Currently Reading: Battlefield Earth

Currently re-reading Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard. So far, this is the only book by Hubbard that I’ve been able to re-read. The cover on the right is the one I read from the library (it’s the first edition hardcover) and is the one I owned. The cover on the left was made for the audiobook and ended up becoming the cover for the mass market paperback. That is a MONSTER of a paperback, at around 1000 pages. There are also some movie covers but the less said about that utter travesty the better.

I am enjoying this quite a bit. Of course, with a main character named Johnny Goodboy Tyler, you know he’s a Gary Stu. But Gary Stu’s have an important role in stories, they remind us that the Good does win in the end and that Evil will be defeated, even if it appears to be at its strongest at the moment.

Currently Reading & Quote: Monster Hunter Bloodlines

Julie woke me up by opening our bedroom curtains. Photons flew over and punched me in the eyelids.

I groaned. “Ugh . . . What time is it?”

“Time for you to get up. It’s almost noon and apparently we’ve got a busy day.” My wife sounded chipper. “Or night, I guess. Since apparently you guys decided to invite some sort of murderous ghost to the compound for some inexplicable reason.”

Squinting, I sat up in bed and shielded my eyes. “He’s kind of a cowboy pirate murder ghost. I would have told you all about it when I came in, but I didn’t want to wake you.”
~Chapter 14

Did you read that?!? Cowboy Pirate Murder Ghost?!?!? You know a story is awesome when it has a Cowboy Pirate Murder Ghost in it!

Currently Reading: Jim Henson – The Biography

With my Muppet Experiment still in full swing (Fraggles are muppets, even if not going by that particular name) and going so well, I at some point wanted to read about Henson, the man behind it all.

Well, at almost 800 pages I’m getting it all. I’ll be doing an actual review next week. For now, I’m enjoying this but realizing (again!! for about the umpteenth time) that non-fiction just doesn’t engage me, no matter how interested I am in the subject.

Currently Reading & Quote: Act of Treason

This wasn’t Hollywood. Real shooters carried their weapons hot. That meant a round in the chamber. None of this racking the slide macho bullshit. All that did was slow you down and make a bunch of noise.
~ page 103

Oh my goodness, isn’t THAT the truth. My brother and I talk about this all the time. When the tv show Supernatural was on the air, this was a particularly egregious offense. My brother counted, in one episode that was supposed to be one scene, four times where one of the Winchester brothers racked his pistol. Which means that he simply ejected 4 bullets from his gun so he could sound cool. Dad Winchester totally failed in that regards!

I’d like to see Mitch Rapp take on some vampires though. That’d be cool. And if he happened to kill Joe Ledger by accident, I’d totally be ok with that too. Even bookwyrms have to dream….

Currently Reading & Quote: The Secret of Father Brown

This is a very long multi-paragraph quote so I’m going to place it after I’ve said my piece instead of before as per the normal. This quote really seems to encapsulate Father Brown. It is very personal and shows how Father Brown views humanity in the same way that God does. Not as a collective lump to be categorized and labeled into groups, but as individuals and people to be known and loved. I guess I think this section is relevant is because it expresses how the Creator of the Universe itself feels about me and about you. Until we have a proper understanding of how God views us, we are going to have some seriously twisted views of God Himself. There are a lot of implications from that that carry over into how we act and feel in real life, but that’s getting a bit off topic.

So without further ado, here’s the passage:

The interviewing instinct awoke, tactful but tense. If he did try to draw Father Brown, as if he were a tooth, it was done with the most dexterous and painless American dentistry.

They were sitting in a sort of partly unroofed outer court of the house, such as often forms the entrance to Spanish houses. It was dusk turning to dark; and as all that mountain air sharpens suddenly after sunset, a small stove stood on the flagstones, glowing with red eyes like a goblin, and painting a red pattern on the pavement; but scarcely a ray of it reached the lower bricks of the great bare, brown brick wall that went soaring up above them into the deep blue night. Flambeau’s big broad-shouldered figure and great moustaches, like sabres, could be traced dimly in the twilight, as he moved about, drawing dark wine from a great cask and handing it round. In his shadow, the priest looked very shrunken and small, as if huddled over the stove; but the American visitor leaned forward elegantly with his elbow on his knee and his fine pointed features in the full light; his eyes shone with inquisitive intelligence.

“I can assure you, sir,” he was saying, “we consider your achievement in the matter of the Moonshine Murder the most remarkable triumph in the history of detective science.”

Father Brown murmured something; some might have imagined that the murmur was a little like a moan.

“We are well acquainted,” went on the stranger firmly, “with the alleged achievements of Dupin and others; and with those of Lecoq, Sherlock Holmes, Nicholas Carter, and other imaginative incarnations of the craft. But we observe there is in many ways, a marked difference between your own method of approach and that of these other thinkers, whether fictitious or actual. Some have spec’lated, sir, as to whether the difference of method may perhaps involve rather the absence of method.”

Father Brown was silent; then he started a little, almost as if he had been nodding over the stove, and said: “I beg your pardon. Yes. . .. Absence of method. . . . Absence of mind, too, I’m afraid.”

“I should say of strictly tabulated scientific method,” went on the inquirer. “Edgar Poe throws off several little essays in a conversational form, explaining Dupin’s method, with its fine links of logic. Dr. Watson had to listen to some pretty exact expositions of Holmes’s method with its observation of material details. But nobody seems to have got on to any full account of your method, Father Brown, and I was informed you declined the offer to give a series of lectures in the States on the matter.”

“Yes,” said the priest, frowning at the stove; “I declined.”

“Your refusal gave rise to a remarkable lot of interesting talk,” remarked Chace. “I may say that some of our people are saying your science can’t be expounded, because it’s something more than just natural science. They say your secret’s not to be divulged, as being occult in its character.”

“Being what?” asked Father Brown, rather sharply.

“Why, kind of esoteric,” replied the other. “I can tell you, people got considerably worked up about Gallup’s murder, and Stein’s murder, and then old man Merton’s murder, and now Judge Gwynne’s murder, and a double murder by Dalmon, who was well known in the States. And there were you, on the spot every time, slap in the middle of it; telling everybody how it was done and never telling anybody how you knew. So some people got to think you knew without looking, so to speak. And Carlotta Brownson gave a lecture on Thought-Forms with illustrations from these cases of yours. The Second Sight Sisterhood of Indianapolis — —”

Father Brown, was still staring at the stove; then he said quite loud yet as if hardly aware that anyone heard him: “Oh, I say. This will never do.”

“I don’t exactly know how it’s to be helped,” said Mr. Chace humorously. “The Second Sight Sisterhood want a lot of holding down. The only way I can think of stopping it is for you to tell us the secret after all.”

Father Brown groaned. He put his head on his hands and remained a moment, as if full of a silent convulsion of thought. Then he lifted his head and said in a dull voice:

“Very well. I must tell the secret.”

His eyes rolled darkly over the whole darkling scene, from the red eyes of the little stove to the stark expanse of the ancient wall, over which were standing out, more and more brightly, the strong stars of the south.

“The secret is,” he said; and then stopped as if unable to go on. Then he began again and said:

“You see, it was I who killed all those people.”

“What?” repeated the other, in a small voice out of a vast silence.

“You see, I had murdered them all myself,” explained Father Brown patiently. “So, of course, I knew how it was done.”

Grandison Chace had risen to his great height like a man lifted to the ceiling by a sort of slow explosion. Staring down at the other he repeated his incredulous question.

“I had planned out each of the crimes very carefully,” went on Father Brown, “I had thought out exactly how a thing like that could be done, and in what style or state of mind a man could really do it. And when I was quite sure that I felt exactly like the murderer myself, of course I knew who he was.”

Chace gradually released a sort of broken sigh.

“You frightened me all right,” he said. “For the minute I really did think you meant you were the murderer. Just for the minute I kind of saw it splashed over all the papers in the States: ‘Saintly Sleuth Exposed as Killer: Hundred Crimes of Father Brown.’ Why, of course, if it’s just a figure of speech and means you tried to reconstruct the psychogy—”

Father Brown rapped sharply on the stove with the short pipe he was about to fill; one of his very rare spasms of annoyance contracted his face.

“No, no, no,” he said, almost angrily; “I don’t mean just a figure of speech. This is what comes of trying to talk about deep things. . . . What’s the good of words . . .? If you try to talk about a truth that’s merely moral, people always think it’s merely metaphorical. A real live man with two legs once said to me: ‘I only believe in the Holy Ghost in a spiritual sense.’ Naturally, I said: ‘In what other sense could you believe it?’ And then he thought I meant he needn’t believe in anything except evolution, or ethical fellowship, or some bilge. . . . I mean that I really did see myself, and my real self, committing the murders. I didn’t actually kill the men by material means; but that’s not the point. Any brick or bit of machinery might have killed them by material means. I mean that I thought and thought about how a man might come to be like that, until I realized that I really was like that, in everything except actual final consent to the action. It was once suggested to me by a friend of mine, as a sort of religious exercise. I believe he got it from Pope Leo XIII, who was always rather a hero of mine.”

“I’m afraid,” said the American, in tones that were still doubtful, and keeping his eye on the priest rather as if he were a wild animal, “that you’d have to explain a lot to me before I knew what you were talking about. The science of detection — —”

Father Brown snapped his fingers with the same animated annoyance. “That’s it,” he cried; “that’s just where we part company. Science is a grand thing when you can get it; in its real sense one of the grandest words in the world. But what do these men mean, nine times out of ten, when they use it nowadays? When they say detection is a science? When they say criminology is a science? They mean getting outside a man and studying him as if he were a gigantic insect: in what they would call a dry impartial light, in what I should call a dead and dehumanized light. They mean getting a long way off him, as if he were a distant prehistoric monster; staring at the shape of his ‘criminal skull’ as if it were a sort of eerie growth, like the horn on a rhinoceros’s nose. When the scientist talks about a type, he never means himself, but always his neighbour; probably his poorer neighbour. I don’t deny the dry light may sometimes do good; though in one sense it’s the very reverse of science. So far from being knowledge, it’s actually suppression of what we know. It’s treating a friend as a stranger, and pretending that something familiar is really remote and mysterious. It’s like saying that a man has a proboscis between the eyes, or that he falls down in a fit of insensibility once every twenty-four hours. Well, what you call ‘the secret’ is exactly the opposite. I don’t try to get outside the man. I try to get inside the murderer. . . . Indeed it’s much more than that, don’t you see? I am inside a man. I am always inside a man, moving his arms and legs; but I wait till I know I am inside a murderer, thinking his thoughts, wrestling with his passions; till I have bent myself into the posture of his hunched and peering hatred; till I see the world with his bloodshot and squinting eyes, looking between the blinkers of his half-witted concentration; looking up the short and sharp perspective of a straight road to a pool of blood. Till I am really a murderer.”

Currently Reading: A Christmas Carol read by Tim Curry

Last month, in October, I had mistakenly asked The Book Drunkard and her husband SavageDave if they had listened to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow read by Tim Curry. Neither of them had and I couldn’t find any version, so I gave it up. Turns out it was because I was being a numpty and getting my stories mixed up. Thankfully, I’ve got it right this time. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and read by Tim Curry? YES PLEASE!

Tim Curry has a great voice and I am really looking forward to this.

Currently Reading: Gulag Archipelago, Vol III

I finished up Gulag Archipelago Volume II back in February and had to take a break as it was simply too heavy in both density of the text itself and the subject matter.

But the time has come to plunge into this third and final volume of Solzhenitsyn’s magnum opus. Took me 6 months to get through Volume II, so I am planning on a similar time frame. I am not going to rush this.

Wish me luck!

Currently Reading & Quote: Rando Splicer

It has been almost 3 years since I read the previous book in this The Spiral Wars series, Croma Venture. Not that’s been 3 years between publication dates, I have to admit that. But when I read Croma Venture I vowed that I wouldn’t read any more until the series was finished. With this book and the next being released, I figured I was pretty close to keeping that promise.

So imagine my surprise when I read the Forward:

Dear Readers

A quick note to let everyone know the current state of my plans for this series.

Some of you may have noticed that the gap between the release dates of each Spiral Wars book has been getting longer. I promise this is not intentional. However, you may also have noticed that the complexity of this world is increasing with each book, and when that happens it becomes harder and harder to resolve all the various plots rapidly.

I make no comment about certain independently published authors who manage to put out a new book every few months, but that’s not how I write. I make no judgement if you prefer those types of books to these, but I think that in independent publishing there should be room for both the books that take a few months to write, and those that take closer to a year. Believe me, this one took a lot of effort, and I’m very pleased with it.

As I’ve written on my twitter and facebook pages, the plan for this series now stands at ten books. If you’d like more information, it can be found on those social media pages. I hope the remaining books of the series will be written more quickly than this one, but I can’t promise it. I can only promise that I’ll do my very best to keep the quality as high, and hopefully higher, than what’s come before, in return for your patience. And, a request that if you like what you read here, and think that it deserves even more success than that which I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy so far, that you recommend it to friends, family, on social media, or anyone who you think might enjoy it.

Bolding is me. Considering Rando Splicer is only book 6 and even the “new” book is Book 7, I am crap out of luck. Shepherd better do some really good writing with this book! I also hope my attitude changes so I can actually enjoy reading this :-/