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Reviews by Vance P. Frickey

A Diversity of Creatures

by Rudyard Kipling

Remarkable for many great Kipling short stories, including his excellent if quirky "As Easy As ABC," which shows us the postwar Rudyard Kipling stung by the excesses of democratic government and modern journalism (the latter of which he also explores in the last chapter of his unjustly criticized "American Notes").

Also has two great "Stalky & Co." stories ("The Honours of War" and "Regulus") written, I suppose, after the collection of that name was compiled; those stories alone justify the acquisition of this volume.

Reviewed on 2010.03.12

American Notes

by Rudyard Kipling

This is classic Kipling the Journalist, playing the same game John McPhee and P.J. O'Rourke played - it's arrogance for us to call it the "New Journalism" when Rudyard Kipling did exactly the same thing almost a hundred years before our own journalists discovered the joys of conversational prose.

It's also Rudyard Kipling on a full allotment of testosterone, unsparingly critical of a country which he by and large seems to have loved as much as England or his native India. As an American I might bridle at some of the less fair shots Kipling takes in "American Notes," but have to concur with his assessment of Chicago as the American Calcutta, especially now that Chicago politics have irretreivably tarnished the building at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and imposed any number of nasty backroom deals with the health insurance industry and the labor unions on the citizens of a once-proud Republic.

What amazes me is how little the America Kipling shows us has changed in a little over a century after he wrote about it. If you have a sense of humor and objectivity, please read "American Notes," because Kipling rewards his reader with sharp wit and a valuable perspective not found often in overseas journalism (or domestic journalism, for that matter).

Reviewed on 2010.03.11

The Phantom Rickshaw

by Rudyard Kipling

Some of the finest short stories written in the English language. "The Phantom Rickshaw" deserves its fame; one of the few Kipling stories I note most of my friends have read. It's nearly a preternaturally good story.

Reviewed on 2010.03.11

Actions and Reactions

by Rudyard Kipling

Worth reading and having for your Ebook library if only for the finest science-fiction story written before 1940, "With the Night Mail" (with considerable notes not in other editions of that story in and a "Stalky and Co" story which is not in the collection of that name, "The Four Angels." and do us a considerable service by making the less well-known but just as fine stories of Kipling available with a few minutes' work on the Internet (and please donate to - I have).

Reviewed on 2010.03.11

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Elin Barnes has done many different things in her life, like being a flight instructor, working for a criminal appeals lawyer and working for many big name technology companies in Silicon Valley (Microsoft, Google etc.). But the one thing that she never thought would actually happen is to write (and finish) a book. Her debut novel, Justification for Murder, has, in the meantime, earned rave reviews and grown into a series. As our author of the day, Barnes reveals why she picked Silicon Valley as the backdrop, her inspiration behind writing a biomedical thriller and how she went for ride-alongs with the San Jose Police Department.
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