Book Review: The 5 Moons of Tiiana by Paul T. Harry (2.5 Stars)

The 5 Moons of Tiiana by Paul T. Harry

(2.5 of 5 stars)

A well-conceived story with a John Carter of Mars flavor, but the execution needed some–no, a lot of polish.

For some reason, perhaps to mimic Burroughs‘ style, Harry wrote in an awkward, antiquated style. “I was sorely pleased”, “changes came to pass”, “It was evident that …”, “I was taken aback”, “sleep overcame Leanna and I.” Lots of passive construction. A good editor could have tightened the prose, and made this something worth reading.

Still, an okay read.

Book Review: The Normans: From Raiders to Kings by Lars Brownworth (Three Stars)

Book Review: The Normans: from Raiders to Kings by Lars Brownworth

(Three Stars out of Five)

Forget the Game of Thrones. Make a series of the real-life history of the twelve sons of Tancred de Hautville. Seldom has one generation of one family so impacted history. Victory against overwhelming odds, and betrayal and treachery as normal family life.

Reads like a history book which, under the circumstances, is acceptable. Lots of narrative. Fills the gap between William the Conqueror and the Renaissance. Well conceived and well written.


Book Review: First Man by James Hansen First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James Hansen (2 Stars)

Book Review: First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong by James R. Hansen

(Two Stars out of Five)

An exhaustive biography of Neil Armstrong. Three hundred pages of story lost among four hundred pages of gossip and trivia. Hansen tells Armstrong’s story in excruciating detail, including multiple false tales, each of which Hansen examines and debunks in detail.

Too Bad. Armstrong’s story is a good one.

Better than Sominex.


Book Review: The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu (4 Stars)

Book Review: The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu

(Four Stars out of Five)

Engaging tale with world history as the backdrop to a hidden alien civil war. For a change the protagonist is an everyman: overweight, sedentary office drone. His alien symbiont fixes that, of course, but it isn’t magic. Good balance of skeptical and trusting.

The interplay between Tao and Roen is the story’s strong point, unfortunately the lack of a distinctive punctuation often leaves the reader confused whether Roen spoke aloud or sub-vocalized to Tao. Chu apparently recognized the problem and has Roen mistaken speak aloud once or twice.

A fun, new science fiction.




Is America Sending Wrong Signal?

The Israeli government may take the FAA suspending of US flights to Tel Aviv (after a Hamas rocket landed nearby) as a signal of waning US support. European countries did not suspend flights.

If Netanyahu interprets the FAA’s action as politically motivated (and what isn’t in today’s America), he may increase—not decrease—the range and scope of IDF attack on Hamas. They may seek a “knock out” blow before America tightens the screws further.

Such an interpretation and such an action may have serious repercussions. Do you think Washington and Jerusalem are on the same sheet of music? I don’t either.

Book Review: “Storm Front” by Jim Butcher (3 Stars)

Book Review: Storm Front by Jim Butcher

(Three stars of five)

Reviews of books in a genre the reader doesn’t like are questionable. I’m not a fan of urban fantasy nor hard-boiled detectives. However, I’ve heard for years how great Butcher’s Dresden File novels are. So, when a bundle of them in e-pub format became available through my local library, I took the plunge.

Yeap, I don’t care for urban fantasy. That said, this was an excellently conceived and written story. Butcher’s writing is head-and-shoulders above today’s crowded market place. Butcher’s storytelling propel the reader through the story.

Interesting how dated a book only fifteen years old is. It’s like reading something a century old. You’re constantly jerked out of the story by the quaintness. Even so, VW Beetles were rare in 2000. And while “cellular” phones are mentioned, Dresden doesn’t use them (for reasons revealed early in the story). The ubiquity of pay phones in Chicago certainly dates the story. Good luck finding one now.

I liked it even though I didn’t like it. I may try another.

The U.N. in Action in Gaza

What’s happening in Gaza is awful. The loss of life is a tragedy. But are we really doing what we can to end it? Really end it?

“The U.N. discovered twenty rockets in a U.N. school in Gaza. And was forced to admit it after a day of a delay. Do you know what it did with those rockets? It turned it back to the [Palestinian] authorities. So it can now be used to kill Jews,” charged syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. “That’s the U.N., the supposed arbiter, the parliament of man in action.”

What in the world were those rockets doing in a UN facility? Why did the UN try to cover it up? Why did the UN give the rockets back to the Palestinians? I don’t know. I suspect our government doesn’t know.

This whole situation boggles the imagination. Another generation is being prepared to hate their neighbors. It’s enough to make you want to cry.