Tag: Doug

Jun 17 2018

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

Just in time for World Cup, I have finished Unseen Academicals, the Discworld book that takes up soccer — football, as it is known in some places, or foot-the-ball, as it is generally called in Ankh-Morpork. I had not been looking forward to this particular book on my trek through all of the main Discworld novels. …

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Jun 15 2018

War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

War for the Oaks had a band-naming scene before the name of your next band became a Thing. It had fantastic conflicts in a downtown setting before vampires were ever thought to be sparkly. It has strong female protagonists as if that is the most natural thing in the world, which of course it is. …

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Jun 12 2018

Making Money by Terry Pratchett

Like Going Postal, Making Money starts with a deus ex Vetinari. Moist van Lipwig has brought the Royal Post back to life, but the operation is running so smoothly that being in charge no longer satisfies his urge to take ridiculous risks. Lord Vetinari, the Patrician who rules the great city of Ankh-Morpork with a …

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Jun 10 2018

Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

Everything I said here about the greatness of the first half of Life and Fate holds true for the second. What strikes me most is how consistently he captures the contradictions of humanity, in situations both mundane and extreme. Some people are pitiless one moment and turn around and show great compassion the next; they …

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Jun 09 2018

The 13 Clocks by James Thurber

I am sure that I picked up The 13 Clocks because of the positive things that Neil Gaiman said about it among his reviews in The View from the Cheap Seats. I don’t have that text to hand just now, but I do have the introduction that he wrote to Thurber’s tale, even though he …

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Jun 06 2018

Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

Sword of Destiny collects six stories that take place early in the personal history Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher; that is, a human who has gained supernatural fighting abilities through a combination of training and magic. He is the central figure of four previous books by Sapkowski: The Last Wish, Blood of Elves, The Time …

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Jun 03 2018

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente — The B Side

In her “Liner Notes” to Space Opera, Catherynne Valente thanks, “however obliquely … Douglas Adams, or at least his ghost, who looms somewhat benevolently over all science fiction comedy.” He did more than just hover over my review, he provided the framework of the lead paragraph and set the tone for much of the rest …

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Jun 02 2018

Silent House by Orhan Pamuk

Silent House, Orhan Pamuk’s second novel, tells some of the stories of three generations of an extended family. Pamuk rotates among five narrators, each of whom tells their part in the first person. Published in 1983, the book’s main action is set in 1980, just before another military coup shook Turkey. The house in question …

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Jun 01 2018

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

Space Opera, I think, is wild. Really wild. You just won’t believe how strangely, weirdly, mind-bogglingly wild it is. I mean, you may think it was wild when Finnish heavy metal dudes in monster costumes won a continent-wide contest with “Chanson” in the name, but that’s just peanuts to Space Opera. After a while the …

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May 14 2018

Mani: Travels in the Southern Peleponnese by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Mani grew in the telling. Patrick Leigh Fermor meant it “to be a single chapter among many, each of them describing the stages and halts, the encounters, the background and the conclusions of a leisurely journey … through continental Greece and the islands.” He undertook the journey, “to pull together the strands of many previous …

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