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review 2017-06-22 18:09
Eye-Opening SF: "Saving the World Through Science Fiction - James Gunn, Writer, Teacher and Scholar” by Michael R. Page
Saving the World Through Science Fiction: James Gunn, Writer, Teacher and Scholar (Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy) - Michael R Page,Foreword by Christopher McKitterick,Donald E Palumbo,C W Sullivan III

“Thus, traditional criticism’s charge that science fiction isn’t, in general, ‘literary’ because science fiction writers don’t focus on or have the artistry to deeply delve into character misses the point that science fiction isn’t about character, it’s about ideas. And therefore, science fiction should be judged by a different set of criteria than mundane mainstream fiction is evaluated.”

 

In “Saving the World Through Science Fiction - James Gunn, Writer, Teacher and Scholar” by Michael R. Page

 

Don't critics ignore SF because there's far too much of it, and the vast majority of it - like any sector of genre fiction - is a bit safe, geared more to selling to a niche of fans than the mass market? Certainly SF fandom is obsessed with genre distinctions (steampunk, space opera, mundane, whatever) that have absolutely no currency in the mainstream world - just like crime fandom (maybe to a lesser extent) worries about distinctions between golden age, hard-boiled, procedural and so on.

In both cases the really good stuff, the stuff that transcends the formulae and has something worthwhile to say - Atwood, or Houllebecq, or Alan Moore, Ballard, or Gunn - it "does" get noticed, it's just that people don't call it SF anymore.

 

 

If you're into SF Literary Criticism, read on.

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review 2017-06-18 21:01
The Paris Spy
The Paris Spy - Susan Elia MacNeal

I cannot get enough of this series so when I saw this latest installment on Netgalley I just had to request it. No matter what is happening in my life I am always up for reading about Maggie Hope. This time Maggie is in Paris trying to find a spy that she believes might have been compromised and also trying to find her half-sister Elise.

 

While this was was not as dark as some previous books in the series this is still pretty dark and filled with heartbreak for Maggie and readers. As with the other books in the series this follows not only Maggie but other characters. You really grow close to the agents in Paris the more that you read and can't help but feel despair at what happens to certain characters.

 

One of my favorite parts of this book was the growing relationship between Maggie and her sister. They were able to really bond in this book and I hope their relationship gets a chance to grow even further in the future.

 

I was not expecting the ending and it has left me dying to know what happens next.

 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the galley.

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review 2017-06-18 01:17
The Jagged Edge of Duty: A Fighter Pilot's World War II - Robert L. Richardson

"THE JAGGED EDGE OF DUTY: A Fighter Pilot's World War II" resulted from the extensive efforts made by the author (Robert Richardson) to tell the story of Lt. Allan Knepper of Lewiston, Idaho, along with his friend Herman Kocour, a fellow flight school classmate with whom he later served in the same combat unit overseas. Knepper, a university graduate and schoolteacher, had joined the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) as an Aviation Cadet shortly after the U.S. had entered the Second World War. He was already a licensed pilot through having received his training via the Civilian Pilot Training (CPT) program. Both he and Kocour successfully completed their training as fighter pilots, and after receiving transition training in handling the sleek and powerful twin-engined P-38 Lightning fighter, were sent overseas to North Africa in the Spring of 1943. There, both men were assigned to the 14th Fighter Group, a P-38 unit that had recently been withdrawn from combat owing to heavy losses it had sustained in action. Within a short time, both men would be flying long-range missions against the Axis over the Mediterranean in preparation for the Allied invasion of the island of Sicily, which took place on July 10, 1943.

Richardson provides information about the types of missions flown by the 14th Fighter Group at the time Knepper and Kocour served with it, USAAF tactics and strategy as they were evolving during 1942-43 in North Africa and the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO), some aspects of the war itself, as well as descriptions of the day-to-day stresses experienced by several other pilots in the unit.

Sadly, Knepper's war proved to be short one. His P-38 was downed by ground fire while flying a low-level strafing mission over Sicily against a German Army unit on July 10, 1943. Neither his body nor any wreckage of his plane was ever found.

Richardson also goes on to describe postwar efforts that have been made - and continue to be made - to find Knepper's remains.

While I cannot recommend "The Jagged Edge of Duty" to the general reader, I think anyone with an interest in World War II and combat aviation would enjoy reading it. He/she will learn something of what the average P-38 fighter pilot in the MTO experienced while on active duty during the spring and summer of 1943 as the Allies began their push from North Africa into Europe - with Sicily as the vital stepping-stone.

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review 2017-06-18 00:34
The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
The Love That Split the World - Edith Wharton, Mark Twain, Emily Bronte, Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Richard Henry Dana Charles Dickens

Genre: Science Fiction Romance


Year Published: 2016


Number of Pages: 390 pages


Date Read: 4/23/2017   



Publisher:  Razor Bill

 

 

Love


“Love is giving the world away, and being loved is having the whole world to give.”


I must admit that I rarely read romance novels that deal with time traveling since time traveling stories tend to confuse me due to trying to figure out what events are going on in the present versus what events are going on in the future and sometimes, the line between past, present and future can be blurred in certain stories. One such novel that I had read called “The Love That Split the World” by Emily Henry actually dealt with time travel and I have to tell you that it was one doozy of a read!

Natalie Cleary was your average high school student who is friends with her ex-boyfriend Matt Kincaid and Megan and lives in a happily adopted family with her siblings Jack and Coco and life was going well for Natalie. One night however, Natalie meets up with a mysterious boy named Beau at her high school football game and the two instantly fell in love with each other. But then, Natalie starts noticing some weird things going on around her small town in Kentucky, such as a preschool suddenly appearing where the garden store should have been and when the people in town suddenly disappear before her very eyes. It was then that a mysterious old woman called “Grandmother” came to Natalie’s dreams and gave her a warning that she has three months to save someone she really cares about. So, Natalie spends the majority of the book trying to find out who she is going to save while spending some time with Beau and trying to figure out these weird events happening around her town.

I have to admit that for a time traveling story, Emily Henry has definitely done a great job at putting a unique spin to the usual time traveling story as its core focus is the romance between Natalie and Beau and how they try to stay together throughout the different time rifts that goes on throughout their worlds. I also enjoyed the relationships between the characters, especially between Megan and Natalie and Natalie and Beau. I loved the fact that Natalie usually confides in Megan about her various visions that she has and how Megan is so understanding about Natalie’s “odd” dreams and visions as it is nice to have another character who knows about the main character’s secret abilities without having the reader go through the entire book wondering if the main character will ever reveal their secrets to anyone else. I also enjoyed the relationship between Natalie and Beau, although I found it a bit too contrived at times that Natalie suddenly thinks that Beau is her true love upon their first meeting. I loved the fact that Natalie and Beau truly love each other and I really like their cute little bantering with each other, despite the turbulent situation that they are stuck in.

The reason why I gave this book a three-and-a-half-star rating is because while the story had a strong start at the beginning, the story got a bit confusing once the time travel elements got introduced and I started to lose a bit of interest in the story due to being constantly confused about what is really going on with Natalie and Beau’s time traveling shenanigans. I also got a bit annoyed with Natalie throughout certain parts of the story as it seems like all she does is whine and complain about how bad her life is and how she is indecisive about her feelings about Matt when it is obvious that she would rather be with Beau in pursuing her relationship. Also, there were times where the pacing was a bit slow, especially during the scenes where the time traveling aspects were being explained in full detail and I was hoping for these scenes to be shorten so that we could get to the action sequences much faster.

Overall, “The Love that Split the World” may had had a strong start, but the story came apart once the time traveling aspect was introduced and it might be difficult for some fans of time traveling stories to get into. However, it is an interesting read for anyone who is a fan of time traveling romances!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-16 14:45
A little dry but worth reading
Sunken Gold: A Story of World War I Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History - Joseph A. Williams

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

 

                Joseph A Williams’ book isn’t so much a chronicle of a sinking, but a history of a salvage mission.  The best parts of the book are the ones that describe the development of diving technology.  It also illuminates a lesser known story about WWI.  The writing is a bit dry when moving beyond driving, but the use of background material does keep the reader interested.

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