Speed reading versus taking your time.

Lots of folks wish they could speed read, that is, get to the end of a document in as little time as possible, and while I admit this may have it’s benefits, it also has quite a few drawbacks.

First, let’s consider some of the benefits, which include actually finishing what you’re reading, that’s the primary one most of us are looking at when speed reading, and pretty much the only real reason to do speed reading, right?  I can’t think of any other reason.

Ok, that’s the only benefit, I think anyway, you get to finish the document much faster than say you read each and every word on the page.  By speed reading, you intentionally skip over words in order to get the core information to you, which in most cases is what you want.  But in a lot of cases, skipping over those “unimportant” words in a sentence changes the flavour of the writing, and leaves a little out.  So speed-reading isn’t really a pleasure thing, now is it?  It’s for getting the most information into your head in as little time as possible.  But no matter how much the speed readers say it, they don’t get everything, they miss much.  Technical and teaching documents are already written in a way that leave out unnecessary words, and focuses on explaining and making easy to understand what is being discussed.  So skipping a few words here and there will cause you to miss things.

Other negatives, or at least the one that I’m concerned with, if you’re speed reading, you’re running out of material far too fast!  I love reading, so I read a lot, and not fast, I take my time and enjoy the ebb and flow of the prose.  It’s fun!  Which is why I seem to sometimes take a longish time in between writing up in this blog. You see, I do have an excuse!

This past month I read through 3 books, one which was a nice throwback to my days playing AD&D with my friends.  Remember that game?  Where you got together physically with people in the same room to play an RPG, and you used your imagination?  Well, “Critical Failures” is a book by Robert Bevan which pulls you back to your RPG roots and then throws you for a loop.

4 Friends who play Caverns and Creatures decide they all want to play, and not need to have one “sit out” as the Game Master, so they invite a fellow who is supposed to be a pretty darn good Game Master for a friendly night of RPGing.  Little do they know, their light-hearted jabs and fooling around would get them pulled through to a real world of Knights, Knaves and assorted Creatures!  Their Game Master doesn’t take lightly to the teasing, and through the use of some magic dice, sends them through the looking glass to a world where they ARE the creatures they were playing.  They have to deal with a very real threat to their lives, and the accidental inclusion of the older sister that doesn’t get along with them, and the almost-boyfriend who suddenly finds  himself as a footballer-turned-bard.  Hilarity and confusion ensues.

It was a great read though, playful and fun, I really enjoyed the trip down memory lane, an the unexpected turn of events.  The book does have a sequel or two, and will probably spawn a few more.

I also read an end-of-the-world tale that started out reminding me of Stephen King’s “The Stand” and morphed into A.C. Crispen’s “V”.  “Breakers,” by Edward W. Robertson begins with two men, on opposite sides of the country, who are survivors of a massive plague that has taken the lives of many of their loved ones.  They cross paths as one leaves the east coast for the west, in honor of his departed love.  On his way from the East Coast, Walt finds out that lawlessness rules many areas of the country, with a few enclaves that barely tolerate the presence of outsiders.  Learning to be equipped and prepared to fight for survival if necessary.  En route, he discovers that the earth has been invaded by aliens, which is the probable source of the plague that has killed most of the human life on the planet.

Raymond (woohoo! cool name that one!) is on the west coast when all hell breaks loose, and he, along with his girlfried Mia, decide to find a place that is undamaged and hold up with as much provisions as possible and a garden in the back yard.  This works wonderfully up until the aliens decide to sweep down and try to finish off with firepower what the plague failed to do.  Learning of an Resistance movement, they try to join with them to fight back.

It’s at this point that Walt, Raymond and Mia meet up and find that the resistance movement is mostly gone, they decide to do what they can to pick off as many aliens as possible, before bad things start to happen to them leaving them separated again, with Walt on a mission to take down the mothership (apparently only one in this version of V) and Raymond working to find a way to launch a few icbm’s to destroy them.

It was a good book, lots of insight into the human mind, and  how we can turn a bad thing into something worse, or, if on the right track, make it better.

The last book was “Bad Radio”, by Michael Langlois, but I’ve written enough for one day, I’ll get back to that one next week, along with the current book I’m reading called “Final Arrangements” by Donna Huston Murray.  (yes, I read all kinds!)

Carrie’s response to Bullying

It’s difficult to watch on television the numerous commercials for the upcoming movie or re-make of Stephen King’s Carrie.  Being old enough to have seen the original movie, and having read the book more than once, I’m truly looking forward to seeing how they bring this movie back to life for the new millennium.  But it’s always a good to start with the source, the book, published in 1974, was Stephen King’s first published novel, and set him apart as an author to be reckoned with.

Carrie is a book written in multiple voices, including that of reports on the “White Affair.”  It’s treated as an academic inquiry, as well as first person reports on what happend to and because of Carrietta White.

Raised by religious fanatic mother,and treated with disdain by her fellows, Carrie could be placed in any school today and be treated in exactly the same way.  Bullies are present in every day life, and responses to bullying include actions similar in spirit, if not in extent to those taken by Carrie.

Just recently, there was a school shooting in the US, where a bullied student took a gun into the school and shot a teacher and attempted to shoot other students.  The final outcome was withheld for a while, but it turns out that the student turned the gun on himself at the end.

In cases across North America, bullied children, tweens, teens and adults are taking actions similar to those taken by Carrie White.  Attacking bullies, and eventually taking their own lives.  This story reverberates, and with the articles written about it (within the story itself), it’s treated much the same way as is by the media in modern times.

Bullying hasn’t changed over the years, but the response has, it’s far easier now to use weapons to attack others, and yourself, than it was in the past, in the case of Carrie, she was her own weapon and she acted out much in the same way as a bullied teen might today.

Hopefully the lesson is learned, as it was learned by Sue Snell in the story, and people realize the impact of their actions, and parents see the actions their children are taking, and move to help, both the parents of the bullied and bullies. The children are our responsibility, and teaching them how to behave, act and care for each other is our duty.  It’s also our duty to see that they don’t have access to those tools that cause harm.

Finally, a book worth writing about!

I’ve just finished reading  “The Penal Colony,” and I have to say that this is a really good book, which takes a look inside the human spirit.  It’s not about good guys, it’s about bad guys.  There are those bad guys who do things for reasons beyond comprehension, and are sentenced to the worst possible punishment.  This is a book about them.  But it’s also a book about people who find themselves in an impossible situation, and take the only way out that they know how to.  Those folks who are pushed up against the wall, and take matters into their hands, which should best be left in the hands of others.

“The Penal Colony” is primarily a book about what you can do when pushed hard and far enough.  There are 3 or 4 main characters, and 2 real opposing forces.  The “hero” of this story is one of those who claims his innocence, but still manages to take actions that would be considered wrong, or even evil, on the “outside” of the penal colony.

Feeling for Routledge is natural, and acceptable, he’s our hero who is imprisoned for a murder he claims he never committed.  It’s easy to sympathize with him, with his confusion and finally acceptance of his situation.  It’s also understandable when he takes those actions that would put him in a similar situation, had they happened on the outside.  He’s a likable fellow.

At the beginning of the story, he finds himself introduced to the “civilized” portion of the island,but is told he must first understand what is outside, and is thrust among the outsiders for a probation period where he must survive against the elements, as well as the others who have not been accepted into the village.  On the outside he meets up with elements of the “others” those who will not live in a society, except for that of a fellowship of thieves and murderers.  Routledge sees how this group behaves first hand when he is accosted by two of their number on his second morning of imprisonment.  Finding what he thought was a safe hiding spot, they come upon him, and he takes decisive action to protect himself.  Afterwards he comes to understand that the outsiders are aware of the new recruit and have been looking for him, and eventually they catch him.  He sees how this type of society behaves and is soon looking for a way to escape.  Because his captors are also involved in trying to gain more for themselves, he finds his way out and to a more secure location.  He defends this location effectively before he is able to rejoin the village.

In the village, he can resume a somewhat normal lifestyle, while those on the outside try to destroy the village.  It appears that this is because of their having so little, while the village has so much.  Something we all have to deal with at one point or another.  Can we live with what we have, or must we find a way to better ourselves?  There are those that will bring down those around himself, rather than improve his own lot.  This is what happens in the colony, the have-nots want what they don’t have, and will do anything to get it.

In the end we come to know also that this penal colony is illegal, according to international law, and it is because of this, and a general desire for freedom, that a group of villagers tries to escape.

The fight between the haves and have-nots becomes one of success or failure of the escape plan, and anything can happen.  In the end, Routledge is one of the haves, and he continues to have to protect this against those others.

A truly good read, I look forward to reading more from Richard Herley.  For those who are interested, the book was the basis of a movie starring Ray Liotta.  From what I can tell, the book and movie are quite different though, so approach with caution.

Twisted, no other word quite fits…

There are some books what have convoluted plots.  There are some books that have complex characters.  There are even some books that have confusing settings.  Each of these may make a story seem rather twisted.

But it’s not that kind of twisted I was thinking of when I read Blake Crouch’s “Desert Places.”  I thought then that the characters were rather unique, and Crouch found his way into the darkest reaches of the human mind.  I was going to write something about it immediately after reading it, but I had to do a little bit of reviewing in my mind.  I had to turn things over a little bit, because there was just so much that happened in the book that I wasn’t sure what to think even.  But Twisted was the first thing to come to mind.

Before I started writing this review, I thought it might be best to read the sequel, yes, there is a sequel, and it stars some of the same characters, and yes, it’s also a deep look into some of the darkest places imaginable.  That book was called “Locked Doors” and it featured a “what to read” at the end of it for the next book in the series, which combines Andrew Thomas, Luther Kite, and Jack Daniels.  Jack Daniels is a character from another author, JA Konrath, who is also co-writing this third book in the series.  I wonder if it will be the last.

Now, the list of books that is presented at the end of Locked Doors is a chronological list of stores that includes works from both authors, but they do say that reading these is not necessary.  Lucky for me, I happened on one or two of the Jack Daniels books and a few others by JA Konrath (also known as Jack Kilborn and Joe Kimball, each with their own “area” of expertise)

I thoroughly enjoyed the Jack Daniels novel I read not long ago and spoke briefly about it here.  I’m addicted to Jack Kilborn and his stories, and they seem to fit well with Crouch’s.  So I considered briefly what, if any, of those other books I should add to my collection.  The one I did finally decide to read, before the review you’re reading here, is “Serial Killers”, or more precisely, “Serial Killers Uncut.”

Twisted, abso-freakin-lutely twisted!  These two have put together some really scary characters, who do some really scary things to complete strangers.  “Serial Killers” is a “What if” book, and discusses what happens on some of those dark highways late at night.  What happens when you’re hitchhiking, or picking up hitchhikers, and find yourself in the company of a serial killer?  Being taken by a killer, and having bad things happen to you, is a story point that has seen the light of day in other works, but the things these particular killers do, and the details brought to you by these twisted minds, is boggling to the mind.

Remember when I said I had to do a little bit of reviewing in my head before I wrote anything?  Well, even that has proved to be difficult, it’s a little difficult to comprehend why someone would want to do some of these things, and at the same time, it’s hard to imagine how someone even thinks up this stuff!

Crouch is definitely in a class apart, I don’t even think the early Stephen King books can compare to the thought processes that must be going on in his head, and King is one of my favorite authors, because of his scary side.

“Desert Places” and “Locked Doors” really goes two ways into the human mind.  One way into the depraved place that is rarely visited by most “normal” folks, and another into the extremes we will go through for ourselves and our loved ones, in order to protect us/them.  There are two main characters, and as it works out, they are fraternal twins, one is completely demented, and does very twisted things to strangers in a shed literally in the middle of nowhere, the other is a crime author, who writes about the same stuff.  It is posited that they both share the same mind, with a similar conscience, only one listens, an the other does not.

The evil twin makes it his work to bring his brother over to his side, and it’s a horrific ride all the way along.

I can only talk of these two books for now, I’ll be back with thoughts on Serial Uncut, and the end of the saga shortly, but for now know, for a thrilling, horrific good time, these are really, really god books.

Reading for Pleasure vs Reading for Work

I read a lot for pleasure, but I also do a lot of reading for work.  As a freelance computer programmer, I have to read about the latest updates to system software, and on occasion, I read up on some new technology or the latest framework that will make my life easier.

Recently I started reading about the Yii framework, mostly because I liked the way the framework came together and did a lot of the grunt work for you when putting together a website.  It also made customization fairly easy,but there are still some topics that require a little looking into.  There are not very many books available for Yii just yet, and even though the documentation is very thorough and the samples are very good, there still seemed to me to be a little something missing.  I did finally manage to find a good book on Yii (written by Larry Ullman) but I find the reading a little dry, and with three children at home during the summer,it’s been hard at times to concentrate on work.  But I do my best. 🙂

But when it comes to reading for pleasure, it seems that it’s easy to find something that I like.  Of course, it helps that I have some rather eclectic tastes in “literature.”  And yes, I use the term “literature” very loosely, some of the stuff I read really is what I consider “cotton-candy” reading, it’s got a lot of fluff and satisfies the need for escapism, but there’s not really all that much there.

On occasion I find a book that reaches me in a way that surprises even me.  Village Books, written by Craig McLay, was one of those books that did just that.  It was well written with believable characters, and made you want to be there with them through the ordeals of everyday life.  Village Books was a free download I took advantage of on a whim, I liked the title,and thought a book about a bookstore, how normal.  I guess I was looking for something a little more “stable” than the horror, suspense, thriller and sci-fi I had been reading lately.  Those who know me, know I like to read Stephen King, and consider him to be one of my favorite authors, him, along with Dean Koontz are probably my top two.  I also like historical fiction, like that written by James A. Michener, but in general, suspense and sci-fi are my go-to books.

Village Books is a book about the life of a Day manager at a local small bookstore, which is eagerly pursued by a big conglomerate.  The twists and turns of his days are not really all that dramatic,but they are what could happen to your friend that happens to be working at Indigo, or maybe Barnes and Nobel.  The fella is a nice guy,and one of those nice guys who doesn’t necessarily have everything work out for him, and you kind of want to root for him anyway.  No matter what the days do to him, you feel for the guy and want him to succeed.  I can’t really tell you if he did or not, but it was fun to follow him along on his daily routine and his social life.  Village Books is one of those books that you may stumble upon by accident, and then find yourself looking for more books by the same author.  I hope Craig McLay has written other books of the same quality, because he will definitely get more sales when I buy them!

I also read, in the two or so weeks since my last post, a book by J.A. Konrath called “Dirty Martini.”  As some of you may recall, I’ve read a few books by Konrath, also known as “Jack Kilborn” and have enjoyed them tremendously.  This one is a different sort than the others (Haunted House and Afraid) but somewhat similar to “The List” which is a Crime novel.  Dirty Martini is a “Jack Daniels” novel, that is, following in the footsteps of Jack Daniels as the pursuit of criminals progresses.  It is a very good book, it took turns that were unexpected, and drew you into the story relentlessly, making you turn the pages until the wee hours of the morning, because you *had* to know…

I really like Konrath/Kilborn, and will continue to find and read these until there are no more left.  Yes, it’s going to cost me a bit of money, but I can live with that. 🙂

A good book and a soft pillow

I tend to do a lot of my reading in bed, lying down, relaxed at the end of a long day, and rested enough to truly enjoy a good book.  Not everyone can read in bed, some just can’t find a comfortable position to read and hold the book.  Some find the light needed to read is disturbing to their bed partners, and others just are too darn tired at the end of a day!

I sympathize with you all, I’m rarely comfortable enough to read properly, and yet, I still need my fix, I used to often have “light issues” with my wife when I read in bed, and felt bad if I read til the wee hours with the light on.  Recently with the purchase of a lighted tablet, that’s no longer a problem (Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0), but as a result, I feel more comfortable reading later than ever before, so I tend to sleep at 2 and sometimes 3 in the morning!  Not good if you have to get up at 7.  Fortunately for me, it’s the summer, the children are home from school, doing their own sleeping in, so I get a chance for some extra sleep time.

As it happens, I tend to read what I think are pretty good books, ones that make you want to read “just one more chapter” until you realize that that glow out the window isn’t the streetlights, it’s the sun!

While I was on vacation in D.C., I had the opportunity for some family movie nights.  We decided on the movie of the night by vote.  The first movie night, we had the options of “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”, and “Oz the Great and Powerful”.  Curiously enough, two films that involved magic, Oz won the vote, and although it had what I think was a great premise, it kind of missed the mark.  It was too long, and slowly caused me to lose interest.  Strike one.  So a couple of days later, we decided to try again, and we chose the Chinese movie “The Sorcered and the White Snake”.  Although the action scenes were pretty cool, the sub-titles were far to fast to actualy make anything out of the movie, it looked good, maybe I’ll find a dubbed version, but this was not a good film, Strike 2.  Now it comes to our last night in D.C. and we’re crazy enough to try again, so here we go, “Life of Pi”.  Wow, what a film!

“Life of Pi” the movie, and book I read shortly afterwards, is the story of a young man who survives a shipwreck and spends most of a year lost at sea.  The movie was great, and the story moved along very well, we finally had a winner on our hands, just as it seemed we might strike out.  The movie was so good, I decided that I needed to read the book as well, and it’s that book that I finished at the end of last week.  Truth be told, had I read the book first, I would probably have thought more of it, than having seen the movie first.  While the movie was well paced, there were moments in the book that dragged a bit.  I know, I will probably be lambasted for daring to spout such nonsense!  But that’s how I felt, it was a great book, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it nonetheless.  I did, however, find it strange that the book was partly set in Toronto, while the movie use Montreal as it’s “present” location.  No matter, I just assume filming in Montreal was cheaper than filming in Toronto.  In either case, it was the Sea, the Boy and his Tiger that were the stars of both the film and the book.  without a doubt, worth the effort!

The Joy of Summer Reading.

I got back home after a lovely week in Washington D.C. on Sunday night, after having driven for 12+ hours.  Trust me, this is not something to do on a whim.  It’s well worth the slight discomfort to be able to spend a week with family we have not seen for some time, as you know, Skype Chatting does not count as spending time with family!

It was while in D.C. that I finished my latest book, and started something new.  I finished reading “314” by A.R. Wise, which is some sort of suspenseful thriller with a bit of supernatural thrown in.  It was a good book, but there were a few things that kinda irked me about the book.  The characters were believable, and the story flowed very well.  It made an interesting use of time, by showing us the happenings from the past just prior to the current happenings, and even turned this around as things got more complex as we approached the present.  The author makes note of this in his afterward. (yes, forwards, afterwards and thanks pages should be read in every book!)  The past, in this book, seems somewhat fluid, as what happened then, continues to happen in a sort of loop, which means some of the characters are doing the same thing they’ve done before, and some characters are experiencing things for the first time in a new way,thanks to the happenings in the present.  A little complex, but intriguing.

The part that bugged me the most was the premise that 314, the number for Pi (3.14159~) is used as a focus point in the book, and even is given as a code for the name of the corporation that has quarantined the town.  The problem is 3.141592 is supposed to represent the score for different tiles in the game of Scrabble, whos letters make up the name of the company (Cada EIB).  The thing is, this works for Cada, but the letters EIB are not scored 5/9/2, rather 1/1/3.  As a Scrabble Nut (most readers and writers seem to be) I know this, and the characters in the store, who are also supposed to be Scrabble Nuts, should know this, but the author cheated in order to push a point.  And that just irks. 🙁

Something similar happened when I was reading “The List” by J.A.Konrath.  Yes, another book by J.A. Konrath, also known as Jack Kilborn, as I’ve come to enjoy his writing style.  In The List, which I also finished during my vacation in D.C.!  This author is one I’ve come to really enjoy, as he’s able to really make his characters come alive.  But like just about all authors, they all make mistakes.  The one that really “ejected” me from this novel was one of services available in some locations and not in others.  In this case, gas companies.

In the book, two of the characters disguise themselves as gas company employees in order to gain access to a building where the president of the United States is giving a speach.  The problem is that the gas company they disguised themselves as employees of, “Enbridge,” does not provide gas services in Montreal, where the speech is taking place.  Instead, they should have disguised themselves as “Gaz Metropolitain” employees.  Surely in the next edition of the novel, this will be fixed.

Other than that, this book is a fantastic fun ride, every character shows their humorous side, and have fun with each other.  There are lines that made me laugh out loud, which can be confusing to those sitting around you.

One thing I learned while reading both “The List” and “314” is to try not to read them while resting at the beach, the sunburn is not worth it!

A little bit of love, and a little bit out there.

I just finished reading Swan Loch, a novel written by Randy Mixter, and I can honestly say this was one of the most pleasant read I’ve had in a while, and though I may be crucified for it, it actually called to mind some of my favorite authors works, Stephen King.  I’m sure this is one of many that I will read by this author, and I can only hope that all those that follow will be as entertaining and easy to identify with.

One of those love stories gone wrong, where the bad guy gets his mits in and causes the whole world to go spinning away.  Even the threat of losing someone you love can cause people to do strange and careless things, but when it actually happens, it’s amazing to see what you can find yourself doing.  Going beyond what you ever believed possible, and taking yourself to places beyond your own belief.

This was a story that was just plain good, every character felt real and the story felt like one that you could have heard from your buddy at the pub, or when out with the gang at the lake.

I’ve always liked good stories, and I’ll always enjoy reading.  Some days I’ll find myself looking out above the pages and wondering how this came to be, who could imagine such things and explain them to me so beautifully?  It boggles the mind, and though I try to  imitate the greats, I think I may still have a way to go.

In other news, Stephen King has gone and turned another one of his stories into a major event.  Under The Dome is now a miniseries that started on CBS last night, and it seems like it will be very close to the actual book.  Stephen King recently decided to become more involved with the movies/series based on his books, and his last few projects have been very sympathetic to the original written work.  I’ve go high hopes for Under The Dome.  I admit, I’m not watching it yet, I’m going to do the marathon viewing session after it’s all over, and yeah, it’s not reading, but I’ll still let you know.

Have a good read folks, talk to you as soon as I finish “Chasing Vegas” which is the first book I’ve had the pleasure of reading in the first person, for multiple characters.  I think it may be a bit of a novelty for me, and it’s really turning into a good read, so I’ll keep on reading.

I’ll be away for a week on vacation, chances are I’ll read a book or three while I’m away, so next time may be a bit long.

Thy Kindom Fall

So I finally finished reading this book by Austin Dragon, and a few pieces of information have trickled through to my brain and it’s definitely not a bash piece, nor it is a tip of the hat to Trek or Shatner, it’s really does stand well on it’s own and proves to be quite compelling.  It really makes you want to think about what we’re doing now, and where we’re heading, by taking a pretty hard look at our reliance on technology, and how we view others of different faiths.

There are three main groups in this book the Americans, the Caliphate (Muslim extreme) and the CHIN’s (China India and such), with a few other smaller powers, such as Canada, Mexico, South America, Africa and the Russian Bloc.  But the superpowers are the big three and they’ve become that way because of what may happen in the future.  It’s possible that Muslim extremists manage to take over a good portion of the world, and it’s possible that  China allies with the India to form a super block, to become the big three, and it’s possible that a whole lot of other things happen.

The book concentrates on how we view religion, and it seems like the author may be a good christian (I’m not very good, I’ll admit) who is seeing how the world can be changed by our attitudes towards religion in general.  In this future America, there are the “Pagans” and the “Jew-Christians” who can be considered the non-believers and the believers.  I think the author lumps the Jewish and Christian folk together just to make things a little bit easier to write, but it does work well enough.  The book shows some of the worst aspects of technology, and I almost felt guilty reading it on my tablet, rather than in paper form!  It shows how people can be dependent on those technological gadgets that we carry around with us every day.  Already in current times, there have been incidents where distraction caused by “tek” has caused harm and even death to people who have been texting or reading while using their devices.

But this story goes so much further, it really shows how things can grow and how we can be pulled along without even realizing it.  I can honestly see these books being a first step towards the classic Blade Runner story by Philip K. Dick (Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep?).  It’s a good book, I hope the sequel, coming out soon, will be equally as thought provoking.

The Amun Chamber

I finished reading “The Amun Chamber” by Daniel Leston.  It was a fairly good book, but didn’t always hold my attention.  But it did call to mind the Indiana Jones movies that I saw years earlier. 🙂

How much does this book “borrow” from the Indy movies and lore, well, the main character is a former professor/archaeologist, and he finds a young lady whom he befriends and who helps him on his way.  She naturally has an estranged relative who had something of importance to help him on the quest to find the hidden relic.

Now be that as it may, the story was still well written, and was fun to read, and I’m sure many will find the book to be one of the first to be bought by the same author.  I cannot say that this will be the case for me, it just felt too much the same as another’s work, and that never really excites me when I’m reading.  So maybe I’ll give Daniel Leston another go, but then again, maybe not.

The new book I’ve started reading is “Thy Kingdom Fall” which is the first book in the After Eden Series, it’s interesting, but confusing at times as well, and sadly the e-book formatting is a little off, every once in a while in the middle of the text, the author’s name shows up, like they incorrectly formatted an forgot to remove his name from the bottom of some pages, and that got it rolled in between some paragraphs.  The author is Austin Dragon, and he’s a good writer.  It’s started off with some chapter titles that made me thing this would be a tip of the hat to either Star Trek, or William Shatner, with chapter 1 being “Wolf 359” a star group that played a part in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and chapter 2 was called “Tek World” which was part of a series of books by William Shatner (“Tek War”, “Tek Lord” and “Tek Vengeance” to name but a few.)  But when reading the chapters, you soon realize that is it not quite that type of science fiction.  It takes place many years in the future (well, about 50) and plays heavy on the threat of Muslim Radicals and the changing of the world as a result of that.  It shows one way of dealing with what happens if Muslim Radicals manage to become a superpower.

I’m not finished the book yet, but it does paint some interesting pictures.  It’s a little hard to swallow at some points, especially the way it treats all Muslims as radicals, and then also tries to group Jewish and Christians together as something to be controlled and kept separate from the rest of the population.  It seems to be about what is possible in a non-secular future, where “Pagans,” or non-religious, are in control, and the US Constitution is changed for something that alters and “streamlines” the amendments made to it.

I’m still not sure where it’s going, but the ride so far has been entertaining, and at times enlightening.  The ideas may not be popular, but they are definitely interesting to read about.  I can personally say that I’m not a fan of some of them,but they do make for interesting fiction.