Book Review: Triplanetary by E. E. “Doc” Smith
Three Stars out of Five
“In which scientific detail would not be bothered about, and in which his imagination would run riot,” Smith’s biographer Harry Smith said of the Lensman stories. And how.
Interesting more as a historical document than as literature, this includes the 1934 story which was the first Lensman story of classic science fiction. The writing is over-the-top, the characters heroic and chauvinistic, but it’s all great fun. The books influenced military development and future science fiction. (George Lucas enjoyed the Lensman series as a youth.)
Three stars is a gift. I wouldn’t have finished such an outlandish tale if written today, but it was hot stuff back then.
Book Review: Azusa Street by Frank Bartleman
Four Stars out of Five
Beyond an eye witness account of the birth of the Pentecostal movement at the Azusa Street Mission in 1906 Los Angeles, this book chronicles events before and after that Christian epoch as told by a senior participant, drawing on magazine articles, pamphlets and journals he wrote at that time. As such, Azusa Street blends primary sources and history. Bartleman is not a dispassionate narrator, but he brings those events into focus for the reader better than an account based on hearsay.
Race, gender, titles, degrees were irrelevant as Christians from many faith traditions joined in a moment of spiritual revival. The slim volume ends with an article, “The Deeper Significance of Pentecost,” he wrote almost twenty years later, just before he died, helping put the Azusa revival into perspective as he saw it. And a 1970s article “Revival and Recovery” by Arthur Wallis.
While the wider world will ignore this book as it did the Azusa revival, the serious student of modern church history will find it interesting and uplifting. That this book is still in print suggests that the need and lessons of the Azusa revival are still alive.
Book Review: Relentless by Robin Parrish
Four Stars out of Five
Bourne Identity meets Captain America meets DaVinci Code meets … no, that would be telling.
A delightful mash up of modern thriller genres to produce a fun, fast read. The reader is sucked along with the bewildered, tired, often beat up protagonist into a world of apocalyptic threat set in modern (well, 2006) Los Angeles.
Most geographic and cultural references are close enough, though I’ve yet to see a Corvette convertible with a back seat and trunk, not to mention one in which “scooting over” from the passenger’s seat to the driver’s is expedient. Oh, and several characters jump from vehicles going 60 mph or faster without apparent injury. Don’t try this at home.
Logical and satisfying conclusion to first of a three story series
But, hey, it’s not that kind of story. Tighten your seat belt and enjoy the ride.
PEGGY NOONAN: Don’t Mourn Atticus Finch.
I haven’t yet read “Go Set a Watchman” but found this column thought provoking. I briefly lived in the South in the 50s and again in the 60s. There were many people for whom none of the stereotypes work.
I tend to mistrust the simple as over-simplified.
Yes, it’s probably too bad greed trumped good sense in publishing this book. Welcome to modern America.
The Writer and the Magician. from Alton Gansky.
“The best tricks … don’t look like tricks.”
Book Review: Prador Moon (Polity Universe #1) by Neal Asher
Three stars out of Five
This is space opera.
Well-conceived, fast-paced, galactic war. Men and women off the street rise to the challenge of first contact with an alien species who will devour us—literally and figuratively. The science is plausible, which is not a given in modern SF. The writing is up to the challenge. And minimal typos.
The cast is large and diffused enough (as the narrative jumps to their points of view) to get the reader fully engaged but keep the energy up.
Interesting subplot about human society being run by hopefully-benevolent Artificial Intelligences. Not everyone buys in.
Satisfying conclusion to the first in a series. A healthy chunk of the next book is included to set the hook.
Book Review: The Empress Game by Rhonda Mason
Two Stars out of Five
Think Hunger Games meets Double Star with a dash of Tristan and Iseult.
The wonder is not that I rated this book so low, but that I finished it. The setup is hokey, plot is derivative, and characters are cardboard. But I did read it all because Mason’s storytelling is wonderful. Her prose is compelling and just when you’re starting to wonder why you’re still reading this, she throws a curve.
Probably the only worse way to choose a ruler than heredity is Continue reading
Under the headline “Whatever Happened to Religious Freedom?” Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute opined, “When cake bakers and others are fined for adhering to their beliefs about same-sex marriage, a new kind of discrimination is upon us.”
The problem partly is that no one seems to practice tolerance any more. Old-fashioned tolerance was a “live and let live” thing. New tolerance is “you must endorse my opinion/life style” thing.
We may soon see cases making that of the Oregon bakers fined for discrimination to look mild. Some in the LGBT movement are already pressing for churches to lose their tax-exempt status if they do not perform same-sex marriages. On the other hand, some wish to deny now-mandatory government services (issuance of marriage licenses) based on the personal belief of whichever clerk happens to be at the window. Clearly, both are wrong.
Don’t look for help from the Supreme Court. They can tell us what’s legal, not what’s fair or equitable. It’s best if we work out what’s right in an open, un-coerced market place for ideas. Something America used to excel at.
No one likes being discriminated against, but also no one like being forced to abandon deeply held religious beliefs. If we cannot find an agreeable middle ground, we will soon have a situation no one likes.