Revelation Space (Revelation Space #1) ★★★★☆

revelationspace (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Revelation Space
Series: Revelation Space #1
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 596
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

An archeologist on the world of Resurgam is trying to prove that the extinct inhabitants of the planet had gotten to the technological standpoint of space travel. The rest of the colony just wants to terraform the world so they can live. A coup occurs and the archeologist, Dan Sylveste, is imprisoned and yet given enough freedom to perform his research. He eventually proves his theories right but still hasn’t answered how the aliens went extinct.

Ana Khouri, separated from her husband in a military accident and sent to the wrong world, has become an assassin for the near immortal rich in Chasm City. She’s hired by Madam to go and kill Sylveste. Khouri is hired by some Ultra’s (space goths from what I could tell who love to meddle with their bodies) who are on their way to Resurgam as well. They want Sylveste as well, to heal their captain, who is being taken over by some sort of viral plague that is melding him to the ship.

The Ultras kidnap Silvestre and his wife, while Khouri must deal with a digital avatar of the Madam in her head. Also on board the ship, is a shadowy something called Sun Stealer, which drove Khouri’s predecessor insanse. Sun Stealer is also the name of the being on the final monument of the aliens on Resurgam. Sylvestre also has the digital recording of his dead father in his head. Good times.

Turns out there is a dead species of aliens who lived to make sure no other species ever reached a certain technological level. They left artifacts scattered around the universe that would lead to the destruction of any species that interacted with them and that is what lead to the destruction of life on Resurgam.

The humans are all being manipulated by various alien factions to use the device so humanity will be the next target and draw away attention from them. Things don’t go according to the aliens plans and the humans survive and now know about the traps.Silvestre and his wife decide to stay on the artifact as digital incarnations while Khouri and the lone surviving Ultra head back to human space.

Hopefully to warn everyone. We aren’t told.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a VERY complex storyline, hence my rather inarticulate ramble of a synopsis. The universe that Reynolds has created reminds me a lot of Neal Asher’s Polity and Asher’s fascination with the Jain, long dead aliens inimical to all other lifeforms. Here Reynolds calls them the Inhibitors but it is not until nearly the end that we find out about them clearly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. Unfortunately, most of the characters were rather unlikeable so my enjoyment was tempered by disgust. Khouri was the least objectionable person but she was a pawn for almost all of the book. I would say the ideas and the storyline were able to overcome the characters. That doesn’t happen very often for me.

After reading this, I feel like I have a decent grasp on modern Space Opera. Between Revelation Space, The Polity and The Culture, I can say it is something that I really like when it is done according to my tastes. I was apprehensive about starting this series, as I ended up disliking Banks’ The Culture book quite a bit. Thankfully this seemed to be more in line with The Polity, a series that I’m pretty in love with.

The inclusion of techno-porn (ie, the abundant description of technologies above and beyond the call of duty) did make me skip whole paragrapsh while reading. From a layman’s perspective, talking about that kind of thing does nothing for me and is just babble. So I skip it. It also tends to date your book for those who do know what you’re writing about, as theories go out of style like fashion. Sometimes being a little vague is ok.

I tore through this in about 3 days. Started it on a Thursday evening and finished it up by reading all day Saturday. I’m glad I’ve got all 7 novels in the series lined up. I hope the others live up to this one.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

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The Inimitable Jeeves (The Jeeves Omnibus #1.3) ★★★★☆

inimitablejeeves (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Inimitable Jeeves
Series: The Jeeves Omnibus #1.3
Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humor
Pages: 237
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A collection of stories about Jeeves and Bertie that center mainly around Bertie’s friend Bingo Little and his constantly falling in love and with Bertie’s two younger cousins who are identical twins.

Through it all Jeeves must put up with Bertie’s poor sartorial choices.

 

My Thoughts:

Chronologically, and in order of publication too I believe, this was the first Jeeves & Wooster book. I found the short story format much easier to deal with than the longer novel length. Also, while Wodehouse’s writing wasn’t quite as polished, I enjoyed Bertie more as a person, as he wasn’t always shortening things to their initials. This was Bertie in the raw and I enjoyed it.

Bertie’s cousins, who’s names I can’t even remember, are young scaliwags who end up getting kicked out of college and sent off to South Africa to serve in the British Government there. The hopes being that responsibility will straighten them out. This is all Aunt Agatha’s doing, as is much in this book. We learn, through one sentence, that Bertie’s parents are dead and he is immensely independently wealthy, which makes Aunt Agatha’s power over him all the more puzzling.

Then you have Bingo Little. My goodness, that man was falling in love and having problems in every story. In one story he fell in love with a communist for goodness sake! He does finally get hitched in the end. Bertie’s aversion to marriage is made plain throughout these stories and along with Aunt Agatha, is a building block of the whole series.

Jeeves plays a very small part in all of this. He’s simply the deux ex machina that solves things, except when Bertie refuses to listen to him in regards to style and fashion. But once Bertie relents, Jeeves simply solves everything. I’m not sure if it is amazing or just how pathetic everyone else is.

In any case, I found this very amusing and liked the short story aspect much more to my taste. I remain confused about the order of the books, as there seems to be no rhyme or reason to why they are so mixed up.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

A Shaman in Tokyo (Shaman King #1) ★★★★☆ (Manga Monday)

shamanintokyo (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: A Shaman in Tokyo
Series: Shaman King #1
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

Manta Oyamada, shrimpy little cram school student, has been delayed and if he wants to get home in time to watch his favorite tv show, must take a shortcut through a cemetary in Tokyo. There, he meets a mysterious young man and what appears to be a whole bunch of ghosts.

The next day at cram school, Manta tells everyone what happened to him and nobody believes him.A new student is introduced and his name is Yoh Asakura, he also happens to be the boy Manta saw the night before.Turns out Yoh is a shaman in training and Tokyo is filled with ghosts who can help in that regard.

Manta somehow becomes Yoh’s friend and they confront a group of bullies led by Ryu, king of the punks of Pompadour. Yoh becomes friends with a ghost named Amidamaru, an ancient samurai. They strike up a partnership and Manta starts becoming privvy to the secrets of being a Shaman. Yoh, with the help of Amidamaru, confronts a young man who has lost his boxing teacher, saves a group of kids from a fire and exorcises a vengeful spirit.

Manta is taking a shortcut through the Cemetary AGAIN when he meets an arrogant young man named Ren who controls a chinese warlord named Bason. Ren challenges Yoh and claims he’ll take control of Amidamaru for the Shaman King contest.

Yoh and Amidamaru must become as one to successfully combat the powerhouse that is Ren and Bason.

 

My Thoughts:

Man, after Oh My Goddess and the latest Superman comic I read, I just wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to even read any more manga. I was a bit worried. Thankfully, such worry was needless.

This was the epitome of Shonen manga. With that being the case, the first volume had a lot of setting to do. Who’s the plucky, talented main character? Who’s the comic sidekick? Who’s the badboy who will eventually turn good with a heart of gold? Who’s the villain who is only a leadup? What amazing powers will be revealed? What long term goal is shown that will propel the plot onward for 30+ volumes? Yes, this book has a LOT on its shoulders.

What’s great is that Ren starts talking about how he can integrate 100% with Bason and how he can beat Yoh hands down because Yoh can only integrate at 10% with Amidamaru. You KNOW that suddenly Yoh will begin “practicing” and not only will he integrate at 100% but he’ll suddenly integrate at 200% (!!!!) and then find someone else who will keep him on the upward climb.

One good thing about Shonen Fighting manga is the complete and utter predictability of the plot. While some individual plotlines might surprise me, the overall direction is already pre-determined. That is rather comforting to be honest.

One thing I am prepared for, as it has been shown already, is that Takei is a big environmentalist. Ren goes on and on about how humans are polluting the world and he wants to kill them all when he becomes the Shaman King. Yeah….

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

PSA: DNF – The Divisive Issue of Our Day

PSA

 

 

Last month I spoke up about Book Reviewers and the lack of integrity and honesty I found and how I thought most reviewers were crooks, swindlers, liars, cheaters and general all around ne’erdowells. I obviously didn’t include myself when thinking of those terms, as I am a Paragon of Virtue and the Rock upon which this Blog stands.

virtue

Virtue doesn’t desert me because I tied it to a chair in my living room!

 

 

This month, I feel like discussing something with a little more nuance, something not so cut and dried. Did Not Finish.

dnf

 

This subject is so open for discussion that I am getting primed just thinking about it. DNF’ing is the working out of each person’s philosophy behind their book reading. While not everyone is going to dive into the nitty gritty of all the why’s and wherefores, everyone at leasts thinks about DNF’ing and if it is for them or not. Once you’ve made the right choice and do DNF a book, then so many factors come into play that it is a veritable paradise of reasonings. I love complicated subjects like this because it shows the inside of a person on so many levels. On to the Bookstooge Philosophy of DNF’ing a book.

crowdgoeswild

What generally happens when I score a point in any debate

 

Now, my general Rule of Thumb is the Nancy Pearl Rule of 50 Pages or 10%. She summarizes it as such:

I live by what I call ‘the rule of fifty,’ which acknowledges that time is short and the world of books is immense. If you’re fifty years old or younger, give every book about fifty pages before you decide to commit yourself to reading it, or give it up. If you’re over fifty, which is when time gets even shorter, subtract your age from 100. The result is the number of pages you should read before deciding.

As a “rule of thumb”, that works out pretty well. However, I don’t subscribe to it as a “Law”. While there might be the Laws of Thermodynamics, there is no Law of 50. For good reason.

ruleof50

Spongebob and I are in complete agreement on this issue. There is no Law of 50. 

Triggers, or the suchlike, are another good reason to DNF a book. Triggers can run the gamut from the emotional to the intellectual. Something that you’ve experienced in the past and can absolutely destroy you when reading about a like instance in a book, like rape for instance, is an emotional response that causes you do stop reading that book. Or perhaps the author starts espousing views about Aliens and Humans, ala Scientology and suddenly, nothing else they can say matters as your mind can’t accept such thinking (by the by, I’d dismiss any non-fiction author who started down that particular path). But the thing is, everyone has something that they hold inviolate, even if they don’t think long and hard about it.

For me, I’ve definitely got some DNF triggers that cause me to pull the plug like that

* snaps fingers *

  1. Blasphemy is top of the list. Similarly, the denial of Christ’s divinity (ie, His Godhood).

  2. Another one is the inclusion of sexual perversions. In this day and in our culture, that tends to be the one I have to deal with the most. It’s like a minefield now.

  3. Another one is rape or gruesome violence against women and/or children. My soul revolts against such a thing and I won’t tolerate it in my entertainment.

Those tend to be The Big Three for me.

3-1

Other reason I have for DNF’ing a book can be summed up like this:

  • I hate every single character and wish they were dead. They have to be REALLY bad though for me to DNF because of that. Most likely I just won’t read any more by the author.

  • I’m bored. If I go into a book expecting to be entertained and I’m not, forget it. I read for fun and my reading time is as precious as gold to me. If an author wastes that, I’ll cut them off at the knees and enjoy doing it. But again, I have to be REALLY bored.

  • Social Justice bullshit. I have very little tolerance for that nonsense. The people who think that way and participate in such things are fools and I want nothing to do with them or their silly ideas. Mainly because there is no thinking involved and when you can’t even talk rationally to someone, there is no point in talking. Proverbs 23 says this: Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.

And really, I think those additional 3 items wrap it up. I don’t DNF very much, even if I will rate a book extremely low and rake it over the coals.

Now, on to the part I’ve actually wanted to write. I don’t usually ASK for your opinions, as I’m almost always telling you MY opinions, but in this case, I actually DO want to know your thoughts on this issue. A lot. Write a comment, please. A short one, a long one, a post length one, a post with a linkback. Just something. If you don’t normally comment, take this time to carefully considering commenting for the first time. Do you DNF? If so, what causes that? There are as many permutations for DNF’ing as there are readers and I want to hear about them.

think

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

 

Best Friends for Life ★★★★☆

bestfriendsforlife (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Best Friends for Life
Series: ———-
Author: Michael & Judy Phillips
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 240
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The Phillips tell 4 different true stories (with particulars changed for anonymity’s sake) about young couples they knew and how they proceeded through their dating, into marriage and how those marriages turned out.

The Phillips are convinced that “dating” has such an abysmal track record when it comes to marriages that last after dating that they want to explore other avenues. Their suggestion? Marry your best friend. Basically, make being friends with the opposite gender a higher priority than romance and really know what you want in a spouse instead of letting it all hang on hormones and feelings.

What does God, through the Bible, say about what is important in a marriage? The Phillips use very few specific Bible verses but count on their audience already having a decent grasp of Scripture. They are writing for someone who already wants what is best according to God’s will and is searching that out.

 

My Thoughts:

I read this originally back in 2000. At the time, I had graduated from Bibleschool. Mrs B was still in highschool and we hadn’t a glimmer of the others’ existence. I was mad to marry and was reading all the advice books I could get my hands on. I wasn’t going to be an “old” man like my dad when he got married. For the record, he was married at 28. I ended up being 30. Ironic isn’t it? So I figured if I could get all that advice then Mrs Right would fall into my lap and whammo, we’d have the perfect married life because obviously we’d have BOTH read all kinds of these books and know exactly what to do and what things to NOT do.

The funny thing is, I actually was friends with Mrs B long before we ever were romantically involved. I met her on Xanga, a blogging site (not sure how much traction it still has any more). She’d written a post about going to a medieval wedding and ended her post with “Have a good Sabbath”. I asked her what she meant by “Sabbath” as I was a Saturday Sabbath keeper and it turned out she was a 7th Day Adventist so she kept Saturday as well. We were friends for a couple of years online but figured we’d never meet. She was in California, I was on the East Coast. I didn’t like to travel and she had nothing to draw her to the East. But then a friend of mine, who I’d gone to Bibleschool with, decided he was going to get married. In California. He was in the Navy and would soon be shipping out in a Sub (subbing out?) and I didn’t know when I’d see him next so a group of us all went to California. I informed Miss Librarian and invited her as my plus one. Her brother, Sir Grumpsalot, came with her to chaperone and my friends were at the wedding, so it was safe all around. After the wedding that night, I asked her if I could court her. I called her mother that week and a year later we were engaged and 6 months after that we were married. Now, 10 years later, we’re STILL happily married.

Now, when I read this book back in 2000, I couldn’t have predicted this set of circumstances. In fact, I didn’t WANT those set of circumstances. I wanted somebody else. She has since gotten married to a wonderful christian man, has a family and is a bedrock of Faith for her family. But she wouldn’t have been right for me nor me for her. It took God to bring the correct Mrs Right into my life. That is what this book is about more than anything. It isn’t a hard and fast set of rules that the Phillips promise will bring you the right spouse. But they give solid advice about involving your parents, your friends, and most of all, not letting your hormones and feelings be in control. They are right.

They also give several examples of how people have changed what they’ve suggested to work for their particular set of circumstances. Some of the things they suggest simply weren’t viable for Mrs B and I, such as having family time with each other’s families while we were courting. The Phillips are very open that what they are suggesting isn’t the end and be all but they do strongly advise young people and their parents to put much more effort into the whole process than just “Oh, we’re in love”.

Reading this again, for our 10th Wedding Anniversary, it is uncanny how much God drew us both down this path in our relationship with each other. I for one am thankful for that. Our marriage is strong, we are happy and content with each other and while our lives together haven’t been what we’ve expected (Mrs B was diagnosed with crohn’s disease in ’10), our foundation of friendship has taken us through the times of hospitalization, lack of work, etc.

The book is a bit dated in regards to things they call out in American Culture, ie, what they considered a cliff is only a mere step compared to the moral cliff America has chosen to step off of now. It was eye opening and a good indicator of just how fast our country has gone down the path of immorality.

But ultimately, God Himself is in charge. He has taken responsibility through Jesus Christ and one day He will return and make it right again. I want to be ready for that and I hope you will be too.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Love’s Labour’s Lost ★★☆☆☆

loveslabourslost (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Love’s Labour’s Lost
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play, Comedy
Pages: 98
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

King Ferdinand, 3 of his lords and a Spaniard, all take a vow to study, fast and avoid women for 3 years. Of course, King Ferdinand forgets that he’s supposed to be welcoming a French Princess into his court. She and her ladies arrive, are forced to decamp outside of the city and all the men fall instantly in love with the ladies.

They write love letters, lie to each other, all catch each other out, unsuccessfully woo the ladies as Russians (I kid you not) and then, just when they are about to successfully win the ladies as themselves, the Princess’s father dies and the ladies all retire for a year.

Throw in some mouthy servants and smart ass pages and bob’s your uncle.

 

My Thoughts:

A lot of the humor of this play was based on the reparte between the men amongst themselves, the ladies amongst themselves and then amongst them all as a group. They cut, they swipe, they’re snide and pompous. It didn’t work for me at all.

The servants should have been whipped to death for their insolence or at least muzzled. The men were idiots for taking such an oath in the first place and then to watch them each perjure themselves was just disgraceful. The women were cold and playing it all as a game when they should have been much more serious.

All in all, if a dragon had walked on stage and eaten every character, I would have stood up, cheered my head off and then run off as fast as I could before the dragon ate me. I am beginning to suspect that I don’t like Shakespeare’s style or sense of humor.

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3) ☆☆☆☆½ DNF@22%

ghostlyechoes (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Ghostly Echoes
Series: Jackaby #3
Author: William Ritter
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 353/DNF@22%
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

[Miss Rook] “Miss Lee was really a boy, wasn’t she? Underneath”

He slowed and then came to a stop and looked me square in the eyes, “That’s up to her to decide,”

~page 56

 

Yep, I’m done with this author now. Ritter’s going to push the SJW line about gender and cross dressing down my throat, forget it. As much as I enjoyed the previous 2 books, no amount of enjoyment is worth listening to lies for.

By the by, cross dressing is a moral deviancy that indicates some real brokenness inside. It isn’t normal and it shouldn’t be treated as such. It’s an indicator and Christian professional help should be sought. Just like you wouldn’t tell a man with a broken leg that he’s ok. Even if you can’t fix it, you can tell him to go to a doctors. But denying that there is anything wrong is the height of foolishness.

Man, this is NOT the way I wanted to start out a new month…

☆☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)