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review 2018-12-12 00:51
Earth, Air, Fire, Water: Tales from the Eternal Archives #2
Earth, Air, Fire, Water (Tales from the Eternal Archives, #2) - Jane Lindskold,Linda P. Baker,Tanya Huff,Margaret Weis,Carrie Channell,Edward Carmien,Mark Garland,Nancy Varian Berberick,Robyn McGrew,Janet Pack,Jean-Francois Podevin,Bruce Holland Rogers,Nina Kiriki Hoffman,Donald J. Bingle,Kristine Kathryn Rusch,Lawren

The short story anthology Earth, Air, Fire, Water edited by Margaret Weis, the second and last collection of the Tales from the Eternal Archives, contains thirteen stories of varying quality loosely connected to one another through the titular mystical library.  But unlike the first collection all thirteen stories were all fantasy genre.

 

The best story of the collection was “Strange Creatures” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, which followed Chief Dan Retsler investigating the latest in a series of animal mutilations but suddenly finds out that the latest animal might be linked to mythical “selkies”.  The next two best stories were “How Golf Shaped Scotland” by Bruce Holland Rogers, a fun and good natured short story about how a game of golf created Scotland’s iconic coastline, and “An Elemental Conversation” by Donald J. Bingle, a conversation between a Reverend and his friend during their weekly chess game about how the news of non-human intelligent life affects religion with a twist ending.

 

The two worst stories of the collection were “Water Baby” by Michelle West, which followed the life of a young woman who is emotionally connected to the ocean and how it affects her and others, and “Sons of Thunder” by Edward Carmien, in which a djinn recounts his time as a follower of Jehua and how his brother and his tribe converted to the new faith leaving him alone.  These were the two “worst” examples of six stories that were not really good even though they had interesting concept, but just bad execution ruined them.  An interesting facet was the unevenness of the number of stories for each element covered in the book, with Air only have one while Earth had five and Water had four and Fire starting off the book with three.

 

The thirteen stories that make up Earth, Air, Fire, Water were a mixed bag of quality from the excellent to downright disappoint, just like every other anthology collection that has been published.  However I will be honest in how well I rated this book given how poorly it began and ended.

 

Individual Story Ratings

Burning Bright by Tanya Huff (2/5)

The Fire of the Found Heart by Linda P. Baker (2/5)

The Forge of Creation by Carrie Channell (2/5)

How Golf Shaped Scotland by Bruce Holland Rogers (4/5)

The Giant’s Love by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (3/5)

Family Secrets by Robyn McGrew (3.5/5)

Dvergertal by Nancy Vivian Berberick (2/5)

An Elemental Conversation by Donald J. Bingle (4/5)

Water Baby by Michelle West (1/5)

Only As Safe by Mark A. Garland and Lawrence Schimel (3/5)

Out of Hot Water by Jane Lindskold (3.5/5)

Strange Creatures by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (5/5)

Sons of Thunder by Edward Carmien (1/5)

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review 2018-11-18 23:16
Much better than the third one
Valentine's Rising - E.E. Knight

I was pleasantly surprised with this book after the drivel that was number three. I’m not sure if it was because Valentine decide to finally grow up and get a pair or circumstances in the novel made him this way (likely the latter) but it made for very good reading. There were some very important choices Valentine had to  make for himself and his crew; some of them extremely difficult and the way he dealt with the aftermath was good. It was nice to finally see him being part of a team instead of a one man army and doing everything himself.

 

Again the supporting characters are what made this book going for me (still on the anti-Valentine train for now) they had their distinct personalities and they weren’t flat or meant to just be part of the plot. They each had their part to play whether small or big and it made the plot better and rounded out. I have a soft spot for Ahn-Kha and Styachowski I like them both for their strengths and although they were ‘quiet’ they played substantially in the plot. (More so Styachowski than Ahn-Kha).

 

The plot was good albeit it slowed down to a crawl at the end. It was getting to be too much and by that time, I was already wanting to close the book. There’s plenty of action so that does not disappoint. There were some parts where I came close to closing it because of Valentine’s idiotic behavior, but otherwise, this was much better than the third.

 

This one was enough to redeem itself so I will carry on and read the next. I hope it continues this way.

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review 2018-11-13 08:23
Known Space: "A Gift from Earth" by Larry Niven
A Gift from Earth - Larry Niven


(Original Review, 1980-09-08)


Oof! a very palpable hit! --- although I would offer that the fault is more in the condensation of several months' lengthy discussions of nearly four years ago than of a sexist bias. I think I misquoted one of the arguments proffered by someone who was at the time raising a 5-year-old;

 

 

 

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

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review 2018-11-09 12:18
Numenor: Unfinished Tales" by J. R. R. Tolkien
Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth - J.R.R. Tolkien,J.R.R. Tolkien

(Original Review, 1980-10-13)


The new Tolkien book is out. While I haven't read even half of it, I think I've read enough to produce a helpful review, so here goes. This book ("Unfinished Tales" by JRR Tolkien, $15 from Houghton Mifflin) is definitely not a book for a general readership, nor even for the mass Tolkien consumer, who thinks that Lord of the Rings is a swell story, but all that linguistic and historical stuff is just a lot of window-dressing. Rather than a narrative, it's really a sort of organized memory dump of Tolkien's filing cabinet [2018 EDIT: “filing cabinet” indeed!!!].
 
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
 

 

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review 2018-11-03 21:34
Sasperia and conflict keep the excitement going!
When War Returns — The Beta Earth Chronicles: Book Three - Wesley Britton

In this, the third of the Chronicles, Malcolm has more adventures than he ever wanted.  The book gets a whole ton of excitement and kept me guessing, usually incorrectly, what was going to happen next.  Sasperia, who is an important addition to the Renbourn tribe, is a great addition to the book, and if not my favorite character, well, she is probably one with the most surprises!  The Chronicles continue to evolve with great writing, some fun humor, and new and exciting science fiction concepts.  It continues to address social, economic and political issues but with a whole different slant. 

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