The Technician (Polity #11)

The Technician

Polity #11

Neal Asher

4 Stars

 

Blood, guts, Jain tech and Atheters!

Another excellent addition to the Polity Universe.

Departure (Owner #1)

Departure

Owner #1

Neal Asher

3 Stars

 

Non-polity universe.
But blood and guts GALORE! I kind of found it over the top. And the whole mental “aha, I found a new trick that I can use until you figure out how to counter it” was used enough that it detracted from my enjoyment.

Would certainly not recommend as a first Neal Asher book. hardcore fans only.

The Story of My Experiments With Truth

112803The Story of My Experiments With Truth
Mahatma Gandhi
Autobiography
Dtb, UNFINISHED
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

 

I simply gave up around page 300.

I didn’t know much about Gandhi except that he was a pacifist and helped free India. So I wanted to find out more about him. What better way than to read the man’s own words about his life? So I went in with vim and vigor, ready to learn.

I got bogged down in details that didn’t mean anything to me [he wrote about current Indian authority figures like I might toss off a comment about Britney Spears].

He routinely came across as a complete prick, ie, he would almost scold the reader to do, or not do, some particular line of action simply because he, Gandhi, recommended it.[this is/was a time period thing. I’ve read several other pieces of non-fiction by like people from that time and it is just how they write. Still pisses me off though]. He also had no problems denying people the same benefits that he had had[college, job opportunities, etc] if the alternative was an “experiential” growing thing-ie, he denied formal education to his children because he thought they would be better off simply “knowing” people and how life worked.

He routinely acted like an authority on a subject that he had an interest in, based upon 1 or 2 instances-ie, he decries doctors, and then goes on to talk about a plague that he helped deal with and how he used some alternative medicine [doctors and him were both ineffective in that case]. It was not a case of “I found X to work for me and if you feel like it, you can try it”, it really came across more as “I like X, you should use X too. It might work, it might not, but it is better than anything else”.

False humility? This one I’m not sure of to be honest. He comes across as very humble in many instances, but there are flashes of extreme arrogance or ignoring certain facts that made me really wonder just how much his writing hid. Given, we all self-deceive to one degree or another [and in most cases, it isn’t purposeful, we humans are simply blind to our own faults], but for a self-professed “seeker of truth” to say some of the things he did, it did not jive with humility.
But that is the kind of thing you cannot accurately judge unless you’ve met the person.

His wife. His poor, poor, wife. I don’t know if she should be considered a saint for putting up with Gandhi, or what. Abandoned for months or years at a time while he pursues social equality in South Africa [for Indians], constantly told that material possessions are meaningless, that sex has no part in love, and in a nutshell, told that anything she wants must be subsumed to the greater good of the Indian Cause.

And that is the main reason I stopped reading. Gandhi seems to advocate the collective over the individual. And he was a prick and wicked boring. Now I am completely disillusioned with him.

I predict it will be years before I attempt another autobiography of anyone after this.

The Sea Watch (Shadows of the Apt #6)

The Sea Watch

Shadows of the Apt #6

Adrian Tchaikovsky

4 Stars

 

It seems like it is Stenwold Maker against the entire Kinden world. I feel pretty bad for the poor guy. Everything seems to go wrong for him.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Not quite as much as the previous books, but I think the Wasp Empire makes a fantastic antagonist, and the underwater kinden made me feel kind of creepy/crawly and Tchaikovsky’s descriptions made ME feel claustrophobic.

I have to say, it sure would be nice if somebody besides Stenwold became the major character. I just have this image of an 80 year old tottering around. I know that isn’t accurate, but from the descriptions in previous books, that is how I see him.

Looking forward, with great anticipation, to the next book, Heirs to the Blade[I think that is the name].

The Hobbit

The Hobbit or There and Back AgainThe Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings Prequel
J.R.R. Tolkien
Fantasy
5 Stars

 

 

Fan-frakking-tastic!

I grew up on the Hobbit. I read it on trips, wrote a lengthy [for a highschooler] paper on the Hobbit and Tolkien, had it read to our class by a college professor and just generally loved it.

So when I saw a goodreads friend doing his annual LotR read, I thought to myself, “Derrick, it has been over a decade and you need to read Tolkien again”.

This was aimed at children, and the little authorial asides reflect that, but with such gentle wit and clever wording, that it didn’t feel “little kid’ish”, or even young adult. But those groups, and adults, could both fully get into the story and love it.

There was adventure, action, thrills, quiet reflective moments, moralizing and a happy ending. And it was well written. At no time did I have to reread a sentence or a paragraph to try to figure out what the author was saying. It was clear, concise and straight-forward.

Completely and highly recommended to anyone who likes fantasy.

 

The Hobbit 2000 “Review”