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Evolution isn't working fast enough. More dumbasses need to be shot.

Month

April 2015

The King In Yellow

Review of The King In Yellow

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Ten twisted tales that have haunted generations of readers and writers from H. P. Lovecraft to the creators of the hit TV series True Detective

Nightmare imagery courses through these stories like blood through the veins. In “The Repairer of Reputations,” a Lethal Chamber stands at the edge of Washington Square Park, open to all who can no longer bear the sorrows of life. A Parisian sculptor discovers a liquid solution that can turn any living thing—a lily, a goldfish, a love-struck young woman—to stone in “The Mask.” The unnamed narrator of “In the Court of the Dragon” seeks respite in a church only to be driven mad by organ music that no one else can hear.

Nothing is stranger or more frightening, however, than The King in Yellow, the play that links these tales to one another and to a larger fictional universe containing the ghost stories of Ambrose Bierce, the cosmic horror of H. P. Lovecraft, and the first season of the critically acclaimed HBO series True Detective. Said to induce insanity and despair in those who read it, little is known for certain about the play beyond the ravings of those who have dared to open its pages. They speak of Carcosa, where black stars hang in the heavens. Of twin suns sinking into the Lake of Hali. Of the Yellow Sign and the Pallid Mask. And, in dread-filled whispers or lunatic shouts, of the King in Yellow himself, come to rule the world.

A masterpiece of weird fiction, Robert W. Chambers’s The King in Yellow holds the answer to countless mysteries—some of which might just be better left unsolved.

Continue reading “The King In Yellow”

The Velveteen Rabbit

My review of The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

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Margery Williams’s magical nursery tale of a stuffed rabbit and his quest to become real

Christmas morning, the room filled with the hustle and bustle of preparation, a rabbit stitched of velveteen sits perched on top of the little boy’s stocking. Those first two hours are the best of the young rabbit’s life: filled with hugs and play. But like most children, the boy is fickle and easily distracted—after Christmas morning, the Velveteen Rabbit is forgotten.

Shy and intimidated by the new mechanical toys who sneer at him for being simple, the sawdust-filled rabbit sits quietly at the top of the toy closet, aching to be loved the way he was that wonderful Christmas morning. He’s soon taken in by the wise old Skin Horse, who sets him straight on the way to become real. It’s not about expensive mechanisms or shiny paint jobs. No, becoming real is all about the unadulterated love of a child.

The Velveteen Rabbit is a timeless story about the importance of love, honesty, and friendship.


5 Stars

My 4 year old daughter wanted me to read her something over lunch today while we were eating in the food court of the mall. I picked this because it was a nice short story that I could complete while eating. She seemed to like it.

I vaguely remember this story from my childhood (mostly that the kid had scarlet fever). A well paced cute little story perfectly made for a little child.

The eBook was formatted well with no obvious errors.

Tau Ceti

My review of Tau Ceti

 

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The Beacon has spent generations spent reaching a home away from home…only to discover that Earth now has faster-than-light ships and a ruthless dictator wants to lay claim to their dream. Can Captain Jorie Taylor stave off almost certain disaster and save their dreams?


 

4 Stars

I liked it. It was well paced. I liked the characters, they were well crafted. But, at times the solutions to the problems seemed somewhat…overly simple.

Told in two parts, the first written by Kevin J. Anderson and the second Steven Savile, it was basically two short stories linked together by a common storyline and characters. It worked well. Jurudu reminded me of Stalin, while Andre Pellar reminded me of Wernher Von Braun. The characters seemed consistent from one part to the next. The one complaint I have I believe is more related to the premise behind Mike Resnick‘s vision of the series. Pairing a known writer with an unknown writer to create a single story line in two different parts. Thus you end up with a couple of novella length stories that may not get quite enough time to explore in depth the conflicts within the stories. In both stories I found the ending a little overly simplified, almost to the point of putting the Borg to sleep. Given another twenty or thirty pages for each story and I think it would have been a killer 5 star novel, as it was it was just quite good. It’s definitely worth the read.

The eBook was formatted well with no obvious errors other than a few odd line breaks in the middle of words.

Remembrances of old

I like listening to music as I read, and there are certain songs or albums I associate to certain books/stories, but that’s a post for another day. As I’m sitting here tonight re-reading a story I originally read back in my youth (A Trace of Memory by Keith Laumer) I slipped in my CD of The Best of the Guess Who, which got me thinking about one of the songs that isn’t on the CD and some of the other changes. Back in grade school I listened to my parents music mostly. I really liked The Beach Boys, The Ventures, CCR and some others. But, by far, in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade my favorite album of theirs to play was The Best of the Guess Who.

Continue reading “Remembrances of old”

Spend Game

My review of Spend Game by Jonathan Gash

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When Lovejoy witnesses a car crash that turns out to be a murder – with one of his oldest antique-dealer friends the victim – he sets out on a trail of revenge that leaves him pondering several bewildering questions.

Why did his friend buy up a load of junk furniture? What did he want with an old doctor’s bag? Why was his friend killed? Who was trying to kill Lovejoy and – most perplexing of all – what the hell is he doing potholing through underground tunnels dodging armed hit men?


4 Stars

I liked it. It flowed well. The new characters (Moll particularly, but also Elspeth to a lesser extent) were well done. The ‘big reveal’ of where the booty was hidden seemed rather obvious. Even though Lovejoy is such a cad, and a bit of a whiner, he’s quite the hard nut. I think his character could go toe-to-toe with Marlow and Hammer and hold his own. I do hope that after all he went through in this book that he gets to keep some profit. This obviously took place not long after The Grail Tree since he still had his little Austin Ruby and spoke about sending Lydia out of town for some education.

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The Grail Tree

My review of The Grail Tree by Jonathan Gash

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In the world of antiques the Holy Grail is a holy terror – for almost every month someone claims to possess the original. So when an inebriated ex-clergyman confided to Lovejoy that he did indeed possess the cup, the resourceful antiques dealer knew just what to make of such a statement.The trouble was that someone else thought this version of the Grail was worth stealing – and now the owner was dead amid considerable carnage.


4 Stars

Wonderful story. I was glad that we finally have confirmation that he did rebuild his cottage, clearly putting this novel after The Judas Pair, and so I believe these novels are actually put out in chronological order. Continue reading “The Grail Tree”

Gold From Gemini

When I first read this, back in the ’80’s, it was titled Gold By Gemini from Jonathan Gash

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The second Lovejoy story by Jonathan Gash. Lovejoy, of Lovejoy Antiques Inc., first appeared via the Judas Pair novel, and claimed he was the only antiques dealer you can trust. Of course, Lovejoy isnt to be trusted a great deal of the time, no matter what he says. And Lovejoy is usually luckier in love than he is as an antique dealer. Even though he is a very good antique dealer – and a very knowledgeable one, somehow he always seems to be in need of money. Then some ancient British-Roman coins were stolen from the local museum. The gold coins had belonged to the roman general Suetonius and his famous Gemini Legion. The theft distracted Lovejoy from his usual problems – such as the tutoring his pupil Algernon on the subject of antiques. Algernon was a hopeless student, though agreeable. There were a lot less agreeable types around, like Dandy Jack, who had a nasty run-in with a car; there was a sinister man named Rink; and the lovely Nicole, not a really cozy type of girl. But thank goodness, there was always the usually reliable Janie. And out in the countryside, near the seal-pen, was the ultimate danger. But Lovejoy, set on solving the mystery of the legionnaires gold, is a man who can handle danger, as unlikely as it seems. If he absolutely has to. Which is just as well. Jonathan Gash has written another fine thriller, just loaded with antiques.


Continue reading “Gold From Gemini”

The Judas Pair

My review of the The Judas Pair by Jonathan Gash

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Lovejoy knows that the legendary Judas Pair of flintlock pistols are just that–a legend. Or are they? By the time he finds out the truth, two people are dead, and Lovejoy has to pull a nifty scam to avoid the same fate.


5 Stars

I love the character of Lovejoy, flawed as he is. He’s the only really well developed character, though there were no badly written ones. The police investigations seemed a trifle inadequate, but it helps keep the story moving. The pace of the story was quick and it was enjoyable. There is lots of slang to sort through, but most of it is pretty obvious. Quite a bit of information on antiques, though I have no way of knowing how accurate it might be.

Continue reading “The Judas Pair”

Blood Music

My review of Blood Music by Greg Bear

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In the tradition of the greatest cyberpunk novels, Blood Music explores the imminent destruction of mankind and the fear of mass destruction by technological advancements. The novel follows present-day events in which the fears concerning the nuclear annihilation of the world subsided after the Cold War and the fear of chemical warfare spilled over into the empty void it left behind. An amazing breakthrough in genetic engineering made by Vergil Ulam is considered too dangerous for further research, but rather than destroy his work, he injects himself with his creation and walks out of his lab, unaware of just how his actions will change the world. Author Greg Bear’s treatment of the traditional tale of scientific hubris is both suspenseful and a compelling portrait of a new intelligence emerging amongst us, irrevocably changing our world. 


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