Tag Archives: #Consequences

Meaney, John: Context (2007)

Cover art by Jim Burns

Wow. This book is gold. “Context” is book no. 2 of the “Nulapeiron Sequence”. As such it is the continuation of the story about Tom Corcorigan. This story keeps getting better and better. Meaney blends philosophy with action and obsession beautifully. In Context he manages to keep the text flowing in a manner above and beyond most authors. What a gift.

Tom is healed from devastating injury. His security chief, Elva comes along. Unfortunately, she is killed on that trip. This becomes a defining moment for Tom. He realises his love/passion/obsession with Elva. When it turns out that somehow Elva has survived, but that her mind has been transferred to the body of her twin sister. Tom goes off hunting Elva. In the process he becomes one of the most important tools in the fight against the Blight.

Of course, there are many stages of learning for Tom. One does not blithely meet with something as powerful as the Blight. One of the many tools aiding Tom is the mu-space crystal that he got hold off in “Paradox“. From it we learn more about Ro and her role in the whole mystery.

Hard-core science fiction has seldom been more fun. Please, please read this trilogy if you have the chance.

Nexø, Martin Andersen: Pelle, the Conqueror (1906-10)

“Pelle, the Conqueror” begins on the first of May 1877. Lasse Karlsson from Tommelia in Sweden arrives with his son Pelle at Bornholm in Denmark. They are fleeing poverty and starvation and try to find a decent living. Instead they are treated as indentured servants. As Pelle learns Danish, life becomes easier, but he and his father continue to be treated as outsiders. They refuse to give up their dream of a better life in Denmark.

In one sense you could call “Pelle” auto-biographical. Nexø (1869-1954) knew poverty from the inside. When he was 8, his family moved to Bornholm in hopes of having a safer life. Through this inside experience we get to follow Pelle and his father and friends through tragedy, comedy and success. There is an optimism inherent in these four books (mine is an omnibus) that has us identifying with Pelle’s fight to conquer his life.

Nexø writes beautifully. He brings the reader into the text and gives of himself to us. The journey through Pelle’s life is an amazing journey from a life of terrible circumstances into a life of possibilities. With warmth and generosity my heart was warmed by the excellence of Nexø’s text.


Barnes & Nobles seems to have the best price on this omnibus, consisting of 4 books: Boyhood; Apprenticeship; The Great Struggle; Daybreak.

Project Gutenburg offers Pelle the Conqueror.
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Pelle Erobreren is a Danish/Swedish movie from 1987 based on the book
1988:
  • Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film
  • Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film

Meaney, John: Paradox (2001)

Paradox: Book I of the Nulapeiron Sequence (Bk. 1)

Cover art by Jim Burns

I’ve now read “Paradox” for the third time and am still enjoying it as much as the first. Because I’m a dork, I just realised that there are two more books to this series. Well, well, live and learn.

From the above I’m sure you can tell that I really liked “Paradox“. We get a large dash of philosophy, some biology, sociology, lots of action and a thoroughly likeable protagonist. Tom Corrigan is at the centre of our attention throughout the whole novel. He raises himself through the various layers of society through hard work, luck and other people’s ambition. There is no sugar-coating of our hero. He rises to the greatest heights and falls to the deepest depths of hell. Meaney is a really good writer.

Nulapeiron is a strange world. Semi-alive dwellings and vehicles. Subterranean demesnes layered from the poorest to the richest. At the very top we find the Oracles.

Tom Corrigan is witness to the brutal killing of a woman by the militia. She just happens to the same woman who gave him a small, seemingly insignificant info-crystal. Shocked to his core, Tom realises that she is one of the mythical Pilots.

This info-crystal, along with the Oracle Gerard, are the two things that push Tom onto a path that will take him to his destiny.

Gilbert, Martin: The Boys – Triumph Over Adversity (1996)

ForsideWhen I read “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” I was once again reminded of the story of 732 Jewish boys and girls whose story Martin Gilbert tells in his “The Boys: Triumph Over Adversity“. One book is from the viewpoint of someone standing outside the suffering while the other one is about the kids who went through hell. I’m not a believer in the many after-life versions of hell, but I am certainly a believer in the human ability to create hell for their fellow humans. In fact, we’re really creative in the many ways we cause others pain, and that worries me.

The Boys: Triumph Over Adversity tells such a story. This is the story of children who (along with their siblings and parents) were uprooted from their homes and dragged into the horrors of the Holocaust. These children were originally from Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Their lives were the lives of ordinary children with loving parents. As they just below and above ten years old for the most part, these children had no understanding of all of the abrupt changes in their lives. From living in regular homes, they were stuffed into ghettos and then dragged to even worse circumstances.

And then it all ended. No more parents or siblings, all alone in the world after having endured what only few people in the world have had to endure.

After their liberation from the camps, they had to begin rebuilding their lives in Britain. Despite being physically and emotionally drained by their nightmare past, they drew strength from their group. After leaving their hostels, they remained a close-knit and devoted band of siblings. Their families having been destroyed, they created a family among themselves.

So many people ask themselves how something as terrible as the Holocaust could have happened. I doubt there is any one answer to that question. After all, we let history repeat itself all over the world. What I do believe is that we are all capable of becoming something we had never thought was possible. Ervin Staub in his “Roots of Evil” and Max Weber in his “On Bureaucracy” – Iron Cage both try to look at why people are dehumanized and warn us of the consequences.

Goyer, David S. & Cassutt, Michael: Heaven’s Shadow (2011)

Heaven's Shadow (Heaven's Shadow, #1)So! What do you think the various world-leaders would do if a Near Earth Object (NEO) appeared in the sky? Heaven’s Shadow is about that. Not surprisingly, the appearance sparks a contest between the US and the rest of the world to get to the object first. Two space ships are sent to investigate and they discover more than they had bargained for. The NEO turns out to be alien and not necessarily friendly.

Paranoia, curiosity and courage are all displayed along with pretty natural, yet often unwise reactions. Our perspective is from the NASA spaceship’s crews – their actions and reactions.

This novel is a fun read. The way people act in it seems pretty realistic. The whole alien NEO thing not so much. But that’s what SciFi is, likely and unlikely thoughts about the future. What is likely is that at some point in the future an NEO could come close enough for us to visit. That’s what makes it so fun to read. Knowing part of the story could possibly happen given a certain set of circumstances.

Aaron, Rachel: The Legend of Eli Monpress (2012)

Eli Monpress – bounty, paid dead or alive,
20,000 Council Gold Standard Weights.
Wanted on 157 counts of grand larceny against a noble person,
3 counts of fraud,
1 charge of counterfeiting
and treason against the Rector Spiritualis

“The Legend of Eli Monpress” is an omnibus containing the books “The Spirit Thief“, “The Spirit Rebellion” and “The Spirit Eater“. They are, of course, about Eli Monpress, a charming thief whose only goal is to get his bounty as high as possible. The reason reveals itself. During his adventures he has his mates Nico (a demon carrier) and Joseph Liechten (the greatest swordsman ever).

In order to get his bounty higher and higher Eli steals stuff. Not necessarily things that will bring him a lot of money, but things that are “without price” – like King Heinrich.

Elis main opponent is Miranda, the spiritualist, who ends up helping him in order to serve the greater cause.

The magic used in these books is based on forcing or cooperating spirits (wind, water, earth, trees, etc.).

These are fun novels. Eli is a charming character and well-written. The interplay between and those he meets on his way is described in a manner that draws me as a reader in and makes me want to know more about the characters.


Reviews:

Lowe, Helen: The Gathering of the Lost (2012)

The Gathering of the Lost” is book no. 2 of “The Wall of Night” series. Helen Lowe has done an excellent job on the follow-up of the first book in the series “The Heir of Night“. She manages to draw the reader in and does not let go until the last page. As teen-lit this is really good. The story is fairly complex and surprising (perhaps) in its twists and turns.

Through various journeys, Lowe leads us to Malian and Kalan. We get to see where they stand in relationship to each other and to the quest they set out on 5 years previously. Saving the Derai (and perhaps the rest of the world) from the fierce Swarm will not be simple. Discovering where the lost clans are takes time, and time is precious.

As in The Heir of Night Malian’s choices will make the difference in the outcome of the coming battle.