Books I've read

This section was called books I've read recently, but some of these are not so recent any more.

Reviews of some of the books

Robots and Empire
Isaac Asimov

The
fourth story featuring Robot Daneel. I liked this book, though it is a bit of a depressing one for someone who values human choice like I do. Perhaps Asimov was trying to say something about the futility of attempting to make robots that we (humans) could control forever by using his three laws.

Running Blind
Desmond Bagley

This 1970 thriller provided some nostalgic charm. The book is a spy story chase around Iceland.

The Tasmanian babes fiasco
John Birmingham

The second documentary/fiction book on share housing produced by John Birmingham, following on from He died with a felafel in his hand. This is not the book to read if you are offended by frequent references to drug use. It is, however, very funny. Unlike felafel, which was simply a collected series of share house stories, tassie babes links these collected stories into a narrative. The book even includes an acknowledgment to alt.flame.roommate, which provided some of the stories.

The Inheritors and Gateway to Never
(Ace Science fiction)
When the dream dies
A. Betram Chandler
(Sphere Science fiction)

I have enjoyed Chandler's books in the past. His work is interesting, especially his more detailed than usual exposition of possible faster-than-light drives (the earlier Ehrenhaft magnetic drives, which produced the ships known as guassjammers and the time-distorting Manschem drive).

These two spoils from the lifeline book fest however, were disappointing. I think what was most annoying was his emphasis on nude women. Their presence or undress usually seemed added to the plot as an afterthought.

The first book features two John Grimes stories. The inheritors, about a lost earth colony explores some interesting ideas about the social development of one such colony. The edge of Never is about drug smuggling, with not much particularly imaginative about it. It was this story that got me thinking about how markedly a book about the future can date. It wasn't the theories about the various sorts of societies that Grimes comes across on the galactic rim, but more the social attitudes of the 1970s were assumed to continue ad infinitem. This is especially noticeable in the attitudes to smoking and women.

When the dream dies, is a shorter story about a group of men who buy the last of the gaussjammers. They suffer the fate of some of these ships and are "blown off course" by a magnetic storm. The world they arrive at again explores some interesting ideas, but again not without including more nekkid women.

Postern of Fate
Agatha Christie

A disappointing book. This a Tommy and Tuppence book, set when they have retired to the country. It's a murder mystery with a touch of espionage. The dialogue is either an attempt to reproduce dithering speech of people who are having trouble with their memory (quite accurate, and therefore irritating), or is Christie's ignorance of espionage showing through in not knowing what her characters should talk about.

Shakedown
Terrance Dicks
(one of the Doctor Who New Adventures)

The first New Adventure I've read, and quite good fun.

African Upheavals Since Independence
Grace Stuart Ibingira

A fascinating book, though rather too involved for a casual reader such as myself. Details reasons for political upheavals in post-colonial Africa, with special emphasis on Uganda, when Ibingira was a member of Obote's government and then imprisoned by him.

Three Men in a Boat
Jerome K. Jerome

It was a delight to revisit this book. I read my Parents' copy before I left home, and picked up a second hand copy in Vancouver. The delightful late 19th century combination of first-person humour and travelogue was great to return to.


Other things
Robert King's page
Statistics
Mathematical and Physical Sciences
University of Newcastle
(that interest me)
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File "public_html/books/index.html" last updated 04:05:17 PM, Mon Apr 03, 2006
comments to: robert.king@newcastle.edu.au