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The Martian Chronicles/The Illustrated Man/The Golden Apples of the Sun

The Martian Chronicles/The Illustrated Man/The Golden Apples of the Sun - Ray Bradbury "I haven't read Bradbury in years but when I saw this nice looking volume on the shelves at my local B&N I snapped it up. So glad I did. Revisiting Mars as envisioned by Mr. Bradbury oh those many decades ago brought me great pleasure. Bradbury saw the world - and far-flung places like Mars - with almost childlike innocence and wonder. His prose flows like poetry, his words paint beautiful landscapes in our minds.
Even if, like me, you have read these stories before do yourself a favor and revisit the Red Planet, Ohio, and Illinois created by the words of the brilliant Ray Bradbury. You cannot possible go wrong.

Delusion in Death

Delusion in Death - J.D. Robb "I like to research what works and what doesn't in publishing so when I saw this on the B&N bargain table I grabbed it. I'd seen the name JD Robb but had no clue she was actually Nora Roberts. I don't think I would ever read Roberts even for research since she writes for a market I have no interest in. However her writing as Robb is interesting to me. She has created a believable near-future world and populated it with interesting characters coping with interesting problems. Not hard SF in any way, her stories are more character driven than tech and that's fine by me. That's the way I tend to write.

I knew when I started reading that I was jumping into the middle of a series but that didn't bother me; most authors will drop enough hints and tidbits of back story to let you catch up. I assumed the same for Robb but was disappointed - while she did refer to previous events she did so assuming everyone would know the story. I didn't so I was lost. Big problem.

I also found her attributions confusing at times. I read along assuming I knew who was talking only to discover several sentences later I was wrong. I had to go back then and re-read the dialog so it would make sense. Not something you want or need when immersed in a story.

The story itself was well told, the plot believable, the characters engaging. Perhaps someday I will go back and read the previous books and pick up what I missed.

If you like soft SF thrillers I recommend Delusion in Death.

The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, 2013 Edition

The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, 2013 Edition - John Shirley, Mike Carey, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Theodora Goss, Laird Barron, Joe R. Lansdale, Joseph Bruchac, Tim Lebbon, Jeffrey Ford, Terry Dowling, Ellen Klages, Melanie Tem, Sarah Monette, Stephen Graham Jones, Marc Laidlaw, John Langan, Peter Bell, Paula Guran, Robert S "The stories in this collection run the gamut from Neal Gaiman's The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury to Jim Butcher's hilarious Big Foot on Campus, touching on points in between. I won't even attempt to review every story here so I'll focus on what I consider to be the true gems in this collection.

The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury is a horror tale for our times. The narrator opens his tale with the line I am forgetting things, which scares me. With this simple sentence Gaiman takes us by the hand and leads us through the thoughts and fears of someone going through Alzheimer's or dementia, or maybe something else -- we are never really told -- but that's far from the point. Having your past wiped from your brain, memory by memory, is perhaps the scariest thing a person can face. Our past defines us, our memories make us who we are. If we lose those things where does that leave us? This story is no fantasy - what it describes is all too real, all too common, and that is what scares the crap out of me.

Big Foot On Campus - I don't want to give anything away here, so just let me say Harry Dresden is back and in fine form as his usual smart-alecky self.

Perhaps one of the creepiest tales in this collection is Robert Shearman's Bedtime Stories for Yasmin. There is nothing more innocuous than a story told to a child as she's being tucked into bed for the night, right? Not in this story. Enough said. You'll have to read it for yourself.

The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, 2013 lives up to it's title. Recommended.


The Adventures of Ellery Queen

The Adventures of Ellery Queen - Ellery Queen "Loved it. I did find some of the language arcahaic and the racial slurs were a bit offensive. But then, the world was different then, wasn't it. Not that that is any excuse for racism but it is easy for us to judge from the safety of the twenty first century.
That being said, the stories are clever, the writing superb.

The Manhattan Project: The Birth of the Atomic Bomb in the Words of Its Creators, Eyewitnesses and Historians.

The Manhattan Project: The Birth of the Atomic Bomb in the Words of Its Creators, Eyewitnesses and Historians. - Cynthia C. Kelly "Told through letters, reports, documents, and oral histories, this book takes us from the first sustained nuclear reaction under a squash court in Chicago all the way to the destruction of two cities and thousands of human beings. The story of the Manhattan Project is simultaneously exciting, riveting and heart wrenching. The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not the only victims of the bomb; thousands of lives were consumed by this project, many were shattered, including perhaps the biggest hero of the story, J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Whatever your feelings about the bomb or nuclear energy The Manhattan Project is a fascinating read.


Tales of Terror and Mystery

Tales of Terror and Mystery -  Arthur Conan Doyle ""

The Big Trip Up Yonder

The Big Trip Up Yonder - Kurt Vonnegut, Sanford Kossin ""

Post-Human Series Books 1-4

Post-Human Series Books 1-4 - David Simpson ""


Throttle  - Joe Hill, Stephen King "Although not in any way supernatural, this story by the King boys is dark and disturbing, proving that realism can be just as horrific as the paranormal."

Eniac: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer

Eniac: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer - Scott McCartney "The story of Eniac, the world's first truly programmable electronic computer, is both inspiring and heart breaking. J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly were true visionaries, ahead of their time in many ways, yet exactly in the right place at the right time in more ways. Their story is one of technological innovation and political in-fighting. Unfortunately for them victory, fame, and most of the money went to those who could play the game, leaving the creators of this world-changing machine under appreciated and, in Mauchly's case, broke.

Scott McCartney has written an engaging and well researched tale of creativity, invention, and betrayal.

Highly recommended.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative - Austin Kleon "Light and frothy it may be, but the point of this little book is well taken : be inspired by art, feel free to borrow what speaks to you and make it your own."

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul - Douglas Adams "Enter the slightly off kilter world of Dirk Gently, where Norse gods run amok in the streets of London while a holistic detective tries to unravel the beheading of a record producer. Sound confusing? Welcome to the mind of Douglas Adams. Everyone knows Douglas for his Hitchhiker's trilogy (all four of them) but the Dirk Gently books are just as wildly imaginative. If you haven't had the pleasure of making Mr. Gently's acquaintance go to your local bookstore right now and get them all! "

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams "Douglas Adams was a bit daft; I like that in an author.

It's been years since I first read Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and I must say it's a pleasure to reacquaint myself with Mr. Gently. In honor of World Towel Day I had decided to re-read all six volumes of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy but then I saw this volume on my shelf and decided to start my Adams adventure with Holistic Detective Agency followed by The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul. Whether this is Great Literature is irrelevant -- it's a fun read and an insightful glimpse into the brilliantly creative mind of Douglas Adams.

If you only know Douglas from Hitchhiker's then you certainly owe it to yourself to read Dirk.

Out of five stars I'd give this book a twenty."

Welcome to the Monkey House

Welcome to the Monkey House - Kurt Vonnegut ""

Doc Savage Omnibus #2

Doc Savage Omnibus #2 - Kenneth Robeson, Alan Hathway, Lester Dent ""

Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep - Stephen King "You just had to know little Danny Torrance was not destined to have a normal life, so it comes as no surprise that he turned to booze, broads and brawling. Watching him work his way through his troubles, lead by a grumpy old man, a psychic cat and a very special young girl makes for fascinating reading. King's characters are what makes him stand above other authors. His ability to make us care for even the most unlikable people is a true gift.
I read the Shining thirty years ago and I must say it's good to see Danny again.
Highly recommended:-)"