There Is No Darkness

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This book is very different from the other Joe Haldeman stuff I have read. The other stuff has been serious, thoughtful, and well written. This is attempting to be more of a parody book, much like what you’d get from Harry Harrison. Perhaps that’s the influence of the co-author, Joe’s brother.

I must say however that the end was unexpected and interesting. The last 50 pages was the best bit of this book by far.

[isbn: 0441805647]

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Asimov’s Chimera

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This is the second book in the iBooks spinoff series based on Asimov’s robot mysteries and the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series. Overall it fits into the Foundation Series acceptably. This book is a mystery much like Mark’s first Mirage.

I think overall this book is better written than Mirage, and is certainly better plotted than the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series. The book is believable and entertaining, without having to suspend too much disbelief. I enjoyed it, although the book isn’t important to the development of Foundation Series overall.

[isbn: 0743412974]

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The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall

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This is an anthology of Pern stories. It doesn’t really stand on its own though, you’re much better off having read the other Pern books first. The stories are:

  • The Survey: P.E.R.N.: this story feels quite lazy. There are new characters, but they aren’t well introduced. They find the planet later called Pern, and explore it, but the story is entirely descriptive with no real plot to speak of. A story that’s only interesting if you’re obsessed with all things Pern. Its especially important that you’ve read Dragonsdawn before this story.
  • The Dolphin’s Bell: this story recycles characters introduced in Dragonsdawn to tell another side of the evacuation from Landing story. Its an ok story, but its not ground breaking.
  • The Fort of Red Hanrahan: covers the settlement of the second Hold on Pern. This story feels more like a real story, even if it is a bit shallow. Better than the previous two stories.
  • The Second Weyr: this is more of a traditional dragon rider story, and quite good. It doesn’t feel as much like an afterthought as the other stories, and was a good read. The title is a bit of a fib, as this story explains the existence of the next three weyrs.
  • Rescue Run: this was a good story too, covering why the settlers were never rescued.

Overall, I’d say this collecting was ok, but nothing particularly special.

[isbn: 0345368991]

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Marsbound

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This book really worked for me. I’ve seen other people criticize it for being juvenile, but I don’t feel its any more juvenile than The Forever War, which is considered a classic. The style is quite conversational, as if the main protagonist is talking to you and explaining the story, but I liked that. This is a great book.

[isbn: 9780441017393; 0441017398]

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Thermostat (or, its happening again)

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This is just a quick post at the moment because the project isn’t done and I am distracted by other things… The thermostat for the central heater in my house became unreliable a week or two ago. My wife rang around and a new one from the manufacturer of the heater was going to be $450 AUD. So, it seemed obvious to make my own. I’ve just installed the 1.0 of it, with the board layout and manufacture being done by Doug once again.

Other people seem to lack a PCB manufacturing back neighbour. I highly recommend you acquire one if possible.

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Cyteen: The Vindication

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This is the final book in the Cyteen trilogy (proceeded by Cyteen: The Betrayal and Cyteen: The Rebirth). This book is good in that it avoids much of the politics that mired the first book. Additionally, its nice to see Ari2 and Justin resolve some of their differences, even if its from a position of mutual distrust. The series doesn’t really resolve the problem of Ari’s research, but I assume that theme is covered more in later books.

[isbn: 0445204303]
[award: winner hugo 1989]

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