Mad Times

“To be sane in a mad time is bad for the brain, worse for the heart.” – Wendell Berry

June 18th, 2008 at 8:28 pm

More LOLs


The kids got lolled again. Actually I think this is Theo’s first time on icanhascheezeburger.

June 1st, 2008 at 3:29 pm

The Book of Joby by Mark J. Ferrari

God and the Devil make a wager over whether the Devil can corrupt God’s chosen champion with the fate of the world as the stakes. The good news is that God cheats. Or at least interprets the rules creatively. Joby is a little boy obsessed with King Arthur. Joby is God’s chosen champion. The book follows Joby through three periods of his life, grade school, college, and early adulthood. In each he faces new challenges. The book is way too long, especially in the late section where Joby finds his way to a little corner of Eden that God has hidden away on the north coast of California. Ferrari is obviously a little too enamored of his characters and setting and the resultant stretching of the story feels overindulgent.

June 1st, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Bitter Waters by Wen Spencer

This book appeared on my chair at work one day. I later found out it landed there because a friend found it in the company cafeteria, started it and didn’t like it. It wasn’t bad. It’s the third book in a series about a guy who’s part alien and uses his secret powers to find missing persons. There’s lots of violence and lots of sex and lots of car (and motorcycle and boat) chases. Basically a men’s adventure novel with some scifi thrown in for flavor. I got the first two books from the library but other stuff looked more interesting until they came due and I returned them unread. Probably won’t try again. If it sounds like your thing it might be your thing.

June 1st, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Spin by Robert Charles Wilson

Wilson won the Hugo for best novel for this book. If you’ve read any of his other books you know the basic structure of this one: baffling technology indistinguishable from magic mysteriously appears throwing society for a loop with the story told by a person conveniently placed to learn more about it than the general public. The remarkable thing is how much better each successive telling of Wilson’s story is. In Spin he has struck a fine balance among interpersonal, political, and alien influences resulting in a novel of a future stranger than we could imagine but still somehow familiar in a way that feels almost nostalgic. This is science fiction that pushes the buttons that made me a fan. It bent my brain quite agreeably. I just learned while writing this that there is a sequel out and another on the way, but Spin stands alone just fine.

June 1st, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Dragon’s Keep by Janet Lee Carey

This is a young adult fantasy loosely based in the Arthurian tradition. I finished it back in February and my recollection of the details is dim. A female member of Arthur’s family fled or was banished to an island where she rules as queen over a small population. The book is from the point of view of her daughter who for reasons that become clear in the course of the book has one finger that looks like that of a dragon. Dragons being nasty peasant-eating creatures, she hides this fact from all but her mother. The daughter goes through a hero’s journey coming-of-age kind of plot line. Dragons are involved. Also dashing young men. But while the basic shape of the story is almost boilerplate, Carey does enough interesting things with the texture and details to make the book rise above the conventions.


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