Larry S. (vinkle) - Reviews

1 to 20 of 20
The Betrayers
The Betrayers
Author: Donald Hamilton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 9/2/2009


#10 in the Matt Helm series


Born With the Dead/ The Saliva Tree (Tor Double Novel #3)
Born With the Dead/ The Saliva Tree (Tor Double Novel #3)
Author: Robert Silverberg
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 9/8/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Two Nebula Award winning novellas in one book.

Silverberg's "Born With The Dead" is great. A look at the futility of obsessive, unrequitted love.

The Aldiss novella is a fun page turner. It's more of a sci/fi horror novel. Well written. And it has some excellent surprises, which I don't want to spoil for you. But it's not one of his 'serious message' works. It's just a quick fun, page turner.


Down There in Darkness
Down There in Darkness
Author: George Turner
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/27/2009


I highly recommend George Turner's science fiction novels. He was such a great writer, and his novels are modern and relevant to today, while also being great page turners. I have no idea why he is not better known in the United States.

However, his final book, "Down There in Darkness" is the weakest of all his works. I would say read Turner but read this book LAST if you like his other stuff. My personal opinion is that "Drowning Towers" is his best, and really a masterpiece of contemporary science fiction.


Drowning Towers
Drowning Towers
Author: George Turner
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 8/17/2009


It's astonishing to me that few people have heard of George Turner and fewer have read "Drowning Towers" which is, in my opinion, one of the best science fiction novels written in the last 25 years.

The characters are so well drawn, there is great suspense, a completely satisfying read. I urge science fiction fans to give it a chance.


The Eighty-Minute Hour: A Space Opera
The Eighty-Minute Hour: A Space Opera
Author: Brian W. Aldiss
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 0.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/13/2009


"Wild entertainment...the whizzing energy behind all these time-warps and dirty deterministic work at the cosmic crossroads is something to wonder at" - THE GUARDIAN

"Alpha-plus...the mind positively gasps" - THE LISTENER

"Aldiss writes science fiction on the grandest possible scale" - NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

"Britain's finest science-fiction writer" - TRIBUNE


Homicidal Lady
Homicidal Lady
Author: Day Keene
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/28/2009


Day Keene is the author many hardboiled crime novels including "Home Is The Sailor" published by Hard Case Crime.

An exiciting read which should be enjoyed by fans of the Hard Case Crime series. A young district attorney prosecutes a man who is found guilty of murder and executed by the state. This sets into motion a series of violent crimes, several possible suspects and a solution to the crimes that fits the evidence given the reader, but was still a surprise to me. Written in the style of a hardboiled detective novel.


Kill Now, Pay Later
Kill Now, Pay Later
Author: Robert Terrall
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 4/18/2008


First person private detective novel. Not the best of the genre, but better than the one star some previously gave it as a rating.


The Men Inside
The Men Inside
Author: Barry N. Malzberg
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/16/2009


This is a dystopian satire of "Fantastic Voyage" and is far superior to the work which inspired it. Would you really want to be miniaturized and sent inside some rich person to clean out thier cancer?

As with all of Malzberg's best novels it is by turns well written, funny, bleak, insightful, experimental, wickedly funny.


The Menacers
The Menacers
Author: Donald Hamilton
Book Type: Paperback
  ?
Review Date: 8/31/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Donald Hamilton's series of books about secret agent Matt Helm stand as the overall best and most consistent series of books in the genre. Sure there are a few real clunkers in the series (The Retaliators is one I found very dull) but not many.

The Menacers is not the best book in the series but it's a great page-turner fun read. I highly enjoyed it, and in this he managed to keep me guessing.

I'd recommend to all who are new to the series to start with the first (Death Of A Citizen) as it's a well written book, not originally intended as a series book, and develops Helm as a character in a strong, realistic manner. It's the only one in the series where you really get to know Helm as a person rather than as a narrative voice (although an interesting one, as in better detective novels). Then I'd try THE SILENCERS or THE WRECKING CREW. This book, THE MENACERS, would certainly make an enjoyable third dive in to the world of Hamilton & Helm.


Millennium
Millennium
Author: John Varley
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 10/30/2009


Fun page turner from John Varley, who is not only a fun popular novelist but also knows how to write. The book is written in alternating first person between Bill Smith who is a airplane crash scene investigator and Louise Baltimore who had something to do with the airplane crash being investigated. Varley did his research and I enjoyed the real life information on how Air Traffic Control works and how airplane crashes are researched.


More Than Human
More Than Human
Author: Theodore Sturgeon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 8/12/2009


Theodore Sturgeon is best remembered for his wonderful short fiction. He wrote few novels but this is by far the best of them. It is based upon his short story "Baby Is Three," a revised version of which comprises the middle section of the book.

My favorite part of the novel is the amazing first section (the first third of the novel). Well written, in a prose style displaying Sturgeon's great enthusiasm for William Faulkner, and very dark and interesting.

Highly recommended book for Sturgeon fans and science fiction fans.


The Passage of the Light: The Recursive Science Fiction of Barry N. Malzberg
Review Date: 8/16/2009


Includes three complete novels and several short stories. All of them are about science fiction. The best of the novels is "Herovit's World" a hilarious & brutal dark comedy about a hack science fiction writer. The best of the short stories is "Galaxies" which is another very funny dark comedy and is Malzberg's fictional critique of science fiction.

Not included is the expanded novel length version of "Galaxies." The decision to include the short story version instead of the later expanded novel version must have been a hard one. I think it works best as a short story as that is the right length for the piece. But the novel version does include some inspired scenes which are not in the short story version.

The remaining short fiction is all very good.

The other two novels included were both early works written under the K. M. O'Donnell pseudonym. They are mid-level works, not up to par with Malzberg at his best.

This special collection is now out of print as are, sadly, the majority of Mr. Malzberg's works.

Hopefully the upcoming film version of "Beyond Apollo" will revitalize interest in his work.


Phoenix of Megaron (Space: 1999 Series)
Phoenix of Megaron (Space: 1999 Series)
Author: John Rankin
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/8/2009


Nice. This is a real novel, NOT a novelization of an episode of the series. And it's not bad. If you enjoy the first year of the television show you will probably enjoy spending an afternoon or two reading this novel. It has the same tone as the show and the story is set up nicely. The ending is a little predictable (if you make the mistake I did and read the blurb on the back cover).

The writing is above the usual level of these type of books, although the writer is a little awkward with some of his descriptions of action sequences. But better than usual for what is essentialy the least prestigious type of for hire hack work a writer can take.


Retaliators
Retaliators
Author: Donald Hamilton
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 1.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/31/2009
Helpful Score: 1


I enjoy Donald Hamilton's writing and his series of novels about secret agent Matt Helm especially, but this is the possibly the low point of the series. Most of the books are entertaining page turners but I found this one dull and slow.

If you've read this one and hated it try one of the others. They are very good.

If this is you are new to the series try a different one first. You should really read this first one (Death Of A Citizen) first as it is the one that explains why Helm does what he does, and really lets the reader get to know him as a character.


The Soul of the Robot
The Soul of the Robot
Author: Barrington J. Bayley
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/27/2009


If you check science fiction book review sites on the Internet you are likely to see Barrington J. Bayley as an unjustly overlooked master of the genre. He is often linked to the "new wave" movement of the 1960s, but this is largely inaccurate. His career was more in the 1970s and 1980s (and continues to this day). Like the "new wave" writers he was interested in ideas, and Bayley had lots of ideas. But he was very different from the "new wave" writers regarding accessabily. Bayley's novels are full of original, wild ideas, but his prose style is direct and easy to read. He DOES NOT play games with technique and intentionally make his books difficult or obscure.

In this novel a childless couple, who happen to be highly skilled roboticists, create a robot as a surrogate child. But instead of programing him to give them childlike unconditional love they program him with freedom of choice. Perhaps even free will.

This makes the robot Jasperodus unique. All other robots are created with a task in mind. Roboticists do not believe robots can have free will or a true free personality. Jasperodus believes he does have these qualities. This is a metaphysical question he attempts to answer. But it is a not a dry philosophical work. It's got lots of suprises, action, and comedy.

In some ways the book is similar to the "Roderick" books by John Sladek, except it is not as frenetic, and the comedy is not as extreme or over-the-top.


The Stochastic Man
The Stochastic Man
Author: Robert Silverberg
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 9/5/2009


Be careful, the other review gives a huge number of spoilers.

This book was written during Silverberg's middle period, when his writing was at it's peak, both in terms of prose technique and content with well drawn adult characters, insights, and interesting themes. If you enjoy middle period Silverberg (when he was flitting at the edge of the 'new wave') when he was writing books like "Tower Of Glass" & "Thorns" & "Born With The Dead" & "Shadrach In The Furnace" then you will enjoy this book.

I found the first ten pages of so fascinating, then the next 30 seemed a little like filler - typical near future SF stuff to place the book clearly into the genre - and from then on it's a page turner.

I don't think I'm giving too much away in saying this is a sciece fictional riff on Faust. And don't be put off by that description, which would not have enticed me, it is well done.


Triplicty
Triplicty
Author: Thomas M. Disch
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 10/15/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Includes the complete text of Thomas Disch's first three novels: THE GENOCIDES (which is partially inspired by the early novels of JG Ballard), ECHO ROUND HIS BONES (my favorite of the three, a very readable slightly 'new wave' science fiction novel which manages to avoid or go beyond many of the regular tropes of the genre), THE PUPPIES OF TERRA (another popular early Disch novel).


UNIVERSE DAY
UNIVERSE DAY
Author: K.M. O'Donnell
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/16/2009


Barry Malzberg's first novel about astronauts covers similar themes found in his two other astronaut novels "The Falling Astronauts" and the award winning "Beyong Apollo" (which is currently being made into a movie. And don't ask me how that is possible.)

As with all the best of Malzberg's science fiction it is by turns well written, experimental, insightful, funny, very darkly funny, and bleak.

If you like Malzberg you are sure to enjoy this novel.


The Year of the Quiet Sun
The Year of the Quiet Sun
Author: Wilson Tucker
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 9/13/2009


This book is highly rated by Brian Aldiss in his book and science fiction history and criticism "Billion Year Spree." It is also a winner of the John Campbell Award.


The Zen Gun
The Zen Gun
Author: Barrington J. Bayley
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/27/2009


If you check science fiction book review sites on the Internet you are likely to see Barrington J. Bayley listed as an unjustly overlooked master of the genre. He is often linked to the "new wave" movement of the 1960s, but this is largely inaccurate. His career was more in the 1970s and 1980s (and continues to this day). Like the "new wave" writers he was interested in ideas, and Bayley had LOTS of ideas. But he was very different from the "new wave" writers regarding readability. This book is stuffed full of interesting and unique ideas, concepts, situations. But it is still written in an easy to read style. Action which kept me interested and truly amusing comedy.


1 to 20 of 20