Tag Archives: Tech Reviews

DusT

By T. Nelson Taylor, Self-published, ISBN-13 978-0-578-02932-0

Available at Createspace.com (paperback) and Lulu.com (hardcover and ebook)

T. Nelson Taylor’s foray into story telling has culminated in this interesting first offering. It’s an intriguing thoughtful story of a possible future, a future where computer hardware and software make a leap into a realm where your Linux system hasn’t been before.

The protagonist of the piece is a young Dr. Chris Miller, a scientist working with cutting edge nanotech. Dr. Miller is attempting to create a new and unique advance in computer memory… or so he thinks. Through wonderfully serendipitous circumstances, Dr. Miller ends up creating so much more.

Sadly, that AHA! moment is going to cost dearly; not just the young doctor, but many people on the periphery of this event. Taylor effectively shifts gears from a science fiction plot to a Ludlum-esque run-for-your-life thriller. With the help of a friend or two and lots of luck, Dr. Miller goes cross country… and eventually around the world to evade, escape, and illuminate.

The prototype machine he’s carrying with him is wanted by different groups for differing reasons. Dr. Miller must learn the motivations behind these groups and determine whose side he’s on; all the while fleeing for his life with his young daughter Emily. It’s intense.

Taylor tells the story well. He packages the whole thing in a high quality paperback (the version I read) for your reading pleasure. This is a great first effort by a new author. I commend him for his perseverance in getting his idea from his head to the publisher. As a long time writer-wannabe, I respect the effort required to do this.

I recommend this book. It’s an entertaining read.

Until next time, folks…

~Eric

Book image courtesy of https://www.createspace.com/3389138

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Drood

By Dan Simmons, Little Brown & Co., ISBN: 0316007021

Available at Borders

A while back I read this excellent and uniquely told tale from the intricate mind of Dan Simmons. It’s a tale about… well, it’s hard to say, really. If you’re at all familiar with late 19th English novels by authors such as Charles Dickens or Wilkie Collins, you’ll find comfortable familiarity with the setting of this book. It takes place mostly in London or surrounding areas. The story itself is twisted and intricately plotted. Readers of Dickens, the outstanding biography written by Peter Ackroyd, will be able to see where Simmons did a lot of his research.

The tale is narrated by Charles Dickens‘ real life friend and fellow author, Wilkie Collins. Collins was a relatively successful suspense author during the same era that Dickens was turning his tales. You may have heard some of Wilkie’s stories… The Woman in White, Moonstone, Armadale, etc. If you like 19th Century Gothic novels, give ol’ Wilkie a try sometime.

Anyway, in Drood, Wilkie is an opium smoker with some serious mental stability issues. He tells the story of friend Dickens’ last few years among the living; specifically how a train wreck that Dickens survived affected the rest of his days. Dickens had a fleeting interaction with a strange man that day. His name was Drood. Collins obsesses over Dickens supposed obsession with Mr. Drood. In reality, by the way, the last book the Dickens was writing at the time of his death was to be called The Mystery of Edwin Drood. It was never completed by Dickens. A couple versions completed by other authors were published, though.

Mr. Drood is not, to say the least, a very wholesome character. He’s allegedly a master magician from Egypt currently living in underground London. I’m talking the old, old underground London here folks; sewers, canals, underground rivers, secret passages in old churchyards, etc. You get the picture. Oh, did I mention rats? Yes, rats. Ain’t it great. Drood is a rather large tome; approaching 800 pages, yet it read very fast for me. Different folks are different when it comes to the pace of a book, though.

Visit your local library and pick up a copy for a nice rainy Sunday evening. I think you’ll like it.

Until next time, folks…

~Eric

The Road

By Cormac McCarthy, Alfred A. Knopf, ISBN 0307265439

Available new or used at barnesandnoble.com

A friend mentioned the movie based on this book in conversation today, so I thought I’d post a short review of this Pulitzer Prize winning (2007) novel here for your reading enjoyment. I read this book last fall, just before the movie was released. I’m a bit of a connoisseur of post-apocalyptic literature, and this baby fit right into that category just fine.

It’s dark. It’s raw. It’s also a grammarian and English teacher’s worst nightmare. McCarthy wrote this book in some new age texting inspired style with no quotes, no commas, sentence fragments, etc. Still, it’s an enjoyable read. Being a bit anal about punctuation, grammar, and the imminent demise of the English language (whole ‘nother article needed for that topic), it was a wee bit disconcerting to read a book written in this style… at least for the first few minutes. Once the story grabbed me, forget it. I wasn’t paying attention to anything but the story after that. He could have written it in crayon and I wouldn’t have noticed.

It’s a simple story of a man and a boy trying to survive some hinted at, but not quite explicitly stated, extinction level event. My guess was a limited nuclear exchange of some sort, which nevertheless breached the minimum required to trigger a nuclear winter event. The story follows father and son in their trek to find the seashore; and the daily miseries of dealing with slow starvation, sickness, and roving bands of cannibals. As I said above, it’s dark. It’s raw. Don’t expect “once upon a time” storybook happy endings here, folks.

This is the only book he’s written that I’ve read. While I’m not much on his writing style (mechanics), I like the story. There’s something Virginia Woolf-ish about his stream-of-consciousness writing, except Woolf actually used punctuation. It was a haunting story. Despite McCarthy’s non-traditional writing style, I would definitely recommend this book. I’m not sure it was Pulitzer Prize worthy, but it really was a good story. Give it a go if you get the chance. It read really fast for me, but that often depends on each reader’s preferences. One person’s page turner is another’s sleeping pill. I think you’ll like it, though.

Until next time, folks…

~Eric

Flyboys: A True Story of Courage

By James Bradley, Little-Brown, ISBN 978-0316105842

Available at Amazon.com

I just finished this remarkable book by James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers. It’s the true story of the events in the lives of a handful of very young flyboys (WWII pilots and airmen) in the waning days of WWII in their march toward Japan’s home islands; the prices paid and the lives forever lost or changed. One of those flyboys was a 19 year old future President of the United States, George H. W. Bush.

From Wikipedia:

Bush piloted one of four Grumman TBM Avenger aircraft from VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations on Chichijima.[6] His crew for the mission, which occurred on September 2, 1944, included Radioman Second Class John Delaney and Lieutenant Junior Grade William White.[1] During their attack, the Avengers encountered intense anti-aircraft fire; Bush’s aircraft was hit by flak[7] and his engine caught on fire.[1] Despite his plane being on fire, Bush completed his attack and released bombs over his target, scoring several damaging hits.[1] With his engine afire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft;[7] the other man’s parachute did not open.[1] It has not been determined which man bailed out with Bush[1] as both Delaney and White were killed as a result of the battle.[7] Bush waited for four hours in an inflated raft, while several fighters circled protectively overhead until he was rescued by the lifeguard submarine USSĀ Finback.[1]

Future President Bush (41) flew 58 combat missions and received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and a Presidential Unit Citation (U.S.S. San Jacinto). While you may not have agreed with his politics, you have to give the man credit for his remarkable bravery and dedication to duty. President Bush’s adventures were only a small part of this interesting book, yet an impressive part.

The rest of the book tells the stories of the ordeals of other young flyboys who weren’t as fortunate as Lt. (jg) Bush. They were captured, systematically tortured, eventually executed, then suffered the ultimate indignity… they were butchered and eaten by a handful of sick, misguided Japanese officers.

If you get the chance, read this sometimes horrifying account of what these young flyboys went through and didn’t survive. This book is a keeper. It’s a great read for anyone interested, as I am, in WWII history.

Until next time, folks…

~Eric