Category Archives: Book Notes

Added Lines in Angels in America

I posted this on Facebook, June 9th, but need to capture it here: We saw Angels in America part 1, Millennium Approaches, on Friday June 1st, and part 2, Perestroika, on Friday June 8th, at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. In … Continue reading

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Asimov: THE WINDS OF CHANGE

THE WINDS OF CHANGE AND OTHER STORIES, published in 1983, is the 11th of 14 collections of SF and fantasy stories from the ‘main sequence’ of Asimov’s collections: the set of his collections that don’t overlap, that don’t consists of … Continue reading

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Lines from Angels in America: The World Only Spins Forward

Just a few about what the angels are, what they want, and in what sense the play is about angels and their relationship with America. Part One: Millennium Approaches Joe, a Mormon lawyer living in New York, has this take … Continue reading

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Ray Bradbury: THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES

THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES is Bradbury’s best and best-known science fiction book, given that we allow it to be called science fiction at all (this has always been debatable). The only contender for this position, a book which certainly leads it … Continue reading

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E.O. Wilson: What Is Man?

From the first page of his book HALF-EARTH: Our Planet’s Fight for Life (2016). What is man? Storyteller, mythmaker, and destroyer of the living world. Thinking with a gabble of reason, emotion, and religion. Lucky accident of primate evolution during … Continue reading

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Michael Benson’s SPACE ODYSSEY

This is not my usual methodical summary with comments, but rather a compilation of random bits that stood out, as I read this book, without taking notes. I was struck again and again by how key plot points, or techniques … Continue reading

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Tim Crane, THE MEANING OF BELIEF

Subtitled: Religion from an Atheist’s Point of View This is a small volume that appeared in 2017 and was well-reviewed in the New York Times. The author is a philosopher, and as the subtitle indicates an atheist (he denies the … Continue reading

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de Camp & de Camp, SCIENCE FICTION HANDBOOK, REVISED

Subtitled: “How to Write and Sell Imaginative Stories” This is more of a curiosity now, than an essential book of criticism or history, though it does reveal some attitudes of its time. I have a 1975 revision, show here, of … Continue reading

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Neil deGrasse Tyson, ASTROPHYSICS FOR PEOPLE IN A HURRY

This slender volume of magazine essays came out nearly a year ago, and I read it then, and thought it pleasant but nowhere near foundational. But since it still shows up on bestseller lists, nearly a year later, and has … Continue reading

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James Blish’s ISSUES AT HAND

James Blish, a science fiction author who emerged in roughly the same era as Damon Knight (they were born a year apart in 1920 and 1921 and both began publishing notable fiction in the early 1950s), wrote critical essays about … Continue reading

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