Friday, January 20, 2006

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tales of the Grand Tour

A better title for this collection Ben Bova by might have been "Tales of the Grand Tour, As Well As Some Of My Other Series Plus a Few That Don't Fit In Anywhere", but I guess that would not sell very well! Bova's so-called Grand Tour is a loose collection of books that depict the opening of the Solar System. It's a tad looser than most series, as has has "retrofitted" earlier works and tacked them into the series.

The collection has a number of stories that are excerpted from the novels (e.g., Leviathan). Some are set in the same universe. There are also a couple (Sam and the Flying Dutchman and Fifteen Miles) that are from different series (the Sam Gunn tales and the Kinsman tales, respectively). One (Greenhouse Chill) is a complete independent, both in terms of setting and the time of the story. The stories vary in quality. Greenhouse Chill doesn't really fit, either the setting or the sense of exploration and discovery that many of the Grand Tour tales convey. The Sam Gunn story and the Kinsman story fit better and the Sam Gunn story is a lot of fun (as are all the tales of that misfit astronaut). The best offering here is probably Death on Venus, a gripping tale of an attempt to penetrate the clouds of Venus and recover the remains of an earlier explorer. Now that I'd like to see expanded to novel length!

Made up of: Introduction; Sam and the Flying Dutchman; Monster Slayer; Fifteen Miles; Muzhestvo; Red Sky at Morning; Greenhouse Chill; High Jump; Death on Venus; The Man Who Hated Gravity; Appointment in Sinai; Sepulcher; Leviathan; Afterword: The Roads Ahead.

Counts as fourteen entries in the 2006 Short Story Project.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

H.M.S. Surprise

H.M.S Surprise by Patrick O'Brian: So what do I do after overdosing on historical novels last year? I start the year off with a historical novel! A great read all around, a nice slow introduction and middle section (that will probably foreshadow future events) and one heck of an excellent naval battle to round off the book. No disappointments here. On with the next installment (The Mauritius Command)!