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The War in the Air (Review) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 10 June 2018 12:15

kay, since I’m in the middle of a couple of gigantic books with no end in sight, I needed to go back to the shelves and pick something for review. Yes, even thought this isn’t DOG EAR, I must say that I’ve forgotten big chunks of some of my favorites, so much that I’m not comfortable reviewing them. But War in the Air, much like that other Wellsian classic, War of the Worlds, has thoughts and scenes that stick with me.

So were stuck in this world of 191- with Bert, a humble bicycle mechanic. Bert labors through his days and follows his petty concerns (as I recall it) while the great powers are stirring for their final struggle. You see, the airship is all the rage and replacements can be built in small, scattered shops. Once the fleet is aloft, there is damn near nothing that defenders can do it stop it from centering on cities, of bombing them into ruins, of striking and continually striking, even when their home cities are destroyed.

Sounds a little like all the terrifying me technologies we have, of ICBMs and stealth bombers and internet malware and all the ways that a carefully constructed civilization can be turned into rubble, no?

I remember this being a cracking good read, with Bert sweapt up by the German air fleet, of the final battle between an Oriental Fleet and the Germans over Niagara Falls, of the crashing fall of civilization and Bert’s long trip home to his little village in England, and what it has become. And this story still carries one of the most stunning moments that illustrate how situations and adventures may change a man, when Bert returns to find his “shire” run by evil men. This he quickly sorts out in a scene that hangs with me years afterwards.

You’ll have to peck around for this one – possibly your library has it. And, wait, I just checked – available on Project Gutenberg , HERE, so I’m giving you this one for free. It’s a short read. Have at it, and write me  to remind me why this was so very good!

>>>AND SOME DAY, I’LL HAVE TO REREAD MY OWN BOOK, FIRE AND BRONZE. OR PERHAPS YOU CAN READ IT (GET IT HERE) AND REMIND ME ALL ABOUT IT!<<<

 
Extraction Request (Review) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 03 June 2018 00:00

’m currently digging through a book on the ins and outs of Model Railroad Operations Design (and I’m sure you’ll all be hanging on for that review). But with nothing in the hopper for this week, I went back and read a shorts story from the anthology The Best Science Fiction of the Year (Vol 2, which I think means 2016). While the first story I know I’d read somewhere, I knew I hadn’t read the second, Extraction Request, because I don’t recall that feeling of sick dread.

Yeah, it was damn creepy.

So let’s go with the time-honored opener: a convict combat squad from some futuristic time are picking through the wreckage of their shuttle which hit some sort of smartmine in the air and came down in a swamp. The crude soldiers (with all sorts of grim reasons they were convicted into this unit) look at one of their number, a fellow with one arm and nothing else, ruined beyond saving but still glugging in pain. On their heads-up vision, they get a request (the “nudge”) to vote his death. Everyone gives a gloomy upvote, the clamp on the back of his neck detonates, and it’s RIP for him.

And he’s the lucky one.

For this cast-away squad (with its morphine-stealing leader and gruntier-than-grunt-grunts) have landed in a swamp that the locals and even the rebels avoid. And as we read, we realize why; because something that makes the infamous Alien look like a house cat is moving through the swamp, under the mud and slime, and there is nothing they can do.

And I’ll give it this – this was a very unique enemy, about as nasty (and imaginative) as they come, something that you’ll need to read to believe (hello, nightmares). Great work by Rich Larson, a very talented author.

So if you want to see what happens when a misfit squad of convicts runs into the most frightening thing alive, find this anthology or look for it online. Great tale.

>>>THE SCARIEST I COULD MANAGE WAS ASSYRIANS, AND EVEN THROUGH THEY STACK SKULLS, THEY DIDN’T COME CLOSE TO THIS. ANYWAY, CHECK OUT MY HISTORIC NOVELS, DOWN THIS LINK<<<

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 03 June 2018 08:41
 
The Black Cloud (Review) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 27 May 2018 13:34

his one really took me by surprise. It came out in 1957, so far back that it was a year before I was born. And generally, truthfully, scifi from that time involves rocketships with fins landing on planets that all look like our moon, and bug-eyed monsters slobbering over the womenfolk.

Yeah, but Black Cloud was different. And so much better.

The idea is heavily weighted with the science at this time – astronomers (through very detailed descriptions of their work and processes) detect a black cloud moving kinda towards us, no, right towards us. There is a lot of scientific notation to back this up, all showing that in a year and change, it will be on us. And what will be the results? Probably a month of so of blackness as the cloud streams over our sun and us, possibly the ripping away of our atmosphere, or maybe the atomic impacts on our gas envelope boiling us alive. Or the coverage freezing us to death. Or maybe we’ll be just fine.

An observation station is set up in England and scientists gathered from about the world begin studying it and theorizing what will happen when it passes us. And things look grim, indeed.

Until the cloud starts slowing down.

Yes, it’s a sentient being of great intelligence and power that overlooks our puny little race to recharge around our sun. The questions are: what is its purpose here, how long will it stay, and can our heroic scientists open up communications with a vast intergalactic being?

I really had to say that this work was very good across all fronts. As a writer, the author surprised me with plot twists and character deaths I did not see coming. And from a science point, sure, the human computer was a punch-card monster, but outside of that the ideas sounded pretty good (and very interesting). Yes, it was like nothing I’d ever read before.

Another book shop find, one you might have to poke around a bit for.  

>>>OR GET MINE. THEY ARE AVAILABLE AND THEY ARE HISTORIC AND A LOT OF FUN. NOSE DOWN THIS LINK AND HAVE A LOOK!<<<

 
Neverwhere (Review) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 20 May 2018 00:00

eil Gaiman is a skilled writer. I’ve read a couple of his books (Stardust and Good Omens among them). But I gotta say, Neverwhere was a very enjoyable read.

He did this for a BBC series years back, a nice little tale about a nice little London man who, while out with his wrong-for-him snooty girlfriend, has a ragged street girl pop out of a briefly flickering door in an otherwise blank wall, right at his feet. And he decides to “get involved”. He picks her up (against his girlfriend’s shrill and uncaring advice) and takes her home. Soon enough, a creepy immortal pair are knocking on his door, she’s suddenly not in his flat yet is again, stranger things are happening, and suddenly we learn about London Below, the place where people who fall through the cracks go. It is a world of gloomy tunnels and tube-lines, of abandoned stations and old sewer systems, of forgotten cellars and dripping water and mushrooms and intelligent rats, of fiefdoms and magic and mystery. And suddenly all the station names on the Underground have reasons, some of them funny, most of them creepy.

So yes, Richard (our hero) finds himself as part of a quest for vengeance, helping the impish Door (the girl he saved) and her friends against sinister foes of great power. It’s got all the elements of high fantasy, all set in a dark world of rusting pipes and distantly rumbling trains.

I haven’t had this much fun since I read London Under.

So yes, this is a great read. You won’t be disappointed. But make sure you find the Morrow Fiction version, the edition with the added bonus chapter, “How the Marquis got his coat back.” It will fill in a little hole in the story in splendid fashion. And splendid fashion is what the Marquis is all about.

>>>AND ALSO CHECK OUT MY BOOKS, RIGHT DOWN THIS LINK!<<<

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 May 2018 07:04
 
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