Book Reviews: War, Worrying, Seattle, and Star Trek

Last time it was a sprained ankle that kept me at home reading all day (websurfing not included). This time it’s a possible torn knee ligament that’s got me zooming through my booklist. I don’t think this is what people mean when they say “I wish I had more time to read.”

Yesterday is Dead
Former reporter now detective leaves San Francisco for his old hometown of Seattle to help an old buddy who thinks he’s in danger. Then his ex-wife shows up, and he meets a Bohemian painter who wants him to do more than pose nude. . . why must life be so complicated? he sighs.
As it turns out, this is another old novel now being re-released, I assume for the first time in electronic form. As someone who’s spent a lot of time in Seattle, there were some niggling moments of wondering, but when you have the hero be a veteran of the Korean War it’s pretty obvious. Another note later about Hong Kong about to be handed over to the Chinese confirms this took place in the late 90s. On the other hand, for once, this doesn’t really get in the way of the story, which is a pretty good if not great hard-boiled detective novel of the kind I used to devour years ago. 4/5

Star Trek: New Visions Volume 2
As often happens with these comic books/graphic novels/painty stories, this is a collection of previous releases. . . except this isn’t as much of a painty thing as the others. I remember the old photobooks, some of them Star Trek, taken right from the episodes, but in this circumstance the “art” is actual photographic faces or bodies of the characters badly added to background drawings. I didn’t find this visual Frankenstein appealing, especially since the body positions at times look somewhat unnatural.
On to the stories. The first one, involving quite a number of guest characters from the original series, is frankly horrible. In addition to reading like a bad fan fic with pictures, it begins with the character speaking aloud to himself, even when around other people, instead of the more traditional thought bubbles. Considering in later stories this is not present, it makes the mistake all the more glaring, but really, there was nothing that could have saved this story. 1/5
The second story is a callback to Captain Pike’s Enterprise, and brings back Number 1. It also makes great use of Scotty, and though in the end the story was rather bland, it was magnitudes better than the first. 3/5
Thirdly is a short piece about Spock’s former fiancée, dedicated to her actress, who recently passed. Too short to really opinionate.
Lastly is a sequel to the Doomsday Machine, picking up right where that left off. Like the second it’s not really much of a story, barely more than an idea, with too much of a coincidence at the end of three million years to make it anywhere near believable. 2/5.
In the end this was quite disappointing, even if got better after the disastrous start. Not-so-simple math tells me it all comes out to a 2/5.

The Worrier’s Guide to Life
Hilarity starts right away with fetuses worrying about their looks and body types, including pierogi, broken slinky, and badly drawn dolphin. Then there’s the ye olde video games like Harpsichord Hero and William Burke, Tomb Raider. And I’d give anything to meet the Un-Tattooed lady, pierced ears or not.
A lot more hits than misses, even for a guy who had no idea why some female things were funny. So I’d imagine it would be even funnier to women, especially those who would identify with the author, if not admit it. Though it isn’t too obvious, I surmised she was British from a few of the drawings. I also surmised that this might be a weekly, or even daily, comic-strip-like deal, and a little research proved it was, so you can continue to enjoy it after devouring this quick read, as I will. 5/5

History of War in 100 Battles
Despite how relatively short each chapter is, it takes a while to read through. And this isn’t like most books of its kind where half of it is taken up by notes and bibliography.
With my preferences it was obvious “Deception” was going to be my favorite par—Trojan Horse, anyone?—and it was. Overall there were two types of occurrences that made me enjoy this: finding out about battles I was unaware of, and reading a new version, sometimes with a completely different take, of those I did know. The author must be commended for including not just the ancient world, such as Greece and Egypt, but something as out of the box as the fall of Tenochtitlan to the Spanish in the 1500s. A must read for fans of history who know that war isn’t always won by superior numbers. 5/5

Code Name: Infamy
From the beginning it’s obvious that this is not the first of the series, as the main characters are deposited in this story as though the audience is already familiar with them. In general this didn’t have much of an effect, though at the start it made for a little rough going. . . yet I’m sure fans of the series would be annoyed if there was a bunch of exposition they’d already heard, so it cuts both ways.
This is a story of a crazy Nazi general who can’t accept the failure of WWII and goes to the Japanese to help him get his revenge on the US before Japan goes under as well. The heroes are OSS agents whom, as mentioned above, seem to have been through adventures before, considering their rapport. It’s obvious that the author is a aeronautics buff even before reading his bio-blurb at the end, as we have plenty of fliers here, including early aircraft-carrier-based planes. There’s a new submarine as well, not to mention nukes.
The best parts involved the personal moments of the heroes, from the carrier pilot having doubts about his ability, or will to continue fighting, to one of the OSS officers meeting a prostitute in Chile and instantly falling in love, to their little hot tub party on Iwo Jima. They made up for the awkward feeling at the beginning of how I’m supposed to already know these people.
3.5 rounded up to 4/5

;o)

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3 thoughts on “Book Reviews: War, Worrying, Seattle, and Star Trek

  1. good reading lists!!! I live living here in Seattle…NO place like it to me. And I have lived many places. I was writing about blogging today and the artform of it all. Writing reviews is a great way to get readers too…Love it!

    Like

  2. Pingback: 15 Fave Books of 2015 | LoganBruin–An Unauthorized Autobiography

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