The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories ★★☆☆½

mistletoemurder (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 Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories
Series: ———-
Author: P.D. James
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 176
Format: Hardcover Edition

 

Synopsis:

A collection of 4 stories about murder. None are connected nor did I care enough to outline each story or even bother to list them.

 

My Thoughts:

* Spoilers *

Sordid. That is the one word that I felt best described this small book of short stories by P.D. James. One of the stories is told by the murder/rapist and left me feeling disgusted. Another one was told by the Granddaughter of the murderess and it is justified in their eyes. Homosexuality, blackmail and suicide. Filth.

Two of the stories dealt with James’ detective character Adam Dalgliesh (which I still can’t spell without looking it up) and he might as well have been as invisible as a hat on a hat rack. You could have changed the name to John Smith and it wouldn’t have made a lick of difference. He had zero personality and almost no part to play in either one.

From an entertainment standpoint, this was a complete failure. I was not impressed and I suspect I would not have liked James and her disgusting love of all things perverse.

That being said. She can WRITE. I hate it when this happens. Why does someone who writes like she can have to delve into the filthy underbelly of humanity and seem to ENJOY it so much? Upon finishing this I immediately went to the library and got the first Adam Dalgliesh book. I’m giving that 2 books for James to convince me that she doesn’t actually like murderers and rapists. But if I get that sordid vibe again, James will be off my list.

★★☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Advertisements

Worst Contact ★★★☆☆

worst contact (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: Worst Contact
Series: ———-
Author: Hank Davis – Editor
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 384
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories about First Contact between Humanity and Aliens. Ranging from the humorous to the droll to threatening to the downright ironically twisted, this collection just about covers it all.

 

My Thoughts:

Overall, this was a good collection of short stories. I do like collections like this because you can read one or two, walk away for a day, come back the next day and not need to have remembered anything. Each story is self-contained.

The reason this didn’t get 4 stars from me is because the Editor, Hank Davis, has his own little blurb before each story. Mainly a ultra-mini biography or bibliography about the author of the story. I found they interrupted the flow of my reading and I really didn’t enjoy them. Also, there were 2 or 3 where he talks about the authors political leanings and without fail they were very liberal to the outright Communist. I felt like he was singling them out for special attention as no other political affiliation was mentioned for other authors. If I want to hear the praises of the Left sung, I’ll go read something about Barack Obama. Keep that stuff OUT of my SF please and thank you.

The humor, both wacky, ironic and menacing, all worked for me. Vaguely threatening is fantastic when it is pulled off correctly. Things get a little dated with some of the stories when ever “tech” is used. I remember one story talking about translating video being the easiest because pictures are “universal.” Anyone who uses digital video today and has to encode their own bluray/dvd’s and runs into different codex compatibility issues knows that “universal” is a crock of rotten milk. 50 years is a long time in terms of technology * wink *

I definitely would have enjoyed this more if the Editor hadn’t stuck his oar in on each story, but then, if he doesn’t, how is anyone supposed to know how great and smart he is? So depending on how you feel about editorial things, that might not be an issue at all for you.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. 1: 1929-1964 ★★★★★

sfhalloffame (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 Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. 1: 1929-1964
Series: The Science Fiction Hall of Fame #1
Editor: Robert Silverberg
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 576
Format: Trade paperback

 

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories voted by members of the Science Fiction Authors Guild (or something or other like that) as the best of. A popularity contest of stories from the 30’s to the 60’s. No author had more than one story and the book was presented chronologically, so we as the readers could see how things progressed storywise in 30 years.

 

My Thoughts:

Danielle from Books, Vertigo and Tea reviewed this recently and brought it to my attention. What a fantastic read.

First off, this was originally published back in 1970, I believe. It was released again in 2005 and then just released digitally in 2018. Obviously not a new book. I read this at lunch beginning sometime in March and just finished it this past week. Short stories really lend themselves to no pressure reading and going at a slow pace. Sometimes you need that in a busy, hectic book life like mine.

I had read over ½ of these 26 stories, as growing up in the 80’s and addicted to SF meant I was familiar with almost all of these authors, even if just by name. This was good stuff! If you’ve never read Vintage SF, this is a good place to start. Even if you don’t like every story (and I didn’t like every one either), you’ll get the flavor of what those years produced and if an author strikes your fancy, you can then go on and investigate on your own.

In many ways, I think that Science Fiction shines through the short story medium. Ideas are presented and there is no extraneous fluff or junk to ruin it. And if your imagination isn’t up to snuff to get you excited about ideas, then you probably shouldn’t be reading SF in the first place.

I bought this used in trade paperback through Amazon but I think the stories are good enough that I’m going to have to put the hardcover on my wishlist. In terms of Short Story Collections, this falls squarely between Asimov’s Complete Stories Vol 1 and Asimov’s Complete Stories Vol 2. I do plan on buying, in used trade paperback again, Volumes 2 & 3, which are the best novella’s of that time period. Hopefully they are as good as these stories.

★★★★★

 

 

bookstooge (Custom)

Bookburners: Season One Volume One ☆☆☆☆½

bookburners (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: Bookburners: Season One Volume One
Series: Bookburners
Author: Max Gladstone
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 295
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

New York Police Detective Sal gets sucked into the world of the Bookburners when her brother opens a magical book and ends up in a coma after a demon possesses him.

Now under the auspices of the Catholic church with Father Menchu, with Presbyterian layman and former demon possessed Liam, super duper fighter secret keeper Grace and Archivist Asanti, Sal is out to capture dangerous magical books that could have a huge negative impact on the human race.

 

My Thoughts:

This is the first half, 8 short stories, of the first volume of the Bookburners. It is a collection of short stories that tell an overall bigger story. Things were flying along right up until the last story. Then I had 2 serious issues.

A transgender character is one of the main side characters and everybody in the group is perfectly fine with it, including the Catholic Priest and the layman Presbyter. The one character who does have a problem with the whole transgender issue is literally demonized by the author. Not going to be reading more of that!

Then you have the relationship between Sal and Liam. They end up sleeping together once and then wonder where things are going. By the end of this volume, Liam has decided since he was damned for being demon possessed, what’s a little fornication on the side? It was horrible to read and yet shows the mind set of most 21st century people in this day and age. There is no mention of Jesus Christ, just the Catholic Church’s traditions. There was no power towards Salvation.

So no more of this for me.

☆☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge

 

The Monster Hunter Files (MHI #7) ★★★★☆

monsterhunterfiles (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 Monster Hunter Files
Series: Monster Hunter #7
Author: Larry Correia, et al
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories about various monster hunts and hunters, some good, some bad, all interesting. Correia starts the parade but then each story is by a different author and none are overlapping or interconnected. A nice montage to fill your Monster Hunter craving.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this collection immensely. In fact, I stayed up until almost midnight monday night reading it. I kept on telling myself, ok, THIS is the last story for the night. And before you know it, bam, midnight!

There were only 2 stories I actively disliked. One was a Jane Yellowrock/Faith Hunter story. It reminded me why I don’t read 99% of Urban Fantasy. Bad attitude assholes with chips on their shoulders so large that they have their own gravitational pull. If I had my druthers, Yellowrock would get run over by her own motorcycle while having her shotgun shoved up certain orifaces. That’s how she makes me feel after just a short story. Imagine a book, a whole series? No thank you. The second story was about some vietnam vet who rescues a commune of hippies from a vegetable demon. First, it portrays Vietnam vets as nothing but mentally disturbed violence seekers. You know how many Vets from that time settled down afterwards and just got on with life? Yeah, you don’t hear about all of them, they don’t make the news. Second, the hippies turn out to be semi-intelligent and OK people. Yeah, I’ll believe that in a heartbeat. Hippies are just soft Commies. In fact, if you put a Hardline Communist and a Hippie in a sealed room and gave me a Sig P938 and ONE bullet and told me to choose, I know exactly what I’d do. I’d line them up, Hippy first. At least if the Hardliner survives I’ll know he’ll go for my jugular. /End ranting and raving/

Here’s 2 of my favorites. One about a girl and her hippy dad (hahaha) who move into the Enchanted Forest trailor park because the girl tried to kill her science teacher because he was a werewolf. Not even her father believes her. Of course, moving in where the Queen of the Elves lives doesn’t help things. But when the girl helps take out an invading clan of garden gnomes, it’s all good! My second favorite was about Janitor One who hooks up with talking mice because his janitor2 coworker opens up a portal to hell to summon a demon because the janitor2 is jealous of how Janitor One actually does his job. I think part of the appeal was how Janitor One would literally try to fight anyone who looked down at him, even Owen Pitt 🙂 That takes some serious balls.

The rest of the stories varied between pretty good to hohum. Some were funny, some were sad. One of the ho-hum ones dealt with the douchebag hunter from the Monster Hunter Memoirs series. But overall it was nice to get another MHI story. It’s about the only Urban Fantasy series I look forward to reading or can even stomach in most cases.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

The Compleat Bolo ★★★★ ½

compleatbolo (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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Compleat Bolo
Series: ———
Author: Keith Laumer
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 320
Format: Digital Scan

 

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories and whatever you call a 50page story, not really a short story but not a novella either. Anyway, stories about the evolution of the tanks known as Bolos. From their mechanical beginnings to their self awareness to their “we’re smarter than humas so lets help them out”ness.

Bolos are loyal, brave, determined, nigh unstoppable and better representatives of humanity than any human. In other words, they are great mechanical main characters without the Skynet vibe.

 

My Thoughts:

I really needed this read. After The Punch Escrow I needed something to remind me that not all humans are bastard baby killers. So of course, I read a book where tanks are the main characters.

The humans in these stories are props for the most part. While they figure more prominently in earlier stories, as the stories progress the Bolos take center stage more often than not. Honor and duty are big points in these stories and I actually teared up at one story about a bolo sacrificing itself to save the humans. Sometimes I’m so weak.

This is probably more of an actual 4star book, but when compared to Punch, it rockets up. Some of the problems might be insurmountable for some. While this book was published in 1990, the stories come from the 60’s through the 80’s. In places, it shows. Word plays making fun of a politician’s name [McCarthy anyone?], communications, the 40 people in the one town on one world all talking like Jeb Clampet. I read more “hick talk” in this short book than I have in a long time.

Having read this in the 90’s soon after it came out and then during college and then again in ’01, I can’t say that I’m exactly unbiased. I like this collection of stories. I’ve never been tempted to try the full length spin off Bolo novels by other authors though. This book I recommend. Those others, try them at your own risk.

★★★★ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. The Compleat Bolo [2001 Review]

Dreams of Distant Shores ★★★★☆

5aae02e7a5c34810f5b48569183fd22c

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, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 

 
Title:         Dreams of Distant Shores
Series:      ———-
Author:    Patricia McKillip
Rating:     4 of 5 Stars
Genre:      Fantasy
Pages:      290
Format:   Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories and a novella showcasing McKillip’s writing style and preferred story content.

 

My Thoughts:

The majority of this book is taken up with the novella, Something Rich and Strange. I read that back in ’05 and wasn’t very impressed then and this time around nothing improved. That is the reason for the 1 Star deduction.

Now, the rest of the stories, they were excellent. They were what I EXPECT from McKillip. My favorite was about an artist who draws the Gorgon’s mouth and it becomes his muse, until it convinces him to fall in love with a real life girl who then becomes his true muse. Not being an artsy guy myself, most of the time I poo-poo stories dealing with art. However, this story, appropriately entitled The Gorgon in the Cupboard, drew me in and made the artist character sympathetic enough that even I was able to like him. The counter-story about the woman who becomes his muse, is poignantly sad and heartwrenching and provides a sad canvas upon which a happy story is drawn.

The Forward by Peter Beagle I could have done without. I am not a fan of Beagle, so his musings on meeting McKillip at various times came across as self-serving and very faux-humble.

If I ever read this again, I’ll just skip the novella and concentrate on the short stories.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

  1. 2005 Review of Something Rich and Strange