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Felicia at the Uncles

Posted by barb on Jun 2, 2005 in Books, Travels

And she had a great time browsing the shelves.
Felicia looking for books at Uncle Hugo's SF Bookstore

We bought a lot of books, but the pile that Felicia and I bought will be shipped later, when a could other books arrive. So much for instant gratification.

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Catching up on my book diary

Posted by barb on May 24, 2005 in Books

Those last four entries of books are ones that I’ve finished between February and now — I’ve been too busy to read much, and way too busy to write up in my diary. Here’s hoping that I’ll have more time to read after the AAS meeting next week…

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Jump the Shark

Posted by barb on May 24, 2005 in Books

by Jon Hein

Repeat after me: Not all fun web sites need to be made into books.

This is a book based on the Jump the Shark web site, where people discuss when various TV shows, celebrities and politicians “jumped the shark”. Of course, the phrase “jump the shark” refers to an episode of Happy Days where Fonzie jumped a shark cage on water skis, also widely viewed as the moment when Happy Days showed that it was past its prime.

The problem with the book, though, is that we get only Hein’s opinion on when people jumped. We lose the interaction of the website, which, frankly, is the fun part.

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Darwin’s Children

Posted by barb on May 24, 2005 in Books

by Greg Bear

I wasn’t going to pick this book up, since I wasn’t very happy with the last part of Darwin’s Radio; however, I found it on the free book-exchange shelf at work, and figured the price was right.

I’m glad I did pick this up. The book picks up 15 years after the Sheva virus first struck. Kaye, Mitch, and Stella (their “virus daughter”) are still on the run. Most of the “virus children” are in special schools (most of which were formerly prisons), and they are approaching puberty, which is making a lot of ignorant politicians nervous.

The book is pretty good — certainly better than the last quarter of Darwin’s Radio, and almost to par with first three-quarters.

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Martyr: Star Trek New Frontier Book 5

Posted by barb on May 24, 2005 in Books

by Peter David

Calhoun and the USS Excalibur visit a planet that has been embroiled in civil war for centuries. Calhoun is worhipped as their savior from war, and, of course, things go wrong.

Standard stuff for ST:NF — fun, fast, and quickly forgotten.

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The Best of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine

Posted by barb on May 24, 2005 in Books

Edited by Gardner Dozois

This is a collection of pieces published in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine during the 80s. A few notable stories:

  • “The Peacemaker” by Gardner Dozois: The editor apologized for including one of his own works in this collection, but I was glad he did. It was a powerful story about a post-catastrophe US. We learn about the catastrophe through a young boy, and about what a community will do to stay prosperous.
  • “Fire Watch” by Connie Willis: In this story, historians travel back in time to observe history as it happens. We follow a historian as he joins the fire watch at St. Paul’s cathedral during WWII.
  • “Her Furry Face” by Leigh Kennedy: This one was just disturbing. The story is about an orangutan researcher working with orangutans who have learned to communicate. The researcher falls for one of the orangutans…’nuff said.
  • “Hardfought” by Greg Bear: This is one of those stories that starts long before it needed to and includes far more than it needed to tell the story that was there. I was bored before the real story even began.

The other stories were good. Overall a decent book, but not one I’d go out of my way to find.

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Book Meme — Home version

Posted by barb on Mar 4, 2005 in Books, Memes, Etc.

Here are the rules:

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
  5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

Here’s the same thing from home:

“What’s a Pervect doing traveling with a Klahd, anyway?”
“Who’s a clod,” I bristled.
“Easy, kid,” Aahz said soothingly.

From Another Fine Myth by Robert Asprin. Certainly less intelligent that my “Work version”…more fun, too.

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Book Meme

Posted by barb on Mar 4, 2005 in Books, Memes, Etc.

Here are the rules:

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
  5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

Here’s mine:

The transformation of components of the second rank ημν transform by

η’αβ = Λαν Λβμ ημν

by comparison with Eq. (4.26), η’αβ = ηαβ. Thus ηαβ has the same components in all frames, as we have assumed.

From Radiative Processes in Astrophysics by George B. Rybicki and Alan P. Lightman. No lie — that’s the book I have out on my desk at work. Maybe I’ll try at home tonight, and see what’s lying around there.

[Link from Mr. Hassle’s Long Underpants]

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The Shadow of the North

Posted by barb on Feb 13, 2005 in Books

by Philip Pullman

In this second book of the Sally Lockhart trilogy, where we pick up with Sally a few years after The Ruby in the Smoke. She has built herself a small financial consulting business, no small feat for a woman in 1878, and has helped her friends from the first book build a respectable photography business.

This novel starts with two seemingly unrelated minor mysteries — one involves the sinking of a ship, losing one of Sally’s customers all of her retirement savings that she had put into that ship on Sally’s advice; the other involves an enigmatic performer at the theater where Sally’s friend Jim (and also employee at the photography studio) works backstage. These mysteries come together when an elusive company, North Star, pops into both the mystery of the ship, and the mystery of the marked performer.

Pullman’s style is easy and fun to read; though I tend to get lost during fight scenes, so I just skim ahead and see who’s standing at the end. I like that he doesn’t treat any of his characters as sacred, though I was a bit startled and upset by a death near the end of the novel.

I look forward to finding and reading the last book in the series.

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Black Thorn, Red Rose

Posted by barb on Jan 15, 2005 in Books

This is an excellent collection of short stories based on classic fairy tales. I enjoyed virtually all of the stories (with the exception of “The Frog King, or Iron Henry”), most notably:

  • “Stronger Than Time” by Patricia C. Wrede
    This is a retelling of the classic sleeping beauty (actually a few renditions of the sleeping beauty story appear in this collection, but this was by far my favorite), in which we find a prince trying to undo a mistake he made long ago.
  • “Can’t Catch Me” by Michael Cadnum
    This story is told from the point of view of the Gingerbread Man.
  • “The Goose Girl” by Tim Wynne-Jones
    A retelling of the goose girl story from the Prince’s point of view.
  • “Godson” by Roger Zelazny
    A story based on a German fairy tale found in the Brothers’ Grimm collections (though I don’t actually know which one, and the intro didn’t say so-as not to give anything away). It’s about a child who has as his godfather…satan? Not exactly, more like a keeper of human life.

There are more collections like this from the same editors, and a series of novels based on fairy tales, all of which I’m looking forward to delving into them.

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