientology and Dianetics is not a religion. It does not obligate anyone to just pick up a copy and read it. It is also in Tagalog, Spanish, French, German and a few other languages.
The book by Peter Boulle is quite different in many respects to the resultant films and TV series – The Planet of the Apes!
If you've seen the film (a...moreThe book by Peter Boulle is quite different in many respects to the resultant films and TV series – The Planet of the Apes!
If you've seen the film (and who hasn't?) then you know the story of Charlton Heston's crew, crashing on a planet run by apes and through various adventures finds at the end [Spoiler for the two or three who have not seen the film yet] that the planet he has crashed on is actually the planet Earth and the apes arose after a mighty atomic war!
The book is different. The author himself has called it a social fantasy and I see why.
A couple in a star craft of some kind find a note in a bottle. Inside the bottle is a manuscript which takes the story of Ulysse, Earth explorer and his adventures on a planet named Sorror in the Betelgeuse system. The book is made up of this manuscript.
Ulysse, one of three astronauts, arrived at Sorror and find the humans there stupid like animals. After some adventure, he is captured by the civilized apes of this planet. In many ways, the author is criticizing the slow growth of civilization, Dark Ages, and how the ones who believe old theory (such as the planet is the center of the universe) will not progress far.
The chimps are the intellectuals; the orangutans are the keepers of theory and law, as backward as it is, and the gorillas are the tough guys, the security & police force. All three of these resent each other, in similar fashion to the intellectuals and the conservatives here in Earth.
The ending is not bad; it reminds me of the ending of Tim Burton's version of the Planet of the Apes. Unlike Burton's movie though, the ending makes a lot more sense, if a shocking one!
Recommended reading for those who want to read the original story behind all those great movies! Easy to read, done in a day or two. Boulle also wrote "Bridge on the River Kwai," another book to film that was excellently portrayed. Can't wait to read that!
I love the pulp fiction coming out of Galaxy Press lately. In the past there were expensive leather-bound books of L. Ron Hubbard’s pulp works by East...moreI love the pulp fiction coming out of Galaxy Press lately. In the past there were expensive leather-bound books of L. Ron Hubbard’s pulp works by Easton Press and others, but this is truly a great thing.
I heard the audio books were good as well. In fact I have been present for some of these live audio presentations and they’re great. Reminds me of the old radio programs I’ve heard on CD.
Story, Plot, Etc:
First impression is the pace at which the story flies. Hubbard was a barnstormer in his younger years before creating Dianetics and his experience clearly shows. The story is written at a time of Japanese aggression in the Pacific, but years before America was hit in Pearl Harbor.
Smoke is a pilot, who has a sidekick (Andy his PR man) and a girl who thinks Smoke loves piloting more than her. Smoke has a secret. He’s very broke, no cash, no dinero. What to do?
Girard, a newspaper mogul who cares more for circulation numbers than how many lives need to be lost or reputations ruined in search of it, offers Smoke a chance at making a lot of money in exchange for a plane that Smoke’s girlfriend has the rights to, a plane that could make a difference if the “Japs” get tough.
As with all of Hubbard’s characters, Smoke has a quirk that makes him stand out – he has a pet cheetah named Patty! She’s really a pussycat but you’d never know it from seeing her. Plot-wise Hubbard does not draw out the cat too much. He’s much more interested in building the tension between Smoke and Girard (never giving up in the face of adversity) and between Smoke and his girlfriend, the babe knock-out, Mel, who is conflicted between Smoke’s love of flight and the love of him.
Fun adventure as they travel across South America. Someone spikes the gasoline and they come down! Will they win the race in time? Or die as a few others have, crashed into the Andes or sunk in the Caribbean?
As with most pulps of the time, this one has a moral attached to it, along with some sneak peek into the human condition that Hubbard does so well. Hubbard’s output with science fiction is very minimal, despite popular belief. His stories were adventure, and this one really takes off!
An unusual falling star -- a puff of green smoke-something on the planet Mars -- and the world turns and goes about its business, un...moreFirst Impressions:
An unusual falling star -- a puff of green smoke-something on the planet Mars -- and the world turns and goes about its business, unknowing in its complacency as the cold, calculating Martians and their machines make their first drive on the planet Earth.
It's interesting that I've never actually read H.G. Well's War of the Worlds! I've watched two films and listened to Orson Welles' radio show and thought I had the story down. Yes, but only in a general way.
The plot at times runs slow and I'm sure that's the Victorian era style of writing that this modern reader was having some hard time with, so I won't criticize the novel for its style. I will say though that the story is frightening and more likely a horror story that has various themes.
The themes of people going crazy in the face of an unstoppable enemy is frightening in its accuracy. I've seen this in other science fiction stories as well: people have their foundations for their lives knocked out from under them and so have no problem with killing each other for food, for property and even cannibalism.
Wells makes some comment on how the people of his generation marry for convenience or money, get a trophy wife and go about their business not really living life. He makes this point several times.
Another theme is against an ironclad belief in religion to such a degree that you give up all your self-confidence and realism, shout that God is punishing you and give up and die. This idea was abhorrent to H.G., apparently. The journalist's run-in with the priest (the "curate" actually) was an interesting tale in desperation as each fought to the other, animalistically, and yet were completely motivated by fear.
The book shifts to the journalist's brother, whose tale of a fallen London is quite epic. The only problem with this part of the book was that it's unclear how the brother got to the journalist-narrator to get his story in the first place!
Future Inventions: Use of the idea of flight, the heat ray to burn down anything and everything, the unscratchable Martian armor, and the poison black smoke that kills all it comes in contact with, was a fascinating look into the future, some of it fairly accurate.
Another fun thing at the end had the apparent hint of a Mars/Venus altercation. Too bad he didn't write a sequel on that one!
Books to Media:
The 1953 version of War of the Worlds is my favorite adaptation. It kept the idea of a journalist and the heat ray. The unstoppable Martians could not even be stopped by an atom bomb!
The Tom Cruise version kept the idea of the baskets and how the Martian machines would scoop people up into these baskets -- the book explains for food and keeping more humans for breeding and food purposes.
And of course the Halloween treat by Orson Welles' radio show of 1938 which clearly put his face out there and where he enjoyed some fame as a twenty-something producer as he formed an invasion of New Jersey. Wow!
A classic in many respects, The War of the Worlds is a narrative that criticizes in science fiction form the attitudes and strict Victorian society of the time as well as contemplates Man's reactions to an apparent extermination of the species. Will we have men like the artilleryman, who dreams of a society of supermen who will some day bring down the Martians, or the curate, who would give up and die under the foot of the Martian march across the Continent?
Or will a simple sneeze wipe out a whole invasion force?
Handbook for Preclears is a self-processing book and at its core are 15 different procedures that when done will improve self-confidence, decision-mak...moreHandbook for Preclears is a self-processing book and at its core are 15 different procedures that when done will improve self-confidence, decision-making and a better understanding of the mind.
When you look at this book it seems imposing enough. But with some study and working on it, you can achieve what the book claims. There are several points that I was really impressed with on this volume.
First, the idea that what you decide is LAW. You don't need others to tell you what to do. In fact the definition of self-confidence is nothing more than the belief in one's ability to decide in one's decisions. This is a pretty heavy concept when you get right down to it.
The complete list of Scientology Axioms and Logics (self-evident truths) are listed in the back, along with an extensive glossary and index in only 423 pages.
Other areas of interest include the cause of homosexuality and its cure. Another is the idea that you carry around with you attitudes and qualities that are actually the qualities of those long dead or you felt sympathy for. Accepting the evil of the world may seem noble, but it really messes you up. The solutions to handling this are in this book.
There are many concepts in this book that Hubbard wrote of in his research as he expanded from Dianetics into Scientology. Handbook for Preclears is a companion book to Advanced Procedures and Axioms, a book heavy with practical philosophy. Most people think of philosophy as mediating or "wow, that's deep" but these books are far beyond that.
What is practical? How can you use and apply this in your life? All it costs is the price of a book.
[This review is for the full Omnibus collection of 'Wool' novels.]
When I first started the Wool Omnibus authored by Hugh Howey, I found it to be a dys...more[This review is for the full Omnibus collection of 'Wool' novels.]
When I first started the Wool Omnibus authored by Hugh Howey, I found it to be a dystopian future and started liking the characters.
Plots & Plotholes:
Holston, who loses his wife when she desires to go “outside” the Silo. When someone goes outside they “clean” the lenses and other things outside the Silo, and then they promptly die from the atmosphere that breaks down their suit. Yikes!
But I digress. I liked Holston in Chapter One, then he dies.
I liked Deputy Marston too, and his secret love for his mayor, Mayor Jahns, a woman who is looking for a replacement sheriff. We meet Bernard, a guy who runs IT.
Ah, but no IT department you’ve ever worked at!
Servers, computers, and a secret agenda that rocks their world when discovered.
Loved Marston. He dies. Loved Jahns. She dies.
At this point I’m about to give up on Wool. Well, don’t. It gets better.
Though Jules, as a character, is thrown in almost as an afterthought at the start of the book, she soon develops into quite a character. A character that is fleshed out and somehow familiar. Ever known people who just know what to do to fix something? Who are clever with a machine? Who can figure things out conceptually? That’s our Juliette, who finally cracks the secret of the Silo, what IT is doing, the evil of Bernard and the strange ambivalence of Lukas, who thinks he might like Jules and who is the next person in line to continue the Order of the World.
As Jules develops as a character, at first I was afraid Howey would kill her off too – when she survived more than a few hundred pages, I was hooked.
Wool tells it like it is, how the world is, how secrets and lies though may be better off to remain hidden, they actually aren’t. Revealing the light of truth can indeed set off a freer world, a bright one, a world that no longer is confined to a Silo.
Are we trapped into our own little Silos? What can we do to break out – follow the rat race or break out of it? Interesting concepts.
Can’t wait for “Shift”, the next Omnibus. It’s a prequel. Yikes!
The Writers of the Future enters its 28th and perhaps its largest volume to date, boasting 586 pages! I’ve been collecting these pape...moreFirst Impression:
The Writers of the Future enters its 28th and perhaps its largest volume to date, boasting 586 pages! I’ve been collecting these paperbacks since 1986 and it never ceased to amaze me the opportunity for new writers to get published, often for the first time.
These volumes also have famous names as judges – a partial list: Mike Resnick, Robert J. Sawyer, Fredrick Pohl, and Robert Silverberg – all giants in the science fiction/fantasy field. And there’s an illustrator’s contest as well, such judges as Robert Castillo and Diane Dillion checking out the illustrations.
As with any anthology, some of the writers fall on their face and that’s really too bad. I can see the potential and hope that they will continue to write. Others do well and will probably move on to bigger and better things. Do we have another Kevin J. Anderson or Kristine Kathryn Rusch here?
It would be tedious to review every single story in this big volume. I will say that many of the tales were of androids/robots/artificial intelligences. Some made of woven wood, some even made of intelligent insects!
Mary Croke’s “Of Woven Wood” was a fun read. Lan, an artificial intelligence, keeping track of the laboratory experiments of Haigh, his creator. Except that Haigh is dead! The mystery of his death is secondary to the true nature of Lan, the mysterious past of his creator and the Queen, who has some involvement as she demands what she perceives was “stolen” from her by Haigh. Interesting fantasy.
I really liked William Ledbetter’s “Rings of Mars.” A man discovers intelligent constructs on Mars, except he wants to keep it to himself, afraid that the corporation who hired him will turn it into a Martian Disneyland rather than a valuable treasure of knowledge for Man. It is a story of Malcolm and Jack and how their friendship is strained as they both struggle with what they feel is just, yet their friendship is important too. Great hard science fiction here.
And Harry Lang’s “My Name is Angela,” in a society where clones have been created to take care of the menial tasks so that humans can rise to greater heights. A modern-day slavery tale, actually. And a criticism on our educational system. Angela is supposed to just watch the malcontented fourth graders but she discovers through the “Soul Man” that she has a soul (he reprograms her) and she teaches the kids French and regrets beating her husband with a hot iron! She grows a conscience but the draconian society fears this and handles it. Quite a morality tale!
Bottom Line: Some stories did not do it for me – slow starts, coming into the middle and not building characterization or using unnecessary ten dollar words to describe things. Quite a mess, but that’s to be expected in amateur writing.
Nevertheless, great little collection – also articles from L. Ron Hubbard and Kristin Katherine Rusch on the art of the short story and the importance of researching a story to make it fly, and Roy Hardin’s advice to new artists in “Fast Draw.” (less)
In some ways Replay reminds me of the Groundhog Day film, where Bill Murray's character relived the same day over and over again. In...moreFirst Impressions:
In some ways Replay reminds me of the Groundhog Day film, where Bill Murray's character relived the same day over and over again. In the book, Jeff relives the last 25 years of his life at a random starting point as a junior in college up to when he gets a heart attack in 1988.
It's an interesting premise and one where we could fantasize what we would do ourselves. Jeff tries to stop the Kennedy assassination and fails, although he gets Lee Harvey Oswald arrested. Kennedy dies anyway. Why? Jeff figures that some large events cannot be changed. I don't agree with that. If a small change can occur then certainly a large one can.
Jeff's theory is further bunked by the middle of the novel where he and another "replayer," Pamela, make startling predictions that all come true up to a point. The US Government under Nixon start listening and soon Carter does not get elected and Reagan is bombing the Middle East! Oops!. Now tell me that's not big.
Jeff at first gets selfish and becomes a multimillionaire. In another replay, he gets married and has a daughter, Gretchen, whom he misses greatly in his next replay. In another, he tries to see if there are other "replayers" out there with dubious results.
As in Bill Murray's adventure in Groundhog Day, Jeff comes to an epiphany of sorts in regards his previous lives and the future that he eventually sees for himself. [Spoiler] The live-die-live-die every minute at the end was quite freaky! [End Spoiler].
The book is easy enough to read and you can get through it in a day. The mild sexual descriptions may raise the age to 18 on some scenes. What would you do? Could you relive the last 25 years knowing what you know now? Great story.
Other Books by This Author:
Breakthrough Into the Deep
Biography - Grimwood, Ken(neth) (1945-2003): An article from: Contemporary Authors(less)