Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I thought I'd give this a go as I love the art deco period, the flappers, the jazz age, the free spirits.
I've not seen the film but my copy was a new film tie-in edition.
The book itself is labelled as a novella but its still 230 odd pages.
Gatsby is supposedly this mysterious character with money and a big house, always holding parties.
The narrator Nick Carraway tells his story,  how he met him etc, but nothing of note happens. I persevered but enough was enough.  I quit. Bored.
The characters such as they are are thin and vapid, typical upper class bored twits. And there was little feel of the jazz age, it didn't feel like 1920s even though it was penned in 1922.
It is described as Fitzgerald's magnum opus but reading it was like watching a soap. And I dont do soaps.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bloodhype by Alan Dean Foster

I picked this one up to because it's supposed to be the next in the series, but its unrelated with no mention of Pip and Flinx till near the end. I didn't get that far before I got bored and gave up.
Dull and lifeless.

Reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald instead!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The End of the Matter by Alan Dean Foster

And so onto the next Pip and Flinx novel in which our young telepath and his pernicious pet seek out Flinx's father. Also they hear of the discovery of a rogue black hole that threatens a sector of space. Flinx journeys to Alaspin which is the home of Pip who goes off on a sabbatical for a while... This time Flinx is joined by a strange blue alien called Ab who seems to speak gibberish yet may hold a clue to stopping the rogue star. If he can be understood. While on Alaspin Flinx encounters a large friendly giant and his female companion. This giant is none other than Skua September, one of the main characters in the Icerigger trilogy of books! He also bumps into Truzenzuzex and Bran Tse-Mallory, first seen in The Tar Aiym Krang, Foster's first novel! Another fun romp across space-

Foster never fails to deliver!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Orphan Star by Alan Dean Foster

In this, chronologically the 3rd story featuring Pip and Flinx, our young red-headed vagabond, accompanied by his tenacious and deadly mini dragon, sets out in a journey to discover his roots. Pip, unsure of his parental origins, seeks to discover who and where his real parents are. His official full name is Philip Lynx but it is really his adopted name. He was raised by Mother Mastiff as described in For Love of Mother-Not and is not really sure of his origins. He travels from place to place, in pursuit of the belligerent Conda Challis who wants to use Flinx's psi powers to unwrap the mystery of some rare and expensive crystals that have a hidden secret. These crystals affect the behaviour of anyone who possesses them, and Challis wants to exploit these properties without being affected himself. Also Flinx travels to Earth in the hope of finding information about his history in the records there. He then travels to a planet held under special Edict, and discovers strange bear like natives that have been partially domesticated by a bitter and twisted woman, using them to serve her corrupted ends. Flinx is caught up in the middle of all this political wrangling and brings his own solution to the situation. This is another engaging story by Foster, with less technical blabber than The Tar Aiym Krang and is thus more accessible. It makes for a fun and captivating read


Friday, December 27, 2013

A new ebook reader and an Asimov story

In October WHSmith were offering the 6 inch Kobo Touch for £40, half the normal price, so while we had the money one was bought as a Christmas present for me.
Been using it a couple of days now and it's great! Has wifi, a micro SD card slot and a built-in browser, so I'm able to go to Gutenberg.com and get free books from there ( and other sites)
It has one button on the front but is touch screen so everything is covered!

Also I've had this Asimov story (Youth) on my other reader for ages. I put it on the SD card and read it on the new reader.  ( my old reader lacks an SD card slot)

The story is a first contact story, with a twist, and the only Asimov story in the public domain.
Very good!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Tar Aiym Krang by Alan Dean Foster

This is Alan Dean Foster's first novel and chronologically the second Pip and Flinx book. I found it ok, not as compelling as For Love of Mother Not which was written in the 80s (that book is an introduction to the character Flinx and his minidrag Pip.) This book, though having its good adventure parts, often drags in technobabble and is less prosaic than later works, more stiff in parts. Still its an entertaining read and I will read others in the series. Basically Flinx is a young man living on the planet Moth under the care if his foster mother called Mother Mastiff and he has psi-powers. He also has a pet mini dragon called Pip, a ferocious and loyal fighter. Flinx is approached by 2 strangers who request his services as a guide around the city. Really they are trying to find the mysterious artifact called the Krang, which was left behind by the belligerent race The Tar Aiym. Thus begins an adventure in space to find and decipher the mystery of the Krang.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Clarke bio out by brother Fred!

Arthur C. Clarke's brother Fred died recently, but he left us with this:

A Life Remembered

Cheers Fred!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Analog 2 ed. by John W Campbell

A so so collection from the great magazine, published in 1965.
 I'd never heard of any of the authors previously.

Here's a break down:

#1 The Weather Man by Theodore L.Thomas
The Weather Bureau are able to control the weather on any part of the planet, but an aging Councillor has one very daring challenge... 3.5/5

#2 Good Indian by Mack Reynolds
Very short comical story about attempt by last Indians to get a treaty with the US 100 years after ethnic repatriation.Funny 4/5

#3 Blind Man's Lantern by Allen Kim Lang.
30+ page story about an Amish couple who relocate to a planet populated by pagans.. 3.5/5

#4 Junior Achievement by William Lee.
A so so story about a bunch of junior inventors cum entrepreneurs. 2.5/5

#5 Novice by James H. Schmitz
A tale of a young girl on an alien planet and her strange cat-like pet,a bit reminiscent of Foster's Pip and Flinx books. 3.5/5

#6 The Ethical Quotient by John T Philliphent
Psionics and ethics in a long galactic federation story somewhat like Asimov's Foundation stories. A man wakes aboard a space ferry and is thrust into a world where people use psi powers on a daily basis. Unbeknown to them our man also has these powers but keeps it quiet. 3/5

#7 Philosopher's Stone by Christopher Anvil
An interstellar courier is carrying a vital piece of information, but due to space travel time is distorted, so a year passes in 6 weeks, enabling him and his crew to witness socio-economic changes, and formulate a plan to prevent them from being left behind on a global scale. 3.5/5

#8 The Circuit Riders by R.C. Fitzpatrick
A story of big brother where emotions are monitored by the police. Once a person's level of anger reaches a certain level on the circuit the police home. A lot less exciting than the title led me to think it was! Good writing tho. 3.5/5