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August 26, 2004

Books

You wouldn't think I read a lot of books based on how much I change the "What I'm reading now" section on this here blog's home page, but I actually read a fair amount. One of my goals with this blog is to keep a record of what I read so without further ado, here is what I've read recently in mini-review form:

The Engines of God
by McDevitt, Jack

I read this over while on vacation on Green Lake. The book centers around the work of space archaeologists and a mysterious alien civilization that has left huge statues around the galaxy. The closest statue, in our own solar system, is a statue of what the aliens actually look like, and they are frightening, reptile like creatures that obviously have a high level of intelligence (or they wouldn't be flying around the galaxy now would they?). So, the archaeologists in the book are both trying to figure out where these aliens are, and why they built such strange statues and monuments. Sounds intriguing, doesn't it? Unfortunately the book is somewhat boring and anti-climactic. It reminded me of the Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson. Lots of unrealized potential.

The Truth Machine
by Halperin, James L.

Ugh. Do not read this book unless you are a easily amused by small, shiny objects. A complete insult to my intelligence, this book centers around the invention of a "truth machine" that completely changes world government, peace, tranquility, blah, blah, blah. Totally unrealistic. The author also gets around his lack of ability to create plausible dialog by narrating the book as a computer. Yikes! Two weeks of my reading life down the tubes.

The Fouth World
by Danvers, Dennis.

Wow! Now this is my kind of book. This book is about a not to distant future where the Web completely controls people's lives. People don't even go outside or travel anymore since they can experience everything through the Web. Unfortunately there are still the "have-nots" and The Fourth World mainly takes place in Mexico and focuses on the plight of the poverty sticken lower class of that society and the Zapatistas. For those of you without knowledge of this group of people, the Zapatistas are a revolutionary group in Mexico seeking to overthrow the "corrupt" Mexican government in their area of Chiapas. Forgive me if I am making things too simplistic. Anyway, unabashedly leftist in his philosophy the author makes a convincing case for the Zapatistas and their plight. The ending features space stations and Mars and nanotechnology and all sorts of intrigue. Well written and hard to put down.

Get Up Off Your Knees
by Raewynne J. Whiteley, Beth Maynard

I've already talked about this book a little bit, but let me just say again what a wonderful, thought provoking read this was. Full of wonderful sermons on social justice, salvation, and grace I actually found myself reading and rereading some of the passages. Great stuff. One of the chapters began with this passage from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers which I will leave you with now. I was struck by its beauty:

Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, 'Abba as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?' then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, 'If you will, you can become all flame.'

Posted by snackeru at August 26, 2004 8:00 AM | Books

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