Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Book Review - Drood by Dan Simmons

Dan Simmons
Trade Paperback: 800 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Reprint edition (February 8, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-0316007030

Absolutely brilliant!

Dan Simmons weaves a hell of a story with a stunningly written “Drood.” Starring Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, and the mysterious Edwin Drood (among other real and fictional Victorian characters) the story explores the labyrinth of the London Underworld, the friendship and collaboration of two well-known and gifted writers, the unfinished last work of Charles Dickens (“The Mystery of Edwin Drood”), and a purely fictional story of murder, mayhem, and misogyny.

Impeccably researched and filled with fast-paced prose I honestly felt like I was transported to Victorian England as I waited for the serialization of the next Dickens’s or Collins’s novel to appear on the newsstands. When Simmons walks us through the dark passages that conceal the underground cemeteries, opium dens, and catacombs of London we follow along. When he reports the train wreck at Staplehurst we experience the loss of life and limb on a personal level and we feel the victim’s pain. When he depicts the lives of the novelists we gain a sense of what life must have been like in their households.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced, page-turning phenomenon. You should too!

5 out of 5 stars

Related websites:

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” Wikipedia Entry

Complete (and searchable) text of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”

Wilkie Collins Wikipedia Entry

Wilkie Collins website

Charles Dickens – Gad’s Hill Place

Charles Dickens Wikipedia Entry

P.S. There are literally thousands of websites about Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. A Google search will give you more than you could possibly read in a lifetime. Hopefully, my few listed sites are enough to satisfy your literary needs.

Happy reading!!

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Book Review - Old Man's War by John Scalzi

Old Man's War
John Scalzi
Tor Science Fiction
Mass Market Paperback
320 pages

“Old Man’s War” is often compared to Robert A. Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” but I enjoyed this much more (and I’m a huge Heinlein fan). And while it does resemble Troopers a bit I think that Joe Haldeman’s “Mind Bridge” and “The Forever War,” Frederik Pohl’s “Gateway,” and Jack Chalker’s Well World books are closer comparisons. What I mean by that is that John Scalzi has an “old Science Fiction soul” and this is the highest compliment I could pay any writer. An instant classic and a fun read!

My recommended series reading order:

Old Man's War Series
1. Old Man's War (2005)
2. The Ghost Brigades (2006)
3. The Sagan Diary (2007)
4. The Last Colony (2007)
5. Zoe’s Tale (2008)

4 ½ out of 5 stars

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin