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review 2018-04-14 03:28
The Beam Episode 1 Review
The Beam: Episode 1 - Sean Platt,Johnny B. Truant

Source: Netgalley


There is some excellent writing in this book. The authors obviously have a strong grasp on something that a lot of authors I’ve read recently have trouble with. That is, giving the right amount of description and avoiding massive unnecessary info dumps as I was subjected to in Ready Player One (I outright snickered when I hit a point where one of the characters is talking about a client’s ridiculously obsessive interest in the 1980s.)

The characters are interesting, and though not exactly fully-fleshed out, given enough depth that none feel like cardboard cut-outs. Though, to be honest, with some that’s a “just barely”. Mainly the songstress and her slightly The Goblin-esque husband. Kai, I think, is my favorite (probably because I’m always attracted to strong, self-confident women in literature.) Occasionally, early on, I got confused as to who was doing what, as there were several characters to keep track of, but as I read more and got to know them, I didn’t have that problem again. So I’d advise readers to stick it out if they feel like there’s too much happening. It does get easier.

One of the things that I really like about The Beam is how well the relationships are written. Nothing is floating-on-clouds perfect. People do bad things. People do good things. Sometimes bad people do good things, and good people do bad things. Just like it should be.

There are definitely more than a few pop-culture nods, but they are done in such a way that you just smile a bit when you see them, and then move on.

There’s nothing that I can truly criticize (beyond TBDCH (The Big Dang Cliff Hanger) at the end that’s meant to make us want to read the next season) and I admire the authors’ obvious talent.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-12-16 00:00
Dearest - H. Beam Piper Dearest - H. Beam Piper This is a slightly weird tale, but rather fun. It seems that Col. Ashley Hampton is being confronted by his nephew Stephen Hampton and his wife, a lawyer and a shrink. The nephew and niece want to have Co.. Hampton committed to an insane asylum. They will, thereby, gain control over his money. The claim for insanity is that Col. Hampton has a "secret friend", to whom he talks.

Well, Col. Hampton does, sort of, have a "secret friend", a being he has named Dearest. But, Dearest is actually a real entity, just not one readily observed/experienced by most people.

So, we get some going back and forth between Col. Hampton's first encountering Dearest, and some of their experiences together, and the drawing room scene with the niece, nephew, lawyer and shrink. Fortunately, Dearest, has some ideas to provide Col. Hampton, which will save the day for him. Something like that. It was kind of cute, and much more interesting than that other piece of crap of Piper's that I read a few months back.
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review 2017-09-07 00:00
Rebel Raider
Rebel Raider - H. Beam Piper This book is essentially a hagiographic portrayal of the exploits of a Confederate military adventurer, John Singleton Mosby. Basically, Mosby ran a guerrilla operation in Virginia wherein he attacked and plundered the supply lines of the Union armies.

I didn't find this book particularly well written or interesting. It was basically a listing of this happened, then this, then this, then.... Perhaps if the hero weren't a guy who was killing and plundering people merely for the right to enslave, beat, rape, and kill black people for fun and profit, I might have had more sympathy for him. In terms of merely military tactics, Mosby's story might be vaguely interesting to people who like that kind of thing. I'm not one of them by a long shot.

The 3*s should have a - (minus) appended. I'm not even sure that this book makes more interesting reading than the work of another Piper I've come across, Further Observations of the Nitrogen Orange Afterglow, or yet another Piper I know who has written a novel or two.
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review 2017-04-28 22:40
Luminiferous Aether: "Four-Day Planet" by H. Beam Piper
Four Day Planet - H. Beam Piper

“I went through the gateway, towing my equipment in a contragravity hamper over my head. As usual, I was wondering what it would take, short of a revolution, to get the city of Port Sandor as clean and tidy and well lighted as the spaceport area. I knew Dad's editorials and my sarcastic news stories wouldn't do it. We'd been trying long enough. The two girls in bikinis in front of me pushed on, still gabbling about the fight one of them had had with her boy friend [sic], and I closed up behind the half dozen monster-hunters in long trousers, ankle boots and short boat-jackets, with big knives on their belts. They must have all been from the same crew, because they weren't arguing about whose ship was fastest, had the toughest skipper, and made the most money. They were talking about the price of tallow-wax, and they seemed to have picked up a rumor that it was going to be cut another ten centisols a pound. I eavesdropped shamelessly, but it was the same rumor I'd picked up, myself, a little earlier.”


In “Four-Day Planet” by H. Beam Piper


I used to read/watch SF and was also always careful to be scandalized at how little regard the genre got until I realized that ... well ... an awful lot of it does suck. Or at least, an awful lot of it is an awful lot like an awful lot else. The same five characters, the same one plot. There's good stuff out there, but the signal to noise ratio is lower than almost any other genre of entertainment or literature. Vast, vast, vast swathes of the stuff is bug-eyed monsters, buzz-cuts with guns, female eye-candy, and explosions: the power fantasies of 15 year old boys, in other words. Okay okay, okay, there's some good stuff -- someone will always point out the celestial Octavia Butler or Ursula Le Guin -- but the fact remains, you need to swim through an ocean of silicone and lasers to get to the good stuff.



If you're into vintage SF, read on.

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text 2017-03-28 16:41
Albert Einstein- "On a Beam of Light"
On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein - Jennifer Berne,Vladimir Radunsky

On a Beam of Light is a story about Albert Einstein's life and how he was not at first accepted by others. When reading this text, I even learned new things I did not know about his life. This story starts off by explaining that Albert did not talk much as a toddler and his parents knew he was very special. It goes on with Einstein attending school and a teacher scrutinizing him to be more like his peers. He began reading books about numbers, light, and sound and wanted to be a teacher someday, but was unable to find a job and began working in a government office. Eventually, he began sending letters to science magazines who in return published his works, because they seemed to be true. The story ends with Albert leaving many questions for scientist to answer today. This story would be great to use with a research project or comparing and contrasting important historical figures. It also includes a character lesson that encourages students to stay true to theirselves and always believe in their potential. This story is a 4.5 on the AR system for leveling. 

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