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mossjon

Autumn Adventures

My retreat from the post-Amazon-apocalypse-GoodReads. My shelves and my reviews, I hope, will find a safe haven here.

 

I like to read epic fantasy (the bigger, thicker and longer, the better) and science fiction (perfer space operas).  I also enjoy the occasional biography or history non-fiction.

 

Out in the real world, I'm an IT professional in the Legal industry.  Tech doesn't scare me or phase me.

Currently reading

Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles, #3)
Luke Daniels, Kevin Hearne
Progress: 94 %

Judy, Judy, Judy

Judy: The Unforgettable Story of the Dog Who Went to War and Became a True Hero - Damien Lewis

3.5 to 4 stars

Reminded me quite a bit of Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, but not as well written.

 

I love a good dog story, but Judy became a minor player during most of this book.  The author's writing style also left a bit to be desired, telegraphing each and every chapter with the doom foreshadowed.  Until the very last chapter, things never got better, only worse, for Judy and her fellow POWs.  

I went ahead and gave it as high a rating as I did because I felt deeply the plight of Judy and the Allied POWs in Sumatra.  Especially poignant the epilogue, but I'll leave that for you to discover on your own.  

My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read the eARC of Judy: A Dog in a Million, available from your favorite book retailer next Tusday, December 2, 2014. 

 

Cross posted on GoodReads and my blog. 

Source: http://mossjon314159.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/book-review-judy-by-lewis-3-5-stars

Interesting Return to Hamilton's Void and Commonwealth Universes

The Abyss Beyond Dreams: Chronicle of the Fallers (Commonwealth: Chronicle of the Fallers) - Peter F. Hamilton

I enjoyed Hamilton’s writing style, but I must admit to being a bit confused or at least uninformed about his existing Commonwealth and Void universes. This was my first Hamilton novel so I dived right in and either sank or swam by his efforts. To his credit, even with limited world-building or recap exposition in the Prologue, I gleaned enough to make the read enjoyable.

Read the rest of my review at my blog.

New Honorverse series looks promising

A Call to Duty - David Weber, Timothy Zahn

3.5 to 4 stars

A new series in the Honorverse, slated to be released next week.  We find ourselves back before Manticore knew it had a major wormhole, back before it had any spaceship building industry and soon after a Plague that wiped out much of its nascent population.  One of our protagonists is Travis Long, who enlists in the RMN (Royal Manticore Navy) while his supposed friends rob a neighboring jewelry store.  Travis acquires a couple of monickers during basic training that reflect upon his always by the book philosophy with respect to rules and regulations.  The political climate on Manticore has a faction of the civilian government clambering to dismantle the Navy and/or replace it with a Coast Guard like service that patrols the local system and protects merchants and miners from pirates.  The action ramps up when Manticore sends representatives to a Haven sponsored military surplus spaceship sale.  Pirates (or what we are led to believe are pirates initially) masquerading as legitimate buyers attempt a heist of their own on a much grander scale than Travis' juvenile delinquent buddies. 

I flew through this plot driven action-adventure space opera in just a couple of days.  I suspect the addition of Timothy Zahn helped keep the story zipping along so that David Weber didn't pause to infodump as he is wont to do.  While I like Travis, and Metzger and Donnelly, the book still lacked great character development.  Very good plot, but just good character writing.  The Massingills came close, but their screen time was too limited for me to really form the bond they deserved. 

My thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read this eARC ebook prior to its release by Baen on October 7, 2014. 

The Whole is More than the Sum of Its Parts

The Chaplain's War - Brad R Torgersen

4-4.5 stars

I previously read parts of this as short stories or novellas (one of which was nominated for a Hugo last year and got my enthusiastic vote). This novel fills in the gaps in Chaplain's Assistant Harry Barlow's past and a few important bits of his future.

Read the rest of my review at my blog here.  

Source: http://mossjon314159.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/book-review-the-chaplains-war-by-torgersen-4-5-stars

Happy Birthday Bilbo and Frodo!

Some of my favorite art and artists of Middle Earth compiled from a post by Irene Gallo at Tor.com today. 

Source: http://mossjon314159.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/picturing-the-hobbit-tor-com-2

Reading progress update: I've read 92%.

A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway, John Slattery

Book 5 Chapter 40 ... Mar 1918 ... Switzerland

Reading progress update: I've read 47% (to Chapter 24)

A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway, John Slattery

The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one'.... (The man who first said that) was probably a coward.... He knew a great deal about cowards but nothing about the brave. The brave dies perhaps two thousand deaths if he's intelligent. He simply doesn't mention them.

"Grass .. emblem of our mortality ... blanket of the dead. "
Prairyerth - William Least Heat-Moon

Grass is the most widely distributed of all vegetable beings and is at once the type of our life and the emblem of our mortality . . . the carpet of the infant becomes the blanket of the dead.

 

--John James Ingalls, 'In Praise of Blue Grass' (1872)

"Defining Elemental Kansas"
Prairyerth - William Least Heat-Moon

The question comes up, if whites couldn't get a three- or six-letter name correct, what else couldn't they get right?  The meaning of the word for one thing: Kansa and its forms have been translated as wind, windy, wind people, south wind people, those-who-come-like-wind-across-the-prairie, swift, swift wind, swift river, swift water, smoky water, fire people, plum people, disturbers, troublemakers, filthy, and cowards.  Dispense with the freak translations like the last four, and you have a people defined by three of the four ancient elements. 

"First Woman Mayor"
Prairyerth - William Least Heat-Moon

Women achieved the right to vote in stages in Kansas.  They could vote in school elections after 1861 and in municipal elections after 1887, the year Susanna Moore Salter of Argonia became the first woman to be elected to the office of mayor of any town in the United States.  The right of Kansas women to vote in state and national elections came eight years before the Nineteenth Amendment.

Leo E. Oliva, "Kansas: A Hard Land in the Heartland" (1988)

 

"Unequalled State Name"
Prairyerth - William Least Heat-Moon

Kansas, as now accepted, written and spoken, is one of the most beautiful Indian words adapted to use in the English tongue.  As a name for a state it is unequalled.

-- William E. Connelley, A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans (1918)

 

"Kaw ... being the ominous croak of the raven. "
Prairyerth - William Least Heat-Moon

The name of this tribe is variously spelled Kanzas, Kansas, Cansas, Konzas, and Conzas; and to cap all absurdity, they scarcely know themselves by any other word than Kaw.  Should the Territory be erected into a slave state, it might be advisable to adopt this latter as the title, being the ominous croak of the raven.

-- Max Greene, The Kanzas Region (1856)

 

"Savage Beauty ... Uninterrupted Mournfulness"
Prairyerth - William Least Heat-Moon

He felt that man were too weak to make any mark here, that the land wanted to be let alone, to preserve its own fierce strength, its peculiar, savage kind of beauty, its uninterrupted mournfulness.

-- Willa Cather, O Pioneers! (1913)

 

"Great American Desert"
Prairyerth - William Least Heat-Moon

As in all other things, the myth of the Great American Desert is an asset of no mean proportion to the Kansas man.  All of which serves to establish, in a way, the boast that what is a calamity for other countries in often a valuable asset for Kansas.

-- William Connelley, History of Kansas (1928)

"In God we trusted, in Kansas we busted."
Prairyerth - William Least Heat-Moon

Until 1895, the whole history of the state [Kansas] was a series of disasters, and always something new, extreme, bizarre, until the name Kansas became a byword, a synonym for the impossible and the ridiculous, inviting laughter, furnishing occasion for jest and hilarity.  "In God we trusted, in Kansas we busted."

-- Carl Becker, "Kansas" (1910)

Lock In - John Scalzi

Meh. 

 

Barely science fiction.  Mostly police procedural. 

 

Too much dialogue, and lacking in Scalzi's usual wit and humor.  Infodumps before the novel started, over dinner and at other times (Show, don't tell!). I expected more/better from Scalzi. 

 

Glad I borrowed it from the library and didn't buy it.