Monday, September 29, 2008

Woken Furies - Richard Morgan

Woken Furies is the third Takeshi Kovacs novel I've read. Morgan has an amazing ability to make his future worlds believable. This story follows the ex-envoy back to his home planet for an interesting mix of revenge and revolution. It would be interesting to see a swamp panther -- from a distance! The Martian technology circling Harlan's World plays an important role in this book too. Highly recommended.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Diplomatic Immunity - Lois McMaster Bujold

Diplomatic Immunity is a Miles Vorkosigan novel. If you're not familiar with Bujold's diminutive intergalactic hero this is a reasonable novel to start with. You don't need to know all the details of Miles' history to appreciate this story. There are references to Miles' past in the story, and you'll want to explore some of the earlier novels in the thread, but this is an engrossing tale with plenty of twists and turns and enough weird aliens to make any scifi buff happy. Highly recommended.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Harbingers - F. Paul Wilson

Harbingers is the 10th Repairman Jack novel. This is my second read because the new Bloodline is out and I'm refreshing my memory before I read it. If you've never read a Repairman Jack novel you're in for a treat, but I recommend starting from the beginning. I think there are 11 total now. You can see an earlier post of mine on Crisscross for a link to a list of all the novels in order.

This story brings a whole new set of characters into the battle between Jack and the Adversary. The problem is figuring out if their friends or foes. There's plenty of action and some big surprises. Very highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman

The Amber Spyglass is the last book in Pullman's Dark Materials series. If you read The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife you should read this book. The story is still too sophisticated for children, but it does provide a conclusion to the series, although not in a particularly satisfying way.

Some authors write crisp clean prose that keeps the reader's attention. Patterson is a master at this. In this book, Pullman never said anything in one sentence that he couldn't stretch to a paragraph or more. I really wanted to find out what happened to Lyra, Will, and the worlds of this series, but this novel really began to drag toward the end.

A movie might be the best medium for this novel. Hollywood would throw away the wasted words. Probably along with a lot of important ones. They definitely changed the whole tone of The Golden Compass when they made it into a film. Recommended — only if you read the other books in the series.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stone Cold - David Baldacci

Stone Cold is the latest in the Camel Club series. You can't really appreciate this book unless you read the previous books in the series so try and get them in order. This is an amazing book. Threads from previous books are tied together and new threads are left dangling in space. Sadly, the Camel Club loses a member in this novel. That's all I'm saying. You have to read this book. Very highly recommended.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Altered Carbon - Richard Morgan

Altered Carbon takes place in the 25th century, when people seldom suffer from real death. The body dies but the mind is resleeved into a new body. It opens up some interesting possibilities. This is the first Takeshi Kovacs novel. I've also read Broken Angels by Morgan and if you've never read a Takeshi Kovacs novel, and you like science fiction, you need to read one. Altered Carbon is the place to start. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Monday Bike Ride

Last Monday morning a couple of friends and I went for a ride on the I&M Canal Trail between Ottawa and Utica Illinois, and on the trail in Buffalo Rock State Park. The weather was great. The problem was that the I&M Canal Trail between Buffalo Rock State Park and Utica was closed. It's been closed since last August when it was washed out in a storm. This is one of the most scenic sections of the I&M Canal Trail. Now I hear the state is closing two of the four state parks that span the trail. These are Channahon Parkway State Park and Gebhard Woods State Park. If the I&M Canal Trail closes it will be a serious loss to the many people who ride and hike this trail all year round. If you want to let the governer of Illinois know what you think, click on the Governor’s On-line Contact Form or call the governor’s office at 217-782-0244 or 312-814-2121.  I'd try the 312 number since he spends most of his time in Chicago :(

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman

The Subtle Knife is the second book in the Dark Matter trilogy by Pullman. Like The Golden Compass, it's not really a kids book. It's too violent for one thing. For another, the novel introduces complex social and religious issues that most kids will struggle with. That aside, the story is compelling. I found myself staying up too late to finish, only to hit another cliff hanger at the end. Now I have to find the third book! Highly recommended.