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January 30, 2011

Sunday Book Thread

[EDIT: It was John the Baptist, not jmflynny, who wrote "Brave Men In Desperate Times". Sorry for the error.]

I've been jonesing for a good sci-fi read for quite some time, so I picked up Greg Bear's Hull Zero Three. Bear is a pretty reliable novelist (his Blood Music is a classic of the genre), but I found this book somewhat...pro-forma. It's a variant on the "outer space shipwreck" theme, and I found some interesting parallels with his novels Forge of God and Anvil of Stars novels. It's a short novel, though, and I wish Bear would have developed the story a bit more -- as it is, it seems more like a fleshed-out short story than a full novel.

It pleases me when I come across Morons who are also authors (of which there are a surprising number), and on this note I present John McKay's (jmflynny "John the Baptist" to you Morons) Brave Men In Desperate Times. I've mentioned that Civil War history is a hobby of mine, and this book concerns the rank-and-file soldiers who fought in that war. What brought these men, many of whom had never been more than twenty miles from the place where they were born, to battlefields hundreds or even thousands of miles away and in a cause many of them only dimly understood? Many military historians frame conflicts in terms of campaigns and individual battles, of political maneuverings, and neglect the men who actually have to bleed and die. I'm glad to find a book that might shed some light on the motivations and lives of these soldiers. (And it's cool to read a book written by a fellow Moron!)

I posted this link earlier, but it bears repeating: at Amazon, e-books have outsold paperbacks for the first time. Is this a tipping point where the printed-book market goes into permanent decline? I hope not, but I've contributed to the decline (ten of my last fifteen book purchases have been e-books for the Kindle), so it seems hypocritical to be concerned about it.

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posted by Monty at 08:54 AM

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