Monday, June 18, 2007

This Immortal

Author: Roger Zelazny
Published: 1966

The novel started as a novella with the title ...And Call Me Conrad. The novella shared the Hugo Award in 1966 with Dune (and as much as I like Roger Zelazny, I find that fact astounding, even if there was no separate category for novella back then).

This book is heavy on clever dialogue and big ideas, a little light on plot and character development, and very deep on mythology (much of which went over my head). And with this book, I begin rebuilding my Zelazny collection.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Gone Tomorrow

Author: Heather Rogers
Published: 2005

Subtitled, 'The Hidden Life of Garbage', covers much of the same ground as 'Garbage Land', though with more emphasis on the manipulation by companies to promote disposable items over refillable and bulk purchases. I'm often sceptical of claims of corporate manipulation, mostly based on the fact that we have free will as human beings and if we choose to be lazy and wasteful then bad on us.

For example, this book does document some things like disposable drink containers for which companies make large profits in the U.S. while in other countries in Latin America and Europe, the culture returned to or never gave up refillable containers. Bad on us U.S. citizens for letting it happen. Fixing the problem, on the other hand, could be a challenge since we've ceded so much power to those companies.

On the third hand, there is the whole Keep America Beautiful (KAB) anti-littering cabal, pushing for some 50 (!) years the idea that waste is the problem of consumers, not the companies that create the products. On the fourth hand, aren't we? I mean, if we didn't buy those cute Dora the Explorer bath sets with the toxic-to-the-environment PVC head/body molded around the shampoo bottle, then companies would stop making that crap. On the other hand...

Maybe I should stop now. I'm getting dizzy.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Windows Vista Unleashed

Author: Paul McFedries
Published: 2007

At close to 800 pages, this is not a quick read. Some parts were fun, others rather scary. The only reason to read this book is if one has gotten a new computer. Because Vista just isn't going to be fat and happy on last year's model.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Bone Dance

Author: Emma Bull
Published: 1991

A good read. Felt like I had one foot off the ground for the first half of the book as the protagonist's gender is in question (which is developed in a very interesting way in the second half). Reminded me, strangely enough, of A Fistful of Dollars. Yes, strange association. The similarity is in how Sparrow retreats with broken wings (if you will), heals up, and returns to fight the bad guys. Another author I'll have to read more of.