Monday, November 23, 2020

Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & PowerRequiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power by Noam Chomsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When it comes to sussing out the state of our world and all the factors that contribute to where we've wound up, I'm not a slouch. I've read hundreds of books and have followed so much news and have discovered, again and again, that Noam Chomsky *Knows His Shit*.

Just from the standpoint that he has also been one of those intellectuals with a fantastic memory, unimpeachable logic, and a burning heart, I should mention that he should be read just because he cares.

The title of this book is pretty inflammatory, no? But my advice is this: read it for the information within. I've read a lot of books that back up each of these concise points in vast detail.

So why should anyone read THIS particular book, though?

Because it's diamond-sharp, doesn't waste a single second of time getting to the point, and it IS based on facts. It should come as no surprise that almost everyone is getting disenfranchised while the rich and powerful are getting more rich and powerful by the second. If you want to get that breakdown in a very short period of time, you would do much worse than to consider this a brilliant primer.

Get your foot in the door.

It's not like the world is getting better. Don't fall for PR or pyrrhic victories. The causes of our problems are still here. We need to understand the problems before we can cure them, and no amount of palliative care is worth the time.

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War in Heaven (A Requiem for Homo Sapiens, #3)War in Heaven by David Zindell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is absolutely no way to review this book with any justice.

Suffice to say, I have to revise my top ten book list.

Mind you, I must put all four books into the pile as one long story because while they can be read individually with their own major punctuation point, there's simply no way to separate one YES, YES, YES from the rest.

What is this book, these books?

They are some of the finest Science Fiction I've ever read. It has everything.

Heart-searching, amazing worldbuilding, philosophy, amazing action, gorgeous prose, and ... even now, after having read nearly 6 thousand books in my life, even manages to CHANGE MY LIFE.

Look. I'm kinda skeptical and I take certain book-journeys with kid gloves. If a book accomplishes what it sets out to achieve, or if it is entertaining, or if I learned a ton from it, I tend to give it full marks just because it was excellent on its own terms. But then there are some books that take me by the back of my neck, stare deep into my eyes, and fill me with a soul-hungry WILDNESS that asks me that single, awesome question:

"How do you capture a beautiful bird without killing its spirit?"

THIS book is the answer.

I laughed, I cried, and I want to scream out to everyone I know... YOU MUST READ THESE!!!!

I can't say it enough. They are amazing. They should be ranked right up there with the best books of any field, not just SF or Fantasy. I say the same thing about Dune. It's not only wise and overflowing with life. It's heart-wrenching.

Don't let the fact that it's hard-SF set in a far future filled with lightships and computer gods and alien worlds. Those are for context. The heart of these books in nature of life, of the injustice of life, and how to live with it. In that respect, it's very much a classic tale.

But when you answer the question that I posed, before, it answers about three dozen other questions and it may simply blow your mind.

I think I'll be putting all four of these books in my place of pride on my bookshelf and read them over and over. Danlo is a friend I will always want by my side.

Oh, and if this isn't that clear, I need to say: OMG ya'll, FIND these, READ them. They BEG for readers.

There is serious injustice going on here. It's hard to FIND them. The publishers SCREWED the author over. These books deserve to have airtime and be gushed over by millions of readers and be subject to endless online arguments and be petitioned for movie deals. But instead, I'm afraid that they will remain forgotten and left to rot under tons of trash.

I cannot stress this enough.
These are CLASSICS. The REAL DEAL. Utterly amazing.

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TroikaTroika by Alastair Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading Reynolds is always a treat. This relatively older novella doubles down on the old Soviet Space program and turns it into a paranoiacs dream while simultaneously giving us the Big Dumb Object effect. The attention to detail is superb.

The COMMENTARY, however, sneaks up on you. It's not just a great story. It's a slap in the face for everyone else NOT in the old Soviet Era.


Well, I guess everything changes. It doesn't get better or worse. It just gets STRANGER.

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Sunday, November 22, 2020

On Safari in R'lyeh and Carcosa with Gun and CameraOn Safari in R'lyeh and Carcosa with Gun and Camera by Elizabeth Bear
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No spoilers, but this fun little Elizabeth Bear story has tones of Lovecraft and R. Chambers while reading like a straight SF novel of scientific and personal discovery.

Did I think it was brilliant? No. But I did think it was solid and evokes all those glorious memes and religious terror wrapped up in an awesome genetic jewel.

It almost makes me believe that the spirit of inquiry DOESN'T automatically lead to 1d6 dead investigators.

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Shaman: A Novel of the Ice AgeShaman: A Novel of the Ice Age by Kim Stanley Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I should make a disclaimer here. I hesitate to call this SF except in a single case: Kim Stanley Robinson has created a world, built it out of the kind of science we know, featuring old humans during the ice age and extrapolating from there.

It's not really SF or F, but it shares a lot of the features. Most interestingly, it feels like a lot of the low-magic fantasy novels that have come out recently. Modern feel. And of course, it reminds us of Clan of the Cave Bear. But it's much more fascinating to see a more modern take on the subject from one of the most science-devoted writers in the field.

Primarily, I loved the psychology of it. Shamanism, nature worship, personality typing, and just how freaking difficult it was to survive during the age. Anyone who says that these people weren't intelligent has got to have a few screws loose. Survival takes a lot of effort.

This should all be pretty self-descriptive. But I should point out that Robinson's tale of life during this time IS a fascinating and interesting one. The story itself never lost me, and even if I have to let the novel take liberties with certain language bits and let the translation of certain ideas take its course, I'm not going to complain about it here.

It still produced a good novel for us. Even if I might want to complain about certain aspects of how they might have thought about things, the grand majority was spot on for my understanding. (Right or Wrong, it was a good novel.)

I do recommend it. Especially if you were annoyed with Clan of the Cave Bear and wanted something with a bit more substance and less violent sex.

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Plan for the Worst (The Chronicles of St Mary's, #11)Plan for the Worst by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a wild ride! ... by the end. :) At the beginning, it kinda felt like I was revisiting old plots from previous novels, but that's because they were... in a way. It was a perfect buildup for what eventually became...


This isn't meant to scare you. If you've been following these hapless historians you must already know to expect the unexpected, especially when it's already happened. Yes, old foes show up again. Yes, Max is right to mistrust authority figures. And yes, you really, really need to defrost the chickens.

You had to be there.

And then we get the biggest spoiler in all the books. At long last... we get Markham's name. And oddly enough, it's wickedly good fun.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The TroopThe Troop by Nick Cutter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'd like to say this is simply a novel of Blood for the Blood God, but no, it's actually lacking a bit in the blood department.

However, if you love WORMS, you're gonna LOVE this.

Straight horror, through and through, and simply disgusting. :)

While I think I'd LOVE to see a good version of this done in a movie, I think it might be simply TOO MUCH.

While eating this novel, be sure to bring extra food! :) Muhahahahaha

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