Thursday, June 21, 2007

Book Reviews

Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings has been the generous host of the Once Upon a Time Challenge, which is coming to an end tonight. Those of us who decided to take part in the Challenge had to do several book reviews on books that fit into the fantasy, folklore, mythology or fairytale category. Me being me, I left the reviews until the last minute. I didn't want to clutter up this site with a bunch of book reviews since, for some reason, book reviews never seem to be that popular around here. Doesn't anyone read? So I put all but one of the reviews over on my other blog, Sqt's Spare Parts. If you do happen to read and actually like book reviews, go ahead and check them out. Otherwise, have a good Friday everyone.


Fab said...

I'll check out the reviews and yes I read. I'm just not good at writing reviews. (Or fear for my taste in books)

Good Friday as well!

The Curmudgeon said...

If by "read" you mean more than two books a week, no.

Well, sometimes three.

Just finished Time's Tapestry (Book 1), the start of a new series by Stephen Baxter. Set in Roman times, mostly in Britain, from the times of the Claudian invasion through the early 400's.... and though it's "alternate history," from what I know, it seems pretty accurate... through Book 1.

Also just finished up Frederick Pohl's Eschaton series. I'd read The Other End of Time a long time ago; I recently re-read it and then caught up with The Siege of Eternity and The Far Shore of Time.

And I also got caught up on Harry Turtledove -- Settling Accounts: The Grapple -- the latest in a series of novels that have been imagined from the South winning the Civil War. (In this latest book, it's the 1940's -- and the South has its own Hitler and its own extermination camps.)

And the scary thing is the event Turtledove chose as the lynchpin of the series is a real event: One morning, outside the town of Frederick, Cpl. Barton W. Mitchell of Company E, 27th Indiana, and a comrade saw a "bulky-looking envelope" protruding from the grass. Mitchell was moved to pick it up.

And what a find it was for him: Three cigars, wrapped in a paper.

The expected course for a tobacco-craving soldier might have been to remove the paper and toss it away... but Mitchell was curious... so he unfolded the paper and scanned it.

It was labeled Special Orders No. 191 from the Headquarters of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Mitchell and his sergeant passed the paper to the company commander, Captain Kopp. He took one look and sent the paper up to regimental HQ. There, it went Col. Silas Cosgrove and then to Brig. Gen. A.S. Williams, who was at HQ that morning. Williams looked at it and summoned his adjutant, Col. Pittman, who stuck the paper in his pocket and rode off to find General McClellan.

McClellan now had Lee's battle plans... and even with these he won at best a technical victory at Antietam, although he forced Lee to abandon Maryland... and paved the way for the Emancipation Proclamation... avoiding British recognition of the Confederacy... and paving the way for eventual Union victory.

No, SQT, my source on the disposition of Special Orders No. 191 is not a sci-fi author -- but Bruce Catton, in Mr. Lincoln's Army, ch. 5. But Turtledove's whole series starts with this historic bit of luck not occurring. (See, "How Few Remain.")

A bit of a tangent there, I suppose.

Anyway, Turtledove's Crosstime Traffic series is a good 'young adult' series -- I've even persuaded Youngest Son to read a couple of these.

Thanks for your reviews (I read all of them).

Kate S said...

Will check it out when I have more computer time - I HATE being limited these days.

Just wanted to drop in to see how you're doing and say "hi." :)

SQT said...

Fab, I never admit to having taste. It takes the pressure off.

Curmudgeon, that just sounds way too scholarly and intelligent for me. ;) Actually it sounds really good.

Kate, I hope you're doing well. I'm flattered you used your limited computer time to come by and say hi.

Carl V. said...

I'm so glad you participated and helped promote the challenge. Thank you so much. I'm sorry I didn't realize you had the other site...or maybe I just forgot about it. Book reviews don't always get a positive response on my site either..sometimes, but not always. I throw them up anyway in the hopes that someone will enjoy them.

Crunchy Carpets said...

I don't seem to read the same books as anyone else...I did finish the second David Gemmel book about Troy...really great series.

I am stuck for something else now...That Baxter series sounds good Curmudg.

texasboyblue said...

Hate to shatter anybody's pre-conceptions, but I'm an ol' Texas boy, and I read...ummm...a lot. I haven't read Charlaine Harris yet, but I do have a review of Kim Harison's For a Few Demons More on my website {shameless plug coming} Hope you'll stop by and give it a look see...

The point was, I think, that yep I read and you've got one of the few sites that actually discusses books in your genre. Keep up the good work!

SQT said...

Texasboyblue, thanks for stopping by. I will definitely check out your review.