#Bookreview The City by Clifford Simak

City is one of those Science Fiction books that has a brilliant idea, but the delivery is just muffled a bit to make it a good read but not great. I see it very much in the same mold as Asimov’s Foundation. There is a lot that can be discussed here, but all of them would involve spoilers. It is very complex and will be sure to take turns you didn’t expect. I would call it a must read for all science fiction fans, even though I do not think it is the best book by Simak. If you have read this, I would love to discuss some of the philosophical ideas and dilemmas presented. Please message me.

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#Bookreview Dirty Little Secrets by Christopher Minori

Christopher Minori’s anthology of short stories, Dirty Little Secrets is a fun set of stories, each one bringing classic themes of horror and speculative fiction        out for a new stroll through you mind. While none of the stories offer a truly groundbreaking story, they do what they set out to do; they entertain.

Minori is from the mold of writers whose craft has been molded through thought experiments of other stories and how they can be twisted into a new tale. The results can be stale at times and brilliant at others.

My favorite stories from this anthology are Father’s Request and The Hummel Store, which is strange for me as they are also ghost stories. I generally do not prefer ghost stories, but I thought these two were Minori’s best efforts. What made these, and A Pound of Flesh, work so well is that the characters in these stories were built to a more acute angle and made whole. While other stories in the book fall short as the characters are made shallow or are cartoon parodies of real people.

While I am often a fan of satire, I think Minori’s style tends to be better when dealing with serious topics. The several comedic pieces in the book fell short for me.

All in all, this was a fun read. Elements of the old Twilight Zones lurk in these pages. Give it a shot.   41FJOGL5aWL41FJOGL5aWL

#BookReview Kenobi by John Jackson Miller #StarWars

Star Wars Kenobi (promo cover)

Of all the Star Wars books I have read, This is my favorite. It is my favorite because it is not a fantasy like the rest of the films, or even a Space Opera or science fiction. Kenobi is a western, and Jackson even included all the old tropes of the western genre. One of my favorite aspect is the the mysterious stranger that shows up and cleans up the town is actually known to us. The Pale Rider is Obiwan Kenobi, hero of the Clone Wars, the trainer of Anikan Skywalker, killer of Darth Maul. We have pulled the mask off the Lone Ranger, and he is one of the last Jedi. If you are a Star Wars fan, read this book. Especially now that there are talks of a movie.

#BookReview The Fireman By #JoeHill

Fireman

Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill, is not the dark wizard his father is, but he clearly has a bit of his father’s flare in him. The Fireman is a very interesting story. The initial story is pretty ridiculous, but the characters are wonderful, and the action builds to an inferno. I would give this one 3 out of 5. Worth a look if you have the time and the inclination.

#BookReview Duma Key by #StephenKing

Duma Key has, since it’s publication, been one of King’s most disliked books. The reasons are fairly clear. It is a book with a monster story thrown in because that is what King likes to do, but the other story of healing on a personal retreat and finding a hidden talent as a coping mechanism is the far more compelling story.

So in this mess of a story, King tells us a story that is both very human and quite personal and then ties it with a fantastical, mystical story that is far fetched and really kind of stupid. But that is what makes King the master he is. King can create characters and tell us about our lives like nobody else, and then he brings the dark.

I recommend this one. I give it a 4 out of 5. It is far from King’s best, and far from his worst too, but it is a fun ride and I enjoyed seeing the worlds of realism and abstract combine on the canvas.

Book Review: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Heinlein is one of those names that when I hear it I am instantly filled with a sense of respect and admiration. With the likes of Bradbury and Asimov, Heinlein has me from the outset. Unlike the others, Heinlein usually loses me in pretty short order.
This book is probably the best of the old masters that I have read, or the one that has held up the best. Heinlein is just so deeply wedged in his own ideology that his science fiction is unable to see beyond his limited scope.
I enjoyed this book. Yet I found it too often fell into the Heinlein flaws of still rejecting females as worthy characters and always having the government as the ultimate evil. In short, I am starting a campaign in my own mind to revoke Heinlein’s legend status, not because he no longer deserves it, but because he never deserved it in the first place.
Orson Scott Card may be a horrible human, but at least his books don’t show that.

Book Review: The Monk by Matthew Lewis

 

The Monk is widely regarded as one of the greatest horror novels ever. I don’t think it lived up to its reputation. I think the book shocked people back when it was written because people didn’t speak ill of monks and priests. Priests were revered as holy men. Since that time, priests have fallen from societies graces. I would sooner trust my daughter in the hands of your average beggar than with a priest (an un-average beggar). Starting the book with a view that most priests are sexual predators at the worst and sexual deviants at the best, I didn’t see anything shocking in the slightest in the entire book. I would say, if you own the book and don’t want to dredge through the entire thing, read the last 25 pages. It is the most action in the whole book and really a great ending.

The thing that struck me most was the way the book is told. The drum that is beat loudest in creative writing circles is to always show the story, not tell it. Lewis basically runs the gambit of he said-she said for the whole of the book. Styles change, and perhaps when it was written it was the style of the day, but it was a poor example of a well written book in today’s terms.