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CDRBill

CDRBill

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The Seventh Book of Lost Swords: Wayfinder's Story
Fred Saberhagen
The Courts of Chaos - Roger Zelazny

I love The Chronicles of Amber stories and this one is a fitting conclusion to the first quintet, the Cycle of Corwin. There was a surprise twist to the ending, however. At least it was to me!

The Chronicles of Amber: Volume II (Amber #3-5) - Roger Zelazny

This books follows the royal family of Amber, in particular Prince Corwin, through all the in-fighting and machinations for succesion to the throne. The world building and characterizations are exceptional. 

Blood Music - Greg Bear

The idea behind this story is really good. However, the characterizations left a little to be desired. I could never really develop an affinity with any of the characters at all. They just seemed to be a little haphazard. Some of the prose was a little "iffy" as well. 

Emphyrio 19 - Jack Vance

A quick enjoyable read about a hero rising to challenge and change the status quo that has been in place for over 2000 years.

The Hand of Oberon

The Hand of Oberon - Roger Zelazny Great continuation to the story of Amber with a surprise ending.

The Chronicles of Amber

The Chronicles of Amber - Roger Zelazny This book contains the first 2 Amber novels, Nine Princes in Amber and The Guns of Avalon. I have provided a review of each individually.

Nine Princes in Amber:
I can't say much that hasn't already been said about this book, both the good and bad. It was a fast-paced enjoyable read. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

The Guns of Avalon:
The second installment of the Amber series continues the saga of Corwin and his path to the throne of Amber. This story continues to flesh out the concept of Amber and the royal family and gives hints (but no answers) on where they get their power to travel in shadows. I look forward to learning more about Dworkin. I am going straight to the next book!

The Guns of Avalon

The Guns of Avalon - Roger Zelazny The second installment of the Amber series continues the saga of Corwin and his path to the throne of Amber. This story continues to flesh out the concept of Amber and the royal family and gives hints (but no answers) on where they get their power to travel in shadows. I look forward to learning more about Dworkin. I am going straight to the next book!

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History - Elizabeth Kolbert This book does a great job showing how mankind has effected the Earth and it’s environmental ecosystems, not just in the modern era but for thousands of years. Everything the author discusses is well documented or shown to be very well researched hypotheses.

There have been five mass extinction events: the Cretaceous-Paleogene, the Triassic-Jurassic, the Permian-Triassic, the Late Devonian, and the Ordovician-Silurian. The Sixth Extinction is now in progress in the current Anthropocene (Age of Man) era.

Kolbert begins the book showing how early scientists did not believe in extinction until Cuvier, Lyell and even Darwin pushed forward various hypotheses based on reading of the fossil record.

She then moves into where man starts having a mass effect. We are not just warming the planet but excessive CO2 is acidifying the world’s ocean. We are destroying habit. And in our world travels, we are transporting species out of their native habitat, in effect creating a new Pangea with less diversity. Those of us living in Florida in the United States know all too well the problem invasive species pose.

Many may think that mankind just started having this adverse effect beginning with the Industrial Revolution. However, this book gives compelling evidence that we have been decimating species for thousands of years. As she put it in the book, “Though it might be nice to imagine there once was a time when man lived in harmony with nature, it’s not clear that he ever really did.” She writes about the growing body of evidence that man was instrumental in the extinction of the meg-fauna between 40-60 thousand years ago.

In the later chapters, she writes about more recent events such as the great bat die-off (due to an invasive fungus), the Sumatran Rhino and the destruction of species we may not even know about as we destroy rain forest habitat.

One reviewer (http://viiamanda.blogspot.com/2014/03/serial-killer-who-me.html) called this book a good horror novel. That is a valid summation. This information in this book is very depressing and at times downright frightening. However, Kolbert infuses a little humor and just the right time. She also hints that there is still hope and time for reversing some things.

A quote from the book sums it all up very well: “A sign in the Hall of Biodiversity offers a quote from the Stanford ecologist Paul Ehrlich: IN PUSHING OTHER SPECIES TO EXTINCTION, HUMANITY IS BUSY SAWING OFF THE LIMB ON WHICH IT PERCHES.”

The Drowned World: A Novel (50th Anniversary)

The Drowned World: A Novel (50th Anniversary) - J.G. Ballard, Martin Amis This is a prophetic story about the flooding of the world. The story and character development start slow but do get better. Ballard also introduces a twist that all creatures are devolving to their Triassic equivalent, including some humans, due to genetic memory.

All in all this is a decent read if you give it time to develop.

Nine Princes in Amber

Nine Princes in Amber - Roger Zelazny I can't say much that hasn't already been said about this book, both the good and bad. It was a fast-paced enjoyable read. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

The Anubis Gates (Ace Science Fiction)

The Anubis Gates (Ace Science Fiction) - Tim Powers This is a fast-paced and imaginative book that combines quantum mechanics, Egyptian mythology and sorcery, Lord Byron, clown sorcerers, body snatchers, cross dressers, millionaires, doppelgangers (called "ka" in the book), time travel and hints of illegal human medical experimentation . How can you go wrong with that combination? Powers weaves an interesting and fun story with these elements that keeps you on the edge wanting more. The ending has an interesting little twist.

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: Being the Adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall, and His Squire, Egg

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: Being the Adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall, and His Squire, Egg - George R.R. Martin These 3 prequel novellas to the Game of Thrones series have it all, jousting knights, intrigue, rebellion, etc. If they are any indication, I can't wait to read the Game of Thrones books!

Nova

Nova - Samuel R. Delany Some odd characters with strange philosophies. Class conflict on a large scale. All set against the backdrop of the 32nd century spanning many galaxies.

Seveneves: A Novel

Seveneves: A Novel - Neal Stephenson What can I say. This is an amazing epic! Classic Stephenson.

The moon is destroyed and the Hard Rain makes Earth uninhabitable and the human race in space is reduced to seven women thus the book title.

Highly recommended! You will not be disappointed.

Resurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction and the Precarious Future of Wild Things

Resurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction and the Precarious Future of Wild Things - M. R. O'Connor Very well researched and written book about the moral and ethical issues of conservation efforts, past, present and future. The concept of "de-extinction" is fascinating but raises many unanswered questions. If we can resurrect an extinct species from genetic material, will that stop current conservation efforts because people will think "So what, we can always bring them back later". What about habitat descruction? Will the resurrected animals truly be a part of the original species without the usual environmental and social interactions?

This book really helps drive home that we humans are stewards of this little blue marble and right now we are doing an atrocious job. On a scale of 1 - 10 we don't even rate.

Jubal Sackett

Jubal Sackett - Louis L'Amour What can I say? I love Louis L'amour novels and the Sackett novels most of all. In this book, Jubal Sackett, the loner son of Barnabas, goes off on his own quest to see the far blue mountains. Other reviews go into the story line in detail so I wont bother here. However, I love the scale and grandeur this book brings to mind of the North American continent in the early days of settlement. I would have loved to experience that.

Oh and who doesn't need a 3,000 pound buffalo bull named Paison as a pack animal and transporation?!? Could you imagine riding something like that?! There is even a battle with a woolly mammoth.