Recent Reviews

The Crimson Gardenia

by Rex Beach

There's some good writing in here but the stories I found of only moderate interest. Expected more from a name as notable as Rex Beach.

Reviewed on 2014.08.16
by Dai Alanye

The Cryptogram

by Wm. Murray Graydon

Plenty of action and adventure here, unfortunately accompanied by highly unrealistic battle scenes. But if the reader can suspend disbelief…

Reviewed on 2014.08.16
by Dai Alanye

Daybreak: A Romance of an Old World

by James Cowan

If you felt Burroughs' Martian novels to be unrealistic, by all means take a glimpse into Daybreak. Your appreciation of Mr B will skyrocket.

Reviewed on 2014.08.16
by Dai Alanye

The Day's Work, vol 1

by Rudyard Kipling

I like Kipling but many of these tales left me cool if not cold—talking animals and machinery, philosophy, puzzling references. Couple pretty good ones, though.

Reviewed on 2014.08.16
by Dai Alanye

Kafka's Selected Shorter Writings

by Franz Kafka

This is an interesting twenty minutes or so. They are five fragments written by Kafka that hold together to form incidents or fables, all of them predictably odd.
The strangeness of Kafka's writing is that, unlike someone like Lovecraft, who concocted worlds, Kafka gives the impression of having lived in the places he writes about, that all the places are normal, and might be found on the map.

Reviewed on 2014.08.16
by Lisa Carr

The Tragedy of the Korosko

by Arthur Conan Doyle

I can't help but feel guilty for deriving an interesting read at the cost of 'sara' and the rest of the Islam community who may have read the book.
The community have been so unjustifiably antagonised in this lesser-known ACD book, that you begin to question his morale.
We are scared by things we don't understand. So, I can see why ACD may have come up with the alienated 'musalmen' being the baddies of this plot.
There are a few pages that gives you an idea of the Victorian psyche. To them there was no line between progressive imperialism and regressive imperialism... Imperialism is imperialism- Brits are civilised, so they are to control and help develop the Undeveloped.
As a neutral, I was able to ignore all of these Brit/Christian agenda quite quickly. I quite enjoyed the simple plot. I loved all of the distinct characters that he has created and managed to find the discreet romance between Mr. Stephens and Ms. Sadie quite heart-warming. There is a lyrical beauty to which ACD spins out his tale.
If you can swallow the propaganda, do read this desert drama.

Reviewed on 2014.08.15
by Kenshin

The Great Amulet

by Maud Diver

A most unusual romance, in that it begins where most such books will end.With a marriage.
The backdrop is the British Raj, India in all its extremes and beauty, intermingles with powerful and interesting characters who are sensitively created and evoke sympathy and compassion.
A most unusual book that I highly recommend.

Reviewed on 2014.08.15
by B.Lakshmi

Off on a Comet

by Jules Verne

(1911) Sci-fi (Catastrophe) / Adventure (Survival) / Satire (Pride/Nationalism)

R: * * *

Plot bullets

  • Captain Hector Servadac and his aid Laurent Ben Zoof, of the French Algerian Army ,awake one morning to find that they are in a somewhat different world than when they went to bed. Gravity has seemed to lessen, familiar land marks have changed and there is a consistent undefinable surface rock just underneath all the ocean and land, to mention a few oddities.

  • In their searching for answers, they meet up a second time with a Russian, Count Wassili Timascheff as he sails on his yacht. He joins the search.

  • They meet few other humans. There is a group of British soldiers at what is left of Gibraltar, a young girl, a greedy merchant and an unfortunate group of misfits.

  • They begin to form a hypothesis as to what has happened. Their ideas are confirmed when they meet up with scientist Palmyrin Rosette. He confirms that a comet grazed the Mediterranean. There was no mass extinction. The comet just carried away a huge chunk of the Mediterranean on it's back.

  • All might not be lost. The comets orbit will return them to Earth. The little group must learn to survive until that time and plan for a way to get back on Earth as the comet makes it's anticipated pass.

  • They must survive the journey and the return, those that would be, however reluctantly 'Off On A Comet'.

If it wasn't so satirical, it would be uninteresting to read. The ending, if there is one, is disappointing.

Reviewed on 2014.08.15
by Henry L. Ratliff

Twelve Times Zero

by Howard Carleton Browne

When one of the nation's foremost fission experts and his assistant are bludgeoned to death, the assistant's husband comes up with a crazy story of a blond babe in a fiery blue globe shooting them with a ray gun. He's convicted of the murders, but the detective on the case isn't sure he did them.
What starts out as a police procedural turns into a sci-fi story. The detective is a great character. Some of the story clunked (such as hydrogen fission destroying the universe), but it had a pretty good ending.

Reviewed on 2014.08.15
by Lisa Carr

Fist and Fang

by Robert E. Howard

Howard could add depth to any kind of story. This is one of his boxing stories, but the boxer has left the ring and is sailing the South Seas. He and a friend have run off to visit a native friend, and find out the old chief has been killed, and his replacement is the boxer's old enemy.
There is a graphic, extended, bare-knuckle boxing match.
It's not Joseph Conrad or even Jack London, so it doesn't have quite the atmosphere of someone who had actually visited the place, but it's tight and well-crafted.

Reviewed on 2014.08.15
by Paulo Respighi

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