Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony, 1 July 2016
Books Catalogue, Breadtag Sagas 2016
The articles are about books rather than standard book reviews. The main categories are classic science fiction, crime & detective fiction, non-fiction. Those that don’t fit are placed in other.
Classic Science Fiction
Classic SciFi 6: William Gibson Count Zero
17 June, 2016
This is a review and analysis of Count Zero 1986 the second book in the Neuromancer Trilogy. Count Zero follows on from the three articles on Neuromancer and prophecy.
(2970 of 3230 words)
Classic SciFi 5: William Gibson’s Art of Prophecy
10 June, 2016 (The Rest)
This is a detailed analysis of William Gibson’s prophecies for the future.
The best analogy for Gibson’s prophetic abilities is that he sets up an alternative or parallel future that mirrors our own and helps us to understand our future better. He does this in the form of parable (non-religious), analogy and even metaphor, within a finely crafted and coherent fictional scenario that he has built up over years.
Gibson’s prophecies on cyberspace, hacking, computer security and cyberwarfare are a helpful mirror to 2016 and will be into the future. A detailed analysis is made of the technological status in 2016 that Gibson helps us to comprehend.
(4980 of 7380 words)
The Art of Prophecy
13 May, 2016 (The Rest)
This analysis of how one can try to make sensible statements or prophecies about the near future. The article is a necessary preparation for the detailed analysis of William Gibson’s art of prophecy in the Neuromancer Trilogy, and what it all means in 2016.
(2620 of 4090 words)
Classic SciFi 4: William Gibson Neuromancer
18 April, 2016
This is part of an extended series of five articles about William Gibson and the Neuromancer Trilogy, and Gibson as a prophet of the near future
This article is a review and an analysis of the book Neuromancer 1984. Neuromancer according to one reviewer in Goodreads is a heist story. It also has elements of a road novel without the automobile. Unusual and strange, but endearing characters, appear whose exploits one feels sympathy for. Gibson introduces a carefully considered and well-developed scenario and technologies for the near future.
The article also deals with William Gibson’s prophecies in Neuromancer in preparation for the two following articles on the art of prophecy and where William Gibson fits.
(2720 of 3450 words)
Classic Sci Fi 3: Avram Davidson Rork!
11 November, 2015
The article is an extended review of Rork! 1965 by Avram Davidson, a relatively neglected and forgotten Classic Science Fiction masterpiece in my opinion.
Edran Lomar the hero is a level-headed young man from Earth, who chose to go to Pia 2. His task (grudgingly given at the last minute because there was no-one else) is to apply his training and common sense to the problems on Pia 2 and to increase the production of Redwing, which is the only purpose for being there. The story is about problem resolution.
Yet, it is also a funny and wise book about racism and misapprehension about ‘the other’. It would not be unfitting amongst a collection of Somerset Maugham tales about colonialism.
(2670 of 2890 words)
Classic SciFi 2: Daniel F Galouye Dark Universe
20 October, 2015
The article is an extended review of Dark Universe 1961 by Daniel F Galouye, also a relatively neglected and forgotten Classic Science Fiction masterwork in my opinion.
The story revolves around echo-location by humans and is supported by recent inspiring news stories of blind people using echo-location to see their environment.
(1620 of 1780 words)
Classic SciFi 1: James Blish, A Case of Conscience
20 August , 2015
James Blish A Case of Conscience 1958 is an interesting example of the premise of faith versus science, but the contest never really happens in the book. The book is regarded as a Science Fiction Classic but it hasn’t stood the test of time. Nevertheless, it is important historically and reflects some of the views of is time.
(1500 of 1650 words)
Marie Kondo, Tidying
14 March, 2016 (The Rest)
Marie Kondo is an unusual young Japanese woman with an almost obsessive fetish for tidying. Nevertheless, her book on how to tidy was a success in Japan and more unusually has become a success worldwide. I am quite sceptical of self-help books in general but admire Marie Kondo’s book because it is practical, and seems to tap into some deep held phobias we have about tidying and leading an organised life.
I think Kondo’s views on tidying are deeply practical and come from an incredible depth of experience on what works and what does not. This is a book that everybody should read.
(3700 of 4350 words)
Giulia Enders, Gut
24 February, 2016 (The Rest)
I have gut problems and I keep meeting with others who have gut problems. We all seem to have read Giulia Enders’ book and recommend it to others. Giulia Enders became interested in the gut as an organ as a teenager. She began a career in medicine and gave a talk at a medical conference as a young researcher, which was extremely well received and shortly led to a book contract. The book is a rare phenomenon in medicine an entertaining survey of the body’s most neglected organ and an update on the modern research an area of major discovery in the past thirty years.
The reason why Gut is so popular is that it is a self-help guide to chronic gut problems in an era when general practice medicine cannot devote the time or the expertise to chronic problems. Whereas, many chronic gut problems can be managed by sufferers with relatively simple methods that either improve one’s lifestyle, or prevent or postpone much more drastic procedures.
(3090 of 3940 words)
Sean Dooley: The Big Twitch
17 January , 2016 (Travel)
The Big Twitch 2005 chronicles a year in Sean Dooley’s life (2002) where he tries to see as many Australian birds as he can in one year. Sean Dooley has been a birder for many years and the enterprise is carefully planned and strategically orchestrated. He manages to see 703 different species in one year which is a record. He is helped by other birders and mentors to achieve this.
Dooley was a comedy writer and in this book manages to create a superb, occasionally funny account that will appeal to birders and non-birders alike. I am certainly a non-birder though with an interest in Australian birds. The book is an amusing, if obsessive, tale with universal appeal. It is also a good travel guide to much of the best of the Australian environment.
When I meet other non-birders who have read the book, the almost universal comment is: I had no idea how competitive bird-watching was. Sean Dooley is currently Editor of Australian Birdlife and an active participant in the campaign to halt or reverse the general decline of birds in Australia.
(2460 of 2660 words)
Detective & Crime Fiction
Detective & Crime Fiction 4: John Sandford
23 May , 2015
John Sandford is an internationally successful author of around thirty-five published novels. The Kidd Series because of the computers is outdated but the Prey Series and the more current Virgil Flowers Series are timeless. John Sandford published novels in the former two series in 1989 and is still writing. The Prey Series which I avoided for years because of the titles centres on Lucas Davenport.Davenport is a loner and maverick, but independently rich because he developed some successful gaming software. He drives a Porsche and runs a special unit in the twin cities Minneapolis/St Paul. He is a hard man and bends the rules. Virgil Flowers works under Davenport but out in the country. He is a very engaging character with notable behavioural quirks. All the books are worth reading.
Detective & Crime Fiction 3: Michael Connelly
11 May , 2015
Michael Connelly is an internationally best-selling American crime fiction writer. He is also prolific. He has created an amazing and driven character in Harry Bosch of the LAPD and another charismatic lawyer character in the Mickey Haller books. There are roughly 22 Harry Bosch books and six about Mickey Haller. They are all uniformly good reads. The Connelly website is excellent and a source to go to for more information about the books.
Detective & Crime Fiction 2: Arnaldur Indridason
3 May , 2015
Arnaldur Indridason writes Icelandic crime novels mainly set in Reykjavik. The novels feature the depressive, gloomy and anti-social Inspector Erlandur and his underlings Sigidur Oli and Elinborg. Erlandur is obsessed by and guilty for losing hold of his younger brother in a blizzard when he was a child. He is also upset by his relationship with his drug addict daughter and estranged son. He feels guilty for his indifference to them, but also powerless to do much about it. Despite all this Erlandur is a rather endearing point of view character. A good web site is recommended for further reading.
Detective & Crime Fiction 1: An Introduction
3 May , 2015
The article provides some background on me and my tastes in detective & crime fiction. There is a short summary of what I consider are the masters of the genre Chandler and Hammett and a brief description of Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. I mention that I am going to focus on novels that I’ve read in the last ten years and I provide a list of authors that I may write about. I may not write about all of them and the list is not meant to be restrictive, merely an initial guide.
Roy Lewis Evolution Man
29 August , 2015
Although Evolution Man has science fiction on the cover, I don’t consider it to be a science fiction book. The story is about a cave family in the late pleistocene around the time of the discovery of fire. It is amongst the funniest books ever written and a charming but forgotten classic, which deserves to be known more widely.
(1840 of 2310 words)
False Memories and The Mill on the Floss
29 April , 2015
A distinct memory of reading the beginning chapters of The Mill on the Floss proves fallible. Are our memories reliable? A nostalgic musing leads to reminiscences on reading and an analysis of vocabulary in The Mill on the Floss.
The books articles tend to be more than just book reviews and are sometimes in-depth analyses of certain aspects of the books or the knowledge they contain that interests me.
With regard to future articles on books, The Classic Science Fiction section will continue. It has been dominated recently by four articles on or related to William Gibson with one to come. Classic Science Fiction will then settle down to one article per author. The next will probably be Ursula Le Guin The Word for World is Forest 1972 and 1976. Although Detective & Crime Fiction has ceased temporarily, it will continue but perhaps not be as extensive as the Classic Science Fiction.
Similarly, the Non-fiction series will continue under the books heading and also in the analyses under The Rest category. Marie Kondo, Giulia Enders and Sean Dooley are a rather eclectic mix, as are the additional books in The Rest category. The eclecticism will certainly continue.
The Other section also contains books not to be missed. The Evolution Man is a forgotten gem and a must read if you enjoy humour. The Mill on the Floss is also one of those books that everyone must read once before they die. Although I don’t rate it quite as highly as Middlemarch. Nevertheless, the image of the awful aunt who keeps everyone on tenterhooks over what they might expect to inherit, and has a whole chest of new things including sheets to be laid out in when she dies, has stayed with me for years.
In general the discussions of the books category reflect my wide ranging tastes and interests. I hope over time you will detect some sort of pattern, but more importantly, I hope you’ll find them engaging, interesting and entertaining.
The text of each article on Books ranges from 650 to 4980 words with an average of 2261 words. The last is a nice round number that one can get one’s teeth into but not too long. The articles longer than 3000 words have some meat to them! (Selective quotations that are long enough to give flavour also increase the length of some articles.)
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