Quick Review of “Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View”

Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by Elizabeth Schaefer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I’m sure that on some planet far away there are original, entertaining stories that enthrall and entertain. This is not that planet. This is a collection of trite fan-boy fiction that adds nothing to Star Wars lore. The “From a Certain View” should give a clue that these are retellings of Star Wars vignettes from differing perspectives: Jawas finding the R2 unit, storm troopers aboard Leia’s ship, Sand People, etc., blah, blah, blah. What it really translates to is, “There’s nothing new here.” Don’t waste your time or money.



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Quick Review of Orson Scott Card’s A War of Gifts

War of Gifts takes us back to the Battle School during the time that Ender Wiggin was with Rat Army. Ender isn’t the protagonist–WoG doesn’t really have a consistent protagonist. The point of view switches from Zeck, an outsider Christian fundamentalist, to Dink Meeker, to Ender. Ender is a gratuitous afterthought and he serves no purpose that Dink couldn’t have fulfilled. The story revolves around a minor crisis on the station caused by Dink giving another boy a Christmas present. If the author had let Dink resolve the issue it would have fleshed out his character. Instead, Ender is given the task. Ender ex machina.

Check out this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/552987.A_War_of_Gifts

Quick Review of Falcon and the Winter Solider and Loki

You can give these two a pass, but for slightly different reasons. Falcon and Winter Soldier has gone full anti-US/anti-capitalist and spews the standard woke nonsense. The new Captain America is a grimy musclehead who needs a shave and has no concept of what Steve Rogers stood for as the iconic Cap. He beats a compassionate, thoughtful terrorist to death with Cap’s shield and stands there reveling in blood-soaked red, white, and blue. How pithy and edgy. All the characters are sympathetic to the terrorists who just want a better world, no matter who they have to kill to get it.

Loki is a grim, nihilistic, self-indulgent mess. The last episode started with an homage to all the woke warriors through time, including Greta Thunberg. It’s written from a secularist, human point of view, so there is nothing and can be nothing outside ourselves. There is no grace, no God, nothing but chaos. Loki gives his sister/self from another timeline a passionate kiss. Nuff said.

Review of Don’t Go There. It’s Not Safe. You’ll Die. And other more rational advice for Overlanding Mexico & Central America

Driving the Pan-American Highway from the States to Tierra del Fuego has long been a bucket list item for me. This book is a country-by-country guide to driving through Mexico and Central America. The title is tongue-in-cheek and refers to the standard response you get when you tell anyone what you have in mind. It was published in 2012 so I’m sure much of the info is dated, but what an absolute treasure trove. The authors provide detailed info on exchange rates, how and where to cross borders, what documentation is needed, and whether you should pay bribes (generally, no). There are also favorite camping spots, road conditions, favorite food and drinks in each country, and more. The authors’ web site (LifeRemotely.com) is still active and has more great info.

Check out this book on Goodreads: Don’t Go There. It’s Not Safe. You’ll Die. And other more rational advice for Overlanding Mexico & Central America https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19015368-don-t-go-there-it-s-not-safe-you-ll-die-and-other-more-rational-advic

Goodreads Review of House of Suns

House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I’ve been on an Alastair Reynolds binge recently and they absolutely don’t get much better than this. Reynolds is a master of hard-science fiction. House of Suns is a loose whodunit featuring six million year old clones wandering the galaxy in deep time. The thousand (give or take) clones of Abigail Gentian meet up every revolution of the galaxy for a reunion and now someone wants them dead. The concept that struck me was how the mind would cope with six million years of memories. At the reunions the clones download and share their memory strands but they still retain most of them.

There are a few weak spots. Two of the clones, Purslane and Campion, have chosen to consort, that is, to form a personal relationship. They’re lovers. This is frowned upon by the rest of the Gentian line. The chapters alternate between his POV and hers, which would be fine if there was a lick of difference in the two characters. Maybe that was intentional, but I think not. You have to deduce POV from the action.

The other (mostly minor) gripe is that the ending is very abrupt. Major plot issues are resolved but the final chapter seemingly ends in mid-scene.

I still give House of Suns two thumbs, way up.



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