Book Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Volume 3: Second Variety” (1987)

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It’s a bit of a quandary: I really enjoy science fiction anthologies more than pretty much all other forms of literature, but given their nature, they’re really hard to review in any meaningful, organized fashion. As much fun as they are to read, they’re not so much fun to write about in less than ten thousand words, and as a result, I tend to read the books, but postpone reviewing them as long as possible, unto the point of having only vague and squishy memories of what was in them in the first place.

Not my best work.

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Volume 2: We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” (1987)

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Originally published under the somewhat more reasonable title “Second Variety” in 1987 (Because it was the second in the series), the book was re-titled and re-released in 1990 to cash in on expected the “Total Recall” bonanza. Lest there be any confusion on this point, the full title appears to be “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Volume 2: We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, The Story That Inspired The Hit Motion Picture TOTAL RECALL.” That’s the thing about trade paperbacks from the first half of the 90s: You’re never sure where the title ends and the subscript begins.

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BOOK REVIEW: "Deception Point" by Dan Brown (2002)

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A lot of the books I review here are ones that have been foisted off on me by my friend Gin Rummy. This is basically a process that's been going on since we were in college together a quarter century ago, and lived in the same dorm. He'd get bored and borrow some of my books, I'd get bored and borrow some of his, and then we'd yak about 'em afterwards.

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Shroud of the Thwacker” by Chris Elliot (2005)

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I’m a big fan of Chris Elliot. I think. I generally *say* that I am, and more than that I generally *think* that I am, and I’m *pretty* sure that I am, but occasionally - through no fault of his own - I can’t remember why. Then I doubt. Then time passes, workaday life makes my doubts fade, and I’m a fan again, until something causes me to dwell on it, then the doubts remain. The thing that (mostly) convinces me I’m a fan despite my vacillation is that I’ve never said, “Oh, I hate him!”

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BOOK REVIEW: “Legends and Lore of the Americas before 1492” by Ronald H. Fritze (1993)

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This is just a fantastic book, and I can’t say enough good things about it. It is most emphatically *not* Science Fiction, but it is - somewhat accidentally - an excellent reference for fans of the Alternate History genre. Presumably it’d be good for writers as well. It’s hard to pour through this thing and not toy with constructing some “Mighta’been” worlds. Be ye Fen or Dane, however, this is just a fascinating, smart, and endlessly neat little reference.

“Ah, but what’s it all about?”

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BOOK REVIEW: “Betrayer of Worlds” by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner (2010)

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Seeing as I’m poor, I only buy new books in paperback, which involves some waiting. This book came out in 2010, I couldn’t afford it until 2011, and you’re finally getting my review in late 2012. I’m backlogged. Sorry.

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Ghost Brigades” by John Scalzi (2006)

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You know, despite the orgies and bloodshed and torture and death and murder and mayhem and mutilation and manipulation and general carnage and awfulness, there’s just something so *sweet* about these books.

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Volume 1: The Short Happy Life Of The Brown Oxford” (1987)

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Ah, Philip K. Dick, is there any dead SF author I loveth more than thee? I think not. Let’s just get the gonzo stuff out of the way up front: I first *heard* of the guy when reading “Space Worlds, Wars, and Weapons,” an odd little cover art coffee table book from the late 1970s, which had a paragraph about Phil’s story “Imposter.” I knew Blade Runner, of course, and I knew nebulously of Phil thereby, but couldn’t remember his name. I do not remember the first story I read by him - odd how true love comes from sometimes murky beginnings, huh?

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BOOK REVIEW: "Ready Player One" (2011) by Ernest Cline

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I've had this one on my virtual book pile for about a year now since I read a glowing review of it upon it's release but only now got around to it a couple days ago. I wish I hadn't waited so long; it is just a wonderful book for those of us in the target audience. Who is that? Well, let me run down the story setup and it will become apparent.

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BOOK REVIEW: "I Am Legend" (1954 Novella) By Richard Matheson

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Three movies have been made (at least) directly inspired by Richard Matheson's classic novella (longer than a short story, shorter than a novel) "I Am Legend". Nobody really has gotten it "right" in the sense of not adding or subtracting significantly from the original. I'll touch on the story elements first then do a bit on the movies and how they changed things.

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