The Anubis Gates ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Anubis Gates
Series: ———-
Author: Tim Powers
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 353
Words: 162K

I’ve read this multiple times before and so I was wondering how this would turn out. After my recent experience with On Stranger Tides I had high hopes though and thankfully, this not only met those hopes but exceeded them.

Some old used up has-been magicians are trying to bring back the old gods of Egypt into our modern world (well the 1800’s through 1980) but with magic drying up like a raisin, things don’t quiiiiite go as planned. One of them gets possessed by Anubis and pretty much turns into a body switching werewolf. Another side effect is that time holes open up and people from our time figure it out and a dying tycoon takes advantage of it for his own purposes. Then the main character gets stuck in the past and has to deal with various other mad magicians who also cycle through time (they are trying to change history but their efforts simply make it happen, of course) and there is murder and mayhem and romance and lots and lots of weirdness. I loved every second of it. The magic was just different enough that it didn’t affect me like in Powers’ other books and for that I am grateful.

The only weak point is the ending. Once the main character accepts that he is now an obscure poet in a new body (that body switching Anubis guy causes a LOT of problems), Powers takes us through his life in about 10 pages and then right at the end, when he’s like 60 or something, (at least if I did my math right) he gets to live his own life. It was a very amateurish attempt to deal with Free Will and Pre-destination. That wasn’t the main point of the book, but it was a theme and I didn’t feel that how it was handled was very professional.

For a book that I am giving 5stars too it seems like I should have more to say. But since this is at least my 3rd read, if not more, simply being able to enjoy the story and saying so is going to have to be enough.

This re-read has convinced me to seek out Powers’ earlier work, The Drawing of the Dark. From my experience, the further into the past I go with Powers, the better I like his stuff. DotD was published in ‘79 so if my hypothesis is right, it should be right up my alley and possibly the book I like best by him. Only time will tell.

I’ve included the original 1983 cover, because just like with Santiago, this image is what is burnt into my brain to be associated with this story. While some of the later covers look very nice and all, they’re just not the same garish awesome that I want. The little picture up above is clickable for a much bigger version for those who are curious.


Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future (Santiago #1) ★★★★★

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Title: Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future
Series: Santiago #1
Author: Mike Resnick
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 328
Words: 116K

Another re-read of an old favorite and thankfully, this time it stood the test. Like other “favorites” I had read this in highschool and Bibleschool multiple times and loved it. Read it again in ‘12 and loved it then too. But after my time in November of re-reading a couple of old favorites and finding them wanting, I went into this very hesitantly.

And wonder of wonders, it was grand and big and all space shoot’y and awesome and everything that I wanted in a Myth of the Far Future! It’s a simple story with simple characters and a simple universe. If you want massive backstories explaining every single detail, forget it. If you want characters with bio’s running from their childhood to the present, forget it. Use your own flipping imagination for once and Resnick will give you the ride of a lifetime here. I can see myself moving beyond this like I have the other books, but I am reveling in the fact that right now, it is still the same fantastic book as ever.

The other thing I’m going to talk about here are the various covers.

This is the cover of the mass market paperback that I read back in the 90’s. That orangey yellow is what made it stand out on the revolving book rack in the library. The guy with the funny haircut holding out the paper with the spaceship in the background promised mystery and adventure and cool stuff and boy howdy, I got all of that.

When Resnick turned his books into ebooks, I believe he had to use new covers because he didn’t own the rights to the originals. So he went with this stock photo (and he used it for the sequel ebook too) and overall, it works well. We’re dealing with Space and the farthest reaches of where mankind can go, so something haunting like this feeds into that idea.

This is the ebook cover this time around. Resnick is now dead, so I don’t know if he chose this before his passing or it ended up the decision of his estate. Either way, it’s rather blah and very homecomputer graphics looking. Why you would choose to read this book based on that cover is beyond me.

And that should wrap things up. Cheers!


Event Horizon (1997 Movie)

Event Horizon is a 1997 Space Horror movie directed by Paul Anderson, who later went on to direct many of the Resident Evil movies.

I really like this movie. If you had told me beforehand that I’d like a space horror movie that involves a possessed spaceship that kills it crew, well, I’d probably have looked at you funny and suggest you get your head checked.

The basic story is that in 2040 the Event Horizon, utilizing a new gravity drive to break the speed of light, disappears with all crew. The movie starts 7 years later when it mysteriously re-appears. A rescue ship is sent with a small crew to find out what happened. Along with them is Dr Weir, the creator of the gravity drive. They get to the ship, it’s abandoned but something is on board and begins killing them. Dr Weir gives in to be with what appears to be his dead wife and only 3 members of the rescue crew survive and make it back to earth. The Event Horizon goes back to the alternate dimension of hell that it came from.

On this rewatch, I realized that part of the reason I like this so much is because there are little flashes from the hell dimension that remind me of the cenobytes from Hellraiser, another horror movie that surprised me by how much I liked it. Nothing big mind you, just these very quick, almost too fast to process, images of the former crew and the current crew, going through tortures with chains and spikes, etc.

Of course, being a horror movie, there are some really stupid, illogical parts that you have to turn your brain off for. First and foremost, how does the entire scientific world forget the latin language in 50 years? The last message from the Event Horizon has the captain saying something in latin but no one on Earth recognizes it? Secondly, most of the crew do not act like seasoned space rescue operators. They act like the jomokes down at the local Cumberland Farms who hang out in the parking lot smoking weed, thus turning themselves into dumb as bricks idiots.

On the plus side, Sam Neal as Dr Weir, going off the deep end, is fantastic. He has guilt about his wife committing suicide way back when because he chose work over her and how the entity mimics her is a joy to behold. His unravelling is superb, as he’s a jerk to begin with. Laurence Fishburne is the captain of the rescue ship and he’s appropriately hard nosed yet caring.

The only part I wish had been different would have been the ending. 3 of the crew survive and are rescued. One of them thinks the rescuers are the possessed Dr Weir and has a break down but the movie ends very clearly with them having escaped. What I would have appreciated is a scene showing them still on the Event Horizon, living their rescue over and over and it failing each time. THAT would have been much more inline with the tone of the movie.

Man, can you believe I am suggesting a worse ending instead of a happier one? Surprises me too! I guess that plays a part in why I like the movie so much.

A Christmas Carol read by Patrick Stewart ★★★★★

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Title: A Christmas Carol read by Patrick Stewart
Author: Charles Dickens
Narrator: Patrick Stewart
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Length: 1hr and 46min
(Pages: 98)
(Words: 28K)

Last year when I listened to this story narrated by Tim Curry, many of my faithful followers recommended the audio version read by Patrick Stewart. I immediately put it onto my google calendar to help remind myself for this year.

And boy howdy, am I glad I did! I will never listen to another version again and I’ll be hard pressed to even justifying reading it. Stewart does an absolutely PERFECT job here and I was completely impressed.

He also reads at a faster pace than Curry did and takes about half the time, so it’s not a big time commitment. It never felt rushed though and his stage training meant his diction and enunciation were a joy to listen to.

In short, and to end, this is now my definitive and preferred edition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Good stuff!


Galactic Odyssey ★★★★★

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Title: Galactic Odyssey
Series: ———-
Author: Keith Laumer
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 129
Words: 37K

This, along with Sentenced to Prism, is one of my most read books. This is the fourth time I’ve read it since 2000 and I know I read it at least 3 times between 1990 and 2000, quite possibly 4 or 5 times. However, my recent re-read of Sentenced and my reaction to it, helped prepare me for this re-read. I had almost the same reaction, ie, a wistful disappointment but because I was expecting it, it didn’t change how I viewed the book like it did for Sentenced.

At under 150 pages, this is a very short story and so much happens, that its serial roots are quite obvious this time around. I hadn’t noticed it in previous reads, but this time around it was rather glaring.

While I still enjoyed this, I think, that just like with Sentenced, the time of re-reading this particular story is over. I’ve changed enough that this doesn’t engage the same way on the emotional level like it has in decades past. Sometimes getting older and changing isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be :-/


Sentenced to Prism (HumanX Commonwealth) ★★★★☆

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Title: Sentenced to Prism
Series: HumanX Commonwealth
Author: Alan Dean Foster
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 212
Words: 82K

Yeah, really should have left this one alone for another couple of years. 2018 isn’t long enough ago for me. I downgraded this favorite of mine down to 4stars because it is just such a simplistic story. Sometimes that really works for me but this time, it was a detriment and not a positive. I’ll definitely be re-reading this again sometime in the future, but I’m guessing it will be another decade instead of 4-5 years.

That is all. Carry on with your normal daily business, citizens of Planet Earth, no need to be alarmed. All Your Cinema Are Belong To Us!


Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000
Series: ———-
Authors: L. Ron Hubbard
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 1243
Words: 402K



In the year 3000, Earth has been ruled by an alien race, the Psychlos, for a millennium. The Psychlos discovered a deep space probe (suggested to be Voyager 1) with directions and pictures mounted on it and the precious material, gold, that led them straight to Earth.

After one thousand years, humanity is an endangered species numbering fewer than 35,000 and reduced to a few tribes in isolated parts of the world while the Psychlos strip the planet of its mineral wealth. Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, a young man in one such tribe, lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Depressed by the recent death of his father and both the lethargy and sickness of most of the surviving adults in his tribe, later determined to be caused by radiation-leakage from decaying nuclear land-mines, he leaves his village to explore the lowlands and to disprove the superstitions long held by his people of monsters in those areas. He is soon captured in the ruins of Denver by Terl, the Psychlo chief of planetary security.

Psychlos stand up to 9 feet (2.7 m) tall and weigh up to 1,000 pounds (450 kg). They originate from Psychlo, a planet with an atmosphere radically different from Earth, located in another universe with a different set of elements. Their “breathe-gas” explodes on contact with even trace amounts of radioactive material, such as uranium. The Psychlos have been the dominant species across multiple universes for at least 100,000 years. It becomes apparent in the later chapters that the Psychlos were originally non-violent miners but were subjugated by a ruling class called “Catrists” to become malicious, sadistic sociopaths.

Terl has been assigned to Earth, and his term has been arbitrarily extended by Numph, the planetary head of mining operations. Fearful at the thought of spending several more years on Earth, Terl decides to make himself a multi-millionaire to escape, by secretly mining a lode of gold in the Rocky Mountains that his planetary scanner drones have recently found. It is surrounded by uranium deposits that make Psychlo mining impossible, so Terl decided to capture a Man-Animal to mine the gold for him.

Terl forces Jonnie to submit to a learning machine programmed by a servile race that was exterminated centuries earlier for going on strike. It quickly teaches him numerous subjects, including the Psychlo language, by implanting the information directly into Jonnie’s brain. He befriends a Psychlo midget named Ker, who is only 7 feet tall but still possesses the impressive strength of a Psychlo, and is markedly less psychotic than the others.

Looking for leverage against Jonnie, Terl captures his childhood-love Chrissie and her sister, Pattie, who went searching for Jonnie a year after he left their clan, and holds them hostage to ensure his continued cooperation. Thereafter, Jonnie is free to move around the mining area. Terl and Jonnie travel to Scotland where Jonnie recruits eighty-three Scottish people to help with the mining, including several deliberately selected body-doubles for Jonnie, older women to perform the cooking and clothes mending, a doctor, a teacher, and a historian. Jonnie tells the Scots about the evil deeds of Terl, to include how he has imprisoned Jonnie’s love and her little sister. Led by Robert the Fox, the Scots agree to help him fight against the Psychlo rule on Earth and rescue Chrissie and Pattie. Terl does not understand English, and is instead convinced that the Scots are motivated by a promise of pay on project completion.

While Jonnie and his Scottish allies mine the gold deposit, they also secretly explore the ruins of humanity to look for uranium that can be weaponized for use against their Psychlo oppressors. This subterfuge is aided by the aforementioned body-doubles, making it appear to Terl’s surveillance that the mining operation is the sole priority of the human contingent. Meanwhile, Terl finally gains leverage on Numph, discovering that he has been stealing company funds. Terl blackmails him, effectively negating Numph’s power over him, allowing Terl to continue with his mining plans.

Terl has been busy obfuscating the purpose of the gold-mining operation and implementing his plan to ship the human-mined gold back to the Psychlo home-planet. Terl’s plan involves replacing lead coffin-lids with lead-plated facsimiles made from the gold mined by the Scots, and shipping these coffins with dead Psychlos in them, home. When he finally returned to Psychlo, he could then dig up the coffins and sell the lids to make his fortune. All dead Psychlos are to be returned to home planet for burial, but recent safety measures have reduced accidents. Terl thus has to manufacture accidents to kill Psychlos, and decides to assassinate Numph as well, to get the bodies needed.

During the semi-annual teleportation of personnel, goods, and coffins to Psychlo, Jonnie and his allies co-opt Terl’s plan by packing the coffins with “dirty nukes” and “planet busters” they have found, and replacing the golden coffin-lids with the original lead lids. After the last teleportation, the humans use the Psychlos’ own weapons against them and gain control of the planet. With humans in control of Earth, Jonnie works to discover the secret of Psychlo mathematics and teleportation. This is a difficult task, compounded by the fact that Psychlo math is based on the number eleven, and Psychlo equations appear to make no sense.

Before the teleportation, Jonnie is forced to oppose a longtime rival from his own clan, Brown Limper Staffor, who is seeking to wrest control of Earth for himself. Unwittingly used by Terl to advance his own plans, Brown Limper nearly succeeds after gaining assistance from a group of cannibalistic mercenaries from southern Africa called the Brigantes, and their leader, General Snith. But Brown Limper is killed by Terl just before the Psychlo’s teleportation, and the Brigantes are defeated.

It is discovered that all Psychlos have a deep brain-stimulation device implanted in their brains to make them controllable. Meant to make work pleasant for them, the device promotes extreme sadism in the males, causing them to attack any non-Psychlo who shows interest in Psychlo mathematics and teleportation. If the Psychlos are unsuccessful in killing their intended victims, the device compels them to commit suicide. The removal of this device frees the handful of remaining Psychlos on Earth from its affects. Curiously, Ker did not have any such device implanted in his brain.

With the Earth being threatened by other alien races looking for restitution because they had suffered under the harsh rule of the Psychlos, Jonnie opposes a race of intergalactic bankers seeking to repossess the Earth for unpaid debts. The security and independence of humanity once again threatened, Jonnie redoubles his efforts to figure out Psychlo teleportation.

It is eventually discovered that the dirty nukes sent with the intent of destroying the capital city on Psychlo instead started a chain reaction which reached into the planet’s core due to over-mining, causing the planet to explode and transform into a star. Jonnie also discovers that other Psychlo facilities scattered about the multiple universes were destroyed by their own reliance on teleportation as they performed their scheduled teleportation shipments, and instead, brought back radioactive solar matter. This holocaust killed every single Psychlo in the multiple universes except for the handful remaining on Earth. Once it is revealed that all female Psychlos who leave the homeworld are sterilized to prevent off-world births, Johnny realizes that the Psychlos on Earth will not be able to reproduce, and eventually, the Psychlo race will become extinct.

Jonnie then works out a way to prevent the repossession of Earth via contracts Terl had signed with Brown Limper Staffor. The Psychlo had thought that it would be amusing to make Staffor believe that he was the legal owner of Earth as well as all Psychlo possessions across the multiple universes, by signing a contract that stated as much before his final teleportation to Planet Psychlo. Terl had no way of knowing that he was about to die, along with almost his entire race, with the destruction of his homeworld. Once planet Psychlo was destroyed, Terl was the highest ranking member of the Intergalactic Mining Company left alive, and his signature on Staffor’s contract became legal. That meant that Jonnie, as the recognized leader of Earth with the death of Brown Limper, now owned what was left of the entire Psychlo empire. Using these contracts, the Earth Planetary Bank pays off all debts to the intergalactic bankers.

However, Jonnie is still perplexed by Psychlo mathematics. With the help of an aged Psychlo engineer, he learns about Psychlos using a cipher system and dummy equations to make their mathematics unsolvable. At the same time, he also discovers how the Psychlos protected their teleportation technology in their local equipment, and records the circuits for future use. Using the existing teleportation console, Jonnie is able to bring back breathe-gas from a planet in the Psychlo star system that was never officially recorded. With the Psychlo math and the circuits, Earth begins to manufacture teleportation equipment, sold to numerous planetary systems via the intergalactic bankers. At the same time, Jonnie uses the Earth’s newly acquired wealth to buy impenetrable force fields and automated orbiting defense platforms to protect the Earth from future threats.

With the Earth secure and the human population growing and learning about its true history, Jonnie gives ownership of the Earth back to its people. A few years later, Jonnie and Chrissie are married and they have a son and a daughter. With human civilization being rebuilt and thriving, Jonnie and Chrissie take their children and leave for an isolated part of the world to train them in the old ways of survival, and to live out the rest of their lives in peace. But, after a year, their friends find them and implore them to return to civilization, which Jonnie reluctantly agrees to.

Years later, frustrated with un-ending fame and life away from nature, a middle-aged Jonnie takes some supplies and quietly slips away to the Rocky Mountains, never to be seen again. He becomes a figure of legend.

My Thoughts:

Having read this several times in highschool and Bibleschool and then again in 2009, I am pretty familiar with the story. After my disastrous attempt at re-reading the Mission: Earth series in ’14, I’d held off any more re-reads authored by Hubbard. But the time seemed right and I’d given Battlefield Earth 5stars in ’09, so it seemed like a safe bet.

Thankfully, it was. This is still a 5star read for me.

Now, I found on this re-read that this felt more cartoony, almost space opera than in years past. In the intro Hubbard goes on for many, many pages talking about what led up to this book and I must admit, he pontificates. Given that he was a cult leader, that shouldn’t surprise anyone though. But his goal with this book was to write a “real science fiction” novel and off he goes for pages explaining what he means by that. I found it interesting but I think he missed the mark to be honest. This book is a romance. One lone warrior saving not only the Earth, but the entire 16 universes, pretty much all by himself? It’s definitely SF alright, but like any genre, proliferation has led to fragmentation and just what is “real science fiction” now? So while still enjoyed this, I don’t think I would have if I had been introduced to it for the first time right now.

This massive tome (it makes even Sanderson seem normal. The mass market paperback is almost 1500 pages!) never felt weighed down though. While Hubbard definitely introduces pet economic and social theories, and explains them, they are explained in just a paragraph or 2 without turning the book into a vessel of preaching. The story moves right along while action isn’t the main focus, it is generously sprinkled throughout so I was never bored. The story is split into 2 main sections. The first deals with Johnny and the Psychlos and the second deals with Johnny and the other space faring races. Humanity kicks butt and I felt like saying “hoo rah” at several points.

For you movie people, there is a movie based on this book. It was pushed forward by John Travolta, a scientologist himself. Don’t watch it. It is the worst thing ever and why Travolta thought it would be a good thing to link to scientology is beyond me. Many, many changes are made from the book, all for the worse and Travolta’s ego is front and center. I’ve pretty much blanked it out of my memory and simply remember it as A Bad Movie.

I am not sure that I will be re-reading this again though. I’ve gotten what I want from this book over the years and I think this is the last time I could read it and still enjoy it this much. It feels like time to shelve this for good.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Monster Hunter Bloodlines ★★★★✬

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Monster Hunter Bloodlines
Series: Monster Hunters International #9 (MHI)
Authors: Larry Correia
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 307
Words: 117.5K


From the Publisher

The chaos god Asag has been quiet since the destruction of the City of Monsters, but Monster Hunter International knows that he is still out there, somewhere—plotting, waiting for his chance to unravel reality.

When Owen and the MHI team discover that one of Isaac Newton’s Ward Stones is being auctioned off by Reptoids who live deep beneath Atlanta, they decide to steal the magical superweapon and use it to destroy Asag once and for all. But before the stone can be handed off, it is stolen by a mysterious thief with ties to MHI and the Vatican’s Secret Guard.

It’s a race against time, the Secret Guard, a spectral bounty hunter, and a whole bunch of monsters to acquire the Ward Stone and use it against Asag. For as dangerous as the chaos god is, there is something much older—and infinitely more evil—awakening deep in the jungles of South America.

My Thoughts:

It has been TWO WHOLE YEARS since I’ve been able to read a new MHI novel. This is why I’m not a big fan of ongoing series. However, as this is one of those “forever” series (as far as I can tell), there’s no point in waiting for the end book because that will only happen when Correia finally runs out of ideas for the MHI universe. Methinks that won’t happen for a VERY long time. So I’ll pull up my big boy diapers and try not to cry too much because Correia is a meany and refuses to write MHI novels exclusively.

This was pulptastic and I loved it. If you remember from my Currently Reading & Quote post from last week, this book even had a Cowboy Pirate Murder Ghost. Now, as awesome as that sounds, this monster, The Drekavac, is even more awesome in action. He is demon that is under contract to recover the stolen Ward Stone and it takes the entire MHI Compound, Agent Franks AND the Vatican’s Secret Guard to hold him off.

What made this story even MORE interesting was that Stricken is involved (he’s the disgraced former leader of Special Task Force Unicorn) and he’s actually trying to save humanity from something worse than Asag. Apparently there are 2 different factions of Elder Gods fighting in a nearby dimension and it’s spilling over into South America. We’re talking a serious Minions of an Elder God infestation here and only the Ward Stone, properly used, can shut the portal to the other dimensions. Of course, the book ends just as Owen and Co are getting ready to march into Fae Land where the fighting is going on. Which means I’m going to have to wait another 2 year sigh. Grrrrrrrr.

Once again, MHI has not let me down. It is balls to the walls action and pulpy as watermelon. I didn’t begrudge a second of my time reading this and if light hearted gun wielding monster killing heroes are your thing, then I’d encourage you to try this series.

Oh, if you actually go to look at previous reviews you will see that this is actually book 8 in the series but there is a collection of short stories that I include so it’s book 9 for me.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Three ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Three
Series: Legends of the Duskwalker #1
Authors: Jay Posey
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 329
Words: 121K


From the Publisher

The world has collapsed, and there are no more heroes.

But when a lone gunman reluctantly accepts the mantle of protector to a young boy and his dying mother against the forces that pursue them, a hero may yet arise.

My Thoughts:

When I read this back in ’14 I wasn’t even using half stars yet, officially anyway. I gave Three a “strong” 4 and waxed fulsome about it. So I went into this re-read with a bit of hesitation, as I am realizing that my first impressions that are outstandingly positive don’t always hold up that well.

Thankfully, this still got a 4star rating. However, it wasn’t a “strong” 4 like last time. With this re-read it was more evident to me that this was Posey’s debut (I believe). Descriptions felt a little rough and simplistic, like a charcoal drawing as opposed to a number 2 pencil drawing. What really did bug me this time was just how unexplained the world was. I realize that was deliberate but I did want more and I didn’t get it. So I’m going to complain.

In that regards, I had a lot more questions. The “well, what about X” kind of questions. By not knowing how things worked, or didn’t, I couldn’t figure stuff out on my own. My biggest question is why humanity hadn’t gone after the Weir. If they are reanimated humans but something different, where do they come from, how do corpses get Weir’ized and what are their weaknesses? I could understand if the Weir were a new thing or something, but apparently they’ve been around for the whole of Three’s life? If I were to hand you a machete and told you to cut down that 14inch oak tree, or we were going to die, you’d whack away for all you are worth. If you didn’t know any better. The correct response would be to hand the machete back to me and tell me to give you the flipping full size axe I was hiding behind my back. If you know the problem, you can figure out the right answer.

I must also admit that this read has been colored by the more recent books put out by Posey. He abandoned a second series and the third one he has started did not work for me at all. I’m carrying all of that baggage this time around whereas I didn’t have to on the first go-around.

Overall, I enjoyed this but it wasn’t as awesome as last time. Whether that is because it really wasn’t or because I’ve changed, etc, I can’t tell. I’m going to hold off on recommending this or not until I’ve re-read the whole trilogy and see how the whole stands up.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Series: Charlie Bucket #2
Authors: Roald Dahl
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Childrens Fiction
Pages: 117
Words: 32K



The story picks up where the previous book left off, with Charlie and family aboard the flying Great Glass Elevator after Willy Wonka has rewarded him with the ownership of his chocolate factory. The Elevator accidentally goes into orbit, and Mr. Wonka docks them at the Space Hotel USA. Their interception of the hotel is mistaken by approaching astronauts and hotel staff in a Commuter Capsule and listeners on Earth (including the President of the United States) as an act of space piracy and they are variously accused of being enemy agents, spies and aliens. Shortly after their arrival, they discover that the hotel has been overrun by dangerous, shape-changing alien monsters known as The Vermicious Knids. The Knids cannot resist showing off and reveal themselves by using the five hotel elevators (with one Knid in each of them) and spell out the word “SCRAM”, giving the group time to evacuate. As the group leaves, a Knid follows the Great Glass Elevator and tries to break it open, but to no avail, which results in the Knid receiving a bruise on its backside and hungering for payback.

Meanwhile, with the Great Glass Elevator’s passengers gone, the President allows the Commuter Capsule to dock with the Space Hotel. Upon entry by the astronauts and the Space Hotel staff, the Knids attack by eating fourteen of the staff, prompting an immediate evacuation by the rest of the group. The Great Glass Elevator comes back just in time to see the entire Knid infestation coming in on the attack, bashing the Commuter Capsule to the point where the retrorockets cannot be fired to initiate immediate reentry and the communication antenna cannot keep the astronauts in communication with the President. Charlie suggests towing the Commuter Capsule back to Earth, and, despite a last attempt by the Knids to tow the two craft away to their home planet Vermes, in the process the Knids are incinerated in Earth’s atmosphere. Mr. Wonka releases the Commuter Capsule, while the Elevator crashes down through the roof of the chocolate factory.

Back in the chocolate factory, three of Charlie’s grandparents refuse to leave their bed. Mr. Wonka gives them a rejuvenation formula called “Wonka-Vite”. They take much more than they need (4 pills instead of 1 or 2), subtracting 80 years (which reduces their age by 20 years per pill). Two become babies, but 78-year-old Grandma Georgina vanishes, having become “−2”. Charlie and Mr. Wonka journey to “Minusland”, where they track down Grandma Georgina’s spirit. As she has no physical presence, Mr. Wonka sprays her with the opposite of “Wonka-Vite” – “Vita-Wonk” – in order to age her again. Mr. Wonka admits that it is not an accurate way to age a person, but the spray is the only way to dose “minuses”. Upon leaving Minusland, they discover that Grandma Georgina is now 358 years old. Using cautious doses of Wonka-Vite and Vita-Wonk, the three grandparents are restored to their original ages.

Finally, the President of the United States invites the family and Mr. Wonka to the White House to thank them for their space rescue. The family and Wonka accept the invitation (including the grandparents who finally agree to get out of their beds) and prepare to leave.

My Thoughts:

When I read the Charlie Bucket books back in elementary, middle and high school, I always enjoyed The Great Glass Elevator more than Chocolate Factory. Back then I think it was because of the SF elements (space, spaceships, aliens, negative land, etc) in Elevator that simply weren’t in Factory. So when I read the duology this year (Chocolate Factory was read in January) I was expecting to like Elevator more once again. Imagine my surprise when I got done this book and realized that Chocolate Factory is not only the better book but also more enjoyable.

Part of that is that the premise to this book is beyond even ridiculous. It’s hilarious and I still love it, but it just hit me that it WAS ridiculous this time around and so my enjoyment was lessened. I wasn’t able to enter into the silliness like Dahl intended. The other thing that lessened my enjoyment was that the other 3 grandparents played a part in the story this time and they were stinkers. Made me shake my head and wonder how Charlie turned out so well.

Other than that, I enjoyed the ever living daylights out of this. Willy Wonka is a genius who is always in control no matter the circumstances and Charlie is a smart boy who THINKS before he reacts. More kids need examples like that in their entertainment.

Rating: 4 out of 5.