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If (‘you like sci-fi’ = ‘true’) AND (‘you live under a rock’ = ‘false’)

then:

You have heard people talking about the extraordinary novel by Chinese Author Cixin Liu known as “The Three-Body Problem

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In any case, do yourself a favor, and buy this book NOW!

This book is utterly fascinating. By and large, it has to do with a conspiracy. Is it a Government conspiracy? A supernatural conspiracy? A scientific-extra-terrestrial psychological conspiracy? The answer is “Yes”.

Any book that has its opening scenes in the madness of the Chinese cultural revolution, in a trial in which a persons life hinges on his understanding of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, and then moves fluidly to a secret radio astronomy base in the secluded mountains of China at super secret project “Red Coast” and then detours through a virtual reality game known as 3-BODY, which you can actually be murdered for playing…well, that’s a book FOR ME!!

This is one of those books that gets inside your head and makes itself at home. Many of the Virtual Reality stories from 3-BODY still stick with me, and it will forever change the way you look at the word “re-hydrate”.

I can’t praise this book enough, read it, you won’t regret it.

Don’t let me forget to mention that it won the Hugo this year.

A man cannot live on Star Wars books alone.

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Madness!


I have decided to just go crazy, and commit myself to the several year long task of reading, and reviewing, every Star Wars novel. Even at a rate of one book per week, it will take years, but I’ve made my way through 4 or 5 already, and I have discovered that they grow on you. This may be an addiction, I will let you know at the end. Coming soon I will begin the sequence with a review of these books:

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Knight Errant, Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void, Red Harvest, and Kenobi.

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daikaiju

by Robert Hood (Editor), Robin Penn (Editor)

Like many Sci-fi fan-boys out there, Kaiju movies and stories have a special place in my heart. Seeing Godzilla battle enemy monsters on Saturday morning was a quintessential childhood experience, and was hugely entertaining. Well into my adult life, I still contend that one of my most terrifying nightmares was a Godzilla dream, on which I was in an abandoned house, on a remote island, there was a terrible storm coming, and then it slowly dawned on me that it wasn’t a storm heading for me. I craned my head up to the sky and saw Godzilla’s head shrouded by the clouds, and I realized there was no point in running, there was nowhere to run to.

When I started reading Daikaiju! Giant Monster Tales (Volume 1), I was immersed once again into those wonderful, thrilling, and frightening childhood memories. Every once in a while, you discover a hidden gem, that somehow got past everyone’s radar, and when you find them, it’s like showing a gold nugget to your friends and family, this book, and the entire series, is pure gold.

One of the ways that you can know whether or not a book is especially good or not, is if you find yourself thinking about the stories, even months after you have read it. One such story that did that for me, from Volume 1, was a FANTASTIC and intensely written story about a group of “extreme sports” types who find their thrills “running with the monsters”. Like pro-surfers they scan the news daily for any sign of Kaiju, and at the first rumblings they are on the most direct flight there. They are drawn like moths to a flame, to play this game of  life-and-death parkour! Keeping pace with a monster while dodging falling building, exploding gas pipes, sizzling electrical cables, and of course, corpses.

The story center’s around a young man who was pulled into this insanity when his family was killed in a Kaiju attack, with him as the sole survivor, and when the leader of his Kaiju running group dies, he winds up being the new group leader. He is addicted, and does not seem to be able to escape this cycle or re-experiencing the most traumatic event of his life, and cannot shake the intense feeling of life that comes with each successful monster run, and the throbbing terror that comes from getting ever closer to an inescapable conclusion. I don’t want to tell you how the story ends, but if your curious, you should order this book immediately because there are half a dozen stories in Volume 1 that are just as amazing, and intense.

5 stars! This is an enormously satisfying read.

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The Sci-Fi Book-reader did not die!! He just relocated to the mainland. Be ready for my coming soon review of the book –

Daikaiju! Giant Monster Tales by by Robert Hood (Editor), Robin Penn (Editor)

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Robert Edward Wilson, or better known as Robert Anton Wilson, born January 18, 1932, and died January 11, 2007 (aged 74), was an extraordinary intellect, and the writer of the cult series of books about the Illuminati, The Illuminatus! Trilogy (co-authored with Robert Shea.), Cosmic Trigger, The Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy, The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, and Masks of the Illuminati.

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Wilson was an extremely educated man, whose expertise spanned several fields, such as Psychology, Philosophy,  Futurist, Writing, and self-proclaimed “Agnostic Mystic” whose goal was to make people “Agnostic about Everything.”

In his books he pokes fun at every single conspiracy theory ever known to man, mainly by reinforcing them, compounding them with humor and unknowns, and then exploding them with farce and humor.

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In his book he has an island called “Fernando Poo”, characters with names like Hagbard Celine and Mary Lou Cervix, and a man named “Ignotum Per Ignotius” (which is a phrase for a logical fallacy: “the unknown explained by the still more unknown”) . It deals with conspiracies known only as “Operation Mindfuck”  and secret societies trying to “Immanentize the Eschaton” (which is a clever way of saying “bring about the end of the world”), he has famous historical people make guest appearances in his books such as the famous horror writer H.P. Lovecraft and the famous Occultist Aleister Crowley.

I am still reminded of a funny passage from the series, one character has been brought aboard a secret submarine known as the Leif Erickson, and is questioning if he can trust Hagbard Celine, and if this man does in fact have mystical powers such as ESP. The Character smokes a joint and ponders these dilemmas, and then hears Hagbards voice in his mind telling him to come to the bridge. He goes to the bridge, almost convinced this man does in fact have ESP and says “That was a pretty slick trick you did there putting your voice in my head”, Hagbard smiles and laughs, “Dude, I called you on the intercom. You’re just stoned.”

Pick up any or all of the series, you will have fun reading them, they will open your mind, make you feel like you took acid, have you wondering if you really do speak English, or if you actually are a brain in a jar somewhere being fed hallucinations.

Great Fun!

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Harry Norman Turtledove, born June 14, 1949, is a brilliant writer, who has done work in the genres of historical fiction, alternate histories, and Sci-Fi.

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He is a Historian, and has a PhD in Byzantine history.  He has been dubbed “The Master of Alternate History”, and has strong elements of Military Sci-Fi as well in many of his novels.

I personally found his series “WoldWar | Colonization” to be entertaining and fascinating. It takes a special kind of genius to do an alternate history universe where an Alien Invasion happens in the middle of World War II.

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I highly recommend you pick up this series and read. If you are like me and are also a history buff, you would enjoy many of his other series, which include a series in which the Byzantine Empire rose to world dominance. Fascinating reading!!

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Neal Stephenson is an excellent Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk and Historical Fiction Author who has met with extraordinary success in the past few decades.

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His book Snowcrash was a game changer for the Sci-Fi world. He is widely regarded as being a major contributor to Cyberpunk, but not content with that fictional genre he continues to push the envelope into what could be considered “Steampunk” with his series “The Baroque Cycle” , although he travels so far back into history and the very origins of Science that it might be better termed “Horsepunk”.

His books are extremely entertaining, virtually all of them are a good read (You might want to skip his earliest works such as “The Big U” and “Zodiac”).

My favorite book of his that is in the Sci-Fi genre was “The Diamond Age”  or by it’s full title “The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer” which takes place in a future where humanity has mastered nano-technology, and much of the worlds goods are supplied by “Matter Compilers” very much like computer compilers. The book has several fascinating characters, such as a  very poor and disadvantaged young girl named Nell, who comes into possession of a book, which is actually one of the most advanced computers of its age, designed not only to educate a young person, but to transform them into a leader, which is an education that necessarily includes some very rebellious ideas.  It’s a very fascinating notion, and not only did I fall in love with the Princess Nell character, but really wanted to get my hands on that book.

diamond age

The book also includes a very fascinating character that Stephenson admits is based on the 18th century detective novel series hero  “Judge Dee“, which are quite good stories in their own right and the books have a fascinating origin.

This is one of my all time favorite books, and highly recommend you give it a read, after this alphabet series is finished I will be posting a list of my “Top 25 Favorite Sci-Fi Books of All Time” and this book is on that list.

I actually met Neal Stephenson at a book signing when I was and undergrad at Berkeley, at the time he had a pony tail and long leather trench-coat, and had never heard of him nor read his work, and he seemed pretty impressed with himself, I almost wanted to dismiss him out of hand for his obvious arrogance, however, I have to hand it to him, he is a very talented and imaginative writer and was quickly hooked on his work. I might not invite him to go fishing, but I always eagerly await his next book.

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