Tag Archives: Books of 2007

Re: Creating A World Without Poverty

The poor will always be with you is the saying. History is a long testament to the truth of that. When someone claims to have a way to put an end to poverty, the first impulse is to challenge that notion. Show me! In Creating a World Without Poverty, Muhammed Yunus does an interesting job of showing exactly how he believes he can do it — he calls it “social business”.

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Re: Where’s My Jetpack?

Way back in 2007, Daniel H. Wilson asked the question you weren’t allowed to ask at Boskone, Where’s My Jetpack? Short answer: The Smithsonian. Long answer: Here’s thirty things from the future that didn’t turn out nearly as cool as they were supposed to.

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Re: The Exchange

After putting Graham Joyce on my list of authors I’d like to read more of, I finally got around to reading another one, The Exchange. And I liked it. This could be a pattern.

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Re: The Neddiad

In The Neddiad, Neddie Wentworthstein’s father decides to move his family to Los Angeles so they can eat at the Brown Derby. This is typical of the charming absurdities that fill Daniel Pinkwater’s books. Anyway, Neddie goes on an eccentric journey by train to the Hollywood of an earlier era: bellboy ghosts and retired cowboy showmen and swashbuckling movie stars and funky hotels and Navajo shamans and turtles. Turtles are very important.

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God: The Failed Hypothesis

I like messing around with God, or gods, or Cosmic Muffins, but that doesn’t mean I believe in any sort of god. So I was interested in seeing how God: The Failed Hypothesis, by Victor J. Stenger would apply the methods of science to the hypothesis that God exists. Like The Fabric of Reality, it sparked a lot of response in me, so much I’m going to write another two-parter. First, let’s see the broad shape of the book’s disproof of God.

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Re: Gentleman of the Road

So I’m at the library and I see a beautiful little book in the New Books. The cover has a circle of elephants, the endpapers have a map of Khazaria, the page numbers are in red ink, the chapters have witty titles, and even the font itself is a delight to the eye. Turns out it’s Gentlemen of the Road, by Michael Chabon.

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Re: Cosmic Jackpot

A good book you might wish you had read before tackling “The House Beyond Your Sky,” is Cosmic Jackpot. In clear, entertaining arguments, Paul Davies works his way through the various flavors of theories attempting to explain the “Goldilocks” problem. That is, there are a small set of critical constants that have to be within extremely narrow ranges to make life in this universe possible, and since there is life in this universe, all those constants are just right. And nobody has a good explanation for this tautology.

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Re: Bright of the Sky

I heard Kay Kenyon present at Readercon and liked her, so I went looking for Bright of the Sky. The book has a very cool opening, in which a quantum AI grew obssessed with evidence for another universe. I wanted to know more about the AI, but the story is really about the other universe.

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Re: softspoken

Do you go to cons only to discover that the Guest of Honor is someone you’ve barely heard of? That certainly makes me feel stupid. For instance, last year Lucius Shepard was the GoH at Readercon, and had interesting things to say in his interview. I decided I needed to do my homework. Now I’m glad I did, because it helped me know what to expect from him. In the opening of softspoken, Sanie is more intrigued than frightened of the voice in the house. She is an intelligent woman trapped in the sort of tiny little town that anyone with half a brain would leave, but her husband has decided to return to his roots. And it turns out those roots aren’t exactly healthy.
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Re: The Secret History of Moscow

In 90s Moscow, where the streets are filled with kiosks “selling everything and manned by loud men who wouldn’t leave you alone,” something even stranger than capitalism is happening. Galina’s sister Masha is transformed into a jackdaw, sending Galina looking for her. She meets a cop, Yakov, who is assigned to track down rumors of disappearing people; and a street artist, Fyodor, who sees flocks of crows and owls. Together the three leap through a door that leads them to a hidden world where the old gods went when Russia was Christianized a thousand years ago.

Similar to “Spirited Away,” much of the delight in The Secret History of Moscow, by Ekaterina Sedia, comes of wandering through folk legends you barely know. I’ve heard of Baba Yaga (who doesn’t appear) and Koschey the Deathless (who does), but who is Berendey? They meet rusalki and domovoi and the holy cow Zemun. And they meet other people who have strayed into the underground.
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