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Gelato Parlour (Review) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 19 February 2017 00:00

oddamn!

That's all I can say about this one.

Goddamn!

The full name of this short story is The Arousing Adventures of Gelato Parlour. Yeah, I didn't have the space for the full title.

But Goddamn!

Okay, this comes out of The End, that Jurassic Publication collection that I reviewed before. But this one was so good, it warranted its own review.

It's written in flashy cheesy Vaudevillian style, very similar to The Further Adventures of Captain Gregory Dangerfield. But where Dangerfield is clearly, solidly planted in 1920, Parlour is set in a whimsical floating style of yesteryear, un-pinpointable yet suitably delightful, a world where Gelato Parlour, thief, lover, playboy and man-about-town, steals valuables for the deserving and the lovely. And he's dashing enough that on the pillow of each conquest he leaves a treat. One woman finds a sorbet, "elegant pale yellow with a mint leaf on top and a small spoon made of silver". At least, the lady in the lace nightgown considers, it is not "a goodbye sundae as is his wont sometimes, or (worse) the banana split when he doesn't stay the whole night. A sorbet is merely a refresher between courses. He'll be back!"

This is wonderfully playful prose, expressive and entendred, a thing for the reader to play with. The character is dashing, the police (le Guard) sportingly ineffective, games within games. He has his nemesis, he has a full supporting cast of characters good and bad (quite a feat, given the twelve page length). There is even an intermission (where you sit while they change scenes, listening to the readers around you complain like season ticket holders at South Pacific). It's energetic, funny, fabulous.

I don't know how to give this to you, dear reader (see, now I'm in the mood of the tale). As stated, it came from The End, a collection that is difficult to obtain given it was Jurassic's last offering. But it was innocent fun, gripping right down to the final gasp of story. When I saw the white expanse of the end page, I groaned aloud.

Wonderful bit. I'm sitting here smiling, just thinking about it. Wish I could share. Keep an eye out for the author, Rose Biggin - she's one to watch.

>>>WHILE IT WAS A GREAT STORY, MINE ARE JUST AS FUN. CHECK OUT EARLY RETYREMENT, RIGHT HERE, CHEAP AND AVAILABLE!<<<

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 February 2017 22:13
 
The Neptune Strategy (Review) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 12 February 2017 00:00

ing windows. That's what sold me.

There is a thing in historical fiction where an author nails details that ring so true, you simply find yourself in that time. And John Gobbell did this in the historical thriller The Neptune Strategy by simply mentioning how some of his characters, driving in the California heat in 1944, crank open the wing windows of their car to get some airflow. Man, remember those things?

This wasn't all. Even though this is a navel thriller, he hit enough other points to impress me. He knew Southern Pacific serviced the coast, that engineers whistle twice when departing stations, and that a character's late husband ran cabforwards up Truckee-way a while ago. All these told me this guy knows his stuff.

And the naval procedure - that I do not know (the highest navy rank I ever obtained was "brat"). Still, it all sounds plausible; the organizations, the communications, the orders, the procedures, all the things a destroyer would need to keep moving. My only regret is that my father, a naval captain, passed away a few years ago. I'd have liked to have shared this with him.

So what the hell is this book about, Robert? Well, in this thriller, Commander Todd Ingram is on the bridge of the Maxwell when it comes under air attack. The next thing he knows, a bomb goes off and he's thrown into the drink, clutching to a chunk of wreckage with the ship's monkey mascot as his tin can sails off, blasting away at the divebombers. Out in the vast Pacific, what's the chance he'll be found?

But found he is, by a Japanese submarine. They take him aboard, not out of humility or anything but simply to test his spirit. And test him they do, giving him all the degenerative jobs, beating him, humiliating him, attempting to break his spirit. But Ingram is pretty tough. Sadly for him, his wife back home is about to have a baby.

However, the I-57 has its own strange mission, one that Washington (and Ingram's friend Captain Landa) are tracking. And the action continues amid the full color of finely researched Pacific combat with unexpected (yet logical) twists and turns until we finally break the back of the novel in a wonderfully tense showdown where things get resolved in a most satisfying manner.

Man, if I had to tell you to read anything from the Pacific theater and The Caine Mutiny was checked out, I'd tell you to pick up The Neptune Strategy. Great fun, great tension, and you'll be able to visit the past without a Delorean. Loved it!

>>>I ONLY HOPE SOME REVIEWER GIVES ME THE SAME GLOWING PRAISE I'VE GRANTED HERE. THE ONLY WAY YOU'LL SEE IF I'M THAT GOOD IS TO BUY A BOOK! FOR SALE HERE!<<<

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 February 2017 10:33
 
The Orion Nebula (Review) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 05 February 2017 00:00

e an Orion go back a couple of years. It was one of the first objects I'd pursued with my new scope - after the moon and planets. And there was so much to see - the brilliant belt, the smoky glow of Betelgeuse. But it was when I tracked down Orion's star-splashed dirk that I got my biggest surprise.

At the midpoint, I stopped. There was a clear thumbprint on my view of one cluster. Must have fumbled it while getting the eyepiece out. Annoying. But when I started to track clear I got my real surprise - the splotch moved with the stars! It wasn't a thumbprint at all - it was a visible nebula, a sprawling gas cloud that spanned stars!

(photo: Derek Demeter)I viewed it for an hour, perhaps two, before going indoors to lose my night-vision but gain my computer reference. And that's when I learned about the Orion Nebula - 1300 light years distant, an amazing sight in the night sky.

So, when The Orion Nebula appeared in a downsizing box at the local astronomy club, I had to pick it up. It's a great book, the author being one of the project managers on the Hubble, a wonderful tell-all star book. But be prepared. O'Dell explains everything about the nebula - from how molecules work to how stars form and ignite, how they interact with their left-over materials, the nature and idiosyncrasies of star dust. While a lot of this passed in one eye and out the other, enough stuck. I now understand what a dynamic place the Orion Nebula is, with shock waves pocking the face of the cloud, with ionization burning across it like grass burning in a dry field. Using infrared, the scientists were able to discover what lay beyond the cloud's veil, which is in itself amazing and inspiring.

So, a grand book about one of the most stunning sights in night sky, something so amazing it can be seen with binoculars and a clear night. A good read that shows me just how much more I have to learn in this hobby of pretty lights and cold nights.

>>>JUST THINK, WHEN THE LIGHT FROM THE ORION NEBULA FIRST SET OUT, MASON TRELLIS HAD ALREADY BEEN ON THE COAST OF CANAAN FOR A THOUSAND YEARS. WANT TO FIND OUT MORE? READ EARLY RETYREMENT, AVAILABLE DOWN THIS LINK!<<<

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 January 2017 10:59
 
A Lodging for the Night (Review) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 29 January 2017 00:00

his was an interesting tale, a little lunchtime shortie I found on my old favorite site, Project Gutenberg, from an old favorite author, Robert Louis Stevenson. The drama opens on a snowy Paris night in 1456, with drifts mounting and patrols snow-crunching and all the world asleep, save for one hovel with its wisp of smoke, its glow-through-the-shutters occupancy, its mutter of low deeds. For yes, inside is a collection of dark men, a handful of pickpockets, highwaymen and gallows-bait. The descriptive eye of the author travels through each, giving us a detailed description of every blackheart without identifying who the main character is, bouncing like a merry roulette ball unable to find a final pocket.

That is until, over cards, one of the blackguards drives his knife through another’s heart. So I guess it wasn’t that guy. But they scatter to the frigid winds, including Villon (love that suggestive name), a poet by nature and thief by circumstance. And it’s these circumstances (and their reasonings) the story comes to examine.

Villon, for his own efforts, is worried that the body left cooling in that shack will be the centerpoint of their footprints radiating in panicked flight. But, screw the others, it is his neck he is primarily worried about. But his neck is the least of his worries. With temperatures dipping, with the winds rising, he realizes that if he doesn’t get inside he will die in these ice-muck streets. He pounds on the door of one dubious acquaintance, only to get a chamberpot second-floored over him, wetting his legs and further exacerbating his plight. He thinks of the woman and child who were mauled by wolves on a street not far from here (for occasionally hungry wolves would range the streets of fifteenth century Paris). In a ruined hotel, he finds a dead prostitute, whom he pities while looting for spare coins (which he throws into the snow in disgust and then attempts to recover in frugality). And finally, with death’s icy fingers stroking his shivering shoulders, he knocks and is admitted to the house of Enguerrand de la Feuillee, a gentleman of war and honor and wealth.

And this is where the story finds its cornerstone. Yes, we’re all familiar with the balance of crime (and expedience) against honor. Does one turn one’s back on honor when one is poor? Hungry? Starving? Or does honor hold its own, even when obtained on a battlefield amid the horrors of war? There have been many tales along this line (and, from a society distant from chivalry and well-versed in social reexamination), so it’s nothing new… to us. But I expect that when this little story came out, it caused quite the stir.

Anyway, worth the read, and you can do it for free, HERE.

>>>ALSO WORTH THE READ, MY OWN NOVEL. GET THEM HERE, CHEAP AND FUN!<<<

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 January 2017 09:03
 
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