Thursday, October 30, 2008

New free eBook from TOR for registered users

New free eBook downloadable from TOR:
Brian Francis Slattery - Spaceman Blues [Oct.30 '08]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Jay Lake story from TOR

Newly-published on and free for reading is “A Water Matter” by Jay Lake.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

Second book in the Dark Tower saga: Roland is trying to find his companions who will join him on his quest to the Dark Tower; each of these people is essential for Roland to continue his quest - they are all part of a ka-tet, defined as "one made from many" and "sharing the same destiny." Wikipedia notes

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

First book in the Dark Tower saga: Roland the gunslinger trying to catch up with the man in black. Wikipedia notes

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Review: Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton

Eaters of the Dead, written in 1976 by Michael Crichton, is based upon ambassador Ibn Fadlan's account of his journeys among the early Rus people, Northmen as they are called in the book, and the story of Beowulf. The main conflict is between Vikings and a small Neanderthal population.

In the beginning the books is pretty rough: the Northmen are not a clean people, they have customs which in the beginning make the clean Arab Ibn Fadlan cringe, the description of the "daemon"'s massacres are very graphic. This may make some readers give up on the book. As Crichton said in his own words: "I wrote Eaters on a bet that I could make an entertaining story out of 'Beowulf'. It's an unusual book. Readers either like it, or they don't,".

However, the adventures and battles are captured very well. Crichton's main accomplishment in my view is the ability to present the story in an old sort of language that is in fact very readable. Also, I admired his research work, the footnotes prove he did quite a lot of it.

I enjoyed the book and if you want to find out a little bit about our ancestors, especially Vikings, I recommend it.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Review: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

I recently finished reading Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams for one of the challenges I'm in. It's been quite a while since I've read a Douglas Adams book (last one was Salmon of Doubt a few years back) but I knew I'm in for a treat. And indeed, it has the same excellent humor as we are already used to from the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The main plot idea seems to be Gordon Way's shooting during a call to his sister Susan's answering machine and Richard MacDuff's (an employee of Gordon's working on a program to convert data into music, currently dating Susan) seemingly implication in the murder; even if Gordon Way is dead his ghost is still roaming around. Dirk Gently, Richard's former college friend, believes in the fundamental interconnectedness of everything and tries to help Richard to prove he's innocent.

However, this is just a small part of the plot, in fact a very small one: time travel, aliens and other ideas are mixed in to create another great and funny Douglas Adams book.

Towards the end I was totally lost since I had no idea what the Coleridge connection is. After some searches on the internets, I discovered that the novel cannot be fully understood without familiarity with Samuel Taylor Coleridge life and works, particularly The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan poems. I found some notes though on a website so things got clearer.

During these searches on the net I also found out that the sofa irreversibly stuck on the stairs is based on an incident that happened during Adams’ college life.

Overall, a great read, 4 out of 5 stars.

I can't wait to read the next Dirk Gently book, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.

Friday, October 10, 2008

BAFAB week... I know, it was last week...

A little bit late, but I got to do it: I bought a friend a book!

I chose A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer. I love Archer's storytelling art. I hope my friend will like it, too.

New Rudy Rucker story from TOR

Newly-published on and free for reading is “Jack and the Aktuals, or, Physical Applications of Transfinite Set Theory” by Rudy Rucker.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Another book from Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing

I just got word that we snagged an Early Reviewers copy of The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli by Ginnetta Correli from LibraryThing. Awesome! Can't wait for it to show up in the mail.
LibraryThing rocks!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New Terry Bisson story from TOR

Newly-published on is “Catch ’Em In the Act” by Terry Bisson.

Review: The Fire by Katherine Neville

“The Fire” is an enjoyable enough reading. The historical references are interesting, the change between different eras is almost cinematic – as is the whole book, it made me think of seeing it as a movie, which probably was the thought of the author as well - but towards the end of the book I lost my interest.
The plot felt forced, too many twists and turns, too many characters not sufficiently developed and often unbelievable. Katherine Neville likes to say she was dubbed a female Umberto Eco, but with this book she doesn’t live up to his name.
Thanks to LibraryThing's Early Reviewers for this book.