Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Star Trek: The Lost Years (Dillard)

Star Trek: The Lost Years, J. M. Dillard, 1989

This should be the last of the Star Trek books for a while. Enjoyable, but parly because I'd heard it already on tape. It followed Kirk, Spock and McCoy after the five-year mission ended with cameos by Riley and Uhura, who just seems thrown in to get into trouble, along with Sarek.
A bit of Vulcan history, which was enjoyable, but if the Vulcans were this powerful at one time, it's hard to believe that they had ever become civilized. The Spock/McCoy story was the better part. Kirk's peace mission/rescue mission was somewhat boring and teh clash of the two storylines, though inevitable, was still forced.
Only for Star Trek fans who need to fill in the gaps. Not as much fun as the Shatner books.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Star Trek: The Ashes of Eden & Avenger (Shatner, Reeves-Stevens)

Star Trek: The Ashes of Eden, William Shatner with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Pocket Books 1995

Star Trek: Avenger, William Shatner with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Pocket Books 1997

Fun, quick reads for the train. Ashes of Eden takes place before Generations and features the old cast. It starts with Kirk back on the Faragut and moves to "current day" wherean old nemesis is back.
Avenger is a TNG novel with Spock. Although it is technically a sequel to The Return, the plot makes nuerous references to Eden, and sums up the plot of Return, so that it isn't necessary to be read in between.
There's a blurb for another book, Spectre, in 1998. I haven't seen it in book form or on tape.
I'll pass these on.

Postscript:Passed them onto Thomas. Listened to The Return on tape. Would like to read it.

If I remember the sequence of events correctly, I listened to Avenger in the car first. I remember wondering how Kirk got there and why he was concerned with some strange alien woman that he was looking for. That aside -- I figured that there was something I missed -- I enjoyed the tape and thought that it tied into the original series and the movies pretty well. (So well, it was that obvious that Shatner had little to do with it.)

Since then I went back looking for Shatner Star Trek novels because they were among the better written ones. (I won't say the same for his Tek-War novels.) Pretty much, if Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens are associated with it, it's probably good. "Probably" because Paramount can always be counted on to ruin a good thing.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Millenium (Bova)

Millenium: A Novel About People and Politics in the Year 1999, Ben Bova
Ballantine Books, 1976, 295 pp.

December 1999: The U.S. and Soviet Union lunar cities co-exist peacefully. Too bad the Earth isn't as well-adjusted.
The two countries are on the brink of total annihilation before either country can complete their ABM satellite network (operated remotely by three space stations each).
World population: 8 billion.
US population: 300 million
Food and resources are scarce, riots common (mostly past) and everything is polluted.

As gripping as it might have been, I'd totally forgotten about this novel until I found my notes. I couldn't tell you anything more than is written above. So maybe I should change my mini-review to "gripping, but not memorable".

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sassinak (McCaffery, Moon)

Sassinak, Anne McCaffery and Elizabeth Moon

I started off wondering if it was a prequel up until little Lunzie died (?) It wasn't the same Lunzie from The Death of Sleep.
It follows the life of a young girl kidnapped by pirates and rescued by Fleet who then grows up into a Fleet Commander. Episodic in nature, jumping through her lifespan.
It becomes a sequel of sorts when Sassinak comes across the plate where The Death of Sleep ended. Quick read.

The Death of Sleep (McCaffery, Nye)

The Death of Sleep, Anne McCaffery and Jody Lynn Nye

Well- written, well-paced but some plotlines just withered away and the story took abrupt turns (not always for the better). The book ended suddenly like there should have been another 30 pages or so to tie it all up. Instead, it ended as if the authors just got tired of writing and didn't feel like tying up the plot.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Letterman Wit (Bill Addler)

The Letterman Wit, Bill Addler, 1994 (158 pp)

A short biography about Letterman from childhood to ratings king on CBS (before the ratings dip). Some humorous stuff. Quick read.

Not a collection of Top Ten lists or anything like that.
Actually, these days, Letterman is a bit of a turn-off. If I watch either (and I don't usually watch either), I'd probably watch Leno. At least for now.

Red Storm Rising (Tom Clancy)

Loooong, especially for one of Clancy's earlier books. It took a while to get started and was much more involved than the audiobook. Took quite a while to get through.

That's the capsule summary from 2002(?). I remember reading a used paperback. The parts that I'd previously listened to were quick reading, but the technical details were a lot of slogging. Everything other than the stuff in Iceland seemed to induce sleep.

Overall, though, I did enjoy it, but not as much as some of Clancy's other early stuff.

Friday, December 26, 2008

What is This Blog?

I can't say that I've always been an avid reader. I can say that I've wished that I'd read more in the past and had more time to read now. I collected more books than I ever had time (and, frankly, inclination) to read. And it only got worse when I was transferred to an office that I couldn't commute to by train (my prime reading time).

Anyway, one thing that I noticed was that I really couldn't remember much about a lot of the books that I'd read -- including some characters, parts of the plot, maybe the author's name, even the title! Now some of this might've been the result of poor choices in reading material. That will happen when you get a big chunk of your books from the closeouts and remainders bins. You do save money, but at the cost of better reading material.

So a number of years back, probably around 2000, I started keeping track of the books I was reading, if only so I could refer back to them or to tell a friend about them. A bad thing about reading "leftovers" is that few other people that I know would have read them, so there isn't much to talk about unless I could introduce them to the book.

Later on, someone gave me a great suggestion: create a Notepad file, call it Books03 (it was 2003) and just update it every time I started a new book. Instant record keeping.

The internet allowed me to take it one step further. I have a page on geocities:
Tanniker Smith's Recently Read Books (that's sort of an Internet alias ... long story). The problem is that it's actually a pain to keep up with even though I actually enjoy coding my own pages.

I've been thinking for a while about making a Blogger page out of it. Easier updates. Plus there's an RSS feed in the event that someone might care when I update this page. Obviously, it isn't going to updated too often about what I'm currently reading. Frankly, it still takes me too long to finish things because I just don't have the time.

On the other hand, if I start with my oldest notes from 2000, it will be a while before I catch up to the present day.

EDIT: I discovered a couple of books that I can absolutely remember where I was when I was reading them. And those date to 2001-2002. Given the number of books that I tend to read in a year, that would mean that my little book of notes probably started in 1999 or even 1998.