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Childhood's End

by Arthur C. Clarke

© 1953 ISBN 0-345-34795-1

The U.S. and Russia are deeply involved in the space race. Only weeks remain until one of the super powers will place a rocket into Earth's orbit. In seconds, all of man's work to reach the stars will be in vain. Suddenly, space ships descend on all of the world's capitals. This is first contact.

This new race is dubbed the Overlords. The Overlords have come in peace to help humanity survive, or have they. They set up rules for humanity. Mankind slowly changes, but understands little of his new masters or their goals.

This was an interesting little story by Clarke. You must understand when reading it that it was written in the 1950's. Most of the story is not dependent upon this fact, as Clarke writes stories which are not time defendant.


by Ian Slater

© 1999 ISBN 0-449-15046-1

This book is set in the near future. It is a time of civil strife. The militia movement has gained power and strength. The U.S. military has had clashes with the militia. This book is about the next of those clashes.

This book makes the U.S. military look totally incompetent. At almost every move, the militia has the upper hand despite the better training and equipment of the military. While Slater is normally a fine writer, I was very disappointed in this book.

Tides of Light

by Gregory Benford

© 1989 ISBN 0-553-28214-X

In this book, one of the few remaining tribes of humans are fleeing from their mech enemies. Their goal is a small world near galactic center. Here they hope to make their home away from mech interference. When they reach their goal, the mechs are already there. Family Bishop must again fight for their lives. This time, the enemies are more powerful than even the mechs.

This book is a pretty good read. I would only rate it as average though. Benford is a good, but not a great author.

Fatal Terrain

by Dale Brown

© 1997 ISBN 0-425-16260-5

This is yet another in the Old Dog series. This features another reunion of all the old characters. If you like these books, this is for you. My biggest problem is that Brown has become so totally predictable as to be boring. It does have an interesting ending that may take you by surprise

From the back cover: "The People's Republic of China has launched a terrifying attack against Taiwan. Cold. Swift. Deadly. The U.S. isn't willing to stand by and watch, but when they come to Taiwan's aid, they're dealt an unexpected blow from Chinese forces. It looks like the U.S. is going down...

Until aerial strike warfare expert Patrick McLanahan and genius Jon Masters come into the picture. Together they have created a monster-the EB-52 Megafortress. A high-tech display of weaponry, fully equipped with stealth cruise missiles. The most sophisticated bomber the world has ever seen. The unsinkable flying battleship."

Power Plays - Bio-Strike

by Tom Clancy & Jerome Preisler

© 2000 ISBN 0-425-17735-1

Super criminal Harlan DeVane has bio-engineered a super virus. He has it spread all over the world in its dormant phase. It just requires a trigger compound to activate it. The most powerful part of this virus is that the trigger can be manufactured to specific guidelines. It can activate only in people sharing a specific genetic trait or a specific individual's genetics. DeVane is going to attempt to sell off the triggers to those willing to pay. First he infects Roger Gordian his worst enemy.

Sounds like a great plot, right? Wrong! This book is so predictable that you don't even have to keep reading to know the ending. It is a textbook rookie plot. I can't believe that Clancy allows his name to be associated with this kind of drivel. Where is the suspense that used to be a trademark of Clancy novels. This book is so simple and shallow that it reminds me of an old Hardy boy's book.

Tom, if you ever read this, these are not the works to associate your name with. This sort of thing will eventually ruin your name and prestige. I understand that you are making more money than you could have ever dreamed of as an insurance salesman, but remember that the public is fickle. If you continue to allow your name to display prominently on these dime store novels they will drag you down into the mud with them. It is great that you want to help these would-be novelists, but don't allow yourself to be degraded by it.

I will not say that I could write any better, but then again... I don't try.

The Magic Bullet

by Harry Stein

© 1995 ISBN 0-440-21808-X

This book is outside of my regular genre. The book is about a young doctor named Daniel Logan and his adventures at the American Cancer Foundation. After his acceptance to the A.C.F., Dr. Logan sets up a new and radical clinical trial for the eradication of breast cancer. The path of his research will not be a smooth one. Many of the senior researchers are looking for any excuse to shut him down. After Dr. Logan's patients begin dying he is cast off in disgrace.

This was a fairly good book. It was well written with a solid plot line. The book combines all of the critical elements of a good espionage novel with medical politics.

Starshield - Sentinels

by Margaret Weis

© 1996 ISBN 0-345-39760-6


This book chronicles Earth's first attempt at inter stellar travel. This is not where the book starts. The book gives about 80 pages of history before Earth's involvement. Earth's first inter stellar ship, the ISF Archilus, disappears.

One of the members of that crew holds the key that can stop an inter stellar war. They first have to learn the rules of this new civilization that they have found. Then they have to decide where their loyalties lie.

Fans of Weis will definitely enjoy this book. She has not lost a step here. It has been a long time since I read Weis and am glad that my brother loaned me this book.

The Sands of Sakkara

by Glenn Meade

© 1999 ISBN 0-312-97108-7

This is a story of three friends and how World War II ripped them apart. Rachel Stern, the daughter of an German archaeologist. Jack Hadler, a German-American. Harry Weaver, and American whose father worked for Hadler's father. The story starts in Cairo shortly before the start of the war where the three are working on a dig with Stern's father. The story quickly progresses to the ending days of the war and a plot to kill Roosevelt and Churchill during their summit to the middle east to plan for the invasion of Europe. This plot will plot these three friends against each other with the stakes being the outcome of the war.

Once the book really got rolling, it was a great read. The book combines fact with fiction to waeve a superior plot. I would strongly reccommend this book.


by Gregory Benford

© 1980 ISBN 0-553-29709-0

The time is 1998 (a future date for the purpose of this book). Mankind is on the brink of extinction. Years of irresponsibility is about to catch up with us. a Cambridge scientist, Dr. John Renfrew, has found a way to use tachyons to communicate with the 1960's. His hope is that he can send enough information into the past to change his present.

The second plot line takes place in 1962 where an associate professor at the University of California at La Jolla, Gordon Bernstein, is doing experiments with indium antimode. This is the perfect receiver for the tachyons.

The plot jumps from one to the other as Renfrew tries to communicate and Bernstein tries to figure out the results of his experiments. The problem is that you must send enough information to change the past without voiding the future.

While this is not Benford's best work, it is a very interesting read. I like most of Benford's work, and this is no exception.


by Marc Olden

© 1983 ISBN 0-425-07657-1

This book is a classic good against evil novel set in the far east. It pits a former New York police detective and Kendo Master Frank DiPalma against a would be samurai Kon Kenpachi. Kenpachi and his mentor, Zenzo Nosaka, have decided to return Japan to its former glory. They have reformed a WWII death squad called the Blood Oath League to kill those they perceve as being enemies to Japan.

DiPalma gets involved when he travels to Hong Kong at the request of his former lover to save his son Todd. There he is thrown headlong into a far eastern puzzle where the penalty for losing is death. DiPalma is forced to repeatedly save not only his life but those of everyone around him. While he is busy keeping himself alive, he must unravel this mystery before it kills him.

Reunion on Neverend

by John Stith

© 1994 ISBN 0-812-51953-1

Lan Dillion is returning to the planet Neverend for his 10 year reunion. On his way there he meats one of his dearest friends Parke Brenleck. Together the two of them get involved in a conspiracy of stellar proportions. I can not go into much detail without giving away much of the plot.

I really enjoyed this book. It moved along quickly and smoothly. The book is a science fiction mystery with many twists and turns along the way. Dillion and his friends are really colorful characters that the reader will find interesting.

Java Swing

by Robert Eckstein

© 1998 ISBN 1-56592-455-X

I bought this book as a reference book to be used in my Java class. It is good as a reference, but I would not recommend it as a stand alone text. If you are just learning Java, this is not the book for you. If you are a current Java programmer that needs a reference to the Swing library and its uses, I would highly recommend this book for you.

Java How to Program

by H.M. Deitel

© 1999 ISBN 0-13-012507-5

I couldn't believe it when my professor ( the same on that I had for C++ ) chose to use another Deitel book. I was not disappointed. The problems began in the second week of class. The professor informed us that we would not be using MS Visual J++ as he previously stated, but using Borland J Builder instead. The reason is that Visual J++ does not support the graphics package Swing which Deitel uses. Now ask yourself, if Visual J++ does not support this package, does Internet Explorer? The answer would be no. As a matter of fact, up until about four weeks ago neither did Netscape. This means that if you use this book with the hopes of programming applets for use on the web, you can forget it. Swing is not supported by most browsers at this time, and may never be. The only way that this book will be of any use to you is if you are writing for a system in which you have control of the virtual machines and can make sure that they support this package.

Rogue Warrior II Red Cell

by Richard Marcinco

© 1994 ISBN 0-671-79957-6

This book has the potential for greatness. Marcinco will, over time, develop into a really good writer. Most of the book reads well. The biggest problem that I see is that when Marcinco introduces a new character ( a person from his past ), he attempts to give the entire history of that character immediately. For much of the book this is not a huge problem, but there are some instances where it causes the entire flow of the book to come to a halt. As long as Marcinco is introducing one character it is not too bad, but when he introduces three or four, the I wondered if the intro was ever going to end.

Marcinco claims to be the man that created the exalted Seal Team 6 for the Navy. That would make him one of the toughest Seals to ever serve our country. The book jacket states that his first novel was his autobiography and that he was that man. Hopefully time will iron out the rough spots in Marcinco's writing career, as he does spin a good tale.

Coyote Bird

by Jim DeFelice

© 1992 ISBN 0-312-92981-1

This book is about a new technical super plane. A plane so advanced that it can almost fly itself. The problem is that two of the U.S.'s most advanced spy planes have crashed, will this new one, the Coyote be next or is its pilot, Tom Wright, good enough to keep this new plane flying.

This book promises action and excitement, but doesn't quite live up to its billing. The book is pretty average. Despite the great review by Dale Brown on the cover, the book is just not that good.

Trophy For Eagles

by Walter J. Boyne

© 1989 ISBN 0-8041-0529-4

This book is sort of a historical fiction work. The book takes place during the time between WWI and WWII. It was an age of innovation for the world of aviation. The book starts just days before Lindbergh's flight to Paris in the Spirit of St. Louis. The two main characters are fictional pilots. Our hero is Frank Bandfield. An American designer and pilot. The villain is a German WWI ace named Bruno Hafner. Hafner takes an instant dislike to Bandfield and will do anything to keep Bandfield from succeeding.

If you are interested in flight and the early days of flight, this is a really good work. Boyne tries to mix enough history into this work to keep the book believable. All in all, I found it to be a good read.

The Sands of Mars

by Arthur C. Clarke

© 1952 ISBN 0-451-14790-1

These old stories may be dated given scientific advancement, but that does not make them any less interesting for it. In this tale, Mars has been colonized. Our main character, Martin Gibson, a successful science fiction writer it taking a trip to Mars in the first inter planetary cruise ship the Ares. Martin is the only passenger on this maiden voyage. Part of his job is to make this inter planetary cruise popular through his writing. Martin gets to Mars at the perfect time. The colony is just beginning to realize its potential, and all of the colonists are working hard to fulfill their destiny.

I really do like these older stories by the masters of science fiction. The greatest thing is to see how close to current reality guys like Clarke and Asimov come. Even though this story is still somewhat in our future, much of the technology is still feasible now. It will be interesting if man actually journeys to our neighboring planets some day to see if Clarke's theories of propulsion come to pass.

Honorable Enemies

by Joe Weber

© 1994 ISBN 0-515-11522-3

Pearl Harbor is long gone, but not forgotten. What would happen if it was attacked again? This is exactly what happens. A helicopter disguised as an innocent island chopper fires upon a tour ship full of innocent civilians. This incident leads to an escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Japan. As tensions escalate, can war be avoided?

Joe Weber changes from a focus on military to diplomacy in this book. Weber combines a volatile president with a Japanese prime minister who has delusions of grandeur in this book. It is a good book, but not what I expected from Weber.

Destiny's Road

by Larry Niven

© 1997 ISBN 0-812-51106-9

The year is 2730 A.D. (Earth time), the place is the planet Destiny. Destiny is man's second attempt at colonization. The ship that brought them deserted them shortly after landing. Later, one of their landers, Cavorite, deserted them after carving a road all along the peninsula that their base camp is located on.

Now, years afterward, Jemmy Bloocher is almost old enough to take over leadership in the city of Spiral Town. This future is not to be for Jemmy, he has wandering feet. It becomes his quest to trace the "road" and find out the fate of the Cavorite lander

This was not a bad book. It got difficult to follow at times. If it was not for the cast of characters in the front of the book, it gets hard to keep up with all of the characters.

The Bear and the Dragon

by Tom Clancy

© 2000 ISBN 0-399-14563-X

I must say that this is the best thing that Clancy has put his name on in a long time. It is not of the same quality as The Hunt for Red October or Patriot Games, but it is a far site better than most of the more recent works.

This novel deals with the Russians and the Chinese (since the Chinese are the new antagonists in his current batch of novels). The Russians find a huge amount of oil and gold in the Ukrane. Things may be looking up for this new democracy, but the Chinese may have other ideas. They have always coveted the Ukrane as a place to expand, and now have new reason.

Hammer Heads

by Dale Brown

© 1991 ISBN 0-425-12645-5

The place is southern Florida, and drug runners have taken the war on drugs to a new level. Rather than running and hiding, the drug runners have started attacking both the Coast Guard and Customs Service with military grade weapons. After one such episode, Admiral Ian Hardcastle of the Coast Guard sends an idea to Washington. This idea is the Hammerheads, a paramilitary boarder security force. Hardcastle brings onboard some old friends of Dale Brown readers, General Brad Elliot and Patrick McLanahan.

Very quickly after its inception, the Hammerheads succeed in dramatically slowing the volume of drugs being smuggled into the U.S. This causes great concern to the Columbian drug cartels that rely on the U.S. for their income. The Columbians go on the offensive against the Hammerheads in a deadly war that is designed to break the back of this new American agency. Will Elliot and Hardcastle be forced to concede defeat or will they be able to win this new war?


by William Hallahan

© 1989 ISBN 0-380-70846-9

This book is set during the height of the cold war. The Soviets are stealing our technology. We spend billions to develop weapons, and they put them into production at the same time as we do. An American scientist has invented Cassandra, the ultimate star wars weapon, and he will not show it until the Soviet master thief is put out of business. The government contracts with Charlie Brewer, a former bad boy spy, to put this master out of business. Charlie is placed on this job with no backup. One mistake could cost him his life.

This was a pretty good book. It did have its slow parts, but they were few and short. I would have no problem reading more of Mr. Hallahan's work.


by T. Michael Booth

© 1994 ISBN 0-345-37867-9

Green Beret Tim Reardon gets a call telling him that his beloved younger sister has been murdered by a drug over dose. Tim takes a leave from the Army and returns state side to bury his sister. While looking into his sister's death, he gets a glimpse of the drug world's dark side. Before he knows it, the biggest drug kingpin on the east coast has taken out a hit on his head. Returning to Germany, Tim finds his choices limited, he will either have to hide for the rest of his life, or declare all out war on the drug cartels.

This was Booth's first novel, and I certainly hope that it was not his last. This book was exceptionally well written and I enjoyed it immensely. If you get the chance to read this book, make sure to take that chance.

High Crimes

by Joseph Finder

© 1998 ISBN 0-380-72880-X

Professor Claire Heller is a law professor at Harvard, a great trial record and a loving family. Her world is about to be turned upside down. One day, her husband Tom is being arrested for murder. The F.B.I. tells her that her husband has been wanted on multiple murder charges for over 13 years. Tom swears innocence. Now Claire is in the legal fight of her life. If she fails here, the cost will be her husband's life.

This book is well written and held my interest. Joseph Finder has once again done a fine job. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends.

Operation Fantasy Plan

by Peter Gilboy

© 1997 ISBN 0-380-72982-2

Peter Gains has just been fired from the C.I.A. No reason is given, but Peter knows that it is all about the time that he spent in the Fantasy Store. He was only there for a short time, but it had a dramatic effect on him. Against all of the rules he returns to Thailand to assist a young girl in escaping her time as a sexual slave.

This book sounds like it would be very racy with a lot of gratuitous sex, it is not. It is tastefully written. The book does move slowly in some areas, but is pretty well written.

Target Stealth

by Jack Merek

© 1989 ISBN 0-446-34843-0

The plans for the experimental stealth bomber have been stolen by the Russians. Then for the twist, the Russian courier is kidnapped by terrorists. Before you can say bomb me, the plans for the American stealth bomber are in the hands Iran. As the novel progresses, the Iranian government makes plans to steal the fully armed prototype. This would make Iran a nuclear power.

I found this book to be pretty average. The plot was different, but the writing did not rise up to the challenge. It was not a bad read.

Secret Missions

by Michael Gannon

© 1994 ISBN 0-06-109239-8

The time is 1942, The United States has recently entered WWII. The Nazi's are worried about the capabilities of America's planes. The Germans train Peter Krug in the art of espionage to infiltrate American air bases in Florida to learn about our planes. A U-boat is dispatched to bring him to The U.S. The only thing standing between him an success is one lone catholic priest.

The book is not bad. It does tend to drag in some places, but if solidly written. It is not the greatest spy book ever written, but I found it to be above average.

Op-Center Divide and Conquer

by Tom Clancy

© 2000 ISBN 0425174808

Jeff Rovin, who wrote this book is really turning this series around. I will not claim that this is a master work, but is much better than the previous books in this series. There are rogue elements in the U.S. government. These individuals have plotted to overthrow the elected government and are plotting to take control. The plan fails to take into account Paul Hood and Op-Center.

This book is much better written than its predecessors. The down side is that the Op-Center team is almost non-existent in this book. The focus of this book is Paul Hood. Paul becomes almost the lone wolf that Jack Ryan was. I am willing to bet that this is the direction that Paul Hood will be taking. Jeff Rovin is going to take a page from Clancy's success and try to imitate it.


by Stephen Baxter

© 1997 ISBN 0-06-105713-4

I can sum up this book in one word...boring. The book opens onto a second shuttle disaster. This time the shuttle encounters engine and control failure at re entry. Two of the crew die in their escape from the stricken shuttle. This is the beginning of the end for NASA. One of the surviving crew persons of the ill fated Columbia, Paula Banacerraf is charged with the disposal of the NASA fleet. Her solution is one last and glorious trip. Using NASA's remaining shuttles and some old revived Apollo Saturn V rockets, she gets the government to agree that a small band of volunteers (including herself) should be allowed to attempt a trip to Titan. This icy moon of Saturn is the last best hope of finding life in the solar system.

Much of the book is taken up with the political maneuvering and training for the mission. Much of the remainder is concerned with the flight itself. During the flight, conservative elements take over the government of the U.S. and the explorers are left on their own. I was thankful that the book finally ended.

Storming Heaven

by Dale Brown

© 1994 ISBN 0-425-14723-1

This book is a somewhat different Dale Brown novel. It does not use his old familiar "Old Dog" or "Sky Masters" characters. This novel deals with a situation that we all wonder about. What would happen in the U.S. if a terrorist started bombing airports.

There is nowhere near the level of technical jargon that is found in one of his typical novels. I know that is one of the major complaints of Dale Brown's novels. This book is not filled with all of the typical futuristic military equipment that Dale Brown is noted for either. It uses today's weapons and military to counter this terrorist threat.


by David Brin

© 1990 ISBN 0-553-29024-X


This is an interesting "what if" novel. It is set approximately 50 years in our future. The greenhouse effect is taking hold. The ozone is depleted. Animals are dying off in extreme numbers. WWIII (called the Helvetican war) has been fought and drove us to the brink of destruction. Secrecy has become a dirty word. Mankind now understands that his survival is directly linked to the habitability of the Earth, and every effort at conservatism is being made to keep Earth livable. As one may guess, these new ideals have given birth to many new radical groups. There are the Gaians who believe that the Earth is alive and in great pain, then there are the Ra Boys, a group of young radicals who worship the sun as being the giver of all life.

As if things are not bad enough, scientist Alex Lustig chances upon the most dangerous discovery of his time. There is a man made microscopic black hole in the center of the earth. A black hole that is only about two years from destroying the Earth. Alex and his team of scientists find that they can move this black hole using new graviton beam emmissions. The race is on to save the Earth. Will this black hole be the doom of the human race, or its salvation from itself? Read the book and find out what twists I have left out.

Ganymede Club

by Charles Sheffield

© 1995 ISBN 0-812-54460-9

This book was about a group of adventurers that found the secret of immortality. After they discover this secret, there is no length too great to protect it. As these things always work though, there comes a time when a small group has enough information to bring this group down. The stage is set and the battle begins. The question is who will win.

This was a different book. The plot line is familiar. That does not stop this from being a good book. If you are a sci-fi fan, you should read this book. The story is interesting even if the plot is worn.

Net Force Night Moves

by Tom Clancy

© 2000 ISBN 0-425-17400-X

I must say that this book is better than most of Clancy's collaborations. It would seem that his co-author is finally learning to write. I won't go into details of the Net Force series here. This book is about a super hacker that is wreaking havoc with the world's computer systems. This hacker is so very good that he is breaking through the world's best security as if it was tissue paper. To make matters worse, he has found a way to stop the best net cops (almost) dead...literally.

In comes Net Force to chase this hacker halfway around the world. The problem is that they can't track him, let alone find him. To make matters worse, the enforcement arm of Net Force is engaged in hunting down a former Spetsnaz commando turned assassin. Alex Michaels was on his hit list before, and now its personal.

Night Soldiers

by Alan Furst

© 1988 ISBN 0-312-92004-0

I managed to get half way through this book before I decided to throw it out. The book begins before the second world war with the recruitment of a man named Khristo by the Russians as a spy. The book started out very slowly, with all of the details of his recruitment. Then things move to his time training to be a spy. I figured that once I finished with that part, the book would start to move. Well, 180 pages in, I was still waiting. This is one of the worst books that I have read in a long time.

Fundamental Accounting Principles Volume 2

by Kermit Larson

© 1999 ISBN 0-07-365858-8

This book is the second volume of the book that I took Accounting I with. It is an good book. This text covers its material in a well ordered manner. It give sufficient examples for one to learn the subject matter. The class that I took was to a great extent self directed. The professor only really got involved when somebody in the class had a problem. We spent the majority of our time going over homework problems. If you have completed Accounting I and wish to continue on your own, this would be a good book for you to use.

C++ How to Program

by H. M. Deitel

© 1998 ISBN 0-13-528910-6

I was forced to use this book in my C++ class and found it very lacking. The book attempts to cover entirely too much information for it to be used as a text in a one semester class. The book moves very quickly, and does not go into enough detail for a novice programmer to learn C++ on their own. The book does not give details on the syntax of commands. The index in the back of the book (something that I find to be critical in a programming text) would seem not to have been updated for the second edition. Many of the references found there do not match the information on those pages.

This book should be split in two and more detail on its subject needs to be provided to the reader. If you are an experienced C programmer, this book may suit your needs as a reference book, but I would not recommend it as a way to learn C++ from scratch.


by Bill Buchanan

© 2000 ISBN 0-425-17364-X

This was a pretty good book. What if terrorists led by a former U.S. submarine officer and well financed hijacked an Ohio class nuclear submarine? Could the U.S. stop these renegades? That is the premise of this book. It is set in the future when the U.S. has just deployed a new space based submarine tracking system.

The book is well written and contains a number of surprising twists and turns. It does not read like your run of the mill techno thriller. I was impressed by Buchanan's daring in thinking outside the box. He wrote the book exactly the way that he wanted it. Many readers will be surprised by the way the plot runs, but I found it refreshing to see some writing that doesn't follow the same pattern as everybody else.

The Street Lawyer

by John Grisham

© 1998 ISBN 0-440-22570-1

Believe it or not, this is the first Grisham novel that I have ever read. I have seen some of the movies, which I enjoyed, but never picked up a book until now. I found Grisham to be a powerful story teller. While I will not say that this was the best book that I ever read, I can certainly recommend that you read it for yourself.

The book begins when a homeless man takes a number of lawyers from the prestigious Drake and Sweeny firm hostage. The homeless man is killed, but one of the lawyers becomes obsessed with finding out why. Michael Brock is this young litegator. He will not rest until the truth is known.

If you like a good story with a strong message, this book is for you. The down side is that the story is predictable. The very end has a small twist, but any experienced reader will be able to predict with certainty how everything will turn out.


by Tom Clancy

© 1996 ISBN 0-425-17353-4

This was the absolutely worst book that I have ever read by Tom Clancy. I know that I was in trouble when I read the foreword. In the foreword, Clancy says that this book is based upon his video game SSN. Is Clancy a writer or a video game maker? It is fine for him to make added revenue from licensing his books to software makers, but to write a book to enhance the sale of his video game in unacceptable.

If a naval war with China would be this one sided, then China should pack up its toys and go home. This was one of the most pathetic plots that I have ever seen. The premise that one lone LA class sub could cripple the entire Chinese sub fleet without so much as a real close call is laughable. Then for good measure, the Chinese purchased a number of Russian Alkua's manned with experienced Russian crews. The U.S.S. Cheyanne proceeds to tear them up like they were WWII vintage subs.

Clancy has fallen from his position as one of the greatest authors of our time to a cheap dime store writer. Given his poor performance these last couple of years, I wonder if maybe he needs to return to the insurance business. Mr. Clancy, if making money off of your name has become your goal, please stop writing. There is a limit to how far you will be able to ride on your former successes. Cut loose these hackers that you are writing with and try to put forth the effort that made you a great author before.

The Ringworld Throne

by Larry Niven

© 1996 ISBN 0-345-41296-6

I won't claim that the Ringworld books are shining examples of Science Fiction, but this book falls short of the others that I have read. I found the book to be choppy. This book continues where The Ringworld Engineers left off. The time is 11 years after Engineers. Louis Wu and Hindmost have not spoken in that time. A new threat to the Ringworld is detected and Hindmost gets Louis to help him once again.

I won't say much more about this book, except that it is a let down from the original. If you haven't read the Engineers, you will be completely and totally lost. The book makes continual references to it, but lacks any explanation of previous events. Since it had been a while, I found myself racking my brain to place these events. If you intend to read this book, make sure that you have the others fresh in your mind.

Wolf Winter

by Clare Francis

© 1987 ISBN 0-380-70689-X

This book is set mostly in post WWII Norway. It starts at the close of the war and shortly jumps forward a few years. It is a unique setting in my reading. It is set in an area of harsh weather and resilient people. The book pits two men who believed themselves friends against each other in an epic battle to the death. The book is full of spies and intrigue.

The book does start of slowly, but quickly gains momentum. My biggest complaint with the book is the ending. It is very well written and definitely holds your attention, but the author has dragged the end out way too long and left rational behavior far in the dust (or snow in this case). I would go into more detail, but it would definitely spoil the book as anything I would say here to describe my problem with the book would give away too much.

Targets of Opportunity

by Joe Webber

© 1993 ISBN 0-515-11246-1

Another really good book by Joe Webber. This book is set during the Viet Nam. I find these books infinitely more satisfying that those that he has set after the war. I guess that it is a better read when your main character is the focus of action. After they get older, they are nowhere near as interesting. The premise of this book is that the CIA has acquired themselves a Mig-17. They plan to use this plane in covert operations in North Viet Nam. Who could they possible recruit as a pilot, but our old friend Brad Austin.

I really enjoy these older books by Webber and would like to see him "go retro" and to start writing these Viet Nam era books that I find so impressive. Then again, it could be that he has developed Austin too far, and the character is losing his appeal. Much like many of the authors who write in this manner.

Tequila Mockingbird

by Paul Bishop

© 1997 ISBN 0-684-83009-4

Tequila Mockingbird

I purchased this novel for two reasons. The first was the play on words with To Kill a Mockingbird. I figured that it would be hilarious to tell people what I was reading. The second reason was that it was only $4.99 at Barnes and Noble. The way I saw it, was worth the price to have some fun. Imagine how surprised I was to find out that the novel was pretty good.

This is one of Bishop's Fey Croaker novels. Fey Croaker is a LAPD Homicide supervisor. The book begins when a detective from the anti terrorist division is murdered in front of the station house. The chief assigns Croaker to the investigation and what starts out looking like an open and shut case turns into a complex web of deception and corruption.

The book is billed as a mystery, but I found it to be clear from early on who the guilty party is. The book is mostly concerned with finding out and proving exactly what is going on. I found the book to be well written and easy to read.

Term Limits

by Vince Flynn

© 1997 ISBN 0-671-02318-7

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine left this book on my desk at work for me to read. I told him that it would take me a little while to get to it, but I would read it as soon as I could. He told me that I would not be disappointed, and was right.

What would happen if some former Special Forces commandos decided that certain politicians were the true threat to national security? The answer is simple, they would do what they are trained to do. They would eliminate that threat. This sounds like a pretty straight forward plot. Bad guys kill politicians, FBI catches bad guys. If you believe this, you would be mistaken.

The book gets interesting because of the reaction of the presidents cabinet. Some of his advisors decide to help things out. That is where things get really hairy. You now have the killers, congressmen, FBI, CIA, and the presidents own staff all trying to do there own thing. You will find that some of your conceptions of right and wrong to be turned upside down by the end of this book.


by Greg Bear

© 1995 ISBN 0-812-52481-0

This book Legacy is the prequel to his book Eon which I read last year. Eon introduced us to his main character for this book, Olmy. Olmy is a soldier in the Hexemon's defense force and is sent to Lamarkia after a group or rebels who emegrated there illegally.

The link betweer Legacy and Eon is very thin and would seem only to exist in order to sell more books. This book does give some small clue to the orginization of the Hexemon that is lacking in Eon. I would not count this as one of Bear's best works, but it is still a good read.

I Am Jackie Chan

by Jackie Chan

© 1998 ISBN 0-345-42913-3

I started reading this book after my wife raved about it. While she was reading it, she would read me passages. I thought to myself that I am going to have to read about all of the extraordinary circumstances that formed the man we see on the screen today.

The book is not a disappointment. Jackie Chan led a hard life. It was this hard life that made him the man he is today. Spending his childhood in a Chinese opera school under conditions that westerners would find appalling. Jackie even tells you in the book that these schools are not like that anymore, but they don't turn out the same caliber performer either.

If you enjoy Jackie Chan movies, and want to learn more about the man, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of this book. It makes his success even more impressive.

Merlin's Bones

by Fred Saberhagen

© 1995 ISBN 0-812-53349-6

Fans of the legends of Merlin and Arthur will not want to miss this book. Saberhagen creates a wonderful work taking us into an unexplored area of the Merlin legend... after he is imprisoned in stone by Nimue. Read this book to see the power that Merlin still exerts even after his "death."

Any seasoned reader will see the through this book long before things are revealed by Saberhagen. It is a story woven throughout time of the struggle to control the power of Merlin's bones.

Now for the big negative. There are characters in the book who are never properly explained. The book does not really end. It hangs like a book that was supposed to be a part of an annoying series. The way this book ends all but promises a sequel.

Beneath the Silent Sea

by Richard P. Henrick

© 1988 ISBN 0-8217-2423-1

The United States and Russia are meeting for a summit to sign a treaty making nuclear arms illegal in the world. This will be a great day for the world if it happens. The problem is that some military leaders in China don't see it that way. They have just completed work on the Red Dragon, China's first nuclear missile submarine.

Two of Mao's followers feel that if they can start a nuclear exchange between the U.S. and Russia then China will be there to pick up the pieces. Some of the leaders of Russia feel that the summit is just a ruse on the part of the United States to launch a pre-emptive strike against Russia.

Tensions run high as three subs from three different countries each try to complete their missions.

Alpha Centauri

by William Barton and Michael Capobianco

© 1998 ISBN 0-380-78205-7

This book spends more time on sex and perversity than on its story line. The basic plot is about explorers traveling to Alpha Centauri in search of a place for humanity to expand to. What they find is evidence of a society that lived and died long before humanity ever existed.

It could have been a great work of science fiction except for the fact that this plot only accounted for about one out of every five pages. I almost put this book down a dozen times. It was filled with all kinds of extraneous junk. If the authors had spent more time developing the plot line and sticking to it, they would have produced a great work. I think that they had not developed the plot far enough to fill the book. The end of the book should only be the middle. I could not believe that the book ended where it did. The authors had really just begun to explore their story line when the book ended.

If you are into books filled with sex and bizarre human behavior, then this book is for you. If you, like me, think that some sex is alright if it is well done to break up the plot... do not even bother with this work. I will not be looking for books written by these two in the future.


by Deborah Ray

© 1998 ISBN 0-201-35395-4


This UNIX book is the one used in my Operating Systems class at the University of Akron. I found the book to be informative and precise in what it taught. It is however only a beginners reference. It does not cover items in depth or give any information to the budding system administrator.

If you are new to UNIX and just need to learn basic navigation and simple commands, then this is the book for you. In order to experience this book fully, you will need to have access to a UNIX or LINUX machine in order to practice and memorize the command syntax.

Programming with Visual Basic 6.0

by Diane Zak

© 1999 ISBN 0-7600-1071-4

This book was used in my Visual Basic class at the Wayne College (a branch of Akron U). I found the book to be poorly written. It spends more time giving programming examples than giving instruction on how the commands work. Some people will find this very helpful, especially if you are learning on your own. I found that the instruction lacked depth. I would have much rather had more in depth instruction and less hands on.

With the hands on portion of each lesson, the author walks the student through the completion of projects (that can be downloaded from their web site). It is great practice. Unfortunately it takes up a considerable amount of space in the book that could have been better used by giving more depth to the instruction.

Some items are out and out skipped. For example, there is not even a mention of how to perform a sort. Something that every aspiring programmer should be able to write. I was helped by my knowledge of Qbasic in knowing things that commands would do that were skipped in the book.

Another irritating thing is that there is no comprehensive list (or even mention) of the reserved words in V.B. The author needs to give this serious consideration. Not knowing the words that you may not use as variables may cause readers great problems if they stray from the authors rules on naming variables.

Again, this is a decent book for beginners, but will give virtually no advanced knowledge.

Primary Target

by Joe Weber

© 1999 ISBN 0-425-17255-4

Back in August I read and reviewed Rules of Engagement by Joe Webber. Shortly thereafter I received a really nice note from Mr. Webber's wife that informed me of this upcoming book. I want to thank Jeannie Webber for her nice note and point out that I recently found this book at, of all places, the grocery store.

This book is not set in the late 60's Vietnam like Rules of Engagement, but rather it is a conflict between The U.S. and Iran (with the Russians fanning the flames). Iran has set a deadline for the "great Satan" to begin pulling all of its troops out of the middle east or else Iran will unleash a series of terrorist attacks that will bring the U.S. to its knees. Iran also threatens the assassination of the President.

In come out two heroes, Scott Dalton and Jackie Sullivan. They are two independent contractors. They will be the key to unraveling Iran's plans, if they can. This is a well written book, even though it is mostly predictable. Not at all a bad read.

White Rush Green Fire

by Mark McGarrity

© 1991 ISBN 0-380-71097-8

This book is about some friends that are on vacation in the Bahamas. Every year they rent a boat. This year however, they come upon the remains of a drug deal gone bad. Jay and Chick find money and drugs around the remains.

After some discussion, all of the group, except Eva choose to keep the money and drugs. Chick convinces the group that they can keep the money and smuggle the drugs into the U.S. The one things that none of them realize is that the drug cartels are not going to just let them walk away with 2.4 million dollars and the drugs.

The book is fairly well written. I know that it is not the type of book that you are used to seeing here, but I am trying to expand my horizons by reading different types of books and new authors. If you are into the thriller genre, you will probably want to check this one out.

Power Plays Shadow Watch

by Tom Clancy

© 1999 ISBN 0-425-17188-4

I have been waiting for this. Although this book is still not in the same class as Clancy's great novels, it is better than the rest of the paperbacks that he has been collaborating on. This is another novel dealing with Roger Gordian and his company Uplink. Terrorists attack the launch of a space shuttle carrying components for the international space station and Uplink's Brazilian facility. Gordian brings his considerable resources to bear in stopping these terrorists.

I hope that this is the start of better writing by the team of Clancy and Greenberg. I guess that only time will tell.

Mother of Storms

by John Barnes

© 1995 ISBN 0-812-53345-3

The best way to describe this book is that it could have been...could have been really good. The book started out very choppy. Barnes tried to acquaint the reader to his characters in fast forward. After that, the book proceeded on as an average predictable way. The earth is threatened with destruction and we follow these characters through it. There was no real suspense or intrigue.

Net Force - Hidden Agendas

by Tom Clancy

© 1999 ISBN 0-425-17139-6

Hidden Agendas is only marginally better than Clancy's other collaborations. I is certainly better than the original Net Force book. That still leaves it as being an average work to my way of thinking. This work leaves off shortly after the conclution of the original Net Force book drawing on the same cast of characters. This, of itself is not an unusual ploy for Clancy as Jack Ryan was the character that made him famous.

I think that it is time that Clancy returns to his solo writing and finds himself another unlikely hero like Ryan. These collaborative works leave a lot to be desired. Clancy has the ability to spin a complex web, which is something that has been left behind sin both the Op-Center books and these new Net Force works. I miss the complex, edge of your seat writing that made Clancy the master of the printed word.

I know that is practically a given that the U.S. will always triumph in his works, but I miss the uncertainty that the early works like the Hunt For Red October gave you until the very end. I certainly hope that all of the time that Clancy spends collaborating with Piecznik does not take too much away from his solo work.


by Jerry Pournelle

© 1998 ISBN 0-812-53893-5

Between the back cover and the front page, there are nine glowing reviews quoted. Although this book is not bad, it is very predictable. This is a work of light science fiction. When I use the term light, I mean that it requires very little thought on your part to read it. The writing style is very simple.

The main character of this book, a boy named Kip, "has a secret" (to quote the back cover). He lives with his uncle at a research station on an out of the way little planet. Kip is special, he hears a voice in his head. That voice is an A.I. implant. From the very beginning, you know that there is something unusual about the boy. It is very clear that A.I. implants are not common. The question is why would a common boy have this implant? The answer is naturally that he is not who he seems to be.

The biggest problem is that you wonder how everyone in this book can be so dense. All of the clues are there for the reader to stay chapters ahead of the characters. Again, this is simple sci-fi. I found this aspect of the book to cause it to move somewhat slowly. This book is not a bad read if you are looking for something to relax with and don't want to put forth much effort.

Illegal Alien

by Robert Sawyer

© 1997 ISBN 0-441-00592-6

I must say that I found this book to be refreshing. A disabled spacecraft enters Earth space and its occupants ask humanity for help. Everything is going just great until a human is murdered and all of the evidence points to one of the aliens.

By putting the alien on trial, how will this effect the relations between our two species? If the humans don't, what kind of message would that send? After the decision is made to put the alien, Hask, on trial, is everything really as it seems? The trial is well written and a much more realistic portrayal of criminal court than one finds in the movies or on television.

All in all, I found this book to be well written and worth my time to read it. I was mostly impressed with a new and different plot line. It was not just a simple first contact with benevolent aliens. There are many deeper issues addressed in the book.


by William Diehl

© 1981 ISBN 0-345-29445-9

The best way to describe this book is flashes of brilliance hidden among almost 500 pages of filler. You are almost seventy pages into the book before it starts. The first part of the book is choppy. It jumps from place to place, assassination to assassination. I was almost at the point of throwing the book away when it started to resemble a novel rather than disconnected ramblings.

Diehl falls back on that age old filler material... sex. The problem is not just that he uses it to try to hold the readers interest, but that it is not even well written sex scenes. I personally don't mind a little sex in a book, but it should not be used to try to overcome the book's weakness. Just because Ian Flemming used it to build James Bond's persona does not give every writer a license to fill a fictional book with it.

This is not to say that the book did not have redeeming qualities. Diehl could have made this an excellent book. It has a strong plot line and could have been a fine book, in about 200 - 250 pages. All of the filler material seriously detracts from the book, and makes it a poor read.

The Minotaur

by Stephen Coonts

© 1989 ISBN 0-440-20742-8

The Minotaur

Coont's character Jake Grafton has been grounded for medical reasons and is assigned a new job in the Pentagon. His job is to make a recommendation on the Navy's new stealth plane design and review a crazy scientist's radar defeating computer called Athena. If this design of Dr. Samuel Dodgers works, it will revolutionize stealth technology. This computer can actually defeat radar. If it works, stealth will not be about physical design, but about Dodgers computer.

Sounds boring right? Well, there is another problem. A Russian spy named the Minotaur. The Minotaur has been stealing all of the best Military secrets right from the Pentagon's computers. To top that off, it would appear that the Minotaur had Grafton's predecessor killed. The FBI special agent in charge of catching the Minotaur seems to also be a Russian agent.

Can Grafton do his job and protect the secrets of Athena? Jake Grafton is thrown into this game of governments totally outside of his training and experience. Can Grafton rise to the challenge, or will he end up just like his predecessor? Read the book to find out. Grafton is still a powerful character, but this book is unlike his previous appearances. This is not a fly boy shoot up novel.

Furious Gulf

by Gregory Benford

© 1994 ISBN 0-553-57254-7

This book is set far into the future. It is a time when the mech's are out to destroy the last of humanity (I assume that the mech's are mechanical creatures of man's invention that later turned on their masters). Mankind is almost extinct and fallen far from his height as masters of the galaxy. The mech's are in the process of exterminating all biological life forms.

The family "Bishop" has fled their home on a planet called Snowglade in and old spaceship called the Argo. Nobody in the family really understands how the ship works or how to repair it. They are fleeing for their lives.

Captain Killeen is convinced that the answer to their survival can be found at the black hole in the center of the galaxy. Little do the humans know that they are being pushed in that direction. The mech's need this family to find secrets that they are convinced humanity holds. Secrets that if the human's realized they had them could destroy the mech's.

The focus of the novel is the captain's son Toby. All of the family have implanted in themselves chips called legacies. These legacies are the scaled down personalities of the families dead ancestors. Toby has within himself the full blown personality of the captian's dead girl friend, as well as other legacies. Where will all this lead Toby on the journey. That would be the main focus of this book. The problem with this is (as with most other books written for a series) is that the end of the book leaves more questions than answers.

This was not the best written piece of science fiction that I have ever read. I will say that it did not leave me with any desire to read any more of the Galactic Center Novels. I expected much more from Benford.

Star Trek Next Generation - Metamorphosis

by Jean Lorrah

© 1990 ISBN 0-671-68402-7

This Next Generation novel takes place in the second season directly following the episode in which Data had to fight for his right of choice. The one where Cmdr. Maddox wanted to take him apart to see how he worked.

What would happen if Data's biggest wish was to be made true. Yes, this book explores what would happen if Data were to become human. This book looks at the positive and negative aspects as well as some twists that are practically required in a Star Trek plot.

I found the view of Data's adjustment to be interesting. The book is 80% about Data, but there are some other concerns in the plot. I think that this is an average Star Trek novel. There are so few really great ones out there, that I would be easily impressed.

Op-Center State of Siege

by Tom Clancy

© 1999 ISBN 0-425-16822-0

This is another of Clancy and Pieczenik's average attempts at a novel. As with all of the other Op-Center novels, this one is no block buster. Due to problems at home, Paul Hood resigns as the director of Op-Center. As you may guess, this does not mean that he is able to stay out of the action.

Paul's resignation is almost effective when a bunch of terrorists take over a United Nations function in which Hood's daughter is scheduled to perform. Will Paul Hood stay with his wife or use his power and that of his friends to save his little girl. I am guessing that you know the answer to that.

As I said at the start, this is just an average book, just like all of the Op-Center books. It will never rank with Clancy's master works.

The Starchild Trilogy

by Frederick Pohl

© 1977 ISBN Unknown

This book is actually three novels, The Reefs of Space,Starchild, and Rogue Star. The first two novels are kind of reminicient of Orson Wells' big brother. Earth is controlled by the "Plan of Man" which in effect is a super computer which dictates the management of earth. There are, naturally, rebels who are opposed to the plan and want to see it end. These rebels live in the space beyond the solar system where comets are born.

Things really start to become interesting when in the second novel, a creature known as the starchild sends a message to the plan of man that its rule is at an end. If the plan of man refuses to abdicate, the starchild will extinguish the sun and end all life on Earth. The plan of man refuses and sends men out to the reefs of space to stop this starchild. This just makes things worse.

The third novel is even wilder. After the coming of the starchild, it is discovered that many of the stars in the sky are actually sentient beings. A human decides to create a rogue star. A rogue star being one that has no ties to the stellar community and would seem to worship chaos. A battle of stellar proportions shapes up as a small group of humans try to stop a stellar war.

Much of the trilogy seems somewhat corny by today's standards, but was a masterpiece given the time of its writing in the 1960's. If you are a fan of older style sci-fi, then this is for you. If you do not like this older type of sci-fi, I think you will want to stay away from The Starchild Trilogy.

The Panther Throne

by Tom Murphy

© 1982 ISBN 0-451-11861-8

This book is set in a small country in the middle east named Kassan. The country's oil concessions are about to expire, there is a rebel named Karim who has vowed to overthrow the rightful monarch (due to incompetence). The brother-in-law of the king is planning a coup.

Into the middle of this walks an architect, Jeb Cleaver, (recruited by the CIA) who went to college with the prince of Kassan, Selim. The CIA asks Cleaver to design the new Kassan Embassy and report on the state of Kassan. Also added into this mix is an aggressive reporter named Megan Meguire who has heard rumors of great happenings in Kassan.

I enjoyed the book. There are enough plots to keep the reader guessing who will be running the country at the end. Can the king keep control, will he be assassinated and his son take control? Will the rebel, Karim win, or possibly the king's evil brother-in-law Ibn? Read the book and find out.

Choosers of the Slain

by James H. Cobb

© 1996 ISBN 0-425-16053-X

This is the first Cobb story of the stealth destroyer USS Cunningham and her captain, Amanda Garrett. I read his second book a while back, and wanted to read this one. I thought that Sea Strike was a good book, but Choosers is much better.

In Choosers of the Slain Argentina attacks and takes all of the British holding on Antarctica. Great Britain and the U.S. condemn this act. The only military asset close enough to blockade Argentina's supply line is the USS Cunningham. Capt. Garrett must hold the line for almost a week until reinforcements arrive. Can one destroyer hold off the Argentine navy and airforce? That is the plot of the book. I think that Cobb does a great job on this book.

Rules of Engagement

by Joe Weber

© 1991 ISBN 0515109908

This book is something that I don't see that often. It is set in the late 60's Viet-Nam war. Where most of the books I have read based upon the Viet-Nam war deal mostly with the ground war, this one deals with the pilots (mostly Marine 1st. Lt. Brad Austin) flying off of the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid.

There is nothing spectacular in plot or setting for this novel. It follows the standard line for books of the genre. It is well written and I think that Weber does a fine job of writing it. Weber is himself a former Marine Corp. pilot, so the technical aspects of the book are good. Unlike most former military pilots (and other authors) he doesn't bury you in a sea of technical jargon that a reader new to this type of work has to learn, or a reader familiar with this type of work has to wade through the explanations. It is halfway through the book before he starts to refer to the jet blast deflector as the JBD.

The refreshing thing about the Viet-Nam setting is that Weber is forced into a more accurate portrayal of the casualties involved in a war. Most of these novels have horrendous casualties up front, followed by a great tactical change that gives the "good guys" a great victory. This book is just a short time in the life of Brad Austin. It covers his missions, personal life, and feelings about the war. All in all, a well written book. I like Brad Austin and look forward to his future exploits.

Rising Phoenix

by Kyle Mills

© 1997 ISBN 0-06-101249-1

I was very impressed with the writing style of Kyle Mills. His character, FBI agent Mark Beamon has to ppit his wits and experience against a shadowy right wing group that has taken it upon itself to stop drug abuse by poisoning the nation's drug supply.

The book is more focused upon agent Beamon's adversary John Hobart. Hobart is an ex-DEA agent and a stone cold killer. He puts together a team of like minded individuals to assist him. Hobart plans and executes almost flawlessly. Hobart manages to stay one step ahead of both the FBI and the drug cartels.

The plot of this book was not the most complex. There is an endorsement inside the front cover from Tom Clancy, so I was expecting a more intricate plot. It is a solidly written book, and I will be looking for other works by Kyle Mills.

Star Wars X-Wing Rogue Squadron

by Michael Stackploe

© 1996 ISBN 0-553-56801-9

I saw this in the used bookstore and just had to buy it. I am not a really big Star Wars fan, but wanted to see what was current in the Star Wars world. This is a "light" work. By light work, I mean that it takes very little effort to read. I ran through this book in about three days.

I found Rogue squadron to be long on action and short on real plot. The book lacked any real depth and is more geared to the young reader. I would compare it to the Mack Bolan or Nick Carter series that I read as a kid.

I will say that with the release of the new Star Wars movie, which I found to be much more intricate than the old ones, I may be picking up a copy of Episode One to see if the book is good or not.

The Te of Piglet

by Benjamin Hoff

© 1992 ISBN 0-14-023016-5

A number of years ago, I read The Tao of Pooh and was impressed by its simplicity and powerful insight. The Tao after all is a book about simplicity and harmony. Hoff impressed me most because he used Pooh to illustrate the Tao. Most western authors try to convey a complexity to the Tao that is really not there. Hoff showed that childlike simplicity is the was to enlightenment.

Now I read The Te of Piglet and find myself most dissapointed. It lacks the flow and focus that was in his earlier work. This book also becomes somewhat preachy. It states that the world as we know it is about to end and that we had better start listening to nature and change our ways. Mr Hoff...that is not the way. Positive attracts positive. Threats are counterproductive.

Don't get me wrong. This is not a bad book. It is just not the equal to his other and has things in it that I don't believe he should have included. There is much good information for someone wanting to know more about the Tao and that can not find a good translation. It is not the Tao for masters, but in the Tao is there really a master?

Heart of the Comet

by David Brin and Gregory Benford

© 1986 ISBN 0-553-25839-7

This novel starts in the year 2061. Earth has sent an expedition to Halley's comet to land, survey and change the orbit of the comet to one which would allow Earth to exploit the comet's resources. This is a long term expedition. The crew will work in shifts during Halley's long orbit to meet all of the above goals. The crew will also make extensive use of "sleep slotting" (crio beds) on this long journey.

Almost from the start things go badly. Crew members are killed in accidents. Then things really get strange. Odd illnesses start to pop up. The captain dies. Then the crew finds out that there is life on Halley's comet.

Throughout the novel, the crew faces challenge after challenge. The biggest one is just to stay alive to make it home. The question is can you really go home after almost a century of life on Halley?

Day of the Cheetah

by Dale Brown

© 1990 ISBN 0-425-12043-0

This is another book of the "Old Dog" series. Patrick McLanahan is the project director for the Dream Star fighter plane. It is the most advanced fighter of its time. The prototype is stolen from Dreamland by a Russian spy. On his way out of the country with the Dream Star, many of Patrick's friends are hurt or killed.

Patrick and General Elliot lead the missions to get it back or destroy it. McLanahan's plane to fight with is the Cheetah. While the Cheetah is a highly experimental fighter, it is not nearly as advanced as Dream Star. Patrick's only advantages are his experience and that of his pilot J.C.

Fortunes of War

by Stephen Coonts

© 1998 ISBN 0-312-96941-4

As usual, Coonts delivers. This book places us in the present time. Russia's collapsing under the weight of its own bureaucracy, and Japan's financial markets collapsing set the stage for the conflict. The Japanese Prime Minister decides that taking Siberia would assure Japan of the natural resources that the island nation needs to assure its dominance in the world economy.

The Japanese have a new secret weapon. The new Japanese Zero. This plane is stealth to the next level. It contains a super computer to defeat radar. The U.S. has signed a treaty to help defend Russia. The American government decides to send a single squadron of F-22's. The F-22 has smart skin. The plane camouflages itself based upon its background rendering it nearly invincible.

This novel flows well from beginning to end. The novel's focus mainly stays with the Zero / F-22 fight, but is also filled with political and other military maneuvers.

Time Blender

by Michael Dorn

© 1997 ISBN 0-06-105682-0

When I saw this book at the store, I knew that I had to read it. Being a really big Star Trek fan, I had to see if Michael could write. Well, for a first attempt it is not bad. I consider this to be "light" science fiction. When I use the term light, I mean that it takes very little brain power to read. It is a book that you can fly through because of its simplicity.

The blurb on the back cover is misleading. It implies that Archeologist Tony Miller when searching for this artifact. That is not how the story reads at all. Dr. Miller is working on a dig. Through a set of bizarre circumstances he is forced to take on the responsibility of an artifact that can drastically alter space and time.

To tell you more would be to give away the plot. Also a warning...this is book one of a series. A fact not stated on the cover. I always find it irritating to get to the end of a book to find out that it is not the end at all.

Down to a Sunless Sea

by David Poyer

© 1996 ISBN 0-312-96407-2

I have found Poyer to be a great author in the past, and this book was no exception. The main character, Tiller Galloway, is no stranger in Poyer's work. Tiller is an ex SEAL and an experienced diver.

In this novel, Tiller is called by Monica Kusczk the widow of Tiller's Viet-Nam buddy Bud. Bud was killed in a diving accident and Monica wants Tiller's help in liquidating the Kusczk's specialty diving shop in Florida. The shop specializes in the most dangerous of all diving...caves.

As you might guess, things are never that simple for Tiller. He goes to Florida and before he knows it, he is up to his ears in trouble with the drug cartels. As the plot thickens, danger lurks everywhere. From the drug cartel, from the law, and from the diving.

The novel is not overly technical. Poyer fills in enough detail to allow the reader to know what the divers experience, but does not overload the reader with detail.


by Greg Bear

© 1985 ISBN 0-812-52047-5

This was a most interesting book. It is like the doomsday meteor with a twist. The meteor doesn't strike the Earth though. It flashes out of nowhere and parks itself in orbit.

This meteor is a floating space station. It is hollow and contains seven large chambers. These chambers contain cities and lakes and forests. It is a self contained little world.

The most bizzare things are that the meteor seems to be from our future and contains libraries of a nuclear war that is about to happen. Then you get to the seventh chamber and find that it doesn't end.

The book doesn't stop there. There are secrets to explore and the decendants of the stone's builders to find. It is an unusual story with many turns and twists along the way.

Tin Man

by Dale Brown

© 1998 ISBN 0-553-58000-0

Tin Man

This book was something new and different from Dale Brown. Rather than a novel based upon aircraft, this was a book about American terrorists. The main characters are familiar. Retired General Patrick McLanahan and Jon Masters.

This novel is set in Sacramento, California. McLanahan's family home. California erupts into a hotbed of violence. Patrick's little brother Paul a rookie police officer is one of the first casualties of this terrorism. This causes Patrick to go a little crazy. He becomes a one man army (with a little help from Sky Masters technology) bent on revenge.

It is a good read. Not at all typical Brown work. The technical aspects that usually appear in his work are considerably toned down. Since this is one of the greatest criticisms of Brown's work, I guess that this would be an improvement. I personally never had a problem with the technical aspects of his works. This is not a loss in this work, as that kind of technical explanation is not really called for. Over all it is a good book and well worth the time to read.


by Isaac Asimov

© 1988 ISBN None on book

Azazel is a collection of short stories about a two centimeter demon named Azazel. Isaac has a friend named George who claims that he can summon this powerful entity. Most of the tales read exactly like a practical application of Murphy's law.

George claims to only call this demon to help his friends, but something always seems to go wrong with Azazel's work. This collection is a change from most of Asimov's work. It deals in the present day rather than the distant future. It is not some of his best work, but is light hearted and entertaining none the less.

The Ringworld Engineers

by Larry Niven

© 1980 ISBN 0-345-33430-2

This book is a continuation of Niven's Ringworld novel. The idea behind this book is more to explain the mysteries of the ringworld than anything else. Twenty years after the first ringworld trip, Louis Wu and Speaker-To-Animals (now known as Chmeee) are again kidnapped by a puppeteer (formerly the hindmost) and taken back to the ringworld in search of a legendary transmutation device.

Upon their arrival, the adventurers find that the ringworld is no longer stable. Something has knocked the ringworld off of its orbital axis and within a short time, the ringworld will crash into the sun killing all of its inhabitance. Louis Wu and Chmeee decide that they are not going to do the bidding of the craze puppateer, rather they are going to find a way to force the puppateer into returning them home.

The book is much more dedicated to telling the story of the ringworld and its suspected origins than it is to telling the adventure of Louis Wu on this trip. This does not make it a bad book. Niven wrote it to answer the questions posed by his fans. If you are a fan of Niven's work, then this is the book that you have waited for.

Second Sight

by Charles McCarry

© 1991 ISBN 0-451-17251-5

This was one of those miltigenerational spy family books. Although the character, Paul Christopher's, family did not play a huge role in this novel, it was still there. This novel relies heavily on time changes. The reader is constantly jumping backwards in time for explanations of what is happening.

The plot line is simple. Spies are being kidnapped, drugged and forced to spill all of their secrets. Enter David Pachen, head of the "Outfit" and Paul Christopher, his best friend and retired spy.

After the introduction on the main plot...we don't go back there for quite a while. It is brought up from time to time, but is always shoved back away. Most of the book lays the groundwork for the solution of this puzzle.

The writing is pretty good, but I found the novel to lack focus. If the novel was about the lives of David Pachen and Paul Christopher it would have been much better, but it is supposedly about this kidnapping case.

Foundation's Triumph

by David Brin

© 1999 ISBN 0-06-105241-8

This is the third and final episode of the Second Foundation Trilogy authorized by the estate of Isaac Asimov. For those that have followed Asimov's Foundation and other works, it starts to answer some of the questions that were left open. It is also the farthest reaching of the three.

I wondered many times if Brin would be able to pull all of the threads together that he had started to unravel. The answer is no. But after reading the epilog that he wrote, it is clear that this was his intent. Brin made it clear that he wanted to leave openings for future authors to explore.

For those that are true Foundation fans, this is a definite must read book. If you have not read the Foundation series, you will not understand what it is all about. This book deals with the events immediately preceding the death of Hari Seldon. Just as the other two, it is designed to fill in some of the gaps that were left by Asimov. Brin sets out to fill in some of these gaps as well as open up new ones for the future. As an avid Foundation fan, I would hope never to see the series end, but I also understand that it is not easy to find authors of this caliber to continue the story.

The Sixth Battle

by Barrett Tillman

© 1992 ISBN 0-553-29462-8

You have yet to hear of my 100 page rule. The hundred page rules states that I must read at least 100 pages (or half whichever is less) of any book before I will throw it out as unreadable. This book pushed the limits of that rule. I was going to stop at page 100 as I found the writing style to be choppy and unappealing, until about page 98. At that point, the writing started to become more concise and flow better. This novel is written in a style that is vastly inferior to Warriors, which is the only other Tillman novel that I have read. This book was in constant danger of being thrown out as not acceptable.

The basic setting for the book is South Africa. The Russians and their allies have attacked South Africa. The U.S. president decides to commit our forces there to save South Africa from falling into the hands of the socialists.

The resounding theme of this book is a spectacular naval battle. The biggest naval engagement since WWII. While some of the book is well written, I found the style to be choppy and plodding. It is definitely not one of Tillman's better works.

Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux

by John G. Neihardt

© 1932 ISBN 0-803-23301-9

Guest Review by John Raghanti

Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux is a recollection of the life of Black Elk that deals with Sioux history from 1863 to early 1891. Black Elk was a medicine man, or Holy Man who was born in 1863 and lived through much of the encapsulation of Sioux land by non-native peoples. He had a vision about what the meaning of life was. He wanted his vision to be told to the world. Black Elk told his first-hand account of his life and vision to John Neihardt, noted Native American historian, whose purpose in this book is to bring Black Elk's vision to life, to bring its universal appeal to all people.

Neihardt tries to capture the feel of the time as well as all of the facts surrounding the incidents. He presents to us the social and familial life of the Sioux, the interaction between wasichus (This is a Sioux word which means non-native people. It does not imply race, gender, or creed) and Black Elk's people , and his visions of the future of the Sioux Nation. Neihardt's compilation of the story was told in a way that was enjoyable to read and allowed the reader to learn about how all people, of all times and of all races want peace and good lives. Along the way we learn about Sioux life, language, and strife.

The book is basically presented in a chronological order, but there are references to previous events to shed light on the subject at hand. In his narrative, Black Elk tells stories that other people told him during the time period. These stories wove mysticism with parables designed to show people how life is to be lived. They also added greatly to the understanding of why the natives acted or reacted in the ways that they did. The chapter headings were descriptions of the events that were being recalled. For example Chapter XI was named "The Killing of Crazy Horse" and was about the events leading up to the death of Crazy Horse. In the book, the pictures that Standing Bear drew were all placed in the middle. These captioned drawings were not well placed, but did give the book a feeling of what life was like in those times for the Sioux people. They also gave insight into Black Elk's perception of his vision and how he imagined the world would become a literal heaven on earth.

The sources for this book are four members of the Sioux Nation: Black Elk, Fire Thunder, Standing Bear, and Iron Hawk. The stories from each of these people were well placed and complimented each other. The story is being told strictly through the eyes of Sioux people, specifically Black Elk, about his own life, his trials, and his accomplishments in connection with trying to ensure his vision coming true.

John Neihardt has given us a beautiful look into the hearts and souls of the Oglala people of the late 19th century. He tells us of dreams, or visions as Sioux people call them. The visions give the reader a sense of the integral role that religion plays in the lives of the Sioux. Black Elk's people were obviously in a state of disbelief and turmoil about their land being taken from them and the broken promises of the wasichu. Neihardt did a wonderful job of portraying their attitudes concerning these happenings. He also brings to life the vision of Black Elk and forces the reader to understand that during times of strife, all people look for salvation from things they fear and hope eternally for a perfect world. The reader can feel and sense the unspoken thoughts of the Sioux during this time. This is especially true in the recounts of the battles that follow closely with other historical documentation of the period. They give the reader the side of the story that is rarely heard.

The social structure of the Sioux people is very well depicted, especially in Black Elk's account of foretelling of future events when he was considered a child and not being able to tell anyone about them because of his age. In Black Elk Speaks, John Neihardt incorporates a great amount of mysticism into the book. Overall the book performs its task of informing the reader of what it is like to be a Holy Man of the Sioux Nation, as well as creating a feel for what life was like over a century ago. It also gives the reader hope for the future, that someday a paradise will descend from the sky and envelop us all.

These are the reviews of the most recent books that I have read. If you have any comments about my reviews, or wish to submit your own for posting on this site, e-mail me at . The choice of what reviews to post is at my discretion. The author of the review will be given full credit for their review. Any guest reviews do not necessarily reflect my opinion of any novel and can not be considered an endorsement of that book by myself.


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