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Reviews Written by
owookiee "owookiee" (Winston-Salem, NC USA)

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Darwin's Children
Darwin's Children
by Greg Bear
Edition: Hardcover
40 used & new from CDN$ 0.24

3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been happy with just Darwin's Radio, June 26 2004
This review is from: Darwin's Children (Hardcover)
This sequel tells the story of Kaye's daughter up to about 16 years of age. The new species of man Bear creates proves to be not all that different. There are new social interaction possibilities, and new english phrases, but they really aren't that much different. This makes it not that interesting. Additionally, the more group focus of the new species leaves the individual characters seeming disinterested or plain.
If you liked Darwin's Radio - I would suggest you leave it at that, and use your imagination instead of reading this.

I, Robot
I, Robot
by Isaac Asimov
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.79
160 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Asimov was well schooled, June 13 2004
This review is from: I, Robot (Mass Market Paperback)
Each of the stories/chapters revolves around conflicts that arise within a robot when it tries to be true to the three builtin laws to varying degrees. Every single one of them struck me as a completely realistic software bug I could see arising in my code - little nuances of interpretation and feedback loops that cause the behavior exhibited to be unexpected. I loved the models of machine learning he used to show how arbitrary reality can be.
I tore through this easily in a weekend.
None of the stories involve homicidal robots or robot uprisings. I can only imagine the Will Smith movie coming out is a completely different set of plots. I hope Asimov doesn't turn in his grave.

King Arthur
King Arthur
by Frank Thompson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
36 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible, June 11 2004
Many authors can take a movie and turn it into a interesting book. Thompson is apparently not one of them. This reads like a friend of a blind man giving play by play of a movie they're watching. "This happened.. okay now they're doing this.. still doing this.." There is little description added to liven what is basically the movie the script in prose. The dialogue is stereotypical and unrealistic. Battle cliches are used - the final battle reads just like Braveheart. I don't even want to see the movie now.

Going to the Source: The Bedford Reader in American History, Volume 1: To 1877
Going to the Source: The Bedford Reader in American History, Volume 1: To 1877
by Victoria Bissell Brown
Edition: Paperback
20 used & new from CDN$ 0.52

5.0 out of 5 stars The importance of primary sources, June 8 2004
Rather than a secondary account of history, the Bedford Reader provides material from that era, and guides the reader in drawing their own conclusions. It can help teach a student how to do research THEMSELVES and interpret the data they find, rather than relying on what's told to them by textbooks and the internet.
Chapters contain: Notes from archaeological digs, colonial and slave diary entries, minutes from Constitutional debates, newspaper clippings and advertisements, popular toast songs of the revolution, and so much more.

The Social Fabric, Volume I
The Social Fabric, Volume I
by Thomas L. Hartshorne
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 63.50
20 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Great for a survey course, June 8 2004
Rather than an endless list of cold hard facts, as normal textbooks can at times be, Social Fabric offers two dozen essays that give you a glimpse of what life was like during different eras in the history of the United States. The representation of native Americans is far superior than the stereotypes put forth by the textbooks I read in school.
However, as much a richer source as this book is, it's not as comprehensive as a normal textbook, and essays at times seem biased. After all, the purpose of an essay is to make a point, and as such, may only be one side of the story.

Among the Missing
Among the Missing
by Dan Chaon
Edition: Hardcover
23 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Among the better collections, May 19 2004
This review is from: Among the Missing (Hardcover)
Chaon's stories somehow all feel so real. The situations, the relationships, the feelings and motivations, they just seem so plausible, more so than any other short story collection I've read. Some of the stories have made me nostalgic about my own past, and relationships with family.

Darwin's Radio
Darwin's Radio
by Greg Bear
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
81 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars "Hello, Mitch", May 17 2004
Hard science, not hard science - the point is it's fiction, and it's entertaining.
I think the book will be perceived as better when taken in conjunction with the sequel. By itself, you don't really get to read much about "the next stage in evolution" beings because the majority of the book is about how the changing surfaces, and the political and social drama surrounding it.
I liked it enough to buy the sequel.

Perdido Street Station
Perdido Street Station
by China Mieville
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
68 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Creatively different, April 26 2004
Certainly a very creative novel. Multiple species living in the same city, in a fantasy setting with selective technologies. Mieville presents topics such as:
-the social politics of interspecies dating
-how finding out about a friend's sordid past forever changes your relationship
-respecting another culture's social mores, even if you don't understand them
-how curiosity almost killed the entire civilization
-even the minions of hell get scared
-just because you're paranoid doesn't mean your vacuum isn't watching you

Some Rain Must Fall
Some Rain Must Fall
by Michel Faber
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.96
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Short goodness from an enjoyable writer, April 25 2004
This review is from: Some Rain Must Fall (Paperback)
I read Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White first, was so pleased with his style that I picked up this short story collection. I enjoyed it very much, as the stories have the same style, but show off his ability in many different arenas besides the victorian England setting of Crimson Petal. Plots ranging from the fantastical "Fish" to the grapes of wrath-ish "Accountability" to the karma deliverance in "Sheep" that I think we'd all like to hand out some times.

Pattern Recognition
Pattern Recognition
by William Gibson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.41
62 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Not fully developed, April 12 2004
This review is from: Pattern Recognition (Paperback)
The basic ideas behind this book and the characters and world created are really quite interesting, but I feel the story plot wasn't polished enough. The good guy vs. bad guy is too simplistic. He weaves Cayce's father into the story pretty intricately... and then doesn't do anything with it, it almost seems like filler - both of her parents can be extracted from the story and it's pretty much the same. I think they were added to justify the interest of the bad guys in Cayce.
In short, I wanted Gibson to dive more into the "Pattern Recognition" ideas and groundwork and less into the cliche "mafia's out to get me" type of drama.

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