Profile for jradoff > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by jradoff
Top Reviewer Ranking: 447,843
Helpful Votes: 12

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
"jradoff"

Page: 1 | 2 | 3
pixel
Job: Comedy of Justice
Job: Comedy of Justice
by Robert A. Heinlein
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
79 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-changing and thought-provoking, March 25 2004
I first read this book as a teenager. Perhaps this was the best time I could have opened the cover to Job, a time when I was questioning many of the things I had been taught. My mind was pliant clay where ideas were constantly clashing. I was a youth who suspected that society was rife with hypocrisy and lies.
Why do we believe what we do? Why are certain parables regarded as examples of morality? Have we been conditioned to believe that great evils were in fact just and moral? What the heck is morality anyway?
These are a few of the questions that Job will challenge you with. It is a book that left an indelible impression on me, and caused me to reject many of the things I had been force-fed as a child.
If you are looking for Heinlein's typical science-fiction, you won't find it here. Instead you'll find a story spun from Heinlein's ascerbic wit that navigates the human system of beliefs and values, and does so with greater incisiveness than he's done in any other title.

The Da Vinci Code: A Novel
The Da Vinci Code: A Novel
by Dan Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.69
264 used & new from CDN$ 0.18

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Mental Candy, March 25 2004
This book is like watching a really interesting program on the History channel. It presents a number of thought-provoking historical and theological concepts which many people may not be familiar with. As a story, the plot itself is somewhat trite and the characters are made of cardboard. Nevertheless, the ideas and puzzles presented through its staccato-pacing are what make the book worthwhile.
Religious fanatics should probably avoid this book. It uncovers uncomfortable truths about Christianity. Come to it with an open mind, and remember that this is a work of fiction. Dan Brown likely stretched facts (all well within the range of poetic license), but many of the ideas are plausible. You will probably find yourself googling for the information presented in the book, just to learn more for yourself. Possibly, this book will be your gateway to other fiction in this domain, including such works as Focault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. In my opinion, any book that triggers you to think, learn and read more is a success.

Lord of Light
Lord of Light
by Roger Zelazny
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
16 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Dense but Fascinating Exploration of Power, March 25 2004
Zelazny successfully weaves a tale of the far-future in which a form of quasi-immortality is achieved by transferring one's mind to new bodies. The ruling elite utilizes a mindreading technology to review the quality of one's life, and this is used to reward or punish a person with either a better or worse form. In effect, science has discovered the means to mirror the Hindu concepts of karma and reincarnation.
These technologies are used to solidify the power of the Deicrats, the ruling elite of the planet. Morality is secondary to how well one supports their grip on power. Those who oppose the structure are destroyed. Those who are in power, the ones who hoped to style themselves after gods, are driven by the same dark emotions that have powered mankind through history: ambition, jealosy and greed. This story is about Sam, a man forced to choose between joining with this system of power, or rebelling against it.
While this is a relatively short book (by modern science-fiction standards), it is also dense reading. Slogging through the first chapter and a half is necessary before things really start to click along.
This is a novel that is rich with ideas. It demonstrates the harm that can be caused by caste systems borne out technological haves and have-nots. It portrays the classic theme of "absolute power corrupts absolutely," but also shows that goodness exists within a few humans to oppose corruption. It does both of these against a unique, Hindu-inspired backdrop supported by the necessary science.
Your enjoyment of this book will probably be driven by the type of science-fiction reader you are. If you want something heavy on ideas and milieu, you will probably love this. If you want something that is more character-driven, this may not satisfy you as much. Despite its shortness, you may find yourself downshifting your reading-gears: dialogues often consist of a dozen or more lines of unattributed text--and characters don't speak in particularly unique voices. Some characters are known by multiple names, which I found initially confusing. Despite this, I can't imagine that anyone interested in speculative fiction could be fluent in the genre without exposure to this fascinating tale.

Catch-22
Catch-22
by Joseph Heller
Edition: Paperback
68 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Expose of Hypocrisy, March 25 2004
This review is from: Catch-22 (Paperback)
Don't read this book because it is a classic. Read it because it is damn good.
Catch-22 is the type of book that will make you laugh, make you cringe and make you think. This is a story that will enchant you with its characters, its humor, its descriptions and its truths.
Catch-22 is not a pacifist rant. The morality of fighting World War II isn't the issue here. It is about the abuses of power, politics and hypocrisy that occur within military organizations during war. Yossarian is a man who has already gone beyond the call of duty for his country, yet is forced beyond his breaking point by men who are more interested in wealth and power than in concluding the conflict.
In our lives and work, most of us observe people making decisions driven by personal ambitions and ego to the detriment of all around them. Catch-22 is a dark comedy of those traits when they play out in the most lethal business of all: the business of war.
Heller's writing style breaks many of the literati's proscribed rules. He makes heavy use of repetition, along with strings of adjectives and adverbs. Although the story spends a lot of time exploring the characters, it does little to develop its nonlinear plot. Nevertheless, I found the rhythm of his writing hypnotic and engaging. You'll find yourself turning the pages to learn more about the people of the story.

Hyperion
Hyperion
by Dan Simmons
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
123 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Weaves Classic Themes with Modern Sci-Fi, March 25 2004
This review is from: Hyperion (Mass Market Paperback)
Simmons plants seeds from Chaucer and Keats, and this monumental work of fiction is what springs forth from his fertile imagination. This is science fiction tinged with fantasy, horror and high art.
While familiarity with the classics will heighten your enjoyment of the stories, they are not prerequisites. Each tale will entrance you with its emotional content and vivid characterizations, yet each is linked around the enigma of Hyperion: a place where the present and future are locked in war, where religion and science fuse, and an angel-of-death known as the Shrike looms as bogeyman and enigma. By the end of this book, you'll be hungry for the sequels--both to learn the fate of the characters and to unravel the mysterious nature of the Shrike's creators.

Growing Family Fruit and Nut Trees
Growing Family Fruit and Nut Trees
by Marian Van Atta
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking lots of fruit tree information, Aug. 4 2002
There is a fair amount of information if you mostly want to grow certain nut trees (pecan, walnuts, hazelnuts) and citrus. I would have liked to see a lot more information on less common nut varieties (e.g., chestnuts, pine nuts, etc.) And there was little to no information on apple, pear, plum, etc. There are better books that cover fruit in general, and there are citrus specialty books if that's your main interest.

Hyperion
Hyperion
by Dan Simmons
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
123 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Awe and Humanity, Sept. 3 1998
This review is from: Hyperion (Mass Market Paperback)
This is not a book for those who only like hard-core science fiction. Simmons will challenge your basic assumptions about the cosmos, will fill your mind with awesome mental images, and grip you with fascinating tales of adventure and sadness. This is a book you will either love or hate -- and you'll know which before you get far into it.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3