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review 2017-07-22 13:02
The Andromeda Strain ★★★☆☆
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

Put together the most meticulous plans and bring together several brilliant and creative minds, but still nearly come to disaster through mistaken assumptions and mechanical and human errors, and be likewise saved by random leaps of logic and mechanical and human errors. Perhaps the most fun part of reading this, for me, is how plausible this seems, because all the characters involved behave like real humans do. Plus, having been written in 1968, Crichton is writing about cutting edge/futuristic technology that is now hilariously dated. Imagine a disaster nearly caused by

a communication failure, because an isolated team is relying on alerts that are transmitted to a machine that prints on a continuous roll of paper, but the paper gets jammed and nobody notices because the guy who’s supposed to check it just looks for software failures rather than mechanical and thinks, well, no news is good news.

(spoiler show)

 

Paperback, picked up at a used book sale. Good thing I didn’t try this on audio, as I expect that the frequent displays of lab test results and technical readouts would be horrible on audio. What would they do, just read line after line of figures?

 

I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Tomorrowland 33: Read a book set in space or tagged SciFi on GR or a book that includes robots or cyborgs. The SciFi tag applies to this book.

 

Previous Updates:

7/8/17 - BLopoly pick

7/14/17 – 40/288pg

7/18/17 – 107/288pg

 

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text 2017-07-18 15:11
The Andromeda Strain: 107/288 pg
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

Zing! I didn't see that one coming about the person who gets the key to the nuclear bomb.

 

And I'm curious about how Crichton set up this fictional study of which type of person is most likely to make the "right decision" with the key - the subjects are categorized by gender and marital status. I'd think that having a child/being a parent would have a greater impact on this kind of decision than simply having a spouse. But perhaps, in 1969, it would have just been an assumption that the parenting would be associated with marital status. Married = family & Single = no family. I suppose it just wouldn't be part of the assumption, at that time, that parenthood could be completely independent of marital status. 

 

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text 2017-07-14 16:25
The Andromeda Strain: 40/288 pg
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

In some ways, this is hilariously dated, but as the story is supposedly a 1968 recounting of true recent events, it doesn't detract from the story at all. It's fun reading, so far. 

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text 2017-06-25 13:58
The Devil All the Time: 23/320 pg
The Devil All the Time - Donald Ray Pollock

Finished Ch 1. It's a promising start, but pretty grim. It's horror, of course, but I'm accustomed to a little dark humor with the horror, and I can't detect any yet. 

 

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review 2017-06-10 22:21
Shane: The Critical Edition ★★★☆☆
Shane: The Critical Edition - Jack Schaefer

There is a story, interesting perhaps only to me, behind my acquiring this book. My father, who is an enthusiast of all things representing the American West in the late 1800’s (movies, novels, histories, artifacts), gave me this “critical edition” together with an old dog-eared paperback edition of Shane, and told me a little of my own family history related to it. As little more than a boy himself, starting his journey toward manhood, he disembarked from a bus in San Antonio for his pre-enlistment physical. It was, I believe, his first time away from home where he was without the comfort of family and friends, and facing an uncertain future. He had decided to enlist in the Army, knowing that he’d be given more choices than if he waited until Uncle Sam drafted him for Korea. It was in that San Antonio bus station, on a spinning rack of paperbacks, that he discovered Shane. Schaefer’s story of the heroic gunslinger, the heroic settler, and the boy who idolized them, connected strongly with him. My father told me of falling completely into the story, finishing it on that last bus ride and re-reading it over and over during the next several years. And having now read it myself, I can see a little of both protagonists, the gunslinger and the settler, in the man that my father is, and in the man he has tried to be.

 

As for the novella itself, I found it an entertaining read, both in story and writing style, although I’m a little puzzled by how it could have inspired so many literary critiques. This “critical edition” contains many more pages in essays and critiques than the story itself, and these were considerably duller, especially as I’ve not read any of the other westerns that were referenced. I suspect that a true fan of the genre would have enjoyed the essays more than I did. But for my father’s sake, I read it all, and we can talk about it more when I see him next.

 

I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly square Frontierland 2: Read a book with a main character who knows how to handle a gun, or where someone is shot.

 

Previous Updates:                                          

5/29/17 91/432 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1566898/shane-91-432-pg

 

5/31/17 139/432 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1567367/shane-139-432-pg

 

 

6/3/17 176/432 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1568132/shane-176-432-pg

 

6/3/17 191/432 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1568193/shane-191-432-pg

 

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