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review 2018-05-28 13:58
Sacrificing suspense for social commentary
The Abode of Life (Star Trek, #6) - G. Harry Stine

There's an episode in the fifth season of Mad Men when the pretentious Paul Kinsey (whose character left the ad agency a couple of years previously) reappears and asks Harry Crane, the the head of the firm's television operations, to use his Hollywood connections to get NBC to look at his Star Trek spec script entitled "The Negron Complex" about a world in which a group called the Negrons are enslaved by people of different skin color. When Harry reads it he is appalled by how terrible it is, particularly with the clumsiness of its parallels to civil rights issues. "The twist is that the Negron is white!" he marvels sarcastically.

 

Ever since I laughed at Harry's deadpan declaration, I keep coming back to it when I encounter other heavy-handed examples of the franchise's commentary on contemporary society, as it came to mind again as I read this book. Written by "Lee Correy" (the pen name for G. Harry Stine), it transports the Enterprise crew to the planet Mercan, where a priest-like leadership known as the Guardians exploit the periodic radiation outbursts from their sun to maintain control over the population. Resisting them are the Technics who, in addition to developing prohibited technologies, are promoting the heretical idea that the Mercans are not the only beings in the universe.

 

You can guess how that turns out once the Enterprise shows up. And that for me was the big problem with this book, as the author is more focused on criticizing intellectual oppression than he is on developing distinctive characters or writing a suspenseful novel, At no point is there any real sense of narrative tension; the danger to the crew is minimal (the Guardians are very lackadaisical in their handling of Kirk and company), and all it takes to expand the civilization's horizons is a quick trip to the ship. Perhaps if Stine was focused less on setting up such flimsy straw men he might have done more with some of the more interesting ideas he introduces, such as the concept of a teleporter-based civilization. Instead all we have is another weak example of a Star Trek writer who prioritizes their opinionating over telling a good story,

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review 2017-11-06 22:09
Spirits in the Water (Elements of Untethered Realms #4)
Spirits in the Water (Elements of Untethered Realms Book 4) - Catherine Stine,Gwen Gardner,Jeff Chapman,M. Pax,Angela Brown,River Fairchild,Simon Kewin,Christine Rains,Meradeth Houston,M. Gerrick,Cherie Reich

This was a pretty cool book. I enjoyed the different stories. Some took a whole lot of imigination to come up with. Some needed more to the story and some should be turned into full books. 
I really enjoyed the story Extraordinary by Angela Brown. I would love to read a full book on this story. In the story Angelique's whole life about to changing. She just hit puberty and begins to "Phase". This means she is able to merge through doors, she can turn into a puddle of water and more. She also learns about her birth and the mother who died when she was born.  When a tornado takes her house and her father figure she phases in front of a person she though of as a brother, he does not understand and tells her to leave. Now she is on her own after loosing everything and learning the secrets of her life. 
Another story that was pretty good but really need a bit more background was The Folding Point by Cherie
Reich. In the story Aimee and her brother Xavier are Pager Magic's. They can fold paper into birds then write some magic words on the paper and it will fly like a real bird. They can also form other things like weapons.  In the story Aimee's mom has been arrested for being a Paper Magic.  Paper Magic has been banned.  A group of other paper magic's are going to try and break all the arrested paper magic's out of jail. 
I did not find one bad story in the book. Each is about a different subject. This book is really not ghosts and goblins but it was a great Halloween read.

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review 2017-10-31 00:00
Why I'm Afraid of Bees (Goosebumps, #17)
Why I'm Afraid of Bees (Goosebumps, #17) - R.L. Stine I'm pretty sure I read this one a loooong time ago, but it didn't stick in my head. I don't think it will this time around, either. Definitely not my favorite Goosebumps book and I had a hard time getting through it. It wasn't awful or anything, though, just not one of the really good ones in my opinion.
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review 2017-10-17 00:00
A Night in Terror Tower (Goosebumps, #27)
A Night in Terror Tower (Goosebumps, #27) - R.L. Stine I only vaguely remembered this one, but I did remember really loving it the first time I read it when I was about 9, I think. I was obsessed with the middle ages, and especially the less pleasant aspects they didn't teach us much about in school, so I was even more excited than usual to get this Goosebumps book. This time around, not much has changed. I'm still generally interested in the same kinds of things I was back then, and I still really enjoyed this book.

All the Goosebumps books are short, quick reads, and this one is jammed with action almost from the very beginning. While I was reading, it took me a while to remember what happened with Eddie and Sue I remembered as soon as they got to the tower cell that they were the prince and princess, but I couldn't remember how they'd ended up so far in the future. After I remembered that, I still couldn't remember how the book ended, so it was almost like reading it for the first time again, which was kind of awesome.

Basically, even about 20 years later, I still love the Goosebumps books, and I'm glad to find one of my childhood favorites was still fun to read as an adult.
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review 2017-07-22 23:57
Phantom of the Auditorium - R.L. Stine
Growing up, I didn't read much of R. L. Stine, because I was an easily frightened child. I found this in the Lending Library and wanted to see what my adult self thought of it.

I'll start by saying it's not scary. It's a bit suspenseful, but for the most part the chapters end with a cliffhanger that then turns out to be nothing at the start of the next chapter.

The plot was a bit predictable and horribly corny.

I did really like that Zeke and Brooke were just friends and there was no weird secret love thing going on. I'm a sucker for friendships that don't turn into creepy love triangles. 

Overall, it was a good read, but was more sad than scary.
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