Lester Dent wrote the majority of the Doc Savage novels starting in 1930′s, long before the Internet, before telephones and TV reached everywhere. I am consistently impressed by the amount of technical and geographical research that Mr. Dent put into these pulp novels. From what I understand, he would work on a skill or trade, master it, then move on to another; and he traveled extensively, earning him entry into the Explorer’s Club.
In this novel, a voodoo master known only as “The Gray Spider” is taking over by force the large lumber companies of Louisiana. Big Eric, a friend of Ham’s from Harvard Law School, owns a lumber company that is next in line, and he and his (of course) lovely daughter Edna fly to New York City to enlist Doc’s aid. The plane is sabotaged on the way, but they survive and Doc and Ham head back to New Orleans with them, with the other four members of Doc’s band of merry men to follow. (more…)
Having read (recently) the Gap Series (back-to-back) and the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (in school, about 100 years ago), I was looking forward to diving into this series, “The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant”. Mr. Donaldson’s world building is complex. And though he includes what I wish every author would include (a “What Has Come Before” section before each of his books) it was difficult to pick up the story, even though this is the first book in a new series. Thus, this post will be longer than usual, notes for when I read the next three books in this (planned) four book series.
In this book, Dr. Linden Avery is the main character. She is running a mental institute which was started via funding from locals who recognized the tragedy from the earlier books (people sticking their hands into fire to summon Lord Foul the Despiser) and the lack of a facility in the area to treat such folks. Joan, Thomas Covenant’s estranged wife, is a patient in the facility. Linden has also adopted Jeremiah, one of the children from the tragedy who cannot communicate, and has one hand maimed from the fire similar to Covenant’s ‘half-hand’. (more…)
Watching District 9 with my 18 year old this weekend and observing how is interest level changed made us realize that the movie is four movies in one. He was interested in some parts, bored in others and excited/laughing in others.
An alien ship stalls out of Johannesburg. The aliens are rescued from the ship, and, 20 years later, they are in a slum called District 9. Tension with the locals incites a movement to relocate them out of the city (to the cleverly named District 10)
The movie is:
He is now several inches taller than me, but says he still looks up to me. This certainly won’t be my last bit of advice (I remain hard to shut up), but I will keep this one short and simple: nourish and grow mind, body and spirit (balance, Weedhopper): study hard, work hard, play hard…and c’mon Baggy, get with the beat!
Our theme song, that mama hates to hear us sing.
As a child living in Indian Harbor Beach, Florida, I was able to watch many of the Apollo launches from the roof of my parents house. Apollo 11 and the first moon landing, the pinnacle of the space race with the Soviets, is obviously a milestone for mankind. And Buzz Aldrin was there, recording it and his life after in this memoir (which we got signed, at his appearance at the Houston Museum of Natural Science). The book is logically four parts: Apollo 11, Aldrin’s downward spiral afterward, his recovery with his new wife Lois, and what he has been doing since.
The first three chapters record Aldrin’s thoughts and actions through the journey to, walk on, and return from the moon as a part of the historic Apollo 11 mission with Armstrong and Collins. Those first 58 pages are excellent, a terrific description of an event millions watched, but from the perspective of the second (but most visible) man to step on the moon. (more…)
In a classic case of “I wished I’d thought of that”, the eZine “Slate” has created “Choose Your Own Apocalypse”, a cross between Jeopardy and Armageddon. With a matrix of 144 (that’s 12 x 12 for you non-geeks), Josh Levin has put together a list of “How America will End” to parallel Alexander Demandt’s similar search which ended up with 210 reason why Rome fell.
The vertical axis is Man’s Fault vs. Nature’s Fault, while the horizontal is Everybody Lives, Everybody Dies. Pick your five, and come back Friday to see what others have chosen. Though it only concerns the fall of one country (ours!), it is a fitting addition to the Thinking Man’s Guide to the End of the World.
When I put my selected five in the window, it gives me the following result:
You are a humanitarian internationalist. You’re convinced mankind will terminate America—but at least we won’t off ourselves in the process. You’ll know you’re right when: Everyone on Earth pledges allegiance to a world government; the feds default on the national debt.
For my five (and the description from Slate): (more…)
This is the second story originally published by Street and Smith (and the 2nd in the PJF chronology) and it is a bit rough around the edges. A professor of chemistry, Jerome Coffern, one of Doc Savage’s early teachers and a friend, is brutally murdered, his body dissolved with a strange gas called “the Smoke of Eternity”. Only a forearm wearing a watch that was a gift from Savage remains. Doc follows the assailants, and determines that they work for a man named “Kar”, who is the one who knows had to build the dissolving potion. Doc finds a clue in Coffern’s apartment that he believed someone was trying to kill him, and that a year ago he went on an expidition with Oliver Wording Bittman, a taxidermist, and Gabe Yuder, to a place near New Zealand called Thunder Island. Doc looks up Bittman, and sees a picture of him with Doc’s father, and a letter from Clark Savage Sr. thanking Bittman for saving his life. Doc instantly promises to do whatever he can for Bittman, and Bittman eventually joins in the hunt for Kar (who Doc now believes is Bittman). (more…)