Saturday, September 15, 2018

Gateway by Frederik Pohl

I gave science fiction a try when I was young but it never did anything for me.  Wandering by the Sci Fi section at the used bookstore, I decided to give it another go after all these years. Checking the books on offer against their reviews on Amazon.com, I selected a few titles, this among them.

I'm glad I did. This is a great story, captivating enough that I couldn't put it down when I got to the last quarter of the book. It starts from an interesting premise: At a time in the not-to-distant future, we discover what appears to be an abandoned alien spaceport built into an asteroid. Left behind by the aliens are hundreds of spaceships, which men figure out how to use but never completely understand. The mission plans are preprogrammed into the ships by the aliens, but we haven't figured out how to translate the plans into anything we can understand. The only thing to do is get into the ship and see where it takes you (it turns out the ships are programmed for round trips).

Obviously this is a highly dangerous undertaking, and the crews of the ships are all volunteers. It's a commercially based operation, with bonuses and royalties depending on what the crew discovers on the trip and what, if anything, they are able to bring back. The story concerns one of these volunteers,  his time on the asteroid, and his developing relationships with other volunteers, including a love affair.

It's a very 70's book (originally published in 1977), as a significant part of the book concerns our hero's therapy sessions with a computer "psychiatrist." An excellent story and certainly good enough for me to give another sci fi book a try.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Victory of Reason by Rodney Stark

An excellent explanation of why Christianity was indispensable to the rise and success of Western Civilization. Stark traces everything from representative government, to civil freedoms, modern financial structures to their historic roots in Christianity. Excellent.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Crazy Mountain Kiss by Keith McCafferty

Next entry in the Sean Stranahan series. A good read, and recommended if you like C.J. Box and that type.

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

Miss Marple's last case. A solid, classic Christie and a good read, but nothing special.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon

Just for kicks I decided to read a Hardy Boys book, many of which I read as a kid. It was more entertaining than I thought it would be. I might try another one.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Heretics by G.K. Chesterton

This book, along with the classic Orthodoxy, are the two indispensable works for understanding Chesterton. They bear periodic, regular re-reading, and I haven't read Heretics in a long time. The essay "Paganism and Mr. Lowes Dickinson" in particular is one of the best distillations of the true difference that Christianity makes.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Reversal by Michael Connelly

Terrific legal drama featuring the lawyer Mickey Haller and also the detective, Harry Bosch, from Connelly's other series.