Category Archives: Book Notes

Things Are As They Are: George R. Stewart’s EARTH ABIDES

Here is one of the best science fiction novels of all time. It’s about the entire world, and implicitly the entire human race, and it’s as timely as ever as, for one reason or another, humanity faces the realization that … Continue reading

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Peter Watts essay: “Understanding Sarah Palin, or, God Is In the Wattles”: Summary and Comments

From the book Peter Watts Is An Angry Sentient Tumor: Revenge Fantasies and Essays (Tachyon, November 2019), a selection of posts from the blog of Peter Watts, which has been running since 2007. Watts is the noted author of high … Continue reading

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Carel Van Schaik & Kai Michel, THE GOOD BOOK OF HUMAN NATURE: An Evolutionary Reading of the Bible (2016): Introduction

This is a fascinating book because it describes how there really is some rationale (if not reason or logic) to the stories in the Bible. It’s a set of answers to the general question, a sort of meta-question that one … Continue reading

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Stephen King, THE INSTITUTE (2019)

This is a solid contemporary thriller with SF (or perhaps fantasy) elements. As I’ve said before I like Stephen King but read only about his every third or fourth book, just the ones that seem to have some, to me, … Continue reading

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Isaac Asimov: THE EARLY ASIMOV (1972)

This is a book I’d never read before, and debated recently about whether to ever read it. On the one hand, life is too short to read every book one might have accumulated, and this book consists, frankly, of all … Continue reading

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Robert A. Heinlein: SIXTH COLUMN (1941/1949)

This was the earliest novel-length work by Heinlein, though it was serialized in Astounding magazine (Jan, Feb, and March 1941) and not published in book form until 1949, by which time two or three other Heinlein novels had been published … Continue reading

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Robert Silverberg: REVOLT ON ALPHA C (1955)

Robert Silverberg’s first novel was published in hardcover by Thomas Y. Crowell in 1955 and then went through many printings as a thin paperback edition from Scholastic Books; see http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?2796 for a list of all editions, and cover images. I … Continue reading

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Arthur C. Clarke, PROFILES OF THE FUTURE (1962..1999)

This is a book first published in 1962, a nonfiction book speculating on potential technological developments and human achievements. The subtitle is “An Inquiry in the Limits of the Possible.” Clarke revised it three times, the last in 1999 (he … Continue reading

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Richard Dawkins: OUTGROWING GOD: A Beginner’s Guide (2019)

This book, clearly aimed at younger readers, repeats many of themes from his earlier 2006 book THE GOD DELUSION, boiled down and made even more pointed. The first part of the book is structured as a series of “but what … Continue reading

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Martin Rees: ON THE FUTURE: Prospects for Humanity (2018)

Martin Rees is a British astronomer and astrophysicist who looks rather like Richard Gere (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Rees); he holds or has held all sorts of high positions in British science and academia. He’s published several books, of which the half dozen … Continue reading

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