Starry Wisdom

Entropic Words from Neilathotep

Tuesday, September 9, 2003


So, I’ve been missing the Obloid Sphere for a long time now. And one of the things I miss most about it was the chance for me to write stupid reviews of the books that I read. So, I think I will start doing that here. I will begin with a longish entry chronicalling the books I’ve read in the past couple of months.

  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace: I mentioned this briefly a little while ago. Reading this book is no small undertaking, but it is more readable than a lot of Pynchon. I very much enjoyed this book overall, and I have recommended it to several of my friends. I wouldn’t just rush into though, without first saying that you will take the time to go through it, even if it makes no sense and is a bit crazy at first. The basic premise of this book is, well, no, I don’t even think I can really describe it. I actually had very little idea what it was about when I read it, some vague ideas of it having something to do with tennis for some reason, but that was about it. Maybe it truly is best to go into it blind.
  • Double Bucky Shanghai (Phreakers No. 1) by Alice Bach: Wow, this book is simply amazing. Basically Alice Bach is some crazy lady who decided to write a series of “teen girls books” like uhm, Babysitters Club or what not, based on the escapades of a couple of 31337 h4x0r ch1x. I don’t think they ever ended up going much of anywhere, but man, they sure make for some amusing reading. At least this first one did. And quick too, I pretty much read it all over an iced chai at a coffee shop one afternoon.
  • Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant Teacher by Richard P. Feynman: This is a distilled portion of the Feynman lectures on physics. I knew everything covered in this book at one point, but it was an interesting refresher. It is very much written in a qualitative fashion, so it is very accessible to the layman. But it is interesting none-the-less. If nothing else, Feynman’s presentation these concepts of physics is novel and interesting.
  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson: I highly recommend this book. It is about the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, and the amazing amount of work that went into getting it going in an incredibly short amount of time. It is also about a man who is probably one of the most bizarre psychopaths ever. Very good juxtaposition. I think I had to admit that there were a few places where I was very underwhelmed by Larson’s writing, but he still told a good story, and it was compelling overall. I think that you Chicago people should most definitely read this one if you haven’t already!
  • Hell’s Faire
    by John Ringo: This is the fourth book in what I guess is called the Legacy of Aldenata Trilogy. Four books in a trilogy? Yeah, that is sort of messed up, but Ringo is most apologetic. Basically this book should really be stuck on the end of the third but When The Devil Dances but 9/11 basically made him stop short of finishing what he wanted to. And he decided to release the book on time. Whatever, it’s not that important. Anyway, the series is pretty good, although this last book was a bit subpar. It did end the trilogy satisfactorily. It is basically SF military fiction, like Tom Clancy with aliens. Overall, Ringo does a pretty good job of making things believable (although there are some goofy stretches), and he certainly created a compelling and interesting alien race in the Posleen, the crazy hordes that are invading earth along with other parts of the galaxy. I shouldn’t spend too much time on this. This series would almost certainly piss oregano off, but I think he could enjoy it if he managed to get off his high horse! One thing that might amuse some people that might or might not read this is that there is a funny slight tie-in with Sluggy Freelance…
  • Director’s Cut : A Moses Wine Novel by Roger L. Simon: This is the latest book in the Moses Wine mysteries series, which began with The Big Fix. This is also the first book in the series that I have read. The small background in that is that I have a signed copy. Slightly more background is that I went to the signing along with my friend steve, but the author himself missed it due to some strange timeing issues. Anyway, he went back to the store and signed some books the next morning, and we were able to go buy them the next day. This is a pretty standard thriller mystery novel, set in the post 9/11 world. Terrorists are out to get an art film being made in Praque, and it is up to Moses Wine to save the day! I guess this book is a pretty big departure of the Moses Wine character from his hippy roots, but I haven’t read the earlier books yet. I just ordered the first three and bought the fourth and fifth at used bookstores locally, so I am interested in reading them. If you dig light reading and mysteries, you might enjoy this series. I will post more about them when I get around to reading them.

I hope I didn’t bore everyone to death. But these things were really almost as much for me as for other people. Expect to see more entries in the future, but probably single book entries, not these giant marathon ones.

posted by neil at 11:02 pm
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