Chock full of ideas about the dangers of first contact, human fallibility, the future of scientific progress, philosophy, culture, politics, strategyChock full of ideas about the dangers of first contact, human fallibility, the future of scientific progress, philosophy, culture, politics, strategy and tactics. The writing falls short of the standard expected from volume 1 except for a long passage where Luo Ji imagines his perfect woman. Impressive for the depth of thought and analysis of what humanity might do when faced with the threat of extinction. ...more
Eight stories build on a common set of characters and a shared plot line. There is the tale of an old order of magicians (natural philosophers); a hauEight stories build on a common set of characters and a shared plot line. There is the tale of an old order of magicians (natural philosophers); a haunted house; a tomb-raiding adventure; a space opera; a retelling of Jekyll and Hyde; a combination alternate reality and vampire story; and a golem-like twist on Chucky.
Setting the stories in Jim Crow America and selecting a host of African-American characters as the heroes shifts the perspective and the nature of these tales. Ruff touches on a number of conscious and unconscious bias's in the reader and the writer of SF.
The difficulty of doing simple tasks like buying comic books and making long distance phone calls illustrated the problems faced by African-Americans in everyday life. The need for separate but equal institutions and organizations such as realtors, travel agencies, and even the freemasons are brought out, not by social and historical commentary but through the characters. Their frustration comes across clearly and is readily shared by the reader. Faced with brutality and cruelty they continue on knowing they can do little else.
The book started slowly and the title story, also the longest, is perhaps the least impressive, though absolutely necessary to set up everything that comes after. The essential spark is Letitia. In fact, the female characters take over and dominate the book. Letitia, Hippolyta, Ruby/Hillary, and even Adah (and to some extent Orithyia Blue) make vivid impressions, more so than the male characters.
The balance of humor and darkness throughout, especially the puns in the titles and the illustrated travel map. Montrose's description of the death of his father is particularly moving and disturbing, explaining much about his character. Letitia and Hippolyta triumph over their difficulties and obstacles with determination and pride. Ruby, who faces the greatest temptation grows the most in the book.
The Epilogue, while consistent with the rest of the writing felt unnecessary to me. Like Ruff felt a need to explain some points....more
In my humble opinion, one doesn't necessarily read the Longmire series to find out 'who done it' but for the characters, the human relationships, theIn my humble opinion, one doesn't necessarily read the Longmire series to find out 'who done it' but for the characters, the human relationships, the settings, the humor - the whole package as delivered by Craig Johnson. Admittedly, my rating is colored by long familiarity and readers picking up Dry Bones as their first exposure may find it less absorbing. I know I've had that experience starting a popular series with a volume written well after it had been established. That said, Dry Bones ought to draw new readers to pick up Johnson's early Walt Longmire sagas while the rest of us anticipate the next installment....more
The Master of Sempill produced this non-technical survey of aviation to inform the general public on matters of common interest. In between explanatioThe Master of Sempill produced this non-technical survey of aviation to inform the general public on matters of common interest. In between explanations of how one learns to fly, comparisons of light airplanes and seaplanes, and tips on touring the continent, he reviewed the state of the aviation industry in England with occasional criticisms of the government for its tepid support. The growth of aviation technology in the 20's and 30's created opportunities for new businesses and employment as computer technology has done in the 21st century. He catalogs some of the jobs available, an important topic in a world two years into the Great Depression, from flight crew and instructors to meteorologists and ground engineers. His criticism of the Dornier DO.X noting its limitations is brief while a full chapter is devoted to airships, despite recent disasters. The thoughts expressed in this slim volume reflect opinions he held and repeated throughout his lifetime....more
Another book by a millennial who's watched too many movies and too much TV and confuses the fantasy gaming world with real life. A slacker who's gotteAnother book by a millennial who's watched too many movies and too much TV and confuses the fantasy gaming world with real life. A slacker who's gotten by using humor and what passes for witty repartee, he decides after 9/11 to change his ways and contribute to the nation's safety by joining Naval Intelligence - skipping the queue of applicants through a direct commission process. When that doesn't happen right away, and driven by his new-found motivation, he manufactures a double-agent spy role out of a relationship between Russian diplomats and his parents's business. He entices the FBI to go along. Lacking any formal training, he relies on books, movies, television, and his innate sense of theater to guide him through what could have been a dangerous escapade. The constant references to pop culture bring an occasional smile but underline a lack of depth in a narrative better suited to an article in Playboy magazine....more
An Ace Double, Into the Alternate Universe is a Commander Grimes novelette. Set far out on the Rim, the Commander leads an expedition investigating soAn Ace Double, Into the Alternate Universe is a Commander Grimes novelette. Set far out on the Rim, the Commander leads an expedition investigating some unexplained phenomenon involving ghost ships and doppelgangers. A typical space opera from the mid-20th century involving science and seances in the same story.
In The Coils of Time, spaceman Carl Wilkinson offers to participate in a time-travel experiment in hopes of rescuing his lost love Vanessa. Instead, he is transported to an alternate universe where the local 'Carl' has been murdered by an evil government and the locals suspect him of being a spy. It is a story reminiscent of Burroughs where events go from bad to worse. The end is a cheat. Having gotten the hero into an inescapable fix, the machine fires one more time, returning Carl to his own universe....more