New Readings

Last night I finished off my second new book in 3 days. Friday night I stopped off at the Long Beach Barnes and Noble, and I bought The Grapple by Turttledove, continuing his alternate history of “What if the South won the Civil War?”, and Book 2 of the Axis of Time trilogy, Designated Targets.

All in all, I enjoyed Designated Targets much more. It plays off the idea of a US Naval battlegroup from 2021 being sent back in time to the Battle of Midway, where things go dreadfully wrong.

The best set of lines comes from The Grapple, where one character is challenged by Patton to a duel, and he responds by choosing flamethrowers at 10 paces. Just the idea of that alone got a good laugh out of me.

Still, it’s things like this that prove I’m worthless when new books come out. I’ll just blow through them until I finish, and I can’t seem to do much else besides read.

I could recommend either book to people, but the previous volumes would make the stories much easier to understand. Turttledove’s characters seem just as wooden as ever, filling out roles that our World War 2’s real life generals did. Fun to play with, but easy to step into predetermined paths.

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3 Responses to New Readings

  1. spencer says:

    So, what book of all that you have read, would you recommend most?

  2. Bill says:

    For a single volume of a book, I’ve been returning time and again the past several years to Neil Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, even though its’ really just a sequel to the Baroque Cycle. It was published first, but chronologically, it takes place later.

    If I had to take one story with me to a deserted island, and I’d never get the chance to read anything else again (and ignoring useful things like Gray’s Anatomy for medicine or the Boy Scout Fieldbook for building shelters and such, or the Bible if you want your spiritual side to be serviced), I’d probably go with Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle. I’m cheating there, as it’s really 6 books compiled in 3 volumes, but they are all different sections of the same story.

    Runners up would be Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic book series (again, I’m taking the whole story rather than an individual volume), Garth Ennis’s Preacher, James Robinson’s Starman, or Garth Ennis’s Hitman series. If I had to pick one comic book series to hand out though, it would be Judd Winnick’s Barry Ween series.

    For Stephenson, try Snow Crash first, and if you like that, get into his other works. It’s the easiest to start on, and the rest of his books have a similar tone and feel, though they begin to get much more complicated as he advanced as a writer.

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