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Showing posts from August, 2018

Book Review: Black Hills by Dan Simmons

I put “Black Hills” into my reading queue a while back because I actually grew up in the Black hills and thought it would be an interesting lark to read a novel about my home town. But because I was disappointed by another book of the same name, "Black Hills” by Nora Roberts, I stayed away.
Aside: Really, it was clear to me that Mrs. Roberts had never been in South Dakota. Why she set her romance novel there I will never know. 
Later, I read other Dan Simmons' books like “Hyperion,” “Summer of Night,” and “The Terror” and was blown away by his writing skill and his story telling. I cried my eyes out during “Hyperion,” sat up up in bed petrified reading “Summer of Night,” and was gobsmacked about what British sailors had to endure as their officers tried to find the Northwest Passage in “The Terror." 
But Simmons’ “Black Hills” is off the charts in terms of level of difficulty compared to these other three. I can’t even describe the skill required to pull off this crazy and…

Book Review: "How Great Science Fiction Works,” by Gary K. Wolfe, Course Review by Rick Howard

I very much enjoyed Dr. Wolfe’s Great Courses lecture. I have always considered myself to be a science fiction fan, but after listening to these lectures, I learned that there are numerous holes in my science fiction education that I will have to get busy filling. 
To my great surprise, I learned that the mother of science fiction is Mary Shelly, the author of ‘Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus,” published in 1818. She was the first author to tell a fictional tale where the catalyst of the entire story arc was a bit of science that was tantalizingly just out of modern reach. Electricity might be able to reanimate dead tissue. What a great idea. The fact that a woman created an entire genre of writing is fascinating by itself but when you consider that she did it when, at the time, respectable women didn’t write novels and especially didn’t write horror/gothic novels, Shelly’s accomplishment is extraordinary. And she wasn’t done there. Some scholars say she is the first author to c…