If you owned and loved a Commodore PET, VIC-20, C64, or Amiga, you have to read this book. That is all there is to it. It is the only comprehensive teIf you owned and loved a Commodore PET, VIC-20, C64, or Amiga, you have to read this book. That is all there is to it. It is the only comprehensive technical and business history of the company. The writing could be somewhat better. The author repeats himself and occasionally tells things in a strange not-quite-chronological order, but that's okay because you can tell he did his homework--many interviews with various people give multiple sides to the stories and he gets all the technical details right. If you loved your 64 and know what a Trash-80 is, you MUST read this book!...more
This plot by PKD strangely pre-figures the escapism of virtual reality games to come. For a PKD plot, it is strangely tight for the first half, but byThis plot by PKD strangely pre-figures the escapism of virtual reality games to come. For a PKD plot, it is strangely tight for the first half, but by the last third it comes unwound, which is when it gets really good in any PKD novel. It ponders the nature of God, reality, and perception without ever being ponderous or preachy. PKD raises questions here about how humans interface with beings beyond our understanding. He does not answer any of those questions, really, but that is part of his charm. This novel is populated by more characters that I really care about and like reading about more than any other sci-fi I have read by him. Anne, Barney, and Leo seem more real and intriguing than any I have read so far by PKD, except in his non-sci-fi stuff like THE DARK HAIRED GIRL. Of course, I've only read 33 of his books so far...not quite done yet. I never want to be. This book, like many of his others, makes me wish he had not died in 1982 but was still imagining, still spinning, still story-telling....more
This has everything you want from a war novel. It has tactics, strategy, battles described blow-by-blow, and insight into the commanders' and soldiersThis has everything you want from a war novel. It has tactics, strategy, battles described blow-by-blow, and insight into the commanders' and soldiers' thoughts....more
A terrifically told near-end of the world story with vibrant characters and diverse viewpoints. This is like Neal Stephenson and John Brunner combinedA terrifically told near-end of the world story with vibrant characters and diverse viewpoints. This is like Neal Stephenson and John Brunner combined, but made simpler, in an elegant way. While some of the details get repetitive due to lax editing (you will be told, dear reader, at least ten times throughout the course of the story, that the Thai people have thirteen smiles), the plot is intricately woven. Most books, even good ones, lag in the middle or suffer from an ending that matches the beginning, but this book actually gets better as it progresses, to a stunning but believable ending. It reads like literature, but with a break-neck plot of action. The substance of the book is about the critical issues of energy shortages (dealt with an extrapolated technology that uses springs to capture kinetic energy) and food supply problems. This sounds weird and dull at first, but Bacigalupi tells these hard core sci-fi details through very clear, crisp, interesting characters. Anderson Lake was my least favorite of them until I realized who he is--Anderson is Bacigalupi James Bond, as played by Sean Connery! Picture that as you read! I am sure the author did as he wrote this. If you liked STAND ON ZANZIBAR or THE DIAMOND AGE, you will like this, for many of the same reasons....more
This is page for page my favorite space exploration book. I have read tons of information about human space exploration, and this book had more stuffThis is page for page my favorite space exploration book. I have read tons of information about human space exploration, and this book had more stuff in it that I had never read before than any other single source I have read previously. Never dry, always funny, and filled with details gathered in person by the author through interviews, I highly recommend this to any amateur space experts like myself....more
This book blends pure science, sociology, and history in a very well-written blend of details and mind-blowing concepts, all framed within the periodThis book blends pure science, sociology, and history in a very well-written blend of details and mind-blowing concepts, all framed within the period table of elements. It reads like a stream of consciousness, but was clearly not written that way. It is highly structured in its form, yet retains fluidity of prose that makes it a page-turner. It weaves together hundreds of threads of personalities, discoveries, and truths about the elements that make up our lives almost like a novel. In a paragraph this author makes fusion, fission, and quantum physics make sense to a layman (that's me). This is my favorite pure science book I have ever read....more
My opinion of how much I enjoyed this book changed dynamically as I read it. For awhile it was a 5 as Stephenson unfolded his characters like intricatMy opinion of how much I enjoyed this book changed dynamically as I read it. For awhile it was a 5 as Stephenson unfolded his characters like intricate origami, for awhile it was a 3 as he self-indulgently and essentially made his characters puppets for a treatise on history, sociology, language, and religion, and so I guess in the end I have to give this a weird 4 stars. Unlike his BAROQUE CYCLE, which completely delivers on its premise and promise, and unlike CRYPTONOMICON, which is a tight focused narrative that all makes sense in the end, this thing is more experimental. Worth reading, but much in a much lighter way than his other work. Oh, and at least it didn't totally stink like ANATHEMA, which is...anathema to me....more
Ho-hum writing. Things don't seem to happen--it seems as if the character is telling us what happened. The main character seems dim-witted and cluelesHo-hum writing. Things don't seem to happen--it seems as if the character is telling us what happened. The main character seems dim-witted and clueless at times, and yet cunning and insightful at times. She takes forever to figure out basic cause and effect events because it supposedly builds tension in the narrative (ham-handed attempts at dramatic irony), but she sees blood and somehow omnisciently intuits the complete story for how it got there (since the author provides plot summary, not detail, and wants to move onward).
The worst thing about this book is it really is part one of a three part book. This supposed trilogy is really just one ordinary book split into different bindings. Yes, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING does the same sort of thing, but LotR is epic story-telling. FELLOWSHIP has more story in three chapters than this entire "book" does.
Am I really supposed to care who the heroine ends up with? Or if she ends up with someone? She is so wishy-washy that I really have trouble seeing why she even cares, much less why I should. This is a girl who was supposed to have survived in the wild on guts and instinct? Right. The author could at least slow down long enough to explain some of the basics of archery, which is the heroine's one three-dimensional element, but we barely get the sketchiest of explanation of it when it should be the center-piece of what wants to be an "arm-chair adventure" style of story. No wonder teenagers are giving up on reading if this is the sort of thing that passes as a "hot read".
To cap it off, I read the book jacket stuff afterwards and find out the author's intent is to show the effects of war on children. Wow. If I am thirteen and I get through this dry, dull stuff, it makes me think war is kind of fun and that THE HUNGER GAMES should be made into a fun little multi-player game on Xbox. This does anything but show any real effects war has on children....more
I saw season one and two of the show before I read this. I agree with most people who have commented--the show is better than the book. The book is stI saw season one and two of the show before I read this. I agree with most people who have commented--the show is better than the book. The book is still good. It provides insight into the Dexter psyche in ways the show does not, so even if you have watched and enjoyed the show, the book is worth reading....more