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Burning Godzilla
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While waiting around to have some minor car repairs done, and running a few other errands and having some stuff to eat I managed to finish The Reefs of Earth by R. A. Lafferty (1968). Ah, the good old days, when you could read a novel in a few hours. This is typical Lafferty; whimsical, bizarre, comic, violent, mystical, eccentric, and with a bunch of strange doggerel. Compelling even when you can't make sense out of it.

Next up is West of the Sun by Edgar Pangborn (1953).

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:18 pm
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I'm trying to catch up on Escape Pod. I've gotten behind by about twenty episodes.

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Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:56 pm
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I have just started Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson (2015), his take on the generation ship theme.

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Thu Feb 09, 2017 6:52 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Yesterday I found an interoffice mail envelope in my mail slot containing a graphic-novel version of The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward checked out of the Ypsi library for me. Nothing says Valentine's Day like a guy resurrecting the dead so he can interrogate them, obtain their ancient secrets, and use them to take over the world. It was entertaining, but I was irritated over and over by the characters constantly making current-day grammatical and usage errors while pretending that the year is 1928.

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Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:35 am
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Burning Godzilla
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About to start Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp (1941; originally published in a shorter form in Unknown, December 1939.)

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:26 pm
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Brilliant Blunders, Mario Livio: The blunders of the title are five scientific errors by renowned names: namely, Darwin's not knowing about genetics (seem off? We'll get to it), Lord Kelvin's "temperature problem" concerning the age of Earth, Linus Pauling's "triple-helix" model of DNA, Fred Hoyle backing steady-state over explosive expansion (and dubbing it the "Big Bang" in the process), and Einstein... messing something up, I haven't read that far and the description doesn't say.

The problem is that Livio wants to have it both ways: he wants to discuss great errors by famous scientists and at the same time he doesn't want to seem dismissive of the scientists involved. Thus the book is filled with backpedaling and double-speak, to the point of honestly reading like an attempt to pretend the person being discussed did nothing wrong. This wishy-washy writing is hard going and does irrevocable damage to the text.

The one exception is Charles Darwin. The "error" Livio discusses is that Darwin did not account for variables he could not have known about. What Livio wants to say is that Darwin's original theory needed more empty variables, flexibility, you might put it. How it reads is that Darwin's theory was broken. Unlike Kelvin, Pauling, Hoyle, and probably Einstein, Livio makes only a token effort to play down the effect of this error. Add to it that Livio wrote a book titled Is God a Mathematician?, and his pretending that "macroevolution" and "microevolution" are terms used in biology (every biologist I've read would laugh at the idea of dividing evolution up that way), as well as his insistence on the terms "stellar evolution" and "chemical evolution".

What we have here is a pair of chapters on Darwin written by a man who shows multiple signs of being an "Intelligent Design" creationist who knows I.D. is too discredited to use anymore. (Even ignoring that, Livio is an astrophysicist - perfectly suited to write about Hoyle and Einstein, but not the sort of person to trust with evolutionary biology, geology, or biochemistry.)

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Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:06 am
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I'm about a fourth of the way through The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break by Steven Sherrill, about a 5000 year old immortal monster trying to get by in the world (currently by repairing used cars to pay rent at a trailer park and working at a restaurant as a line cook). Everyone he encounters doesn't treat him badly because he's a monster, but rather the way they act towards him reveals who they are as people.

There's a lot of amusing details about how a minotaur would have to deal with the world, including a brief bit where "M", as everyone calls him, spackles in the gouge in an apartment building hallway where one of his horns scraped the wall while he was helping a coworker move some furniture.

Humorously enough, I picked up the book--which was published in 2001--last week and found out the author wrote a sequel last year. So far it's quietly interesting and I might grab the second book if the first one stays as good as it is.

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Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:31 am
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So I went and returned to my bookworm days last year. Best novel I read was Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus. Beautifully written book that you buzz through if you wanted to, but why would you want to?

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Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:02 am
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I have started Time and Again (1951) by Clifford Simak. Pretty good so far. Keeps an intimate mood, despite all kinds of SF concepts -- galaxy-wide colonization, androids and robots (not the same thing), time travel, etc.

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:08 am
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I've started reading And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts. It's staggering, and I wish there was something I could have done to help when reading about so much needless suffering and death. But I was five when the time period the book covers starts, and ten when that time period ends. Probably required reading to figure out how the epidemic got as bad as it did before getting under control.

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Checkpoint Telstar enters the ring for the RussellMania review roundtable, taking a look at Ken Russell's 1971 masterpiece The Devils.

The Fiasco Brothers Watch a Movie watch Vampyr and talk about dream logic in a silent German film about a vampyr.


Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:29 am
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I'm about a 1/3 of the way through THE BULLY PULPIT: THEODORE ROOSEVELT, WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT, AND THE GOLDEN AGE OF JOURNALISM. The book really didn't come together for me until Chapter 7 - The Invention of McClure's. I don't know much about the history of the free press at the turn of the century beyond the embarrassment of the yellow journalism of Joe Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst (the forbears of Joseph Goebbels, The National Enquirer, Rupert Murdoch, Fox News, MSNBC, Brietbart, and The Huffington Post) But it is also an example of how a brilliant moderate conservative with a passion for conservation and fair treatment of the working class forged bonds with journalists to effectively communicate his ideas. (It also helps to have Roosevelt's overwhelming charisma). It's a rather good history and is quite the reflection of the current debate we are having about the growing gulf between billionaires, the middle class, laissez faire attitudes toward corporate practices and environmental protection versus federal regulation and oversight.

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Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:25 pm
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billydaking wrote:
So I went and returned to my bookworm days last year. Best novel I read was Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus. Beautifully written book that you buzz through if you wanted to, but why would you want to?
Glad to hear that this was good. Saw it in a used book store and couldn't decide whether it looked like riveting steampunk or whether it was a drippy romance novel with a speculative twist. It's on my extended "to get to one day" list.


Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:03 am
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About to start The Deceivers (1981) by Alfred Bester. His other late SF novels haven't been up to the level of The Demolished Man or The Stars My Destination, so I've got my fingers crossed.

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:17 pm
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You're gon have to cross em pretty hard for that one.

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Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:59 pm
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Well, so far it's not that bad. It has some of the energy of the early works. There are some genuinely unpleasant cultural stereotypes, as well as others involving sex and sexual orientation, but I'm trying to look beyond that, and appreciate the jazziness of his style.

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:10 pm
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