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Jan. 4th, 2010


December Random Comments

I feared December was going to be a quiet month on the reviewing front but it turned out I did ok with 9 reviews. Traffic is better than ever too, especially the last week of December. Maybe this blog really is taking off.

I opened with a review of Shadow's Edge, the third book in the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks. I'm afraid this book, like the series is not a particularly fine example of epic fantasy. The man does have quite an internet following though. Despite the luke warm reviews they are getting quite a few hits.

Next up is Arthur C. Clarke's final novel The Last Theorem, a collaborative effort with Frederik Pohl. It's a very entertaining read but the novel itself is unbalanced. Not Clarke's strongest.

On one of the Dutch Fantasy forums I frequent I won a copy of F.H. van Dongen's Het Bouwplan. This one is Dutch only I'm afraid. Peculiar book, I still don't quite know what to make of it.

James Van Pelt's novel Summer of the Apocalypse turned out to be a fine read. Van Pelt is better know for his short fiction but he handles long form very well in this book. I recommend this one if you like post apocalyptic tales.

I borrowed one of Kim's books for my next read. His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik proved to be a pleasant surprise. I have the next one lined up for some time later this month.

Time for a bit, well, a lot of historical fiction. Edward Rutherfurd covers the history of New York from the Dutch years of the city to 2009. New York: the Novel was a very interesting read but you do need to take the time for it.

Disappointment of the month was Dorothy Hearst's Promise of the Wolves. Good thing I got a 50% discount on this book.

Thankfully is was followed by the wonderful collection The Apex Book of World SF edited by Lavie Tidhar. Science Fiction from authors outside the anglophone world. I was very impressed by the quality of this collection.

Last review of 2009 was Robert J. Sawyer's Hybrids. Meh, is the best I can say of it.

To finish the year properly I also rambled about reading and reviewing in 2009 a bit. The result of which can be found here.

The first review of 2010 is in already as well. I'm on a roll ;)

Dec. 2nd, 2009


November Random Comments

A reasonably productive month over at the other Random Comments blog. I only had to cheat once :P I guess it was a good month for reading, not that many books I didn't like. The round-up:

First review of the month was Cherie Priest's steampunk novel Boneshaker. My first forray into this particular subgenre and I enjoyed it a lot. For some reason this is one of my most popular reviews.

Next up an old and slightly edited review of De ontdekking van de hemel by one of the most well known Dutch authors Harry Mulisch. Maybe a bit pretentious but I liked it. Not light reading though.

The Gathering Storm, the book we've all been waiting for. I sincerely apologize for taking so long but it took me a while to get my hands on a copy. Had I known how good it would be I might even have pre-ordered it ;)

Elizabeth Bear was unfortunate enough to have her book By the Mountain Bound published on the same day as The Gathering Storm. That is no excuse to overlook this book. There's some very fine writing there.

Time for another SF classic. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. The title alone is intriguing. The book even more. I seriously need to watch Bladerunner again sometime.

Following up on the Neanderthal trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer with Humans Not too sure about this one. It has some very enjoyable stuff science in it but also a lot of things I wasn't thrilled about.

Next up is a Random Recluse reread. Scion of Cyador by L.E. Modesitt Jr. is one of the author's most meticulously plotted works. Given the rest of his novels it is not really surprising but he works his favourite themes most effectively here.

For the Dutchies among us we have Vuurproef by Bianca Mastenbroek. This novel is unlikely to be translated which is a shame for those who can't read Dutch ;)

And the last one this month is The Lucky Strike by Kim Stanley Robinson. An alternative history taking on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. A pretty controversial work.

So that's this month's harvest. I doubt I will be able to maintain this level of productivity in December but I'll give it a go.

Nov. 10th, 2009


The Gathering Storm review

I finally finished to The Gathering Storm last night. Of course you have all read Melissa's wonderful and completely biased review (did you know she has her own monument now? Her megalomania really does not know limits ;)) whereas mine....


...is also completely biased :P

Anyway, I do touch on the actual content of the book but without giving much more away than you can find on the cover. Enjoy!


Nov. 1st, 2009


Oktober Roundup

For some reason blogger was down for most of the day in Europe. I got some hits from the US though, apparently people could view my blog there just fine. They fixed it just in time to get my last review of the month up but I didn't have time to write this post as well. So a day late but here we go, the roundup of reviews in October.

The Island of Dr. Moreau - H.G. Wells
I was in the middle of reading Dust of Dreams, a monster of a book from which I needed a break. First book by Wells I read and I must admit I enjoyed it. Maybe I should have picked something by Wells when I was still in school. I can think of a number of books on my reading list I would most certainly have dropped in favour of Wells.

Dust of Dreams - Steven Erikson
As I already mentions a monster of a book. Took me 12 days to read, which is exceptionally long by my standards. It's more than worth it though. He has one book left in his series but it looks like he is going to finish in style. A must for Erikson fans.

Galactic North - Alastair Reynolds
Short fiction set in Reynolds' Revelation Space universe. Contains some solid stories but you shouldn't pick this up unless you have read at least one of the novels in this setting. Preferably more than one.

The Wild Shore - Kim Stanley Robinson
I cheated and polished up this old review of Robinson's first novel. I wanted to move it from Livejournal because I intend to finally read the other two books in the Orange County trilogy. Hopefully the will be a review of the second book in November.

Time Out - Various Authors
I won this at a Dutch website dedicated to fantasy. It contains short stories in speculative fiction by a lot of Belgian and Dutch writers currently active in the field. The quality varies but my to read list did grow after reading it.

Always Forever - Mark Chadbourn
Wrapping up a trilogy. I reviewed the first two parts for BSCreview and couldn't leave the last part alone. Feels a bit rushed at the end but it is a solid book.

Black Trillium - Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May and Andre Norton
Disappointment of the month. Frankly I am amazed any of the authors would have their name attached to this disaster.

Magi'i of Cyanor - L.E. Modesitt Jr.
A random Recluce reread. One of the white books and in my opinion one of the stronger ones in the series.

Shadow's Edge - Brent Weeks
Second book in his Night Angel trilogy. The first was rather weak for a book that received so much attention on the web. The second is a lot better.

Sanctum - Markus Heitz
Werewolf horror by German author Markus Heitz. I didn't think the first part of the story was brilliant. This final book is worse. Don't bother with it.

Right now I am reading Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. Review should be up in a couple of days. I don't own a copy of The Gathering Storm yet (I know, I should be calling my self a Wheel of Time fan) so you'll have to wait for that one for a bit. I also have By the Mountain Bound by Elizabeth Bear on the list for this month.

Oct. 5th, 2009



My obsession should be well known to the Tar Valon crowd. I finally managed to get some stats on my new blog. It currently has more reviews than visitors, today a whopping nine people visited it. One of which is me. Still, I am having great fun with Google Analytics. Who would have thought my visitors prefer Firefox as their browser :P

For some reason the Dragon Keeper (by Robin Hobb) review is favourite. I'm hoping a more recent review will take over soon :P

Oct. 3rd, 2009


Ig Nobel 2009

They have been awarded again, one of the highlights of the scientific calendar. They certainly have a fine selection this year:

PHYSICS PRIZE: Katherine K. Whitcome of the University of Cincinnati, USA, Daniel E. Lieberman of Harvard University, USA, and Liza J. Shapiro of the University of Texas, USA, for analytically determining why pregnant women don't tip over.

That one had my puzzled for the last few months. A colleague of mine, I think she is about 1,55 and 40 kg, got pregnant. The last time I saw her (she's on maternity leave now) she was about 6 months along and looking like the baby would be born any day now. It really is a miracle she didn't keel over. Newton would have dropped all his theories on gravity had he witnessed it.

ECONOMICS PRIZE: The directors, executives, and auditors of four Icelandic banks — Kaupthing Bank, Landsbanki, Glitnir Bank, and Central Bank of Iceland — for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa — and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy.

There must have been so many contenders for the economics prize this year. A shame none of them bothered to show up for the ceremony :P

Full list can be found here.

Sep. 4th, 2009


Vacation's almost over....

We're back from out trip to Belgium, in which we did as little as we could get away with. It was a nice trip. It's not that far from where my parents live so I know the region a little. Don't think we have any spectacular pictures to share but if one does turn up I'll share of course ;)

I've spent an awful lot of time getting my other blog going. Read something like 11 books in the last three weeks, which by my standards is quite a lot. I have four stalk.. er ... followers by now so somebody must be reading it. Or not. I have decided to forgo trying to get some basic stats for the moment. I don't really want to know right now. I'm pleased with it so far and that is all that really interests me.

It's back to work on Monday, way too soon of course but I already dread the amount of rubbish in my mailbox when I get back. Better not put it of. Why are vacations always so short. Any why didn't I use some more of my gazilion free hours that I am not going to be able to use for the rest of the year? Hmmm... Maybe I'll make it four weeks next year.

Aug. 20th, 2009


We gaan naar de Ardennen...

The title is only funny if you are familiar with the work of Herman Finkers.

Anyway, we're off for a week on a short holiday to some place near Spa in Belgium. Don't expect to be online so it's going to be quiet here for a while.

See you next week!

Aug. 17th, 2009


Moving some of the book stuff

All right, I finally gave in and started my own book blog. I've been moving some reviews over for a while now. I guess that means less book stuff on this blog (do I hear a sigh of relief?)

The new blog with a highly original name is located here. To comment you need an open ID, a livejournal account counts as one so it shouldn't be a problem to anyone reading this ;)

Jul. 11th, 2009



Meet Kitty number three. We haven't named her yet.


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