Review: The Citadel of God, by Louis de Wohl

The Citadel of God, by Louis de Wohl

Louis de Wohl spent a considerable time in the middle of the 20th century writing historical novels about the great saints of the Catholic Church. I've read a number of them, and have found them to be uniformly well-written, entertaining, and informative. I wouldn't call them truly top-notch—they are a little lightweight compared to the historical novels I'm seeing these days, and they are certainly romanticized—but as a first look at one of the great saints, they aren't bad.One thing they … [Read more...]

Jack McDevitt: Antiques in Space!!!

A Talent for War

Recently I re-read Jack McDevitt's "Alex Benedict" series, which begins with A Talent For War and continues through four more volumes to Firebird, with Coming Home due this fall.Alex Benedict is an antiques dealer on the planet Rimway about 9,000 years in our future. 9,000 years is a long time, ample opportunity to accrue just oodles of lost civilizations, abandoned space stations, derelict space ships, and similar archaeological treasures, and they are all out there just waiting for an … [Read more...]

Review: Going Postal


So last night I finished reading Terry Pratchett's Going Postal to my wife and kids. Going Postal is in an odd category: it's a full-fledge novel that I have only ever read aloud. I read it to Jane when it was first released, and now to Jane and my kids. Jane and I loved it on the first reading, and I'm glad to say that it held up on the second reading.In fact, I might go so far as to say that Going Postal is one of Pratchett's best, and it's certainly one of my favorites, in part because … [Read more...]

Review: Night and Demons, by David Drake


Night and Demons is a collection of some of David Drake's short stories. Each story has a brief introduction by the author, and though this is nowhere made explicit I gather from them that this is a collection of Drake's early work. Whether that was the intent or no, it's certainly a showcase of Drake's influences, from H.P Lovecraft to Robert Howard to Fritz Leiber to L. Sprague de Camp to Manly Wade Wellman—and that list should give you a good notion of what you're likely to find h … [Read more...]

Review: The Rhesus Chart, by Charles Stross


The Rhesus Chart, Charles Stross' latest outing in "The Laundry Files", came out on the 1st of July, and I'd devoured it by midnight on the 3rd.Here's the background, if you're not a hopeless computer/Lovecraft geek. Bob Howard, once a budding British maths student, is now an employee of a shadowy British secret service office called "The Laundry", whose task it is to preserve the British public from having their minds and other body parts devoured by Lovecraftian horrors from other … [Read more...]

Review: Monster Hunter International, by Larry Correia

Monster Hunter International

I'm coming to late to reviewing this one; I first Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International a couple of years ago, and then again later, and then again this past week. Gosh, it's a lot of fun. Occasionally horrific; frequently violent; and not at all to be take seriously.We begin with accountant Owen Z. Pitt, who has arrived at work for a date with destiny...or, at least, with his evil pointy-haired-boss, who acquired an all-over case of hirsutism during a recent vacation in the north … [Read more...]

Just So Stories

Elephant's Trunk

This was first posted in April of 2005. And it's all true.I've reviewed Kipling's Just So Stories before, back in 2001 when I was reading them to David. After that they got put on the shelf, not to be taken down again until we were reading Prince Caspian. There were several evenings when David wasn't available at story-time, and on those evenings I needed something different. I scanned the shelves, and Aha! This book fell right into my hand.There are many stories I remember my … [Read more...]

Review: Soulless, by Gail Carriger


Soulless, by Gail Carriger, is an exceedingly silly novel of a sort I don't usually read.  I can best describe it as a steam-punk (i.e., Victorian plus weird technology) paranormal (i.e., vampires and werewolves) bodice-ripper (lots of...well).  I picked it up because I'd been seeing it on the shelves for some years (it was first published in 2009), it's part of a complete series, and the bodice-ripper aspect wasn't apparent in the segments I sampled at the bookstore.The conceit is that G … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Humming

Monkey Typing

Miss Hisselpenny found most of the books in Alexia’s father’s library shameful to read. She covered her ears and hummed whenever Miss Tarabotti even mentioned her papa, but she never hummed so loudly she could not hear what was said.— Gail Carriger, SoullessSouless is what you might call a steampunk paranormal romance novel. I can't precisely recommend it, but it made me laugh despite the plethora of refrigerator moments. I might have more to say about it on another day. … [Read more...]