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review 2018-11-07 19:01
Cardboard SF: "The Devil's Game" by Poul Anderson
The Devil's Game - Poul Anderson


(Original Review, 1980-11-09)


THE DEVIL'S GAME of course, is "follow the leader" played by seven people in a South American paradise for a prize of 1 million, tax free dollars. The prize will be split among everyone who lasts through the game. The challenge for each player is to devise tasks which will force the other players out of the game, either through failure to perform the task, refusal to perform the task, or death resulting from the task.

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-06-17 14:03
SFional Lorentz Transformations: "Tau Zero" by Poul Anderson
Tau Zero - Poul Anderson

“Consider: a single light-year is an inconceivable abyss. Denumerable but inconceivable. At an ordinary speed – say, a reasonable pace for a car in megalopolitan traffic, two kilometers per minute – you would consume almost nine million years in crossing it. And in Sol’s neighborhood, the stars averaged some nine light-years part. Beta Virginis was thirty-two distant. Nevertheless, such spaces could be conquered.”

In “Tau Zero” by Poul Anderson.



Yeah I'm aware of the twin paradox and how Special Relativity alone doesn't account for the returning twin being younger; at the time I remember wondering specifically whether one of the main criticism of Tau zero (i.e. that the crew of the ship should observe the universe as being slower relative to them while they're accelerating, not sped up as it is in the book) was on the nose. Not that most people think that special relativity is simple, but in fact it is even trickier than is apparent the first time you meet it. 
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
 
 

 

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review 2017-07-15 10:48
DNF 50%
There Will Be Time - Poul Anderson

Like many older science fiction stories, this one feels dated, but I allow for that. It sort of dragged in the first few chapters but by chapter four, the time travel aspect became a little more interesting. It was in some ways over explained and became like 'telling', but the idea itself worked well enough.

 

Admittedly the story moves slowly. Maybe it's too much attempt at explaining something that very little was known about in its time, or maybe it's just the author's writing style. I haven't read anything else by him so I can't be sure. I persevered because it had a lot of recommendations, though it was hard work. Unfortunately it got to be drudgery a little past halfway and the misogyny was getting irritating. I allow for a certain amount in these older scifi books but it was getting a little too thick and the lack of action was putting me to sleep, so had to DNF.

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text 2016-08-23 12:24
Yay Time Travel! And more Bingo selections.
There Will Be Time - Poul Anderson

Well, with a couple of days to wait for my replacement Kindle, I still have not only my tablet, but paperbacks!

 

So I took a look at my shelves and found a short one I've been wanting to read, There Will Be Time by Poul Anderson. Classic science fiction.

 

The only thing out of reach really is my Netgalley books, which I could read on desktop if I was really desperate, but it's only a couple of days. I wanted to clear as many as I could before 1st September so I could focus on reading for the Bingo challenge, but the Kindle gods have decreed otherwise.

 

The good thing is that in looking over my shelves, I found two more to fit Bingo squares!

 

For Gothic: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.

This has been sharing first place for next Classic to read with Don Quixote, so the decision just fell on Hunchback as next. It's a little long, but that will make up for some of my shorter selections.

 

For Mystery: Genre: Thorneyhold by Mary Stewart.

I loved her Fantasy books and wanted to try her Mysteries, so picked up this used paperback over a year ago. It's a witchy mystery so perfect for Halloween Bingo! It's also just a little over 200 pages. I think it was 228.

 

So, much good reading to look forward to!

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review 2015-12-16 17:30
Rousing Fictional Biography of a Viking King
The Golden Horn - Poul Anderson

I’m a fan of history. Any history really. I love it all. But tales of the Vikings have always been one of my favorites, especially when they are filled with examples of their legendary prowess as warriors. Well, in The Golden Horn, Poul Anderson gives me just that and more, as he takes a close look at one of the most famous Vikings of all: Harald Sigurdharson (1015-66), who became Norway’s King Harald III.

 

The tale begins with a teenage Harald fighting along side his older half-brother, Olaf the Stout, at the Battle of Stiklestad. This uprising against King Olaf caused by his devotion to the Christian faith and his constant restrictions against the old ways of worship. The naive and untested Harald discovering first hand the brutality of war and the fickleness of fate.

 

Unfortunately (according to you perspective, I suppose), the battle goes ill for Olaf, resulting in the king’s death and causing young Harald to flee into exile. His path eventually taking him to Russia where he becomes a mercenary to the ruler of Novgorod before he eventually finds his way to Constantinople where he is determined to become the commander of the Byzantine Varangian Guard. All along the way, Harald fights varies battles, makes innumerable friends and allies, and constantly plans to return home to press his claim to the throne of Norway.

 

Throughout this near biographical story, Poul Anderson attempts to highlight for a reader both the tough-as-nails warrior mentality of Harald as well as showing that he had other, less celebrated qualities. To this end, Mr. Anderson clearly illustrates the future king’s fiery, Viking temper, his unwavering determination, and his absolute confidence in his own invincibility, but he also highlights his deep devotion to his friends and loved ones, faithfulness to those he owes allegiance to, and his heartfelt desire to finish the work of his half-brother by bringing Christianity to his people.

 

The only criticism I have of the book is that, at times, the author told me about Harald more than he showed me. The narrative reading more like isolated snapshots of this man’s life than as a linear movie. Not that I don’t understand the need to skip weeks, months, or years when telling this initial chapter in Harald’s long, life story, but I felt it could have been handled a bit more smoothly to produce a more immersive experience.

 

All in all, The Golden Horn was exactly what I expected it to be: an exciting romp through this period of history with a group of Vikings. How could I not enjoy seeing the world from the frosty Scandinavian lands to the mild climes of the Mediterranean? It was filled with exotic locals, interesting people from the past, and even an emotional and bitter struggle between the old Norse religion and the new Christian church. Sure, it skipped forward in time occasionally, but even that annoyance didn’t detract from me enjoying this tale of King Harald III.

Source: bookwraiths.com/2015/12/16/the-golden-horn
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