Required Reading

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Earth Is Not Alone by John Knapp II

This is a bit of a strange book. It purports to be science fiction but it appears to be proselytizing rather than story telling. Parables come to mind after reading it. I’m just not sure.
I still am confused as to the message of the book. It seems to be stating that there is one God for aliens and earthlings alike. I didn’t find any of the characters particularly appealing. The structure of the book was disjointed. It divides itself into a story telling about two other stories and the two other stories are related in the book. I’m guessing there is a message but I’m just not sure what it might have been. It purports to be promoting Christianity and I guess it does that.

I’m guessing this would be a good book for a reading group that wants to analyze religion. It wasn’t a particularly good book for recreational reading.

Body of work of John Knapp II


Friday, August 27, 2010

The Treasured One by David and Leigh Eddings

This book is a continuation of the series, The Dreamers. Two sets of gods, a younger and a an older are attempting to deal with a insect like genetic altering villain who creates minions on the fly. The elder gods recruit humans from their domains to deal with the villain since they are incapable of taking life.

I enjoy the Eddings work. This series seems to be too much like light beer, less taste and definitely less filling. I like the characters and I like the verbal interplay. The plot seems to be a replay of the previous book as opposed to growing from the last book. The plethora of omnipotent beings is a bit amusing but not overly so. Lots of fighting, spectacular deeds by unlikely heroes and some pontificating on the greed of some organized religion. It appears to be more of a young adult book than I had anticipated. A very light but never the less entertaining read.

Body of work of David Eddings


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Monday, August 23, 2010

White Night by Jim Butcher

Mysterious bad guys are killing witches. Harry and friends track them down and provoke a confrontation.

Harry Dresden is getting hard. He is finding his value system is under attack. He has to deal with his personal demons. Once again fantasy is a metaphor for life.

Harry’s trust issues cause him a great deal of pain. I enjoy the realistic emotions displayed by the characters. I particularly like Harry’s loyalty to his friends and theirs in return. The action and violence are typical for the Dresden files and in spite of that, quite enjoyable.

I’ve enjoyed every book in this series.

I highly recommend the book and the series.

Body of work of Jim Butcher

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Friday, August 20, 2010

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

Tiffany Aching is a witch. A pointy hat witch with no warts but never-the-less she is a witch. She demonstrates to her peers and constituents that she is a competent witch.

Knowing the loyalty of the legions of Pratchett fans, I am suffering some trepidation in writing this post. I liked the book, I didn’t love it! It seems like everything written by Pratchett is reviewed with many !!! exclamation points. I found the book entertaining. I enjoyed the wit and the characters. The homilies were well done and thought provoking. I thought it would be most appropriately characterized as a young adult book. I am aware that Pratchett’s work is satirical.

It was a fun but unchallenging read. Some sound, basic psychology was used by Tiffany and her new beau (who will remain nameless until you read the book, because I hate spoilers). I thought it was good light weight summer book.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Terry Pratchett

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fireships by David Drake

Fireships is the third book in the Reaches series. This book deals with Sarah Blythe, a starship captain, and her need for revenge. An attempt to hijack her ship by federation minions results in several crew members dying. Her righteous indignations propel her into the chaos of the Venus rebellion.

While mildly entertaining, I didn’t like this series nearly as much as many other Drake books. The battles and action Drake portrays are always exciting. The implacable presence of Stephen Gregg and his search for a personal soul gives a strong character to ponder. The Venus rebellion and it’s “privateers” are by Drakes admission, modeled on Sir Francis Drake’s exploits. Drake also notes that Sir Francis was not a relative. I liked the character interplay between Gregg, Piet and Sarah. The anguish Gregg demonstrates seemed very real. Even though I don’t feel this is as good as some of the other Drake work, the worst of David Drake is generally better than most other authors. I recommend the book but you really want to read “Igniting the Reaches” and “Through the Breach” before reading this.

Body of work of David Drake

Web Site:

Review: none found

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mage-Guard of Hamor by L.E. Modesitt

In the continuing saga of Recluce, Modesitt picks up the threads of Rahl, the exiled natural order mage. Exiled from Recluce because his strength and his talent were frightening to the establishment, Rahl suffered a high level of abuse in the last book. In this book, working with Taryl, the former Triad, Rahl begins to gain control of his considerable talent. The intrigue and maneuverings of the various Hamorian factions leads to action and war.

L. E. Modesitt Jr. is a master in keeping you involved. I have enjoyed the entire Recluce series. Modesitt paints his characters with perception and compassion. You feel like you are relating to a real human being. Rahl’s love for Deybri, the healer, is portrayed with honest frustration. In the real world, relationships are never simple and Modesitt takes the time to accurately portray a complicated relationship. Rahl’s relationship with Taryl is no less complicated with mysterious overtones.

This is a great story, it can be read alone and stand on it’s own merit’s but if you are not reading the Recluce saga, I highly recommend both the series and this book.

Body of work of L.E. Modesitt


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden is a wizard for hire, the only one in Chicago’s Yellow Pages.
His latest client is Mab, the Winter Queen of Faerie. She makes Harry an offer he literally can’t refuse. Harry has to find out who killed the Summer Knight or die trying.

Butcher does an exceptional job making wizardry seem normal. His characters are quirky and surprisingly believable. I enjoy his plots, I have yet to figure out before hand who did what. Harry has ethics and a strong moral compass. He is an eminently likeable protagonist.

I highly recommend the entire series. You will be seeing more as I have finally purchased all the ones that have currently been printed.

Body of work of Jim Butcher

Web Site:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Sword of The Lady by S.M. Stirling

I’m beginning to think it is the never ending story. Don’t get me wrong, I love the books but I’m careless about checking the author’s site to determine if this book is finally the culmination of the story. Through trials and tribulations Rudi Mackenzie finally claims his legacy in Nantucket. Along the way, Rudi’s personality and charisma have earned him allies to armor against his implacable foes.

Once again I have to admire the way Stirling stirs the soul. He creates likeable characters and despicably depraved villains. I normally read three or four books simultaneously probably due to my limited attention span. I find it nearly impossible to put down one of Stirling’s books once I start it. My only beef is that the time between books is painful. I want to read more. Once again the book intersperses intense action with in depth human interaction leavened with philosophic pondering.
I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of S. M. Stirling

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

For the Love of Mother-NOt by Alan Dean Foster

This is the first of the Pip and Flinx stories. Pip is an Alaspinian mini-dragon. Flinx is an orphan with interesting talents. Flinx is the unwitting target of both law enforcement and an underground outlaw group. Avoiding entrapment by either group is the gist of the story.

I have enjoyed the Pip and Flinx stories over the years and have carefully kept them for my grandson. I was delighted to find this first volume to set the scene for the later books.

Flinx and Pip have a relationship that is beyond the boy and his pet type. They are interdependent, more so than Flinx realizes. The story is the beginning of a coming of age saga. It is classic, old school scifi and I really liked it.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Alan Dean Foster

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Through The Breach by David Drake

This is the second book in the Reaches series. This book deals with Piet Ricimer and Stephen Gregg’s supposed mission to the asteroid belt that really is a pirate raid through the breach. The breach is a dangerous passage through the Mirror, a block between our universe and another. The other side holds the treasures of the defunct empire, automated factories churning out the chips that hold civilization together. Gentlemen and aristocracy are the linchpins of the society on Venus. Stagnate and intolerant they fund Ricimer and Gregg as privateers to bring home the riches (chips) so they can hold off the North American Federations attempts to pull them back under control.

Ricimer is venerated and protected by the hulking Gregg. Gregg a disposed minor noble is physically and mentally imposing and capable of any act of violence to protect his leader. Gregg is also plagued with doubt about his acts of violence. Jeremy Moore is a dilettante with cyber abilities who discovers to his dismay that he can be a cold blooded killer. The anguish the characters suffer in probing their psyches is well written and seems quite real. Willing to do anything for the cause, right or wrong, but questioning one’s soul in the process provides a realistic look at both leaders and followers. A good book as a stand alone but

I recommend you read “Igniting the Reaches” before reading this and “Fireships” after you read this. It isn’t a monumental trilogy but it is still well worth reading.

Body of work of David Drake

Web Site:

Review: none found