Category Archives: Book Notes


Adam Frank’s LIGHT OF THE STARS: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth (Norton, 2018) asks, what can thinking about the prospect of alien civilizations tell us about our own fate? Currently our species’ story (by those of us … Continue reading

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H.G. Wells’ THE TIME MACHINE is one of the foundational science fiction novels. Published in 1895, it was Wells’ first novel, though it’s short enough that later anthologists have reprinted it as a novella (e.g. in the second volume of … Continue reading

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Eric Frank Russell: SINISTER BARRIER

This is an early genre science fiction novel, first serialized in Unknown magazine in 1939, later revised and expanded and published in 1948 by Fantasy Press. I have the latter edition, in a used copy I picked up about six … Continue reading

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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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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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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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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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