Sunday, June 11, 2017

"A Fire Upon The Deep" by Vernon Vinge

I am not sure whether to like this novel or not. I managed to read it fully so most likely I liked it though I skipped many pages filled with "descriptive" writings.

I find Skroderiders to be the most interesting among alien in the novel. I can not even understand what they look like but they were  fun to read. Actually, I did not understand much of the story related to "powers" or "blight" or anything to do with space fighting or anti-blight entity.

So, skroderiders are great, but the rest is too conventional or part of too much fantasy.

posted by David




Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Three-Body Problem: chapter 3[the end]

This is a final chapter of "The Three-Body Problem" trilogy by Chinese science fiction author Cixin Liu. 

It is a mess. Very disappointing conclusions, ideas and story lines. It became more like a fantasy book rather than serious science fiction. 

First book is great. Second starts slowly but ends interestingly. Third one, starts fine but as it progresses more absurd it becomes.

posted by David

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Caleb Carr's "The Alienist": psychological analysis of violence in 1896 New York

This is an interesting novel about crime in New York in 1896. Theodore Roosevelt is a police commissioner at that time and JP Morgan, the "nose", rules the city.

The novel tells the story about series of violent crimes committed against juvenile boys prostitutes who represent underbelly of the city. New York's society does not even recognize their existence and crimes against them are not considered worthy of police investigation.

Criminology is in its infancy at this stage. However, using then newly developed science of psychoanalysis (people who practiced it were called alienists), novel's protagonists try to "reverse" investigate the crime and to come up with the psychological profile of the suspect.

posted by David



     

Monday, March 27, 2017

David Liss' "The Coffee Trader" - review


In this novel David Liss recreates Dutch Amsterdam at the time when the city represented center of commerce in Western Europe and where practice of religious tolerance was a norm (unlike most of other places in Europe).

The story focuses on Jewish diaspora in Amsterdam. Some of these Jewish people in Amsterdam came from Iberian peninsula where they were targeted by Inquisition. They brought with them their traditions and laws that were somewhat different from Jewish traditions observed by other Jewish migrants from Eastern Europe. 

At its core the novel is a fictional account of international trading scheme that eventually would make coffee a must to have household drink in Western Europe.

This is very interesting read with quite dramatic ending. 

posted by David