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text 2017-04-26 20:31
Book Booty Plundered in April 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

I shopped in two batches this month:

 

Liberty Book Bazaar

This is the haul I ended bringing home from the bazaar:

 

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While I don’t mind searching for the books in the piles that are dumped on tables in Liberty, I do mind that the collection gets worse and worse every month. I had to do a lot of digging before I ended up with these baubles. The amount of digging has been increasing with each bazaar. In the past, I have defended it when people said that you can’t find any good books there because I did, time and time again. Now, I’m not so sure!

 

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I have yet to read anything by Kim Stanley Robinson, which means this might be the wrong book to start with. I’m going to give it a shot anyway, which is why I bought this.

 

The Thursday Next series is amazeballs as Icky will tell you. Like what she had to say? Read more of her musings here. I’m slowly collecting all the books in the series. This is such a pretty cover!

 

My reasons for buying Shogun can be found here.

 

Roth, Snicket, and the Irish Fairytales Omnibus all looked really interesting!

 

A look inside the minds that thought up Narnia & Middle Earth? Sign me up!

 

This will make me stick to my plan of reading more Non-fic. I thought if I started with books on subjects that interested me, success will be more likely.

 

I loved Night by Elie Wiesel and wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by.

 

It has dinosaurs #nuffsaid

 

Kitabain

 

This online site continues to kick ass. It has an amazing collection of sci-fi/fantasy books, which is the only tab that I click on while there anyway. I mean, I found this gem on the site! They are prompt in delivering the books unlike some stores I know. They will never change the price of a book either. The rider will text you before leaving and if you mention a specific time for delivery, they will agree to it without any extra charges. The books are all reasonably priced. If I didn’t love going to bookstores and physically picking out the babies, I’d do all my book shopping from here. The only caveat that continues to be irksome is that often a book will be shown as available when it isn’t. I don’t like it!

 

Here’s my haul from Kitabain for this month:

 

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The two Douglas Adam’s are so beautiful that they make me want to cry! I have already read the first one in the series, so I just had to get the next two.

 

The two Frank Herberts are also the next parts in the Dune series that I need to read. These might be paperbacks but they’re in awesome condition as promised by the bookseller. My buddy read with Weird Enough can be found here.

 

The next couple consists of two compilations of sci-fi stories and I love how I get to sample the work of an author by reading a short story by them. It helps me decide if I want to try a novel written by that author or not. Also, one of them had a story by Clifford Simak and since I recently read and fell in love with his book, All is Grass, I was like:

 

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Then there are Asimov and Aldiss who are basically must-reads if you are into sci-fi, so I HAD to buy those. Right? Also, I loved Asimov’s Bicentennial Man and mention him here in my new short story for Wringo Ink.

 

Abercombie is an author that I have been wanting to try for a while now. Friends who like the kind of stuff that I do swear by him, so I thought what the heck!

 

For my previous book shopping posts, go here, here, and here.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-02-18 20:39
I Review for You, A Treasure Trove of 17 Stories about Chess-Playing Unicorns, Presidential Candidates Stuck on Mars, & Everything in Between!
Asimov's Science Fiction: Hugo & Nebula Award Winning Stories - Sheila Williams

 

 

 

Unicorn Variations by Roger Zelazny

If an anthology starts as strong as this one did, then there’s no way I would not continue reading it! Consider the human species about to become extinct and our fate hinging on a chess match between a bartender, a unicorn, and a sasquatch.

 

 

 
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Fire Watch by Connie Willis

I had already read this story & liked it. Keep a box of tissues handy when you read it!

 

 

 

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Hardfought by Greg Bear

I am not ashamed to say that I abandoned this one halfway through into the story. It was too convoluted and complex for me to care about what was happening to the characters.

 

 

 
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The Peacemaker by Gardner Dozois

Fanaticism can be found in all kinds of worlds and often results in innocents getting hurt and this story was no exception.

 

 

 

 
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Speech Sounds by Octavia Butler

In a world gone silent due to a viral mutation, chaos and animalistic behavior is the rule of the day.

 

Press Enter by John Varley

Press Enter and find out things, if you dare!

 

I hugged her, and her breath came again, hot on my chest. I wondered how I'd lived so long without such a simple miracle as that.

 

Portraits of His Children by George R. R. Martin

I was surprised to read this story but not when it didn’t turn out to be anything special. The premise was good but the execution was too typical for me to enjoy it.

 

Rachel in Love by Pat Murphy

An ape raised as a human child by a scientist is left to fend for herself when her father dies.


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Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers by Lawrence Watt-Evans

A hamburger joint that serves customers from all dimensions.

 

Even in the realities where the Europeans never found America and it's the Chinese or somebody building the cities, there just isn't any reason to build anything near Sutton. And there's something that makes it an easy place to travel between worlds, too; I didn't follow the explanation. She said something about the Earth's magnetic field, but I didn't catch whether that was part of the explanation or just a comparison of some kind.

 


Ripples in the Dirac Sea by Geoffrey A. Landis

A time traveler who can’t return to his own time. Because. Consequences.

 

Once I tried to commit suicide by murdering my father, before he met my mother, twenty-three years
before I was born. It changed nothing, of course, and even when I did it, I knew it would change nothing.
But you have to try these things. How else could I know for sure?

 

 

Boobs by Suzy McKee Charnas

A teenager has to deal with teasing and bullying at school because of developing earlier than her classmates and finds an unusual bloody silver lining that just might help her get through!


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The Manamouki by Mike Resnick

A couple emigrates to a Kenya-esque world and tries their damnedest to fit in and yet…

 

Bears Discover Fire by Terry Bisson

Exactly what the title says and yet you will enjoy it, if you have fun reading weird things.

 

Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress

Genetic developments allow parents to specify what their offspring should be like down to the last detail. When a couple is about to have a baby, the father chooses to have her be sleepless. Even a world so advanced in genetics isn’t ready for sleepless people taking over it.

 

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Barnacle Bill the Spacer by Lucius Shepard

Barnacle Bill is a simple man whose job is to remove barnacles from the shuttle’s exterior walls. All he wants is to make himself useful, so he won’t be sent back to Earth, which would be a death sentence. Is it ever that easy?

 

The power of the Strange Magnificence, you see, lay in the subversive nihilism of their doctrine, which put forward the idea that it was man's duty to express all his urges, no matter how dark or violent, and that from the universal exorcism of these black secrets would ultimately derive a pure consensus, a vast averaging of all possible behaviors that would in turn reveal the true character of God and the manifest destiny of the race.  Thus the leaders of the Magnificence saw nothing contrary in funding a group in York, say, devoted to the expulsion of Pakistanis from Britain by whatever means necessary while simultaneously supporting a Sufi cult.

 

Fiction or prescience?

 

Danny Goes to Mars by Pamela Sargent

Danny is the next presidential candidate who is advised to join an astronaut team to Mars to increase his chances of winning in the upcoming elections. The results didn’t quite meet his expectations but when do they ever!

 

 

The Nutcracker Coup by Janet Kagan

A human diplomat unwittingly incites a people (I use that term loosely because they are quadrupeds and had quills) to rebel against their ruler. Oh, and nutcrackers play a big role in the rebellion!

 

 

I think this anthology was a really good one even if did take me ages to finish it. I enjoyed reading, Unicorn Variations, The Manamouki, Barnacle Bill the Spacer, Danny Goes to Mars, & The Nutcracker Coup, the most. I purchased this book from Kitabain and am so glad that I did!

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text SPOILER ALERT! 2017-02-07 17:02
January Wrap-Up
The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece - Roseanne Montillo
The King - J.R. Ward
Anno Frankenstein - Jonathan Green

 

 

 

The Lady And Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo

 

My Review

 

The book follows Mary’s life right from the moment of her birth and touches on every source of inspiration that led to the writing of Frankenstein. Just a heads up, Mary Shelley's life was no bed of roses!

 

 

The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood #12) by J.R. Ward

 

No reviews because the only reason I read this series is because my OCD won't let me stop. They have gone from bad to shoot-me-please-shoot-me-now worse! I mean, there was actually a Lion King scene ripoff in this installment: remember, when Mufasa raises Simba on the hilltop to show off the new heir? That!

 

 

Anno Frankenstein (Pax Britannia #7) by Jonathan Green

 

My Review

 

I mean, imagine what it would take to make a book with monsters, time travel, and steampunk elements fail this miserably for me!

 

The first two were chunksters and considering that the only time I get for reading is the 45 min to and from work, I'd say not bad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-12-26 06:26
This Anthology Proves that Nobody Can Make You Fear & Love Robots at the Same Time as Asimov Can!
The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories - Isaac Asimov

 

I bought this anthology, The Bicentennial Man & Other Stories, from Kitabain. This online bookstore never disappoints when I want something that is different, rare, exotic, or all that and more! The books are amazingly priced and always in good condition. Since I have the beautiful hardcover edition, it was featured in my Library Languishers series, even if its stay wasn’t a long one!

 

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This edition compiles 12 short stories by Asimov, centering around robots and other machines. Preceding each story is an anecdote by the author that tells the reader of its origins. The anecdotes are written in an amusing style and make the reader look forward to reading the story. An example:

 

“How is it,” she asked dangerously, “that you wrote a story for that anthology, yet when I ask you for one you’re always too busy?” “Well,” I said apologetically, for Judy-Lynn is a frightening creature when she is moved, “the idea of the anthology interested me.” “How about my suggestions about a robot that has to choose between buying its own liberty and improving its body? I thought you said that was interesting.” At that point, I must have turned approximately as white as talcum powder. A long time before, she had mentioned such things and I had forgotten. I said, “Oh, my goodness, I included something of the sort in the story.” “Again?” she shrieked. “Again you’re using my ideas for other people? Let me see that story. Let me see it!”

 

The Prime of Life

A poem that talks about how most people who met the author exclaimed surprise at his still being alive!

Fun  to read.

 

Feminine Intuition

A dying robotics firm tries to turn public opinion positive towards robots by building a “female” robot.

Susan Calvin was my favorite character, of course!

 

Waterclap

Competing for funding isn’t a laughing matter, whether it is a pioneering experiment on the moon or on the ocean floor.

The ending was expected and completely unneeded.

 

That Thou Art Mindful of Him

“I understand, Mr. Harriman. Enough differences remain to show me that there are here many different forms of plant life.” “Undoubtedly. Dozens.” “And each coequal with man, biologically.” “Each is a separate species, yes. There are millions of species of living creatures.” “Of which the human being forms but one.” “By far the most important to human beings, however.” “And to me, Mr. Harriman. But I speak in the biological sense.” “I understand.”

Just as God is said to have designed humans in a form that resembles him, human beings design robots in their image. Things could undoubtedly get problematic! For instance, look at this conversation between two George robots:

Of the reasoning individuals you have met, who possesses the mind, character, and knowledge that you find superior to the rest, disregarding shape and form since that is irrelevant?” “You,” whispered George Nine. “But I am a robot. There is in your brain paths a criterion for distinguishing between a robot of metal and a human being of flesh. How then can you classify me as a human being?” “Because there is in my brain paths an urgent need to disregard shape and form in judging human beings and it rises superior to the distinction between metal and flesh. You are a human being, George Ten, and more fit than the others.” “And I find that of you,” whispered George Ten.

 

Stranger in Paradise

In a time when being related by blood is an embarrassment, two brothers try working together for the betterment of humanity.

 

The Life and Times of Multivac

A supercomputer, Multivac, has taken over the world and tries to protect humanity from itself. A man thinks his fellow humans want to be free of its influence. Or do they?

Loved the ending:

 

He was gasping, but forced himself steady, and said solemnly, “I have given us our freedom.” And he paused, aware at last of the gathering weight of the silence. Fourteen images stared at him, without any of them offering a word in response. Bakst said sharply, “You have talked of freedom. You have it!” Then, uncertainly, he said, “Isn’t that what you want?”

 

The Winnowing

A global food crisis is starving people of the world slowly when a scientist comes up with a revolutionary lipoprotein. The government, on the other hand, decides to use it as a sort of chemical weapon!

Probably my favorite out of the whole bunch! The ending was expected but still well done:

There’s no cure or antidote, but don’t worry. It’s a quite painless death, and it will be the finger of God, as one of you told me. It’s a good lesson, as another of you said. For those of you who survive, there may be new views on triage.” Affare said, “This is a bluff. You’ve eaten the sandwiches yourself.” Rodman said, “I know. I matched the LP to my own biochemistry, so I will go fast.” His eyes closed. “You’ll have to carry on without me—those of you who survive.”

 

The Bicentennial Man

A robot like no other adopted by a family like no other. The story follows Andrew on its journey from the Sesquicentennial Robot to the Bicentennial Man.

The movie based on this short story remains a favorite of mine. Here are some scenes from it:

 

1

2

3

 

Marching In

A musician helps reaffirm the belief of neurologists in the healing powers of music.

Short but sweet!

 

“A revival hymn?” Dr. Cray stared at him, wide-eyed. “Sure. What I used in this case was the best of them all. I gave her ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’” He sang it softly, finger-snapping the beat, and by the third bar, Dr. Cray’s toes were tapping.

 

Old-fashioned

Two astrominers get stuck orbiting a black hole and have to come up with a solution to get help sent to them.

Nothing unique but fun nonetheless.

 

The Tercentenary Incident

The president is a robot. The president killed a robot. The robot killed the president. A robot is the president. Any of these might be true when it comes to what’s going on this story.

Weakest out of the whole bunch.

 

Birth of a Notion

That the first inventor of a workable time machine was a science fiction enthusiast is by no means a coincidence. It was inevitable. Why else should an otherwise sane physicist even dare track down the various out-of-the-way theories that seemed to point toward maneuverability in time in the very teeth of General Relativity?

A scientist tries out his invention in this story.

 

Last Thoughts

The science in a couple of the stories took me by surprise. I used to think that making my stories too sciency might be a bad idea but I enjoyed reading it just as much as I enjoy writing them!

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photo 2016-12-18 04:34
Library Languishers Series #4

GR Synopsis

 

Jasper Fforde has done it again in this genre-bending blend of crime fiction, fantasy, and top-drawer literary entertainment. After two rollicking New York Times bestselling adventures through Western literature, resourceful literary detective Thursday Next definitely needs some downtime. And what better place for a respite than in the hidden depths of the Well of Lost Plots, where all unpublished books reside? But peace and quiet remain elusive for Thursday, who soon discovers that the Well is a veritable linguistic free-for-all, where grammasites run rampant, plot devices are hawked on the black market, and lousy books—like the one she has taken up residence in—are scrapped for salvage. To make matters worse, a murderer is stalking the personnel of Jurisfiction and it’s up to Thursday to save the day. A brilliant feat of literary showmanship filled with wit, fantasy, and effervescent originality, this Ffordian tour de force is the most exciting Thursday Next adventure yet.

 

My Comments

 

Technically, this isn't a library languisher since I have already read it but whatever. I just bought it and feel like showing it off. This series is full of quirky characters that I love reading about. The dodo, Pickwick, is my favorite!

 

The Library Languishers Series features a book that languishes in my physical library. The picture quality will always be sucky. Depend on it!

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