I was probably 9 years old when I travelled down to Clearwater, Florida, for a summer vacation with my Great Aunt Della, my Great Uncle Biffo and my cousin Cheryl. It was probably the closest I ever got to “summer camp” but it wasn’t really all that bad because that was the summer that I fell in love with the girl in the white, green and red floral-patterned bikini. She was probably no older than 19 and she was captivating, which was baffling because I knew that I was supposed to be catching lizards, feeding seagulls, building sandcastles and generally being a little boy. But somehow all I could do was look forward to seeing the girl in the bikini showering herself off outside our window after a swim in the warm Gulf waters. It didn’t hurt that she’d save a friendly smile for me…
Continue reading Would You Believe, a Nilly Noo Sto?
Old magazines are awesome. Frozen snapshots of singular points in history, within the context of the age in which they were published. Take for example this 1966 issue of the magazine Science & Mechanics (which would later become ‘Creative Computers’, ultimately absorbed by ‘Creative Computing’, which ceased publication the year I graduated high school). This issue provides a glimpse of the future of birth control using a battery-powered radio transmitter and a strongly argued case by Brigadier General J. H. Rothschild for the use of gas warfare in the ongoing Vietnam War.
Continue reading Battery-Powered Birth Control
I have just closed the final page on the most compelling 3,000 page series it has ever been my good fortune to read. I feel happy, confused, disappointed and lost; for me, Neal Stephenson’s series ‘The Baroque Cycle’ is at an end. For the past few months I have lived with one of the three encyclopedic volumes of that author’s cycle clutched to my side, graduating from Quicksilver to Confusion to The System of the World.
Continue reading Ending The Cycle
Dumb luck is the best kind. The only reason that I pulled Neal Stephenson’s book Cryptonomicon off the shelf was that I had kneeled to look at something on the next shelf over and didn’t want to stand back up without a book in my hand. Besides having a long and imposing title the paperback is as thick as a brick, which is a great thing when I can plow through a normal paperback in a week’s worth of lunch hours. This book looked to be an Everlasting Gobstopper of modern literature.
Continue reading Cryptonomicon
I’ve almost finished reading every Jack McDevitt novel on the shelf and am wondering how long it’s going to take for this Georgia-based author to deliver his next book to his publishers. If you enjoy mystery, archaeology, adventure and disaster on a cosmic scale then you need to trot down to your nearest bookseller and announce in a very clear voice “I would very much like to purchase a book by Mister Jack McDevitt please M’am”. Just be sure that (unlike me) you begin reading McDevitt’s books in the proper order…
Continue reading Reading Jack McDevitt
The full title of this book is “Food Court Druids, Cherohonkees, and Other Creatures Unique to the Republic”, written by Robert Lanham, illustrated by Jeff Bechtel (Plume, an imprint of Penguin, $12). Bright lime green with iPod style silhouettes of two strange looking people on the cover.
Continue reading Food Court Druids, Cherohonkees, and Other Creatures
Back in the late 1990’s I was reading a lot of Larry Niven’s novels and works based on his novels. At some point I joined the Bucknell listserv for fans of Larry’s work. This is a review of a story called “A Darker Geometry”, written by Gregory Benford and Mark O. Martin, that I posted to the listserv in 1998, a story which was later published (with my persmission) to http://www.larryniven.org and can still be found there at the date of this article posting (a shout-out to my old pals over there on the Listserv, and to Larry of course!).
Continue reading A Darker Geometry