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.

Thoughts on Tactics: How History Affects Fiction and Makes It Believable

Not long ago, this author discovered the above picture, which discusses some fans’ thoughts on how the Fellowship of the Ring might have simply flown to Mordor to dispose of the One Ring rather than “take the long way around.” As the commenter explains, this would have been a bad idea narratively because the entire […]

Thoughts on Tactics: How History Affects Fiction and Makes It Believable

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

She’s Dead, Detective

“Pastor Omar, you counseled Tatiana Lang, didn’t you?”

“I did, Detective, for several months. Her death was unexpected and it hit us all pretty hard.”

“Was she violent? Did she ever attack you?”

Omar shook his head. “The content of our counseling sessions is private and will stay that way, even after her death. But no, I never felt unsafe in her presence.”

Pope leaned forward. “I didn’t ask if you felt unsafe. Did she attack you?”

The pastor leaned back in his chair and sighed. “Detective Pope, I’m happy to assist the police, but my sessions with Tati Lang are private. I can give you the dates of our sessions, but what we discussed is off-limits.”

Pope smiled. “You said ‘our sessions are private.’ Twice. Not ‘were private.’ Like maybe she’s not really dead?”

“Sorry. It was a slip of the tongue. Like I said, her death hit us pretty hard.”

Obsessed Much?

“The Book of Lycaon is a marvel, Ms. Lang. It records more than three millenia of blood lore, thirty-three hundred years of werewolf history and genealogy. I’ve made it my life’s study and have translated dozens of obscure, extinct dialects–some recorded nowhere else. The volumes describe how werewolves are created and how they die, and how they are cured.”

Gallard gripped Tati’s arm and drew her to the leather-bound books.

“This is your history now, Tatiana, and your salvation.”

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.



View all my reviews

The Wolf Life

“Being a werewolf isn’t like what Hollywood says. Sure, for a night or two around the full moon you’re on top of the world. The wolf takes over and your body changes into this magnificent beast that owns the darkness. Then the bloodlust rises and you slay indiscriminately, blindly. And suddenly you’re human again and you wake up naked behind a dumpster or deep in the woods or in some farmer’s stock yard. And for four weeks you live with the horrific knowledge that you’ve killed yet again. And one night the full moon rises and the cycle begins again.”

12-Step for Werewolves

Tati drained the last of her beer. She watched through the window as a local loaded equipment into the bed of a pickup truck.

“These are good folks, Omar. I’d hate to kill any of them.”

Omar leaned close. “The full moon isn’t for three days. Let’s get back to the ranch. There’s a valley miles from town with deer, elk, and antelope. I’ve hunted there for years as a wolf. You don’t have to kill anyone.”

Tati shook her head. “What is this, a twelve-step program for werewolves?”

Omar chuckled. “Now there’s an idea. A twelve-step for recovering werewolves. It’s almost too bad there aren’t more of us.”

Preacher Wolf

“How’d you get to be a werewolf preacher? That’s just wrong on so many levels.”

Omar laughed and grabbed a burrito from the bag. “It’s not, really. I was pretty well lost. I had a bad coke habit, lost my job and my family. I was living in a car I’d stolen. Somebody found me and thought I was worth saving. This guy got me into rehab. It didn’t take the first two times, but eventually something got through. I’d been sober for six weeks when I was attacked on a camping trip. This wolf creature slashed my guts open. I could SEE my intestines hanging out. By the next day my wounds had healed. That’s about sixteen kinds of not right.”

Tati didn’t speak. What happened to Omar had happened to her half a world away–the wolf attack, anyway. At last she said, “And the preaching?”

Omar swallowed a mouthful of burrito. “Somebody took me out of the gutter. My life wasn’t worth saving but he did it anyway. I wondered what kind of person would do that. I wanted to let other people know they were worth saving too.”

“It was Gallard, wasn’t it? Gallard saved you.”

Omar nodded. “Well, Gallard got me out of the gutter. The saving came from somewhere else.”

“But you’re a werewolf. How do you square that with God? I thought there was the whole ‘Thou shalt not murder’ thing.”

Omar laughed. “It ain’t easy. God gives me grace and Gallard lets me use his hunting preserve on the full moons.”