This is another book I've read several times, though I'm not sure we owned it when I was young. I've read it to our five-year-old as well.
I'm dropping...moreThis is another book I've read several times, though I'm not sure we owned it when I was young. I've read it to our five-year-old as well.
I'm dropping one star from my rating because the book is kinda scary; the children face horrible deaths three times because they're allowed to wander unsupervised! Yes, I understand that it's dramatic license, but I still find it appalling.(less)
I've read this numerous times; I had it as a child, and now I'm reading it to our 5-year-old.
We have a particularly handsome facsimile edition; it's h...moreI've read this numerous times; I had it as a child, and now I'm reading it to our 5-year-old.
We have a particularly handsome facsimile edition; it's huge (14.5 inches high) and reproduces the hand lettering from the first American edition. Also, the back of the dust-wrapper reprints a handwritten introduction (which reads like a fan letter) from A. A. Milne.
In comparing it with a machine-lettered modern edition, there are a few changes in the text e.g., a dropped comma, some dropped paragraph breaks. (Also, the original tends to put line breaks between sentences.) The biggest changes I've noticed so far: "old lady" in the original becomes "Old Lady" in the modern; "Céleste" in the original becomes "Celeste" in the modern (which means that the dialog ballons on pages 28-29 had to be re-lettered); "his Mother" on page 24 becomes "his mother". I wouldn't consider these substantive.(less)
Disclaimer: This book contains my first paid fiction sale, a four-way collaboration. (Well, it'll be paid when the check arrives; I declined the publi...moreDisclaimer: This book contains my first paid fiction sale, a four-way collaboration. (Well, it'll be paid when the check arrives; I declined the publisher's offer of receiving money through Paypal. Later: I received the check a little earlier than promised, and got the balance by Paypal almost instantaneously afterwards.)
This is the first official, licensed anthology of short fiction set in the Space: 1999 universe. Rather annoyingly, the book doesn't have the name of any of its contributors on the cover; nor does it name the editor anywhere. (Since William Latham acted as the editor for our collaboration, I suspect he edited the book as a whole, but that's just a guess.)
The book assumes some familiarity with the characters and settings of Space: 1999; since I memorized the series in my childhood, I'm not sure how accessible it would be to non-fans.
The book contains a foreword by publisher Mateo Latosa and the following nine stories:
"The Touch of Venus" by John Kenneth Muir "Fallen Star" by Albert Leon, Ken Scott, Lindsey Scott-Ipsen, and Raja Thiagarajan "Cargo" by Brian Ball "Futility" by John Kenneth Muir "Dead End" by E.C. Tubb "Remembering Julia" by Stephen Jansen "Mission Critical" by Michael A. Faries "The Astelian Gift" by Emma Burrows "Spider's Web" by William Latham
It also contains a two-page "About the Authors" section.
Here are my ratings (on the Goodreads scale) of the stories. I'll try to avoid spoilers.
"The Touch of Venus" (3 stars). This details a painful story in the background of one of the main characters.
"Fallen Star" (4 stars--but I can't be objective). This tells the tragic, but heroic, story of the death of a well-beloved character who was only seen once in the series.
"Cargo" (3 stars). Set during breakaway, this is the story of the reconciliation of a guilt-ridden character with someone who has reason to hate him. (I deducted a star because it's inconsistent with—and partly undermines—the events of one of the TV episodes.)
"Futility" (5 stars). This is my favorite piece of short (prose) fiction in the Space: 1999 universe. It delivers the heady mix of SF, horror, and thoughtful philosophy that the series had at its best.
"Dead End" (3 stars). An solid story of humans tested nearly to destruction.
"Remembering Julia" (3 stars). A suspenseful story of a hostage situation shortly after breakaway.
"Mission Critical" (3 stars). A short slice of life in Year Two.
"The Astelian Gift" (4 stars). An excellent, literate, story of one of the main characters before she joined Alpha. There's a strong hint of tragedy for readers familiar with the character's introduction; I'm not sure what non-fans would make of it.
"Spider's Web" (3 stars). A somewhat harrowing story of a well-liked character in extreme circumstances. I found it a bit puzzling at first; I'm assuming it ties in with Space 1999 Survival which—believe it or not—I haven't yet read. (less)
This is the first in this series of Hardy Boys graphic novels. On the minus side, the artwork is less to my taste than in some of the later books. On...moreThis is the first in this series of Hardy Boys graphic novels. On the minus side, the artwork is less to my taste than in some of the later books. On the plus side, it actually includes some of the brothers's friends from the original (or at least 1959 vintage) novels: Chet, Iola, and Callie. On the neutral side, the boys aren't part of ATAC yet, just freelancing; that gives them an uneasy relationship with the government.
I'm not sure how to rate this one. If I remember correctly, the American edition has deceptive cover blurbs implying that it's a novel-length collabor...moreI'm not sure how to rate this one. If I remember correctly, the American edition has deceptive cover blurbs implying that it's a novel-length collaboration between Gregory Benford and Arthur C. Clarke; in reality, it's an omnibus pairing Clarke's sublime first novel, Against the Fall of Night, with Benford's not-nearly-as-good sequel written 37 years later. (The UK editions referred to the same book as Against the Fall of Night / Beyond the Fall of Night.)
Though I haven't read it in decades, I loved Against the Fall of Night, and it's one of the two books (along with Bradbury's The Halloween Tree) that made me a lifelong reader in general, and a lifelong reader of SF in particular. In terms of the goodreads rating scale, "It was amazing."
Beyond the Fall of Night was rather less to my tastes. It didn't feel like it really fit as a sequel to Against the Fall of Night in style, scope, content, or characters. Clarke's novel is about a naive young boy, told in a way that appeals almost perfectly to naive young boys (as I was when I first read it). The setting and prose are austere, and dominated by elegant machine-based technology that largely gets out of the way. Benford's sequel is about a slightly shell-shocked young woman in a lush, riotous setting where biology dominates. In any case, that's my recollection; which may be wrong--frankly, I didn't find the book all that memorable, and I'm in no hurry to reread it. From what I'd recall, I'd give it a rating of "It was ok" on the goodreads scale--or maybe even less than that.
One thing I do recall clearly--and really disliked--in Benford's sequel was a huge contradiction between one of the features of his setting and Clarke's. The contradiction clearly showed that the two stories could not be set in the same universe--it knocked me out of the story, and made me wonder if anyone had bothered to read the stories back to back before publishing them. My wife was bothered by the same contradiction when she read the book years later.(less)
This was another fast-paced and fun book in this series. The irrelevant opening scene was at least nicely-themed, and it was good to see the boys (bri...moreThis was another fast-paced and fun book in this series. The irrelevant opening scene was at least nicely-themed, and it was good to see the boys (briefly!) get a little time off.
I read this almost a month ago and ended up rereading it just now when I looked at it to better write this review. On the up side, that means it was compulsively readable. On the downside, this means it was also pretty forgettable ;-).
(Finished 2010-01-06 0:52 EST. Finished rereading it 2010-02-03 10:31 EST.)(less)
This is a very likable memoir from a very likable person. Nicholas Meyer comes across as intelligent and passionate about his work; sometimes, a bit t...moreThis is a very likable memoir from a very likable person. Nicholas Meyer comes across as intelligent and passionate about his work; sometimes, a bit too willing to fight for his point of view. I was most interested in his recollections about the Sherlock Holmes pastiches he wrote--the first, The Seven Per Cent Solution, because there was a writers' strike on!--and his work with Star Trek. As has been pointed out by others, it can be argued that "the even numbered films are better" is true only because they're the ones the Nicholas Meyer wrote (and, for two of them, directed). Interestingly enough, Meyer not only doesn't consider himself a fan of Star Trek, he also says he doesn't "get" it--though he does it fairly well.
The book has some other interesting stories that are happy, sad, or downright funny, or more than one (e.g., a lunch with Pierce Brosnan where the two of them ended up grieving over their recently-deceased wives, only to have a funny interruption). Overall, I'd rate it 7/10.
Why I Read This Book: I read Eric Flint's comments on the death of Christopher Anvil in the latest issue of Locus; I believe Flint said that Baen had...moreWhy I Read This Book: I read Eric Flint's comments on the death of Christopher Anvil in the latest issue of Locus; I believe Flint said that Baen had released (almost?) all of Anvil's work in DRM-free ebooks, so I visited the Webscriptions site to try a sampler or two. Along the way I downloaded a free copy of Keith Laumer's Odyssey, which is an omnibus of Galactic Odyssey and several other books. I took a brief glance at the opening of Galactic Odyssey ... and was quickly hooked.
Galactic Odyssey isn't a profound book, but it doesn't attempt to be. Instead, it's a brilliantly-executed fast-paced space opera adventure story, with some clever ideas sprinkled throughout. Baen's free sample has paid off; I'm definitely interested in reading more of Laumer's work. ;-)
Why I Read This Book: It looked interesting on the library shelf.
This was a fun read, but a bit unsatisfying. I guess that's what you get when you con...moreWhy I Read This Book: It looked interesting on the library shelf.
This was a fun read, but a bit unsatisfying. I guess that's what you get when you condense a long book (about 945 pages in the Oxford World's Classics edition) to a short comic (32 pages). The art and storytelling are very nice, though.(less)
This is the fourth in the series of original (1930) Nancy Drew books. This book includes four nicely-scanned full-page grayscale images and "The Nancy...moreThis is the fourth in the series of original (1930) Nancy Drew books. This book includes four nicely-scanned full-page grayscale images and "The Nancy I Knew", an introduction by Mildred Wirt Benson, who wrote this book (to an outline provided by the publisher) under the Carolyn Keene pseudonym.
The introduction is in some ways the best part of this book; Benson notes that the first three books sold well, but when original publisher Edward Stratemeyer died, his inexperienced daughters took over: "Overnight, Nancy become more of a home-type person, in early chapters focusing on household responsibilities." Also, "The syndicate's new owner asked that I make the sleuth less bold and that abrupt sentence endings be avoided. In editing, a simple 'Nancy said' became 'Nancy said sweetly,' 'she said kindly,' and the like, all designed to produce a less abrasive, more caring type of character."
I didn't like this as much as the earlier books, partly because I'm less interested in household management, partly because there's some transitional clumsiness. Benson notes a problem with the narration of Chapters Five and Six, but it didn't bother me, and I suspect I wouldn't have noticed it ;-). My biggest problem, though, is that there doesn't seem to be much of figuring out clues in this one; the solution is visible from a mile away, apart from small bits withheld from the reader.
This was a fun change of pace; Frank and Joe act to support another rather flamboyant A.T.A.C. agent, and feel rather left out since they aren't the c...moreThis was a fun change of pace; Frank and Joe act to support another rather flamboyant A.T.A.C. agent, and feel rather left out since they aren't the center of attention. There are some amusing jokes throughout, and it's pretty tongue in cheek.
Why I Read This Book: It looked interesting on the library shelf.
Here's an entry in Yet Another Nancy Drew Series. This series consists of chapter boo...moreWhy I Read This Book: It looked interesting on the library shelf.
Here's an entry in Yet Another Nancy Drew Series. This series consists of chapter books; that is, the books are mostly text, with some pretty good grayscale illustrations, and not too long—the last numbered page here is 86, though it's followed by a three-page recipe for a fun-looking dessert, "dirt cake".
I quite enjoyed this one; it had some clever twists.
Apart from the usual irrelevant opening, and the fact that it seems cornier than usual, this seemed like one of the better of these books. The charact...moreApart from the usual irrelevant opening, and the fact that it seems cornier than usual, this seemed like one of the better of these books. The characterization is pretty clunky, but that's offset by a few clever twists, and a solution I didn't see coming. If I could, I'd rate it 3.5.