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Reviews by Seb

The Night of the Long Knives

by Fritz Reuter Leiber, Jr.

The setting is interesting but I didn't really buy into the idea that after a nuclear war people would just randomly kill each other rather than trying to band together to survive in some form. Not much happens and the writing isn't great either.

Reviewed on 2009.01.27

Scorched Earth

by Walter D. Petrovic

I seriously doubt anyone will ever read more than twenty pages of this book, I certainly couldn't and I'll read just about anything. Anyone could sit down and write this sort of tripe because it's not storytelling it's just pure waffle full of empty and laughably grandiose language.

It reads like 'the infinite space rejoiced at the infinite wonder of the swirling infinite joy of the infinity and swirled infinitely in the cosmic wonder of infinity.'

I'm not kidding, imagine page after page of that! The preface expresses the authors hopes that he will be published and that people will enjoy his writing. As someone who has had the pleasure of working in publishing all their adult life I can honestly say neither of these is likely.

Reviewed on 2009.01.27

Peeps at Many Lands: Ancient Egypt

by James Baikie

Quite interesting in places, I liked the tour of the city but it doesn't really give much of an idea how ordinary people lived. There's also a few stories that end with "and that's where the papyrus was torn so we don't know how this one ends" which is a bit pointless! A bit muddled and probably aimed at a younger reader but it's a quick read and has some interesting information.

Reviewed on 2009.01.26

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

by Strategic Services

"For example, what benefit do you gain from polluting your own water supply?" asks a reviewer. None really, that's probably why this isn't mentioned in this book.

It's probably also forgiveable that it doesn't mention video surveillance given that it was written in 1944.

Anyway, since neither of the other reviewers seem to have actually read this pamphlet before reviewing it I thought I'd give it a go. This is an interesting historical document but it's advice ranges from the mildly plausible (using coins to blow fuses) to the absolutely ridiculous (remove toilet paper from lavatories!).

The reason this is interesting is that most of these acts of sabotage existed only in the paranoid minds of secret service types on both sides of the war. There's very little evidence that small scale sabotage of this kind was widespread mainly because the punishments were so severe if caught and the actual effect would be so negligible to the war effort. Despite this the USA was especially fearful of the hidden saboteur and many a clumsy or inept worker was interviewed as a potential spy.

It's great that documents like this are being preserved though I think it's unlikely to be of interest to anyone but historians and perhaps the most disgruntled of employees.

Reviewed on 2009.01.05

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Author of the Day

Diane Pomerantz
Dr. Diane Pomerantz has been a practising psychologist in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area for over 35 years. She recently published her memoir, Reflecting Pool, telling a story that is both tender and horrifying. It chronicles the psychological journey of her survival within and ultimate escape from an emotionally abusive relationship with a narcissist. As our Author of the Day, Pomerantz gives us a glimpse into what it took to write this novel.
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