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review 2017-07-06 11:45
Gaming All-Nighters: "The Player of Games" by Iain M. Banks
The Player of Games - Iain M. Banks

"All reality is a game. Physics at its most fundamental, the very fabric of our universe, results directly from the interaction of certain fairly simple rules, and chance; the same description may be applied to the best, most elegant and both intellectually and aesthetically satisfying games. By being unknowable, by resulting from events which, at the sub-atomic level, cannot be fully predicted, the future remains make-able, and retains the possibility of change, the hope of coming to prevail; victory, to use an unfashionable word. In this, the future is a game; time is one of the rules. Generally, all the best mechanistic games - those which can be played in any sense "perfectly", such as a grid, Prallian scope, 'nkraytle, chess, Farnic dimensions - can be traced to civilisations lacking a realistic view of the universe (let alone the reality). They are also, I might add, invariably pre-machine-sentience societies.”

 

 

In “The Player of Games” by Iain M. Banks

 

 

 

“I… exult when I win. It’s better than love, it’s better than sex or any glanding; it’s the only instant when I feel… real.”

 

 

In “The Player of Games” by Iain M. Banks

 

 

 

Some of the imagery in Bank’s novel concerning gaming strategies closely remind me of my own: “In all the games he’d played, the fight had always come to Gurgeh, initially. He’d thought of the period before as preparing for battle, but now he saw that if he had been alone on the board he’d have done roughly the same, spreading slowly across the territories, consolidating gradually, calmly, economically … of course it had never happened; he always was attacked, and once the battle was joined he developed that conflict as assiduously and totally as before he’d tried to develop the patterns and potential of unthreatened pieces and undisputed territory.” This means you know you’ll get a biased sort of review. Just so you’re warned.

 

 

If you're into SF, read on.

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review 2017-07-03 11:39
Post-scarcity Society: "Consider Phlebas" by Iain M. Banks
Consider Phlebas - Iain M. Banks

When Banks died, I was in the process of starting one of my usual re-reads of the Culture novels. I decided it was not the time to start that re-read. I said to myself, “I’ll just wait another couple more years.” It’s now 2017, and I’m not sure I’ll re-read them now in one large gulp. I want to be able to savour the remaining books over time. One of my main attractions to Banks' novels lies in his version of AI. Stephen Hawking and colleagues worry about tooth and claw Darwinian features of AI, that threaten us all. Why not allow for the possibility that a truly superior intelligence would follow its own independent moral code? Banks' machine minds have values and follow courses of action that are far more admirable than what our species can manage.

 

No longer being able to look forward to a new Iain. M. Banks novel every twenty months or so is a source of great sadness. "Consider Phlebas" was such a dazzling, utterly astonishing tour-de-force, the grandest and saddest of all space operas, which nothing before or since has even come close to. And I can still remember the delight of coming across a 'hard' SF writer whose politics were, for a change, anti-authoritarian.

 

If you're into SF, read on.

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review 2017-06-18 01:00
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
The Paper Bag Princess - Robert Munsch,Michael Martchenko

Genre:  Comedy / Royalty / Dragons / Feminism / Fantasy


Year Published: 1980


Year Read:  1994

Publisher:  Annick Press

 

 

Princess

I have been reading most of Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko’s works ever since I was a child and I have enjoyed most of their works! I have recently re-read a book from the popular duo that I had enjoyed during my childhood called “The Paper Bag Princess” and it is about how a princess is stripped down to wearing a plain paper bag when a dragon attacks her castle and she has to go rescue Prince Ronald, who has been kidnapped by the dragon. “The Paper Bag Princess” is definitely one of Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s most hilarious books ever written!

Elizabeth was a beautiful princess who was going to marry Prince Ronald. One day, however, a dragon comes by and burns her castle to the ground and kidnaps Prince Ronald. With nothing left to wear except for a paper bag, Elizabeth decides to go after the dragon and save Ronald.

If you think that “Stephanie’s Ponytail” was one hilarious and creative book, you should really check this book out! Robert Munsch has truly done an awesome job at writing this story about how a princess loses everything but still wanted to save the love of her life. Robert Munsch’s writing is simple yet sassy and hilarious at the same time and what I really loved about this book was that Robert Munsch made the heroine, Elizabeth into a clever and brave girl and I loved the way that she tries to go and rescue the prince by herself even though she lost everything that she owned and the way that she beats the dragon at its own game is just truly hilarious! Michael Martchenko’s illustrations are creative and hilarious in this book, especially of the images of Elizabeth being in a paper bag throughout the book. The images in this book are a bit more simplistic in this book than in Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s later books as the black outlines of the characters make the characters stand out much more. I also loved the images of the dragon itself as it is green, have red spikes down its back and always look more suave than terrifying to the readers.

Princess

All in all, “The Paper Bag Princess” is a brilliant book from the famous Munsch/Martchenko duo as it shows that true courage will always win the day. Although I would have preferred the ending to be a little longer so that way it would be more satisfying just knowing what happened to each character after the adventure is over, this was not a major con for me, so I would still recommend this book to children ages four and up, but because of the dragon scenes, I think children ages five and older might stand those scenes better and the children ages four and up will like the simplistic writing of this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-05-15 00:48
Nope, not for me
Venom: Nights Of Vengeance (1994) #1 (of 4) - Howard Mackie,Ron Lim

I know I enjoyed non-Parker Venom, most recently in Guardians of the Galaxy.   This time, though, it's not Flash Thompson, it's Eddie Brock, whom I find boring, both when he's written as a villain, and as a hero.   Add to that some complex shit going on with this Ghost Rider - or maybe not really? - that I don't get, because I'm given no background and I got bored with this real quick. 

 

It was a chore to get through, and the typical artistic style didn't help.   If the art had been spectacular, maybe.   I did find the real villains of this story to be somewhat interesting, although the whole 'hunting the most dangerous game' has been done to death, even in Marvel comics.   (There were a couple twists - alien symbiotes, and how they blackmailed the two heroes into complying - but again nothing that made me want to read beyond this issue.)   

 

Will not be continuing.  I got this for free on Comixology, hoping to enjoy this story and I... did not.

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review 2016-10-31 02:55
Oil Spill!
Melvin Berger: Oil Spill! (Paperback); 1994 Edition - Paul Mirocha Melvin Berger

Grade: 1st

 

This is a great book to educate children on the effects of natural disasters. The animals in the book give children a visual of what happens to them when natural disasters such as oil spills occur. While this book may be difficult to understand, it is a great introduction to a science lesson. The teacher will read the book Oil Spill! By Melvin Berger and explain to students that oil spills are an environmental hazard, and that oil spills hurt animals, because they destroy their homes. The teacher will then have a container of clean water and explain that it is like the ocean. Olive oil will be squirted in the water, and the teacher will ask how to get the olive oil out. Students will discover it cannot be scooped out of the container, just like it cannot be taken out of the ocean. Next, feathers will be dipped into the olive oil water to illustrate the effect it has on animals. Student will see that oil spills hurt animals. Lastly, students will discuss how to prevent oil spills.

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