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21. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective
$16.47 $4.63 list($24.95)
22. Dragonsblood (Dragonriders of
$12.21 $11.67 list($17.95)
23. Star Wars And Philosophy: More
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24. Among the Enemy (Shadow Children)
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25. Yoda - Dark Rendezvous (Star Wars:
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26. Wolves of the Calla (The Dark
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27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the
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28. 1984
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29. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the
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30. The Plot Against America : A Novel
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31. Mostly Harmless
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32. Star Wars: Episode II, Attack
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34. Halo, Books 1-3 (The Flood; First
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35. The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking
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36. The Last Command (Star Wars: The
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38. Snow Crash (Bantam Spectra Book)
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39. V for Vendetta
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40. Art of Imagination: 20th Century

21. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
by Douglas Adams
list price: $7.50
our price: $6.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671746723
Catlog: Book (1991-06-01)
Publisher: Pocket
Sales Rank: 2364
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (67)

5-0 out of 5 stars One Of His Best
When reading this book, don't try to figure out what is going on. You can't -- at least, not until the end. After all, this IS a mystery, a detective story. But, as is typical with Adams, this is unlike any other detective story you have ever read. It is extremely funny, baffling, and brilliant all at once. And in the end, it all makes perfect sense, in its own wonderfully unique way. On a more serious note, I have always thought that beneath the wacky humor of Adams' books, there are always very interesting concepts and certain truths that go deeper than the crazy stories on the surface. For instance, Dirk Gently's belief in the "interconnectedness of all things" is actually a true belief of many religious groups, such as the American Indians. But even if you don't buy into the philosophy, you certainly can enjoy this great book. Just stick with it until the end. For me, this was easy, since I have read all of Adams' books and am used to his sometim! es seemingly-disjointed style. I say "seemingly" disjointed because, again, it will eventually all come together. And it does so brilliantly.

4-0 out of 5 stars I Listened to the Audio Book
The Audio version of this book was definitely a treat for me. Listening to the story read by the author, hearing it the way Douglas Adams intended it to sound was great. I really enjoyed listening to his wonderful accent as he told this story. The story has all of Adams' amazing British humor, but also is liberally dosed with astounding intelligence. It is mostly a mystery story, with a bit of sci-fi thrown in for good measure. Dirk Gently is a detective that believes in the total interconnectedness of all things. It starts out with several seemingly unrelated story lines. These story lines are all intricately interwoven and the book ends with a satisfying... well... interconnectedness. Those of you that did not like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series because it was "too silly" should give this book a try. It's anything but silly. Adams' logic can be astounding. Also, the bit with the couch being stuck in the stairway is intriguing. Adams challenges the reader to figure out how this couch is mysteriously stuck, defying all rules of physics.

5-0 out of 5 stars Witty titles were never my strong point
First of all I would like to say that I'm not the sort of person who needs everything to make sense to enjoy something (I'm a Doctor Who fan for Christs sake!) so that is something that helps me love this book.
Mr Adams was (and boy do I hate saying was) a master craftsman. He could be intelligent, witty and plain wierd at the same time and still have room for a bit of sentimentality.
I'm pretty confident that if you're reading this then you have enjoyed another of Mr Adams works. In which case I'm sure that you will delight in reading this as it is in the same style as many of his other books. It is fair to compare it to the Hitchhiker series as it is done in much the same vain. In my opinion it is as good as the aforementioned. Yes so the ending doesn't totally fit everyones perspective of great, but it suits me. It's full of lots of ideas that didn't neccessarily works out, but for me that is just as great; trying to work out what Mr Adams had as alternate plots. Even though the title charactor doesn't turn up till a good half way in, his soon to be friend, Richard Macduff does a good enough job of entertaining us. One to one, I strongly reccomend this to any other Adams fan, and for that matter any other fan of literature. It is truely great, as is its sequal.

5-0 out of 5 stars P.G. Wodehouse meets Dr. Who: a complete pleasure
If you got P.G. Wodehouse to write a Dr. Who script you might come up with something like this. Why not? Apparently as well as script editing for series 17 (featuring, for example, 'City of Death' where John Cleese is an art dealer), Adams wrote a couple of episodes ('The Pirate Planet', and the unfinished 'Shada' which featured none other than Prof. 'Reg' Chronitis and his TARDIS style study). Sorry, enough trainspotting (thanks G & J).

The Dr. Who thing only hit me late in the book, but that's partly because 'Dirk Gently' only pops up about half way through, and he's most enjoyably reminiscent of Tom Baker in his distracted purposefulness. I suppose there's something of Ford Prefect there too, and other elements of Hitch Hikers - yet another confused alien species looking to earth as an Eden and changing the deep past and whole evolution of humanity. And I suppose Richard could be played by whoever was DentArthurDent in the TV show.

But, hey, this isn't having a go at the book, which is sheer pleasure to read. It's not at all a cheap carbon of earlier Adams, there's just some lovely echoes. The guy just writes so wonderfully - like Wodehouse - and the dialogue is full of good (frightfully British) humour and character. Moreover the comic observations on the everyday are clever and flawlessly executed. The setting is surprisingly coherent when you get down to it (I *love* the way he casually resolves the sofa paradox that's been running through the whole book) - there's really nothing I can think of to complain about with it. I'm used to books lifting me up and then disappointing, but this manages to ebulliently float you along from start to finish.

I'm so glad I decided to start rereading books. It must be over a decade since I'd read this and I only had the vaguest recollection of some of the key images. But the chief pleasure of Adams can't be reduced to, say, the plot line, which, while fine, is in one way incidental (i.e. the characters and dialogue are good enough to stand alone). I get the impression he was in a fairly positive state of mind when he wrote this (as opposed to Mostly Harmless), and in excellent form, so these character's are simply pleasant to be with - as well as being hilarious and - as with those of Pratchett on a good day - charming.

3-0 out of 5 stars Gets points for trying to be different, but is average
"Dirk Gently's Holistic Dectective Agency" is an OK book. It is a different kind of mystery, as Douglas Adams intended. However, I found this book quite inferior to the "Hitchhiker" series, as it did not have that same pizzaz. Basically, there has been a murder, and some try to solve it. Dirk, the detective in the title who doens't appear until about 1/2 way through, is not interested in solving the murder, no, he wants to know why Richard McDuff, an employee of the victim, climbed into his girlfriend's flat. That McDuff's girlfriend is the victim's sister is beside the point. Dirk feels that all things are interconnected, and also wants to figure out how an old professor managed to do an impossible trick. Soon, we discover, the prof has a time machine, and there is a ghost who wants to reverse a billion year old error, which would mean the end of all life. A few chuckles, but mostly headscratching. ... Read more

22. Dragonsblood (Dragonriders of Pern)
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 0345441249
Catlog: Book (2005-01-25)
Publisher: Del Rey
Sales Rank: 2628
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Download Description

In Dragon’s Kin, bestselling author Anne McCaffrey did the unthinkable: for the first time ever, she invited another writer to join her in the skies of her most famous fictional creation. That writer was her son, Todd McCaffrey. Together, they penned a triumphant new chapter in the annals of the extraordinarily popular Dragonriders of Pern. Now, for the first time, Todd McCaffrey flies alone. And Dragonsblood is proof that the future of Pern is in good hands. After all, dragons are in his blood…

Never in the dramatic history of Pern has there been a more dire emergency than that which faces the young dragonrider Lorana. A mysterious fatal illness is striking dragons. The epidemic is spreading like wildfire…and the next deadly cycle of Threadfall is only days away. Somehow, Lorana must find a cure before the dragons–including her own beloved Arith–succumb to the sickness, leaving Pern undefended.

The lyrics of an all-but-forgotten song seem to point toward an answer from nearly five hundred years in the past, when Kitti Ping and her daughter Wind Blossom bred the first dragons from their smaller cousins, the fire-lizards. No doubt the first colonists possessed the advanced technology to find the cure for which Lorana seeks, but over the centuries, that knowledge has been lost.Or has it?

For in the distant past, an aged Wind Blossom worries that the germs that affect the fire-lizards may one day turn on larger prey–and unleash a plague that will destroy the dragons, Pern’s only defenders against Thread. But as her people struggle to survive, Wind Blossom has neither the time nor the resources to expend on a future that may never arrive–until suddenly she uncovers evidence that her worst fears will come true.

Now two brave women, separated by hundreds of years but joined by bonds transcending time, will become unknowing allies in a desperate race against sickness and Threadfall, with nothing less than the survival of all life on Pern at stake.

... Read more

Reviews (27)

3-0 out of 5 stars Glad to have more of Pern, but....
I am all for the son taking the reins from the mother and attempting to continue her legacy. However this time I think maybe the reins were a bit too much for the son's hands. This story is a really good attempt by Anne's son to continue and add to the Pern lore, but his writing is not quite as smooth and his storytelling is not quite as gripping. There are HUGE plot holes in the story, which I won't bring up, but suffice to say this book just didn't flow as smoothly for me as mom's do. He tried, and god love him for it, but it just didn't feel like a real Pern tale to me. He did, however, fill in some of the gaps nicely. Nice little touches that tie it to other Pern books, but it was almost like he tried too hard.

I sound like a mega-fan, and I'm not that finicky. I just wanted the subtleties that Anne provides to be there, and they weren't. It was a dark story, and I honestly don't recommend it as part of the Whole Package. Sorry, son. :( You tried, but it didn't have the Magic that your mom has.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good enuf book but lousy writing (or pick)
Question: Why would anyone spend several chapters developing a character, even have a protagonist/antagonist and sympathetic hero sub plot revolve around the main character, and then have them drop from sight for the rest of the book? Answer: Lousy writing. I love the Pern books, and this one is almost good. I understood the plot line, had sympathy for the main characters and it was a new and different plotline about the dragons getting sick. Anne in her intro praises her son's abilities to carry on the Pern saga. I disagree. I will give Todd one thing though. In the nepotistic world of science fiction series, he didn't butcher Pern as badly as Brian Herbert butchered Dune.

3-0 out of 5 stars If only he had actually read Dragon's Dawn
Todd McCaffrey, in Dragon's Blood, makes his solo debut into his mother, Anne's, world of Pern.This novel is loosely a sequel to Dragon's Kin, a collaborative effort between mother and son.Todd does an excellent job of keeping to Anne's basic cannon.He keeps the basic tenets that Anne has set down in her numerous Pern novels.Todd's style, while darker than Anne's, is still readable and captivating.It would have been nice to see a stronger connection to Dragon's Kin as were fans received from Anne in her trilogies, but the story line is not adversely affected by this.The story line moves from the third pass to the end of the first pass connecting characters from Anne's Dragon's Dawn to new characters in Dragon's Blood.I rather enjoyed the time shifts and the interweaving of past and present.Todd is adept at delving into the psychological profiles of his many main characters.He reveals to the reader the full range of humanity through even minor characters.

This would have been a nearly perfect Pern novel, if not for one glaring error on Todd's part.The casual Pern fan will probably not notice, but for those of us who have read and reread every book Anne every gave us on Pern, this error just may drive you crazy.In Dragon's Dawn, Anne's clear states that Windblossom is Kitty Ping Yung's granddaughter, not her daughter.It was reiterated enough times by Anne to stick in the readers' minds.A large part of Todd's story line centers around Windblossom's relationship with her "mother" Kitty Ping.It makes a reader wonder if Todd has actually read all of his mother's Pern novels.In the forward to the book, Anne comments that Todd is the only person she would trust with her child-Pern.I think she might want to reevaluate his worthiness.On the other hand, if he can be bothered to take the time to read the books enough times to avoid such gross errors, than he will do really well with Pern and Pern fans all over the world will be thrilled.

4-0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good Book in Pern series
After reading Dragonskin, I was worried how the new book, written entirely by Todd McCaffrey, would read.Dragonskin was a disappointing book, in my opinion the weakest in the Pern series.I attributed this to the input of Todd McCaffrey, since he was the new writer in the series.However I was pleasantly surprised by Dragonsblood.There are a few mistakes (or perhaps Todd McCaffrey simply wants to go in some different directions, so had to make a few changes to the history of dragons and watch whers).This was a very enjoyable read, with a good plot, which went back and forth between times very well. I look forward to his future books in the Pern universe!

4-0 out of 5 stars Dragonsblood
I read this book in about 2 days. I had a hard time putting it down. After I read it, I started all over again I enjoyed it so much. I just didn't want it to end. The only reason for the 4 stars and not 5 is the ending. You race to the climax and then it is like coming up against a wall. It just ends. There is nothing to rap up the story there isn't time to take a breath and know that you are finished. Other than that Todd does his Mom proud. I look forward to his next Pern book. I truly enjoyed this book. ... Read more

23. Star Wars And Philosophy: More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine (Popular Culture and Philosophy)
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812695836
Catlog: Book (2005-03-10)
Publisher: Open Court Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 4385
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Star Wars films continue to revolutionize science fiction, creating new standards for cinematographic excellence, and permeating popular culture around the world. The films feature many complex themes ranging from good versus evil and moral development and corruption to religious faith and pragmatism, forgiveness and redemption, and many others.

The essays in this volume tackle the philosophical questions from these blockbuster films including: Was Anakin predestined to fall to the Dark Side? Are the Jedi truly role models of moral virtue? Why would the citizens and protectors of a democratic Republic allow it to descend into a tyrannical empire? Is Yoda a peaceful Zen master or a great warrior, or both? Why is there both a light and a dark side of the Force? Star Wars and Philosophy ponders the depths of these subjects and asks what it truly means to be mindful of the "living force." ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thinking about the Force
The Popular Culture and Philosophy Series can be hit or miss as it tries to wrap in familiar characters or stories in the teaching of philosophers throughout the ages. This volume stands as one of the best produced so far. The Star Wars films have always held some deeper meanings than what appear on the surface, from the concepts of good and bad, light and dark, interconnectedness in the Force, and downfall and redemption.Decker and his fellow authors mine this rich source and bring up many topics or ideas that will make the reader go "Hmmm." Definitely riding on the wave of growing Star Wars mania, this book contains numerous references to the upcoming Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith film and the dark story that lies in the fall of Anakin. Being that this is a series with it's own resident philosopher in the wise Yoda, the writers have been able to spread out and discussion actions and thoughts of other characters in the Star Wars universe. Surprisingly, and somewhat disappointingly, they mine many of the same characters over again, so that while Anakin and the Emperor are well represented, of course, as are Yoda, Luke and Obi-Wan, characters such as Leia, Padame and Chewbacca get the short shrift. Maybe something for volume 2 perhaps? This is a great book for sitting back and letting you experience the saga at a whole different level. And if you are not as familiar with philosophy, this is a great introduction, relating a deeper subject to something so familiar and beloved. May the Force Be With You.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My dad kevin edited this book and i read is so cool!!! while i want to tell you about the book, you should read it if you like star wars! thanks for the great book dad, i love you!!!

This is truly a marvelous book that uses the Star Wars saga to explain many of the different philosophical viewpoints from around the world.It also applies this same concept to many of the philosophical questions that man has been asking for years.All of this is done through the lens of the Star Wars saga, which has been perceived by many to not only be great enjoyment but great philosophy.I believe that fans of Star Wars and lovers of philosophy will both find this book very hard to put down. ... Read more

24. Among the Enemy (Shadow Children)
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0689857969
Catlog: Book (2005-06-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Sales Rank: 57261
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25. Yoda - Dark Rendezvous (Star Wars: Clone Wars Novel)
list price: $7.50
our price: $6.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345463099
Catlog: Book (2004-11-23)
Publisher: Del Ray
Sales Rank: 1005
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26. Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, Book 5)
by Stephen King
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1880418568
Catlog: Book (2003-11)
Publisher: Donald M. Grant/Scribner
Sales Rank: 142
Average Customer Review: 3.98 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Roland Deschain and his ka-tet are bearing southeast through the forests of Mid-World, the almost timeless landscape that seems to stretch from the wreckage of civility that defined Roland's youth to the crimson chaos that seems the future's only promise. Readers of Stephen King's epic series know Roland well, or as well as this enigmatic hero can be known. They also know the companions who have been drawn to his quest for the Dark Tower: Eddie Dean and his wife, Susannah; Jake Chambers, the boy who has come twice through the doorway of death into Roland's world; and Oy, the Billy-Bumbler.

In this long-awaited fifth novel in the saga, their path takes them to the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis, a tranquil valley community of farmers and ranchers on Mid-World's borderlands. Beyond the town, the rocky ground rises toward the hulking darkness of Thunderclap, the source of a terrible affliction that is slowly stealing the community's soul. One of the town's residents is Pere Callahan, a ruined priest who, like Susannah, Eddie, and Jake, passed through one of the portals that lead both into and out of Roland's world.

As Father Callahan tells the ka-tet the astonishing story of what happened following his shamed departure from Maine in 1977, his connection to the Dark Tower becomes clear, as does the danger facing a single red rose in a vacant lot off Second Avenue in midtown Manhattan. For Calla Bryn Sturgis, danger gathers in the east like a storm cloud. The Wolves of Thunderclap and their unspeakable depredation are coming. To resist them is to risk all, but these are odds the gunslingers are used to, and they can give the Calla-folken both courage and cunning. Their guns, however, will not be enough. ... Read more

Reviews (256)

4-0 out of 5 stars That car knocked the old King loose thank God
I've read damn near every Stephen King story around, and the Dark Tower is easily my favorite. The weaving in and out of his other books that this series has done should eventually be look upon as one of the great literary achievents. Yes, King isnt Ulysses but he isn't Encyclopedia Brown either, the guy has writing chops.

Anyway, as for Wolves of the Calla, I just finished it today after toilet-reading it for about 2 months. I must say i was pleasantly suprised and very satisfied. I'd gotten a little worried because King had really started this "maturity" vibe in a lot of books around the mid-90's. I noticed with Insomnia he started kinda tackling getting old and more serious looks at love and that went right up through his accident. Wizard and Glass was the peak manifestation of that. It wasn't terrible, but it was like a giant, "oh i remember young love" mind-dump for a thousand pages. I was bored, which was double disappointing considering it followed the Waste Lands the most exciting book in the series and I waited 10 years nearly for it.

Anyways, this time i really talk about WotC.

It was a really great book. I never found the plot tedious or the Calla boring. The only really slow parts were the beginnings of Callahan's story because I knew it was going to lead to something huge (and it does) and I had 500 pages to wade through to get there. I think some people dont realize that the slow build in the book is almost certainly a design. Everything that had to come about in order for them to face down the wolves was important to the broader implications of Ka and the Dark Tower story as a whole. Plus I think it further fleshes out just how iconic and complete a hero Roland is. (as a cynical person, I hope this builds to him ultimately failing as a hero to achieve whatever he means to achieve at the Tower)

But anyways, i was really shocked how many reviews actually said Wizard and Glass was their favorite book so maybe I'm way outside the mainstream and this is just me spitting into the wind. If you liked the first 3 books, then this is exactly in that same vein. Connections with other books, extensive deepenings of the plot, and some great questions are raised for the final two books.

oh and the best part? when your reading it, you know you wont have to wait a damn decade to get to the next book. GOD BLESS YOU STEPHEN KING!

4-0 out of 5 stars Finally, a return to the quest for the Dark Tower
Long-time King fans like myself have eagerly awaited this sequel for many years, and for the most part, the master storyteller does not disappoint. After focusing on Roland's past in the previous installment, Wizard and Glass, in Wolves of the Calla, King returns to the present-day challenges facing Roland and his companions, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy. Much like in The Wastelands (the third book of the series), Wolves of the Calla tells the story not only of the ongoing quest for the Dark Tower but also of a more immediate predicament--in this case, the plight of the town of Calla Byrn Sturgis. King tantalizes the reader through brief returns to the New York City setting as well as glimpses of the tasks which lie ahead of the gunslingers in the future. In addition, dedicated King followers will appreciate the tie-ins with other King works, namely 'Salem's Lot. Although not quite as captivating as the second two books in the series, Wolves of the Calla is a satisfying continuation of this fascinating saga which will whet the reader's appetite for the two remaining Dark Tower novels, both of which are scheduled to be published in 2004.

4-0 out of 5 stars I'd give it 4 1/2 stars if I could
For all of you, like me, who despised Wizard and Glass this book is for you. Finally we are getting somewhere. It has been YEARS since King has been this good. It is good to see him back. Don't listen to the reviews of people who don't like the fact that it seems King is going to include himself in the Dark Tower series. What is the difference between that and Eddie, Susannah, and Jake entering Roland's world. Obviously they don't understand the point King has been hinting at all along: the thinness of reality. He even goes into a beautiful aside about how the choices we make and how one side step can change the course of our history. This is King's oh so subtle way of letting us know that our perception of reality may not be the truth of the matter. I'm hooked again Mr. King. Bring me to the Dark Tower. It has been years and I am ready. As we all are. I'm sure you won't dissapoint.

5-0 out of 5 stars King keeps giving ... and we swallow it all!
Again, King has the skill to develop his characters into breathing, thinking, 3D personalities, and once again he has done this in Wolves of the Calla. I loved this book. King takes his time, which some don't have patience for, but for me is essential in devoloping the story, the tension, and the life of these people. I just finished it today, and have already opened up Dark Tower VI to begin the next step in the journey.

King has matured greatly as a writer and storyteller, and he doesn't rely on just scares, plot twists and gimmicks anymore; his vision and goals, it seems to me, is to truly build another world and people who we must care about. And he has done so in this exceptional series. I look forward to the two final parts, even though I'll be sad when it ends.

Also, I'd recommend these books to non-King fans: it is truly above par to even his own works, which, in my opinion, are fantastic...!

1-0 out of 5 stars Awful
I'm completely disappointed with the series at this point. The dark story of a gunslinger's quest for the Dark Tower seems to have taken a back seat to a new premise: fictional works are not truly fictional; they are the real life occurances of other worlds.

As intriguing as it may sound, Mr King tries to convey this point by including plot items only from 19th Century American pop-culture! The characters actually find and read one of Mr Kings books! Will the last book of the series spontaneously combust in my hands as the gunslingers read about themselves forcing the plot into a death spiral of circular references?

If that weren't bad enough, both this book and Wizard and Glass have very similar storylines. In both books, 700+ pages of the book is spent trying to develop a story that leads up to a battle with gunslingers grossly outnumbered, while the battle itself is over after only several pages. The characters even get the idea for how to fight this new battle from what happened in the previous book!

I bought book 6 about the same time I bought this one. I'm not anxious to read it. If I do read it and it doesn't salvage the storyline, I won't be reading book 7. ... Read more

27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams
list price: $39.95
our price: $25.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 159007257X
Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
Publisher: New Millennium Audio
Sales Rank: 20215
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Don't leave earth without this story of the end of the world and the happy-go-lucky days that follow. The writing of New York Times Best-selling author, Douglas Adams, has been brilliantly successful on both sides of the Atlantic in radio, television, theatre and spoken word audio. ... Read more

Reviews (169)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Very Entertaining Book
This book, which I found entertaining to the end, follows Arthur Dent journey through the galaxy. Earth is destroyed for a galactic freeway. Luckily for Arthur Dent, his best friend Ford Prefect, who is a researcher for "The Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy", saves him by sticking there thumbs out into space. After being picked up, they have a very wild journey through time and space. I would suggest to the readers that if you do not understand what Ford Prefect is saying, or any other alien, that you continue reading because it will either explain its self or it is not important. I read this book and the following 4 books in a volume called "The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." I would recommend that you either be prepared to have all 5 books or buy the volume with all 5 books, since each one leads into the next. Have fun reading this hilarious volume wonderfully written by Douglas Adams.

5-0 out of 5 stars Andy Says
The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy is a hilariously comic novel about many scientific aspects of the universe and creation. Many objects that seem insignificant turn up later, revealing their significance in the big scheme of things. The story, although funny, isn't necessarily an easy read. It reveals many details relating to other points carrying on throughout the novel and the whole series of novels. Douglas Adams take his readers through his points of view about the universe, which often leaves the reader saying, "What the crap?" However one can't help laughing at how ridiculous the situation is. The book is definitely difficult to put down.
All who like science fiction will love Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. One does need to keep an open mind while reading the novel because Adams makes fun of most aspects of the creation of the universe that are popular to most people. If in general you have no idea what you believe and you do get offended is your own damn problem. After all, it's just science fiction. It's not like he means it! In closing, "life, we apologize for the inconvenience."

5-0 out of 5 stars Just a short Correction
Greetings hoopy froods from America-land
Just a short correction for you. The Radio series (on BBC Radio 4) came first, then the original books were written from the radio script.
For all of those interested, a new radio series is going to be broadcast (again on BBC Radio 4), in September this year. See the BBC web site for details. Also, a film is being made at this momment. Personally, I don't think any film can match the comic genius of Douglas, but hopefully I'll be proved wrong.

5-0 out of 5 stars MY review of a masterpiece
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a unique book all in itself. It is hard to compare it with any other book because there is nothing like it! It is the tale of Arthur Dent as he escapes Earth's destruction with his friend, Ford Prefect. This would not be possible if Ford himself had been born on Earth; he was from somewhere in the vicinity of Beetlejuice. They manage to get on board one of the construction ships that is destroying Earth to make room for an intergalactic superhighway. From there, the adventure just gets more intersting in later books, traveling through time as well as space, from the dawn of man to the end of the universe in a five star resteraunt. Douglas Adams describes every little thing to great detail, making every little oddity worth reading. This first book of the series is in every way one of the best books I have ever read. It even brings about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything; 42. But what is the question? Read the book to find out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best if read regularly
I read it once a year. If you are not much of a reader, this book will change that! ... Read more

28. 1984
by George Orwell
list price: $7.95
our price: $7.16
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Asin: 0451524934
Catlog: Book (1990-05-01)
Publisher: Signet Book
Sales Rank: 485
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

George Orwell's prophetic, nightmarish vision of "Negative Utopia" is timelier than ever-and its warnings more powerful. ... Read more

Reviews (1030)

4-0 out of 5 stars Chilling...
Doesn't everybody have a list in their mind of the books they would like to read during their lifetime? '1984' has been on my list for many years and, with a long commute, I finally decided to get the audiobook.

Although I would still say it is necessary reading for all people, especially at this juncture I think Americans should pick up this book. When I read the slogans of Big Brother, I felt sick:

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

In some ways, I feel like George Orwell from his 1948 perspective 'called it.' So many of the scenarios that he described are right on. He wrote this book after Stalin took power in Russia. Orwell had rejoiced at the Bolshevik Revolutions but when the reports of Stalin's brutality came out, he was upset.

The first half of the book was great, but I have to warn you that the second half was extremely disturbing and depressing. I had a hard time listening (audiobook) to the last two cassettes. I did finish the book, but it was difficult.

Even more than fifty years later, Orwell's words still have the power to affect the reader. '1984' is a valuable work that rings true.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Warning For Society
George Orwell's classic novel, 1984 is one of the most thought-provoking books I have ever read. It deals with a totalitarian government that has complete control over the populace, right down to their thoughts! The government even has the Thought Police, which make sure everyone is doing everything solely for the benefit of the government. Telescreens constantly monitor them to make sure they are doing everything for the good of the "Party."

Orwell's novel illustrates the basic human need for freedom through the main character, Winston Smith who begins the dangerous practice of questioning the government and trying to find one of the main rebels of the government, Goldstein. The book tells of his struggle to overthrow the government and how he tries to rebel against it.

Orwell dives deep into the logic of how to control a populace under wartime conditions by constantly keeping them active for the cause of having their country win the war and not being able to think of any ulterior motives. He also shows how perpetually being at war helps to waste resources, so people have just enough to survive and won't become too comfortable. If they became too comfortable they might start thinking and thinking is dangerous to a totalitarian government. An example of how resources are wasted is any extra metal is used for ships or any extra rubber for raincoats, therefore making luxury obsolete.

He also writes about different totalitarian governments like Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia and where their mistakes were in attaining absolute power. He points out that both these regimes started off tough, but as time went on got laxer and laxer until the people revolted. Orwell also dives deep into government propaganda and how that shapes the attitude of humans by constantly bombarding them with one thing over and over until it becomes fact or reality. Through exploring the propaganda in 1984, he shows us the need to trust our government, but verify what it says in order that we won't get taken advantage of.

He also explores how, in his book, humans can be taught one thing, but when the government says so, switch to believing something totally opposite. He does this under a principle called doublethink. Two examples of this from the book are that people are taught 2+2=4 but then can switch to knowing 2+2=5, completely denying that it ever equaled 4. He also shows the importance of keeping accurate and undoctored records so that if an event occurred, the facts cannot be changed to hide blame or recognition or tossed down the memory hole, simply to be forgotten. This is done often in 1984 so that the government will always look right and infallible and people will always believe that they are.

In conclusion, this novel will profoundly change how you view government and will also make you realize how important your civil rights are. I would not recommend this book to anyone under 13 or 14 because it has some sexual content.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hands down, the best book written in the last 100 years.
Anybody who has not read this book is depriving themselves of great literature. Not only does it depict a perfect example of a negative utopia, but it illustrates the way people were thinking at the time it was written. George Orwell is one of the best writers of all time, and this masterpiece is a prime example why. Once you crack open this book, you cannot put it down. Bottom line, you need this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hummm....interesting
I am not going to summarize the book becuz I am going to leave it up to the 1000 people who did the review of the book before me. This is a pretty good book, I probably wont read it again but it was still good. I love Orwell's pessimistic view on life it is some what enlightening. He is a realist and I entirely respect that he doesn't sugar coat anything or wrap it up in happily ever after. I am a very morbid person and for the better I think. well any who read this book if you would like a shot of reality to the head.

5-0 out of 5 stars A warning that has not been heeded
Orwell wanted to warn his readers about the danger of totalitarian regimes. The promises of the fascist and nazi ideologies had misled millions and thrown the world into the ravages of the second world war. Stalinist Soviet Union was seen by many as a model state. Orwell knew far too well what was hidden beneath the promises of security, bread, and jobs for all.
1984 has become a household name as few other books; who does not know about Big Brother, or the Thought Police, nowadays? Even the title has become a catchphrase. I do not know any other cult-book that has been so thoroughly ripped apart by other famous authors; I remember Isaac Asimov thrashing it in the nineteen-eighties for instance. Many seem to believe that the society described by Orwell is an impossibility. The problem with the book is that Orwell thought his society would be a product of revolutions. When instead, in reality, the changes creep upon us. A new law here, a small change to statutes there.
The most obvious paralell to the book we have now is, of course, the war on terror. We have from top officials that it is going to go on for a long time, and that it is, essentially, unwinable. Readers of 1984 of course recognize the eternal war described in the book. Another paralell is how history changes; Winston Smith's job is to rewrite history so that it suits the present situation. Don't we recognize that? In the ninetenn-eighties, Iraq was our ally; now, Iraq has always been our enemy. Thought Police, I need not even mention this; the administration knows everything about us, and is prepared to use it.
We even have paralells to the Anti-Sex movement! The list can just go on.
Orwell's book was a cry for reason in the aftermath of a world gone mad. As with so many other cries for reason it disappears among the siren calls of our leaders.
I first read it over twenty years ago, in a different world; it was good then - it should be essential reading now! ... Read more

29. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Tertiary Phase
by Douglas Adams
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1572704691
Catlog: Book (2005-04-10)
Publisher: The Audio Partners
Sales Rank: 3122
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The brand new third installment of Douglas Adams's classic time travel tale, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Tertiary Phase, is now available on audio. The long-awaited CD-which revives the BBC's popular radio series with this new six-part dramatization of Adams's book Life, the Universe and Everything-features 25 minutes of exclusive and previously unheard footage and features the author himself playing the role of Agrajag. The plot picks up where the second radio series left off: Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect escape from prehistoric Earth on a time-traveling sofa while a pack of homicidal robots blow up Lords Cricket Ground. Armed only with a rabbit bone, a worn dressing gown, and a spaceship that looks remarkably like an Italian bistro, Arthur embarks on an intergalactic journey to save the universe.Several members of the original BBC Radio 4 cast reunited for this special audio production, including Simon Jones as Arthur Dent, Geoffrey McGivern as Ford Prefect, Susan Sheridan as Trillian, Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox, and Stephen Moore as Marvin the Paranoid Android. Richard Griffiths, Chris Langham, Joanna Lumley, and cricket commentators Fred Trueman and Henry Blofeld also star in this brilliant satire replete with incisive comedic wit. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Life, the Universe and Everything.
Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy returns to the radio in this BBC Radio production of HHGG: The Tertiary Phase.The "Tertiary Phase" is a radio adaptation of Adams' third Hitchhiker's Guide novel Life, The Universe and Everything.Producer Dirk Maggs and his cast have put together a very good, highly entertaining production of Book Three.Many of the original cast from the first two Hitchhiker's radio series have returned, including Simon Jones as Arthur Dent, Geoffrey McGivern as Ford Prefect, Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox, Susan Sheridan as Trillian and Stephen Moore as the terminally depressed Marvin the Paranoid Android.Other cast members include Richard Griffiths, Joanna Lumley (of Absolutely Fabulous), Chris Langham as well as cricket commentators Henry Blofeld and Fred Trueman.The late Douglas Adams himself voiced the character Agrajag, a creature who has lived many lives, only to have each one ended accidentally at the hands of Arthur Dent, although Agrajag believes Arthur is deliberately murdering him each time. The storyline picks up where the previous radio series left off, as Arthur and Ford escape prehistoric Earth on a space-time eddy manifested in the form of a sofa.They arrive at Lords Cricket Ground where a group of homicidal robots who strangley resemble cricketers proceed to blow the place up.Arthur and Ford reunite with Slartibartfast and embark on a mission to save the Universe from these xenophobic murderers from the planet Krikkit.The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Tertiary Phase is a hilarious adaptation of Book Three in the Hitchhiker's Guide series, and I look forward to the Quandary and Quintessential Phase radio adaptations of Books Four and Five.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good follow up to the series
When I heard they were going to continue the radio series, I found myself being both extremely happy and a little puzzled.After all, Douglas Adams has been dead for a number of years.

I grew up listening to the original radio show and have gone to sleep with it playing for more nights than I can count.As far as Tertiary Phase goes, it is certainly better than all 53 things you can do in zero gravity and is more exciting than a zerbra crossing.

If your a big fan of the original two series, these are the things you need to know:The voices are different but the same!Sadly, Peter Jones died in 2000, before the series was recorded so the voice of the book is a different actor.However, despite the differences in voice the new actor does a comendablejob.Despite Peter's passing, they have managed to get all the same actors back again.Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod, Simon Jones as Arthur, and even Stephen Moore for Marvin.While it's awesome that they all came back, you can tell how much they have aged.Zaphod's beech-bum style of talking sounds oddly strange coming from an "old man's" tone of voice.Despite this, all the actors bring the same great performances they did in the original.
There's also a bit score for this series which is a good addition.

Dirk Maggs, who is this series producer has managed to create Douglas' world again without making it seem like someone other than Douglas was creating it.

All in all, if you enjoyed the first two series, I am certain you will enjoy this one.And for those of you just looking at this because you saw the movie or read the book, get the Radio Show and listen to it now! (Be sure to get the other parts first).

5-0 out of 5 stars Like being there - without a Babelfish!
This is probably my favorite Hitchhiker's item ever! It helps, however, to have already read Douglas Adam's "Life, The Universe and Everything" because the 3 CDs seem to cover most of that book. Although it seems to just be an audiobook, these CDs were actually part of the BBC radio series for Hitchhikers. Even a television series was made based on the radio series, which also can be found on a 2-disc DVD set - so buy it too while you're at it!

The voice acting on these CDs is fantastic! Everything is just as expressive and imaginative as the books are. You can just feel those Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters (they hurt - a lot)! My favorite part is where Douglas Adams himself plays the scary, psychotic Agrajag. The sound effects add to it all to make the mental images crystal clear. If you like the Hitchhiker's feel, then this is definitely for you! Arthur is still stumbling through space with Ford Prefect and Slartibartfast, but they'll need Zaphod and Trillian's help to save the galaxy from the murderous people of the planet Krikkit! Can Marvin the paranoid android stop sulking long enough to stop the cricket-bat-carrying, grenade-ball-wielding robots? These CDs are perfect for a long car ride, and they're even better for making that ride to work extremely hoopy (extremely wonderful and a general happy feeling)! I hope you'll enjoy them just as much - especially all you froods who know where your towel is! ... Read more

30. The Plot Against America : A Novel
by Philip Roth
list price: $26.00
our price: $15.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618509283
Catlog: Book (2004-09)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co
Sales Rank: 15
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"What if" scenarios are often suspect.They are sometimes thinly veiled tales of the gospel according to the author, taking on the claustrophobic air of a personal fantasia that can't be shared.Such is not the case with Philip Roth's tour de force, The Plot Against America.It is a credible, fully-realized picture of what could happen anywhere, at any time, if the right people and circumstances come together.

The Plot Against America explores a wholly imagined thesis and sees it through to the end:Charles A. Lindbergh defeats FDR for the Presidency in 1940.Lindbergh, the "Lone Eagle," captured the country's imagination by his solo Atlantic crossing in 1927 in the monoplane,Spirit of St. Louis, then had the country's sympathy upon the kidnapping and murder of his young son.He was a true American hero: brave, modest, handsome, a patriot.According to some reliable sources, he was also a rabid isolationist, Nazi sympathizer, and a crypto-fascist.It is these latter attributes of Lindbergh that inform the novel.

The story is framed in Roth's own family history: the family flat in Weequahic, the neighbors, his parents, Bess and Herman, his brother, Sandy and seven-year-old Philip.Jewishness is always the scrim through which Roth examines American contemporary culture.His detractors say that he sees persecution everywhere, that he is vigilant in "Keeping faith with the certainty of Jewish travail"; his less severe critics might cavil about his portrayal of Jewish mothers and his sexual obsession, but generally give him good marks, and his fans read every word he writes and heap honors upon him.This novel will engage and satisfy every camp.

"Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear. Of course, no childhood is without its terrors, yet I wonder if I would have been a less frightened boy if Lindbergh hadn't been president or if I hadn't been the offspring of Jews."This is the opening paragraph of the book, which sets the stage and tone for all that follows.Fear is palpable throughout; fear of things both real and imagined.A central event of the novel is the relocation effort made through the Office of American Absorption, a government program whereby Jews would be placed, family by family, across the nation, thereby breaking up their neighborhoods--ghettos--and removing them from each other and from any kind of ethnic solidarity.The impact this edict has on Philip and all around him is horrific and life-changing.Throughout the novel, Roth interweaves historical names such as Walter Winchell, who tries to run against Lindbergh.The twist at the end is more than surprising--it is positively ingenious.

Roth has written a magnificent novel, arguably his best work in a long time.It is tempting to equate his scenario with current events, but resist, resist.Of course it is a cautionary tale, but, beyond that, it is a contribution to American letters by a man working at the top of his powers.--Valerie Ryan ... Read more

31. Mostly Harmless
list price: $7.50
our price: $6.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345418778
Catlog: Book (2000-02-01)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 10704
Average Customer Review: 3.53 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Douglas Adams is back with the amazing, logic-defying, but-why-stop-now fifth novel in the Hitchhiker Trilogy. Here is the epic story of Random, who sets out on a transgalactic quest to find the planet of her ancestors. Line drawings. ... Read more

Reviews (135)

2-0 out of 5 stars The Third "Final" Book in This Series is the Worst

I'm tired of people saying things like, "It was the only fitting end" or "How did you think he would end it?" Hello, people! The series was over! Both LTUAE and SLATFATF are final chapters- this book was entirely unnecessary. Adams didn't need to finish the series, he already had... twice!

Read this novel carefully, try to understand what is being done here. This book is a jab at all of you out there who would not let well enough alone. Adams was upset at the reaction to SLATFATF, and people would not cease begging for yet another installment. So you got what you asked for, and now you're ticked off.

Listen, I would have no problem with the ending, had it been done well and entertainingly. Some of my favorite novels and movies are very dark and feature bad ends for the heros (the Dune books, 12 Monkeys). I have no problem with a change of tone (I personally love SLATFATF), so long as there is a quality story to be told.

I hate wasted characters- If you liked Fenchurch, tough. She is dispatched retro-actively in a space-time accident and doesn't even appear once. Random, Arthur and Trillian's daughter (don't ask), is an entirely pointless character who is best at being annoying. The only thing she is capable of bringing out in other characters is irritation.

Here and there, there are little sparks of brilliance, as if for a brief moment Adams allowed himself to actually enjoy writing about this group of characters that he's obviously grown to resent. However, they quickly give way to the relentless mean-spiritedness of this book.

I wish you knew, Douglas, that there are those of us who were (and are) very grateful for what you had given to us and would have been content had you never written about these characters again.

Douglas Adams is now writing the screenplay for the film version of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I only hope he doesn't decide to infect it with the derision and spite that run rampant through this joyless volume.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mostly Harmless is totally hoopy
A great book! Need I say more?

Well actually yes. Most people seemed not to like this book as much as the first three, so I suppose I should explain my opinion!

Granted, Mostly Harmless does have darker humor, and less light-heartedness than some of Adams' other books, but it is also wonderful for its seriousness. We learn that Ford is a fierce animal rights activist (except for when it comes to geese), that all Tricia wants is another chance, that Random just wants to belong somewhere. And the book does have its lighter moments- Colin, Ford's musings on his life as a hitchhiker, the depiction of Random as the Dr. Jeckle and Miss Hyde of teenagers. And there are the touching bits- Random letting her guard down towards her father (well, for a few minutes), Tricia pouring her heart out to Gail, and, of course, the heart-pounding, breath-taking romance of Random conking Ford on the noggin with a rock.

Granted, Mostly Harmless does have a few disappointments. I missed Zaphod and Marvin in this story, and the ending was completely unnecessary. Still, overall, it's a worthwhile read.

What about a sequel? Impossible, because of the circumstances of the ending? Well, not really. Adams has certainly played around with Time enough in the past. A time machine- or a sudden eddy in the space-time continuum- could either prevent the ending, or save those involved. After all, we need to know how Tricia would react to finally seeing Zaphod again, what Fenny would think of Arthur's daughter, how Ford and Random would see each other, if introduced on a friendlier basis. Hopefully, Adams will realize the potential left in the series, and continue his wonderful work!

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun Crazy House Ride
* When I was going through my final fits of academic labor in the
summer of 1981, I was working on a summer-crash-course thermodynamics
class, work that kept me up late and reduced me to peculiar mental
states. As I closed my thermo text one night in such a state, I
turned on the radio only to hear ... THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE
GALAXY. It was appropriate to the moment and my outlook.

That wasn't the end of it, either. Now we have a fifth volume in "the
increasingly innaccurately named HitchHiker's Trilogy." In MOSTLY
HARMLESS, we see old friends: Ford Prefect, Trillian, Vogons, and of
course Arthur Dent -- and new faces: an insanely cheeful security
robot named Colin, galactic bar singers, Arthur's daughter Random (who
he had no idea existed), a group of aliens who observe Earth from a
distance but do not know why (having collectively and literally lost
their minds), an Earth where four-leaf-clovers are normal and
three-leaf-clovers are lucky, and, most important of all, a new and
much more sinister Guide.

MOSTLY HARMLESS continues the HITCHHIKER's tradition of imaginative
madness, but it differs from earlier parts of the series in two
respects. First, the story has a clever, coherent, and imaginative
underlying plot rationale, something that was largely absent in the
earlier elements of the series. In fact the whole thing resembles an
elaborate puzzle that you have to inspect carefully even when, in the
end, all the pieces have neatly clicked together.

Second, and much more important, in the end this is not a funny book
at all; there is the usual humor during the course of the trip, but
the destination is dark and despairing, and the usual sense of
insanity and fatalism that marks the earlier parts of the series seems
to be felt with conviction: events are incoherent; we understand
nothing; we are at the mercy of chance.

It is probably well, then, that MOSTLY HARMLESS is the end of
the series. Or is it? In a Universe of infinite improbabilities,
somewhere, someplace, infinite numbers of sequels are being
written. [Minor update of review from 1993.]

4-0 out of 5 stars Action, humour, SF satire and post-modern philosophy
Always a lovely read - Adams is very user friendly. He seems to almost have his own genre of which he and Pratchett are the leading exponents. I can't say I laughed out loud too often (although the picture of a drunken Zaphod sticking a birdcage over his second head and badly pretending to be a pirate is hilarious), but it was a very pleasant ride - even if the conclusion is surprisingly bleak for what feels like a light comedy. Like Pratchett (and there are so many 'like Pratchett's, although that's probably in the wrong comparative order) Adams throws in some agnostic themes with his humour, although here the ultimate meaninglessness of life is treated a little less whimsically.

It's an interesting hotchpotch of action (and cutting between various cliff-hanger scenes), philosophy, stand-up comic perspectives of the everyday, domestic sit-com, satirical SF, and Douglas' own pleasure in blithely hurling his characters through six impossible things before breakfast. The plot is surprisingly coherent although occasionally incidental.

I still would almost be surprised if Adams didn't cite Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49 as a thematic and stylistic influence. Here he lets his sensible and considerate astrologer state the theme that it doesn't matter so much what you believe in ('truth' is irrelevant), but you need something as a structure, a lens, to enable you to live satisfactorily. Adams unsurprisingly explains this much better:
"I know that astrology isn't a science ... of course it isn't. It's just an arbitrary set of rules like chess or tennis ... The rules just kind of got there. They don't make any kind of sense except in terms of themselves. But when you start to exercise those rules, all sorts of processes start to happen and you start to find out all sorts of stuff about people. In astrology the rules happen to be about stars and planets, but they could be about ducks and drakes for all the difference it would make. It's just a way of thinking about a problem which lets the shape of that problem begin to emerge. The more rules, the tinier the rules, the more arbitrary they are, the better. It's like throwing a handful of fine graphite dust on a piece of paper to see where the hidden indentations are. It lets you see the words that were written on the piece of paper above it that's now been taken away and hidden. The graphite's not important. It's just the means of revealing the indentations. So you see, astrology's nothing to do with astronomy. It's just to do with people thinking about people."

'Discuss', huh.

Yet another author struggles to reconcile loss of faith in major, particularly religious, concepts of truth with the inner conviction that there are important, good and beautiful things all around - that it's not all just meaningless.

And it is a struggle, as in the climax (spoiler warning) Trillian explains to her traumatised daughter who desperately wants to know who she is, where her home is, where she 'fits':
This is not your home ... You don't have one. We none of us have one. Hardly anyone has one anymore. The missing ship I was just talking about. The people of that ship don't have a home. They don't know where they are from. The don't even have any memory of who they are or what they are for. The are very lost and very confused and very frightened.

Yeah, ha ha, good one Douglas - hardly Wodehouse light humour. Human condition anyone? I wonder if Adams and Pratchett self-consciously have wanted to be taken 'seriously'? I could see that it could be frustrating for them to be dismissed as merely lightweight because they're so popular. They often contain more articulate thought than works by more academic writers, and shouldn't be seen as lesser merely because they happen to also be very good at amusing and entertaining (quite the opposite). That being said, their books should also come with a flyleaf caveat: "Warning - strong post-modern agenda permeates the following jokes".

5-0 out of 5 stars good
okay so the ending wasn't all that great, but i still thorougly enjoyed the rest of the book and thought the writing style douglas adams used was quite different from the rest of the hitchhiker books. and anyone who criticises this book for the ending is an idiot because none of them seem to realise that the characters aren't dead at the end, otherwise how would adams make the sixth book that he was planning to write before he was so untimely taken from the world. ... Read more

32. Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones
list price: $26.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345428811
Catlog: Book (2002-04-23)
Publisher: Del Rey
Sales Rank: 55312
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

There is a great disturbance in the Force. . . .From the sleek ships of the glimmering Coruscant skyscape to the lush gardens of pastoral Naboo, dissent is roiling. The Republic is failing, even under the leadership of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, elected ten years earlier to save the crumbling government. Separatists threaten war, and the Senate is hopelessly divided, unable to determine whether to raise an army for battle or keep the fragile peace. It is a stalemate that once broken, could lead to galactic chaos.

Mischievous and resolved, courageous to the point of recklessness, Anakin Skywalker has come of age in a time of great upheaval. The nineteen-year-old apprentice to Obi-Wan Kenobi is an enigma to the Jedi Council, and a challenge to his Jedi Master. Time has not dulled Anakin’s ambition, nor has his Jedi training tamed his independent streak. When an attempt on Senator Padmé Amidala’s life brings them together for the first time in ten years, it is clear that time also has not dulled Anakin’s intense feelings for the beautiful diplomat.

The attack on Senator Amidala just before a crucial vote thrusts the Republic even closer to the edge of disaster. Masters Yoda and Mace Windu sense enormous unease. The dark side is growing, clouding the Jedi’s perception of the events. Unbeknownst to the Jedi, a slow rumble is building into the roar of thousands of soldiers readying for battle. But even as the Republic falters around them, Anakin and Padmé find a connection so intense that all else begins to fall away. Anakin will lose himself—and his way—in emotions a Jedi, sworn to hold allegiance only to the Order, is forbidden to have.

Based on the story by George Lucas and the screenplay by George Lucas and Jonathan Hales, this intense and revealing novel by bestselling author R. A. Salvatore sheds new light on the legend of Star Wars—and skillfully illuminates one of our most beloved sagas.
... Read more

Reviews (181)

5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME - just like the movie!!!
I loved this book. I read it AFTER having seen the movie because I wanted to watch the film without knowing any spoilers. I have to say that the movie totally lived up to my expectations! I personally think it is way better than Episode I - The Phantom Menace which was a pretty unexciting beginning to the Star Wars saga.

This movie, however, is anything but unexciting!! It totally rocks, actually. The story is really good this time. I don't wanna tell anything about it here cause you should really go and watch it for yourself. Just the basics: Obi-Wan is now Anakin Skywalker's master. Anakin meets Padmé Amidala (who is now a senator) again, and they fall in love. The Republic faces a new threat in the shape of the Separatists, many star systems who seperated from the Republic under the leadership of Count Dooku (Christopher Lee does an awesome job here!)....

To sum it all up: The movie is great, the love story is nice, so are the action scenes. Obi-Wan rocks (good job, Ewan!), Anakin is kinda hot (for the girls), Padmé is pretty sexy (for the guys!), Yoda just rules (if you have seen the movie, ya know what I mean). Good story, too, though people who havent seen the other star wars movies will probably have difficulties in understanding it.

The BOOK is just the same, actually even better cause it focuses more on the characters, their thoughts, feelings and motivations and so on. Buy it and go see the movie! It's worth the money.

3-0 out of 5 stars Rushed But Decent
I'm not going to give you a run-through of the plot. Plenty of other reviewers will do that, I'm sure, and before long the movie will be out and we'll all be very familiar with its narrative arc anyway. Instead, I want to give you my initial impressions of the book, as a reader and a writer and a long-time Star Wars fan.

The first thing I noticed was that, on many levels, Attack Of the Clones is superior to the Phantom Menace novel. I'm not a fan of Terry Brooks (who wrote Epi 1), nor am I a fan of R.A. Salvatore (who wrote Epi 2), but at least R.A. Salvatore uses emphatic language and the occasional interesting description or turn of phrase. You'll soon notice the use of sentence fragments, for instance, when you read Attack Of the Clones. It gives the narrative a slight edge every now and then.

The second thing I noticed, however, was that the book was rushed: both in writing it and in getting it on the shelves. There's a surprising number of typos, even for a first edition. There's one point in the first fifty pages where Salvatore uses the phrase "slowly and deliberately" almost a half-dozen times in the span of three pages. But I give the book lots of slack, because it was obviously produced under a tighter deadline than most other books.

The third thing I noticed is that Attack Of the Clones is obviously written with the intention of selling it to children. This is well and good, I have no problem with it, but it does make for some less-than-subtle descriptions. Sometimes the narrative reminds me of a bulldozer.

All in all, however, I enjoyed the read, the way one enjoys popcorn: light and fluffy. I read so much 'serious' writing that I genuinely enjoy the occasional foray into what might be dismissively termed 'kiddie stuff.'

If you're unwilling to cut some slack as a reader, then you're better off not buying this book. But if you're looking for some fun and easy hours of reading, I think you'll enjoy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than the movie?
Yes! Then again most books are! But if your a big Star wars fan then this is a must read. This book will take you deeper into the story of the man/machine Anakin. As Salvatore wrote me when he signed my book refering to this story, "A glimpse into the shadows of his soul." Indeed!

1-0 out of 5 stars Batting less than 1.000.....
I think I've read just about everything Mr Salvatore has written. Demon Wars, Drizzt and Wulfgar, Vector Prime... Salvatore is simply amazing. His detail with weapons, fighting techiniques, strategies, character development, story telling. This guy CAN do it all. Terry Brooks did an excellent job with Episode I, he really made the movie/story enjoyable for me. I was so excited when I read that Salvatore would be writing what was to be potentially the darkest chapter of Star Wars....

... then I read the book. I'm sorry, Bob, but this novel was terrible. You had a few good parts, but you rushed the entire 2nd half of the book. All of the fighting scenes, Force battles, military strategy... what happened? This was not Salvatore's normal writing style. I was very dissapointed with the Episode II novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Adaptation Worthy of Star Wars.......
R.A. Salvatore, author of several New Jedi Order novels (including the series' first entry, Vector Prime) became the first Star Wars author to write a film's novelization when he was assigned to adapt Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

Released in hardcover a few weeks before the film's release, Salvatore's novelization of the screenplay by George Lucas and Jonathan Hales not only tells the story contained in the final film, but also adds three chapters of backstory establishing Anakin's emotional turmoil and Padme Amidala's inner struggle to find balance between her official duties as Senior Senator from Naboo and her growing awareness of a need for a more personal life.

Set 10 years after Anakin Skywalker's departure from Tatooine with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Attack of the Clones begins with a prologue in which Anakin has a nightmare. It begins with images of something the young Jedi Padawan longs for...the presence of family and friends...and especially the company of his mother, who he has not seen in a decade. But the dream -- or is it a Force-vision? -- quickly turns ghastly when his mother's image turns into a garish crystaline figure and shatters. When he wakes up, sweaty and out of breath, he's forced to focus on his current assignment with his Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, which is to settle a dispute on the planet Ansion (which is described in full in Alan Dean Foster's The Approaching Storm, a prequel to Episode II). Anxious and unsettled, he wants to complete this mission quickly so he can go back to Coruscant and seek guidance, but not from his Master or any of the Masters at the Jedi Temple...but from Supreme Chancellor Palpatine.

Meanwhile, Anakin's mother Shmi is now no longer Watto's slave and happily married to moisture farmer Cliegg Lars. Although she is now free and loves both her husband and stepson Owen, she misses Anakin and wonders if he did, at last, become a Jedi. The chapter describing her new life on the Lars homestead sets up both the relationship between Owen and his girlfriend Beru Whitesun (who, of course, will be Shmi's grandson Luke's guardians in the future). Salvatore's expository chapter gives both depth and context to the later scenes involving Shmi and Anakin.

After another brief chapter of backstory, from Chapter Four on Attack of the Clones focuses on the events at the heart of the film. Ten years have passed since Senator Palpatine's election to the Supreme Chancellorship, but despite his promises to reduce corruption and restore confidence in the Republic, things have become worse. The Trade Federation and various other special-interest groups have joined a secessionist movement that has enticed several thousand systems to leave the Republic. Led by the charismatic Count Dooku, a former Jedi Master, this movement is gathering more momentum with each passing day, and Palpatine's negotiations are going nowhere. As the secessionists grow stronger and bolder, hawks in the Senate are pushing for the Military Creation Act, which will, for the first time since the founding of the Republic, set up a centralized army to assist the limited numbers of Jedi Knights. However, moderates such as Bail Organa of Alderaan and Padme Amidala of Naboo believe that such a move will result in open civil war.

When Amidala rushes back to Coruscant to vote against the Military Creation Act, her official starship is destroyed by an unknown assailant and her decoy Corde is killed. Alarmed by this incident (or so it seems), Palpatine urges the young senator to accept tighter security. When Amidala tries to object, Palpatine insists that she be guarded and suggests to the Jedi Council that she be placed under the protection of the Jedi...and he knows exactly who to assign: "Perhaps someone you may be familar old Master Kenobi."

For Obi-Wan Kenobi, the unexpected assignment is simply limited to the protection of the Senator. For Anakin, however, it becomes the catalyst for both renewing his relationship with the woman he loves and to yet again defy his Jedi Master. They openly argue, bringing to the fore the restlessness and impetuousness of the young Padawan. Then a second attempt is made on Amidala's life, and both Jedi Master and apprentice head off in desperate pursuit of the deadly bounty hunter Zam Wessel...a chase that will only be the first phase of a long and perilous search for clues that will reveal who is behind the attempts on Amidala's life.

Episode II is a return to the classic Star Wars format, with its exotic locations (the cloners' watery world of Kamino, the hostile desert environment of Tatooine, the factory planet of Geonosis with its huge termite-mounds, and the dizzying cityscape of Coruscant), chases, spaceship fights, romance, and, of course, a climactic lightsaber duel.

Attack of the Clones features both familiar characters from The Phantom Menace, including a reduced yet crucial (if rather unexpected) role for Jar Jar Binks, and such new characters as Count Dooku, Cliegg Lars, and the fearsome bounty hunter Jango Fett, whose genetic material is being used to make the clones that will become the Grand Army of the Republic. Boba Fett, the equally ruthless bounty hunter seen in the Classic Star Wars trilogy, is introduced in Episode II as Jango's only unaltered clone.

The novel format has the advantage that expository material can be inserted without the constrains of "running time." Readers can for instance, learn why Palpatine manages to serve despite having passed his term limit in office, or "meet" Padme's family in a sequence that was written and filmed but deleted from the final film.

Salvatore has the advantage of having written Star Wars material before, and his skillful melding of backstory, use of deleted scenes, and great story-telling abilities make this adaptation work. ... Read more

33. Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 1)
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553296124
Catlog: Book (1992-05-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 14005
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

It's five years after Return of the Jedi: the Rebel Alliance has destroyed the Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and driven out the remnants of the old Imperial Starfleet to a distant corner of the galaxy. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting Jedi Twins. And Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of Jedi Knights. But thousand of light-years away, the last of the emperor's warlords has taken command of the shattered Imperial Fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the new Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to build. The explosive confrontation that results is a towering epic of action, invention, mystery, and spectacle on a galactic scale--in short, a story worthy of the name Star Wars. ... Read more

Reviews (322)

4-0 out of 5 stars Decent follow up to the classic movies.
Frankly, Mr. Zahn did not have an enviable task ahead of him when he was to write the followup trilogy to Star Wars. I opened this book tentatively, fearing the worst. After all, with Luke as the New Jedi, Leia and Han itemized together, Chewbacca still as hairy as ever, and the Emperor and Darth dusty particles in space, what could any writer possibly do to continue the line?

Happily, though, I found Heir to the Empire nowhere near the disaster that normal logic would foretell. The characters of old SW films were believably drawn, although curiously timeless (I mean, come's five years after Endor, and the only change is that Leia's pregnancy!), and Zahn's new people were either suitably grey in the background, or very colorfully developed indeed.

The plot seems very much Lucasian fare; shootouts, rescue missions, daring raids, and harrowing escapes. However, I became increasingly aware of an inexplicable flaw in the otherwise strong storytelling; that concerned the big baddie, Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Thrawn is touted as a genius who can divine enemies' innermost psyches with nothing but examples of their artwork. That's okay; Zahn makes this seem convincing enough so that our disbelief is suspended. Thrawn is presented as an enigmatic leader who is feared but more importantly respected by his people. This too is okay; Zahn shows enough strategy and tactics to convince us that his character really deserves this. Many seemingly-impossible victories are pulled out of thin air, and Thrawn continues to win and win and win a little more.

Fine. We can accept could we otherwise, with such skill expended in making him believable? By the time the book is over, Zahn even implies Thrawn's superiority over great villains like Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine (wonderful name, don't you agree?) - and we can readily believe this, because Zahn has given us the goods and not been found wanting.

So, the big question and flaw of the story: why does Thrawn lose? Zahn falls prey to the same trap that ensnares many writers of all genres; he has presented a full-bodied, fleshed-out character, made the reader love to hate him, shown this man to be utterly brilliant and utterly amazing and God-like...then kills him off.

No replay, no reset. Game over. Dead.

The 'God' syndrome, I think it's called, where the enemy is really powerful, but for an unsatisfactory reason is defeated. Without a doubt, Zahn is one of the best space-fantasy writers I have read, and his style is engrossing and engaging, but I could not help but feel that at the end of the tale, I was somehow cheated by the unconvincing and accelerated death of his Thrawn character.

The only reason I can think of for writing such an unappetising ending to an otherwise excellent trilogy, is that Zahn was pressured into it for reasons of PR. Certainly, the way is paved for a "Return of Thrawn" episode, as Thrawn dropped many hints of cloning facilities, etc. (qv Specter of the Past and Vision of the Future) but I thought it would have been better to just keep the guy and conclude the trilogy otherwise.

Also slightly problematic is the question of repetition: Thrawn is a purely tactical guy, so he needs a force-user to help him. Working together, Thrawn and the crazed Jedi Master named Joruus can just about equal Vader's total effectiveness (tactics + force). One cannot help but feel that Zahn is fighting a losing battle here regarding his villains; Lucas just made his ones too darn good.

Apart from those two (not immediately obvious) points, the books are all a great ride through Lucas' galaxy once again. If you liked the movies at all and don't mind reading good sci-fi, then these are the books for you. Certainly they are better than any later Star Wars efforts I have read (ah - K J Anderson - hem!).

4-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Star Wars Continuation
This book is the first novel in Timothy Zahn's trilogy. This excellently written book takes place five years after Return of the Jedi, and is the authorized continuation to the original trilogy.

In this first book in the series, we are introduced to Grand Admiral Thrawn, the sole surviving member of the Emperor's vicious staff. He has resumed control over the Imperial Starfleet as he prepares for a suprise attack on the New Republic. Thrawn is a supreme villian. He exemplifies patience, tenacity, and extreme poise in all of the story's crucial situations.

In his campaign for domination, he employs the powers of a long-lost dark Jedi Knight, which later leads to several conflicts. All of the original characters are back in Heir to the Empire, as well as some interesting new ones.

Zahn writes with incredible detail that makes for a descriptive plot. He develops the storyline and teases you just enough to make you want to read the next book in the trilogy.

This book is action-packed and Zahn mixes the characters together nicely. He cohesively loads the book with mystery and suspense, and the character development is fabulous.

The underlying conflict of good vs. evil is interesting because it is hard to tell who is good and who is evil. All in all, this was a nice, easy-flowing book and an entertaining read. You will enjoy it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Spoiler alert. Some comments.

I would like to start out by saying that the book was very good but some things made me dissapointed (Maybe I had to high expectations to start with). I have a few comments I'd like to share. First of all it seems odd to me that Luke, as the big hero he is, only because he's out of Force he can't disarm Mara Jade when she holds him prisoner on the ysalamari planet. I mean, come on, he has the lightsaber in his hand, she points a blaster at him and he surrenders. Even without the force he should be a quite adept warrior shouldn't he?
Why doesn't he do anything when she puts her blaster away on the ground?
I get the overall sense of Luke as being quite naiv and going around the galaxy not really knowing whats he's doing.
Then there's a time in the beginning of the book when Thrawn uses C'Baot to sense Luke presence and he talks to him a little. Then later in the book, Tnrawn and Pelleon is wondering if Luke is with the reps at a certain time and they wait to see. Why don't they just use the old Jedi to find out?
There's a phrase in the book that goes something like: a Jedi can't be too caught up in events regarding galactic safety that he forgets about individuals. Isn't the motto supposed to be the other way around?
Well, well. These small things made the book a little less entertaining than i'd hoped, but overall it's a good read.

(Ps: Anyone know of a good place to discuss star wars litterature?)

1-0 out of 5 stars Awful!
I very, very rarely put a book down once I commit to it, but 200 pages into this thing and the story's going nowhere. Zahn took the characters we loved and turned them into one dimensional bores. No one in the book has any tension with any other characters, and none of them go anywhere. The whole book revolves around a "defeat the bad guy" plot. Don't get me wrong, I love books that offer nothing but entertainment, but I have to care about the characters to be entertained by their battles and struggles. "Luke flipped away from the blaster shots" just doesn't cut it with me. This book was boring, the characters were all turned into one dimensional bores, and 200 pages into the book I couldn't have cared less whether the characters I loved just died right then. If you love the movies, stay away from this low brow garbage.

5-0 out of 5 stars great fro star wars fans
this book continues the story of the Star Wars characters 5 years after the destruction of the 2nd Death Star. It was interesting to see how far the New Republic has advanced in that time and it was also cool to see what our favorite characters were up to. A good book for all Star Wars fans ... Read more

34. Halo, Books 1-3 (The Flood; First Strike; The Fall of Reach)
list price: $20.97
our price: $14.67
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345473043
Catlog: Book (2004-09-28)
Publisher: Del Rey
Sales Rank: 308
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35. The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400045088
Catlog: Book (2002-05-07)
Publisher: Harmony
Sales Rank: 4523
Average Customer Review: 4.04 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

On Friday, May 11, 2001, the world mourned the untimely passing of Douglas Adams, beloved creator of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, dead of a heart attack at age forty-nine.Thankfully, in addition to a magnificent literary legacy—which includes seven novels and three co-authored works of nonfiction—Douglas left us something more. The book you are about to enjoy was rescued from his four computers, culled from an archive of chapters from his long-awaited novel-in-progress, as well as his short stories, speeches, articles, interviews, and letters.

In a way that none of his previous books could, The Salmon of Doubt provides the full, dazzling, laugh-out-loud experience of a journey through the galaxy as perceived by Douglas Adams. From a boy’s first love letter (to his favorite science fiction magazine) to the distinction of possessing a nose of heroic proportions; from climbing Kilimanjaro in a rhino costume to explaining why Americans can’t make a decent cup of tea; from lyrical tributes to the sublime pleasures found in music by Procol Harum, the Beatles, and Bach to the follies of his hopeless infatuation with technology; from fantastic, fictional forays into the private life of Genghis Khan to extended visits with Dirk Gently and Zaphod Beeblebrox: this is the vista from the elevated perch of one of the tallest, funniest, most brilliant, and most penetrating social critics and thinkers of our time.

Welcome to the wonderful mind of Douglas Adams.
... Read more

Reviews (83)

3-0 out of 5 stars A must for fans--but read the real (finished) books first
The late author Douglas Adams is a giant in modern SF with his immortal HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY series and the fine Dirk Gently series as well. THE SALMON OF DOUBT is the assembled draft of an uncompleted novel that features Dirk Gently but that Adams had discussed transforming into a HITCHHIKER novel. In addition to the novel fragment (approximately 100 pages), the book includes various descriptions of Adams, some of his humorous writings and interviews, and some general hero worshiping.

That said, what about the novel fragment itself? Dirk Gently finds that his (always empty) bank account is being unaccountably filled and decides that he is being paid to investigate. Since he doesn't know what he is being paid for, he resolves to follow the fifth person who passes a certain corner and investigate him. With a few digressions into a near-god's hang-glider experience, a rampaging rhino, and Thor--the Norse god of thunder, Dirk sets out on a bizzare adventure. In typical Adams fashion, everything is silly, but everything hangs together with a strange logic.

Is it worth reading? Of course. It's Douglas Adams, after all.
Is it wonderful? Uh, not really. It's definitely interesting. Interesting to learn about what makes a writer tick and also interesting in that you get to see the scafoldings of a novel in the making--with what Adams describes as its placeholders (one of the non-novel sections of this volume is Adams' description of an unfinished book by the late P. G. Wodehouse in which Adams describes SUNSET AT BLANDINGS).

Adams fans will be overjoyed to see one last addition to the corpus. Those not so familiar with Adams should start with his finished (and polished) novels. Everyone should be aware that although this may be 'Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time,' it isn't really in the HITCHHIKER series at all--although Adams might have moved it there had he lived.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, the great Dirk Gently
There was one reason alone why I grabbed the first copy of this book I could get.

I wanted to read the incomplete final works of Douglas Noel Adams.

I cherish his Hitchhikers Guide books, and also his less spoken of Dirk Gently books, which contain fascinating puzzles, quirks and sheer madness.

Having flicked through the first parts of the book, I reached the title page for The Salmon of Doubt, dubiously close to the end of the book!

However, the storyline, is intense, others claim there is a disjointed feel to the book, and whilst this is not strictly untrue, it just adds to the ideas of the book.

After reading this, your mind will try and work out what the heck is happening, I am just sad Douglas isn't here to put my mind to rest!

---- Story Spoiler ----

Dirk Gently is in a rut; he is at the point where he doesn't want to open his bank account statements because he doesn't want to see his balance.

When he does open them, he realises he is being paid large sums of money, and presumes that someone must be paying him to do an investigation.

Without knowing who, or what the job is, Dirk decides that the best way forward is to randomly follow people...

---- End Story Spoiler ----

A must read for all Douglas Adams fans, the rest of the book is varied, but contains the biscuit incident, which is always good for a laugh!

Buy It! Also:

The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
The Restaurant and the End of the Universe
Life the Universe and Everything
So Long and Thanks for All the Fish
Mostly Harmless

Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency
The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul
The Salmon of Doubt

5-0 out of 5 stars Doubtlessly entertaining...
It's fitting that this audio edition contains guests and narrators like Stephen Fry, Richard Dawkins, Terry Gilliam, et. al. In addition to helping bring this wonderful collection of Adam's work to life, they bring an additional sense of connection to the man behind (within?) the words.

Some fans of Adams fiction may not like the extensive nonfiction pieces included, but those people will miss out on some of the best gems of Adams' wit and wisdom. Most others, though, will realize that there is a vast archive of columns and articles, letters and speeches, (many published outside the U.S.) that we have missed.

In all of the pieces, nonfiction and fiction, Adams' crisp humor and prodding logic will make you giggle, laugh, and most of all, wonder at this gloriously silly thing we call life.

Listen to this many times... and don't forget your towel.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Worthly Posthumous Collection----
My experience in reading various collections of "uncollected" works is not good. Almost every time, I've discovered, the author had a very good reason for not "collecting" the ragged bits, and those publishers knew their business when they decided that the unpublished selections in question should stay "unpublished." But Don't Panic--as they say where Mr. Adams comes from--The Salmon of Doubt is the exception that proves the rule.

I had seen Mr. Adams's "Hitchhiker's" books for several years, and always wondered about them. Still, I had not read any of them--until the word came down that he had suddenly died, and died at a young age. Somehow, I sensed this was a terrible loss, and bought the "Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide" to see if my sense was right. It was.

Douglas Adams wrote the books that I wanted to have written. The language is fun, interesting, and the characters wonderful. And they are funny.

The selections in "Salmon of Doubt" also reflect this same spirit. In one selection, Adams is explaining how he was listening to Procul Harem's "Grand Hotel." At one point in the song, there is a pause--and then the music really takes off. Adams was thinking how something really special, really fantastic needed to happen at that moment--something like the end of the universe. And out of that thought was born "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe."

In this book, you'll travel to Kenya with Adams--and see what it is like to climb a mountain wearing a huge rhino costume. You'll also find why Adams loved P.G. Woodehouse--which inspired me to read Woodehouse (Adams, of course, is right). Ride along with Adams's perhaps futile efforts to get up close and personal with giant manta rays off Austrailia. Finally, you will really get a sense of what it was like to be Douglas Adams--including his insecurities, which manifested in his legendary obsession with missing deadlines.

In one essay, Mr. Adams in a brief digression says that if anyone who has the opportunity to go to Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, and doesn't--then you are "a complete idiot." I visited New Mexico once, perhaps twenty five years ago. I still love Santa Fe--and have to agree with Mr. Adams. So while I am at it: If you have ever enjoyed anything by Douglas Adams, but still do not read this book, then I am afraid you are a complete idiot..............

5-0 out of 5 stars The salmon of doubt has spawned for the last time
This book has brought much joy to me in two big ways: Way one, that when I bought it with a barnes, and noble gift card that i had been given for christmas, I rtealized that the people at the store where the card was bought acually gave me 50$ worth of credit, instead of 25$ like it was supposed to be. And the second reason is that it is simply as good book. You get Adams' unpublished articles, interviews, and short stories. Along with What was there from what would have been adams' last novel if he hadn't passed away.

Articles, interviews e,c,t; 4.5/5: Most of the book is consisted of these sorts of odds, and ends, and they are fantastic, on top of being really interesting. My personal favorites amoung this bunch are when he climbs Mt. Kilamanjaro in a rhino costume, when he brings a newly invented water transport vehicle, which he borrowed off a stranger, while listening to a crappy band in a park, and taking it down to austrailia to compare it to riding a manta ray. Which woould be worth the price of the bookif that were it, but fortunately it isn't.

The salmon of doubt(novel);5/5: Wow! If this book had actually been completed it would definately be amoung his best. The only problem is that since it wasn't completed it sounds very strange( more than usual), which is not his, or the book's fault, it just made a few bits(especially the beginning) sound awkward .

I would reccomend reading some of both the dirk gently, and hitchiker books, and have read at least three of his books total, in order to fully appreciate this. But if you do fully appreciate it, then it will keep you entertained for many an hour. ... Read more

36. The Last Command (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 3)
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553564927
Catlog: Book (1994-01-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 19126
Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (129)

5-0 out of 5 stars A stunning conclusion to a spectacular trilogy
Timothy Zahn gave it his best when he wrote The Last Command. Out of the entire trilogy, this is by far the best. The book is the longest of the three, but it is by far the fastest read. The storylines are so intense that it would be hard to even consider putting the book down until the last page. In the book, Grand Admiral Thrawn must anticipate the movement of the old republic while confronted with conflict on how to deal with the insane jedi master C'baoth, who has become as tyrannical as the Emperor himself. As this storyline progresses, Luke and Mara also must decide their fate, which could destroy or save the republic.

Fear blankets the New Republic under Thrawn's new special weapon. While under this fear, Leia's future jedi children are born, and Mara must attempt to resolve the Emperor's Last Command. All the storylines come together with such perfect emotion, action, and spectacular epic space battles. The Thrawn Trilogy is a good example of what defines the authentic good quality of the Star Wars universe - love, mythology, action, and fantasy. I honestly believe that these three novels are Episodes 7, 8, and 9. If you haven't read the Thrawn trilogy, you are missing out on one of the best science fiction gems of our time.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fitting finale worthy of the "Star Wars" name
Timothy Zahn's third and final novel in the Thrawn Trilogy is so faithful to the spirit of George Lucas' original movie trilogy that many fans consider these novels to be Episodes VII, VIII and IX. And if you read this seminal three-book cycle, you'll see why, even though novels published later (such as Shadows of the Empire or Tatooine Ghost) go backwards in the "Star Wars" timeline.

Here, of course, all the plot threads started in the previous two novels are wrapped up, though some of them will continue to develop in other Star Wars novels. As in the movie series that inspired it, there are space battles and lightsaber duels galore, and the mixture of adventure, romance, and drama that made Star Wars such a popular movie series is vividly recreated in Zahn's crisp and lively writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars the series that revived the Star Wars empire [no spoilers]
"The Last Command" is the third and final novel in The Thrawn Trilogy approximately five years following "Return of the Jedi". The originality and creativity in the series is deep, filled with strange creatures and compelling heroes and villains.

Grand Admiral Thrawn is an ingenious, calculating and efficient villain, someone the New Republic should fear. The creative ways he uses items at his disposal are amazing. Although he is with the Empire, his charisma and composure has me cheering to succeed whenever engaged in combat. Conversely, the spontaneous ravings of insane Jedi Master Joruus C'baoth form a scary image compared with the serene Emperor. Smuggler Talon Karrde reminds me of a pre-Rebellion Han Solo but with a Jabba the Hutt sphere of influence. While Star Wars hasn't been overly political, politics play a minor part in the developments and brings more depth to an otherwise action oriented plot.

Action fills the concluding novel, with surprises and well-timed heroics. I highly recommend this series above all others to any fan of the Star Wars universe.

Thank you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Zahn's Best!
Timothy Zahn has written many books, yet his most powerful, most captivating, and most brilliant book would have to be The Last Command. This is the 3rd book in the Thrawn Trilogy.

An important factor of the Thrawn Trilogy is that the remaining Grand Admiral, Grand Admiral Thrawn, hopes to amass an army from the shattered remnants of the Imperial fleet, and with this army crush the young, vulnerable New Republic. The trilogy takes place five years after ROTJ.

Thrawn is a strategic genius. The Emperor wanted to keep him secret, so he was never discovered. Thrawn is so brilliant that the rebels would have been pulverized in the space battle taking place above the moon of Endor.

The whole trilogy brings you through breath-taking moments, with so much action it's unbelievable. Zahn brings the world of Star Wars back so beautifully that you could see this as a movie.

There are many awesome moments in the book. I don't want to give away too much, but Leia gives birth, and a clone of Luke is produced. It is just as powerful as him, maybe even more. Luke's severed hand from ESB is found, and it's used to reconstruct him with clone pods found and exploited by Thrawn. The cloning pods are from AOTC, having been hidden by the Emperor.

This book is absolutely wonderful. I will say that some characters meet untimely demises. Timothy Zahn reconstructed the whole story with a better, more malevolent villain. Read these books, AND MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Final Chapter in a Fantastic Trilogy
In The Last Command, Hugo-award winning author Timothy Zahn pulls out all the stops. Clones, super-weapons, smuggler alliances, alien warriors, Jedi confrontations, it's all here in the brialliant conclusion to the trilogy that arguable matches Lucas's own original in terms of endearing characters, fantastic action, and pure Star Wars feel.

Talon Kardde, Mara Jade's smuggler employer, is working to create a coalition between rivals in an attempt to create another unified front on which to fight the expanding forces of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Mara lies wounded in battle on Coruscaunt, her alliances and hatreds torn by old memories and new suspicions. Han, Leia, and Luke, learning of a secret weapons facility on a remote planet, mount a daring operation to take it down, and to make a stand against the insane Jedi Master, Joruus C'baoth.

Thrawn's plans, which we see parts of in the first two novels, come to fruition in this third installment, cementing the Grand Admiral's place in the Star Wars pantheon of fantastic villians. A genius and a ruthless commander, he also manages to make us geniunely wonder what would happen should he succeed in bringing the galaxy under his rule.

Zahn's talent is incredibly obvious in this. There are moments while reading where you'll notice an event or character development, and remember from two or three books ago when the whole thing was set in motion. Seemingly unimportant events from the first two books suddenly become very relavent showcasing Zahn's genius in both spectacle and subtlety. The entire trilogy really deserves multiple reads, as you're likely to catch something more each time you finish it.

And what a finish it is. There is truly no better way to end the wonderful trilogy than with this installment. It's chock-full of all the lightsaber duels and epic space battles you'd expect from a Star Wars story, but also delivers in terms of characters both large and small. Of note is Mara Jade, one of the most complex and entertaining in the SW universe, and a cahracter that has a conclusion that sets up events years in the future.

If you are a Star Wars fan and haven't read the Thrawn Trilogy, you owe it to yourself to check it out. If you've read the first two novels, rest assured that this is necessary to complete a wonderful story. And really, above anything else, it's just more fun than you can imagine to pass up. ... Read more

37. Brave New World
by Aldous Huxley
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060929871
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 700
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A fantasy of the future that sheds a blazing critical light on the present--considered to be Aldous Huxley's most enduring masterpiece.

"Mr. Huxley is eloquent in his declaration of an artist's faith in man, and it is his eloquence, bitter in attack, noble in defense, that, when one has closed the book, one remembers."
--Saturday Review of Literature

"A Fantastic racy narrative, full of much excellent satire and literary horseplay."

"It is as sparkling, provocative, as brilliant, in the appropriate sense, as impressive ads the day it was published. This is in part because its prophetic voice has remained surprisingly contemporary, both in its particular forecasts and in its general tone of semiserious alarm. But it is much more because the book succeeds as a work of art...This is surely Huxley's best book."
--Martin Green

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Reviews (544)

5-0 out of 5 stars Scifi? Drama? Political Satire?-whatever, it's great!
Aldous Huxley has concocted the most abstract, encompassing, and somewhat frightening novel about a possible and plausible future destination the world could arrive at if it decided to follow a certain course of action. In Huxley's novel, the events that are depicted here can be determined to take place about six hundred years from now. Extreme scientific progression in the field of genetic engineering and biochemistry coupled with an apparent social retrogression into a rigid, inflexible caste system have transformed the people of the earth into a totally bizarre society which contrasts radically to today's lifestyle. One of the novel's characters, John the Savage, finds out he's analogous to a square peg in a round hole once he is removed from his indian reservation environment and transplanted into the "brave new world" of the futuristic London. John's plight illustrates the inevitable obfuscation anyone can experience if obtrusively placed in surroundings of omnipresent unfamiliarity. In consideration of the year 1932 when this novel was published, the facts that the principles of heredity were discovered by a cloistered Austrian monk a relatively few years before, and that nucleic acids would not be determined to contain the genetic "blueprints" of organisms until many years later; it's easy to see Mr. Huxley was a very erudite, perspicacious, and artful writer well ahead of his time. I am still waiting to see if a feature motion picture based on this novel will ever be produced. A little bit of trivia here: Mr. Huxley's death on November 22, 1963 went relatively unnoticed by the general public only because someone else of more prominence was assassinated that same day.

5-0 out of 5 stars A gram of soma a day...
Soma, feelies, scent organs...these are some of the wondrous inventions which litter the landscape of Huxley's ultra-happy dystopia. From the opening scene where we watch babies being farmed instead of born this book creates a world where science and logic have wiped out individual inspiration and such petty things as love, poetry and Shakespeare. This novel is a terrific read for it's ability to create a horrible world, and yet make it seem not so bad. This is the real power of the book. While the world of 1984 is obviously a nightmare, the world of Brave New World does not seem that bad for the most part. It draws you in and makes you wonder what a movie would be like where you can feel what the actors are feeling, or what work would be like if it was always perfectly challenging and stimulating. It creates a world that you know you are not supposed to like, but which is seductive none-the-less. And this sets up the final scene in which three men argue the fate of all our lives. In which art makes a stand against easy happiness, in which love makes a stand against ignorant bliss. The last twenty pages are a tour-de-force of philosophical inquiries which makes you realize that even though you could be happy in Huxley's Brave New World, you would never be yourself. And that is the only true happiness there is.

5-0 out of 5 stars The threat of "Brave New World" gone? That would be nice...
I see that some reviewers are saying the threat of a world similar to that in this novel is farther away than ever. That would be nice. Increasingly, I'm interpreting sci-fi dystopian/utopian novels not as warnings of a dire future but condemnations of a nasty present. And though this book was written in 1932, as civilization increases its messages only become more pertinent. I just finished reading this book today, and it would probably be wise to wait longer before reviewing it, but what the hell. Huxley's "brave new world" can be read as a brilliant satire of consumer society and civilization itself, in which people avoid feelings, pain, and confusion through drugs, work, and a tunnel vision that is reinforced by societal "conditioning" (though I would argue it's part of human nature as well). I was troubled by the Savage's masochistic tendencies, and confused at times as to what Huxley really thought of the Savage's over the top behavior, in the pursuit of sensation and actual feeling. Because the Savage goes so far over the top by the end, I can only assume that Huxley feels he's gone too far in the opposite direction, pursuing pain and denial simply because they are values opposed to the society he hates. Though the book is a brilliant critique, not just of society but of the way the human mind strives to shut out anything unfamiliar and uncomfortable (this is where the book's true greatness lies, I think), I'd consider deducting a star simply because it's more of an essay told in novel form than a full-fledged story. Many pages are devoted to pure description of the society, albiet cloaked in the dialogue of characters rather than in the narration, and sometimes this overshadows the characterization and story development. But the opening chapter uses an interesting, almost "cinematic" technique of "crosscutting", which can be exasperating to read but is original at least. And the characters are actually quite convincing and recognizable, especially's as if George Costanza from Seinfeld wound up in a future society (see Woody Allen's Sleeper). It's brimming with fantastic ideas, but I don't think it's fantastic storytelling. Nonetheless, that a minor quibble, because it's very readable and extremely insightful. Pick it up right away. 5/6

5-0 out of 5 stars A near future.
The first dystopia I've read is Fahrenheit 451 for 7th grade english. Now, I can't stop reading dystopias! My dad told me Brave New World was a good book, so I started. I think this is the closest dystopia likely to happen. A sex-crazed world who thinks it's animal-like to have children naturally. I love the idea of a class system from the super-human double alpha plus to the grovelling Epsilon-Minus. And Soma, "a gramme is better than a damn." The freaky part about that drug is that something very similar to that now. And it doesn't make you happy, but sort of clueless, like an infant curious about the world. My favourite quote is from Benard Marx, as he refers to the way men talk about women, "As if they were a piece of meat." I use that quote all the time now when a man says something sexist. John the Savage is my favourite character, because although he is referred to as a savage from the savage reservations, he is actually the smartest person on the book. (Well, maybe Mustapha Mond is.) And just in case you don't know why it's called Brave New World, In Shakespeare's "The Tempest", The character Miranda says:
O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!

4-0 out of 5 stars A different dystopian novel
Some of those giving Huxley's work low ratings, I think, are missing some of Huxley's message, or are choosing to ignore it, which is especially evident by their comparisons of this book to Orwell's. I suppose it is inevitable that these two novels be compared, but I think while they have similarities, the two authors write about two very different forms of totalitarianism and social control that threaten free society.

Orwell's 1984 has often been interpreted (or appropriated) as a case against a socialist form of totalitarianism. Orwell himself was a socialist (though of the Atlee/Labour, not the Stalin/Marxist-Leninist variety), though unfortunately many rightists have used this book and Orwell's other work, Animal Farm, to condemn not just Communism but anything except for the lasseiz-faire accepted today. Perhaps both Orwell and Huxley wished to speak of human nature and social behavior in broad terms, but I also believe a purely social and political critique in the form of fiction and satire can still be serious literature, considerations of the deeper questions of human nature aside.

And this is why I like Brave New World, even more so than 1984. Whereas Orwell warns of a totalitaranism based on perpetual war causing the poverty of a ration economy at home, Huxley examines a social control built on plenty or an illusion of plenty. One might then say that the works of these two men are opposite sides of the same coin in that Orwell's work is a warning against communist totalitarianism and Huxley's work warns us of a capitalist variant that is just as dangerous and certainly more relevant, at least to our own society.

It may be easy to take a book such as Huxley's and say we are becoming such a dystopian society as in his book, but I think it is even easier to praise a book such as Orwell's instead, reduce it to a "communism" or "socialism" = "bad" statement, and then say thank goodness we defeated the evil empire. What makes Brave New World so great is that it can't be so easily simplified. What sets Brave New World apart from other novels of the genre is that Huxley wrote a critique of his own times as well as of our own times and he shows that not only are Communism and 19th century Dickensian capitalism oppressive systems, but 20th century consumer capitalism, based on the legacies of Ford and Freud, is as well. ... Read more

38. Snow Crash (Bantam Spectra Book)
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553380958
Catlog: Book (2000-05-02)
Publisher: Spectra
Sales Rank: 1717
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparison--a writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer and Snow Crash is such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age.

In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo's CosaNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he's a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that's striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about Infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so'll recognize it immediately.
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Reviews (547)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, unique, creative, and hilarious
This book is amazing. You want cool? How about super-fast motorcycles, skateboarding messengers who launch harpoons into motor vehicles, faster-than-vision attack "rats", lethal sword- and gunplay and an internet you walk through? You want thought-provoking? Think about an ancient curse turned into a computer virus that affects the computer USER (hey, Stephenson honestly makes this plausible!); think about a guy who lived through two nuclear blasts and wants revenge; think about a world controlled by businesses and a slightly-more-friendly version of organized crime. You want interesting perspectives? Stephenson gives you, among others, a half-black, half-asian wannabe-ninja hacker, a teenage girl with a double-life, a megalomaniacal evangelist with a real chance at running the world, and an Aleut who throws sharpened glass harpoons and kayaks across oceans to kill people. Extremely entertaining; honestly well-written and well rounded; one of a handful I have read twice. Stephenson did his homework (as usual) in putting this book together.

5-0 out of 5 stars Whew!! Some serious fun.
During the Montreal Jazz Festival this past Summer (2002), I had the opportunity to talk at some length with an early-twenty-something guy with a BS in computer science from Harvard who works in NYC. He also has a Black Belt in Martial Arts.

He told me I had to read a book called Snow Crash. [I knew who Neil Stephenson was as I have three of his books; alas, though, as with so many other books, an unread part of my library]. But, as I so enjoyed the parley of ideas with this guy, I was convinced. When I got home I picked it out and read it.

I hadn't read any so-called cyberpunk fiction before.
Wow. It was hard putting it down to go to sleep at night (my only time for novels). A seriously cool book.

What made Snow Crash if not revolutionary, then certainly evolutionary SF 10 years ago(1992), is Stephenson's literary device of cyberspace as fictional space. It is the Librarian, coupled with Hiro's inquisitiveness, - i.e.., his theorizing about the meaning of certain Sumerian/Biblical myths and the origin of language, and how language itself may contain mental/behavioral "viruses" and how that relates to the idea of a virus in relation to the vast internetwork that will be cyberspace - that really make Snow Crash such a brilliant tour-de-force of an SF novel.

Snow Crash is about an Idea (and SF is, if nothing else, at its best, about an Idea) - the possibility that our cerebral faculty, and hence our behavior, can be compromised (i.e., reprogrammed) by a destructive virus contained in language itself.

A serious thought in a world where people blow each other up because of words.

In sum, read this book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Maybe I just don't care much for the cyberpunk genre...
...but this has got to be the most disappointing novel I've ever wasted my time on! Okay, so I listened to the audiobook version while I was driving to and from work, and so I was kind of a captive audience anyway. But I would have been much better off spending that time listening to something like, "The Blue Nowhere: A Novel," by Jeffery Deaver (which I'm currently listening to), or maybe "Digital Fortress," by Dan Brown (which I've already read in book format). Although these novels may not have as much appeal to the true techno-geek/hacker types, they are much better suited to those of us who want to be engrossed in a truly riveting story while stuck in traffic.

Most of the time I was confused about whether the characters were in reality or virtual reality at any given moment, and the rest of the time I was confused as to what the story was supposed to be about. Don't get me wrong - there was some great material in there, and the story might have bloomed in the hands of a truly gifted writer, but judging by this novel, Neal Stephenson is apparently not that writer. All in all, this novel was entirely forgettable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Most entertaining book I've read in a long time.
First off, I read this book in just over 2 days. I quite honestly couldn't put it down - extremely action packed, better than most movies I've seen lately.

I'd almost say I'd like to see Snow Crash made into a movie, but I don't think anyone could do it justice.

This book has hi-tech gadgets, pizza deliveries, super computers, elaborate and well researched conspiracies, skater-delivery girls, religious commentary, motorcycle sword fights, archeology, fantastic weapons, a few heavy chunks of pure fantasy, machine enhanced gaurd dogs, and much much much more.

Absolutely Enjoyable.

Once you start the first page you'll have trouble putting it down.

5-0 out of 5 stars Be sure you stop to breathe
Reading this book is like watching an Imax film of Calvin and Hobbes riding their sled. Stephenson manages to combine something old, sonething new, lots of things borrowed, and a few blue, in an intelligent and well-thought-out book that does not discard all the old literary virtues, even as it is uproariously original. And, it's so nice to see ancient cultures, computer programming, and swordsmanship all treated with intelligence and respect and some regard for the facts. ... Read more

39. V for Vendetta
by Alan Moore, David Lloyd
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0930289528
Catlog: Book (1995-04-01)
Publisher: DC Comics
Sales Rank: 6283
Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (77)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Magus of Oz
Alan Moore is a great literary figure who happens to write comic books, graphic novels and lyrics for rock bands. He is a hidden jewel of a writer who has produced, over the last two decades, provocative and important work that draws together popular culture, art, magick and the occult, philosophy, fairy tales and mythology, psychology, surrealism, science fiction, pulp fiction and cosmic prophecy into one harmonious whole that is flavored by that Holy Grail of every writer: an original voice.

V FOR VENDETTA has a long and painful history (it's initial run in England was aborted before all ten issues could be produced) but I first heard of it in 1987 when it started to be printed by D.C. Comics. I hadn't gone near comic books in over fifteen years and I was afraid of starting all up again, but someone had lent me a copy of SWAMP THING with the demand that I read it. "But it's SWAMP THING!" I protested, feeling uneasy about spending my time reading about a radioactive sludge monster who fights villians. Yet, it was a SWAMP TIHNG written by Alan Moore, and it was full of sublime prose, elegant ideas, sensuality, psychedelic revelations and gnosticism. I was blown away, so when the first issue of VENDETTA came out, I snapped it up. For 10 glorious months I read each installment as it came out and by the time number 10 had come, I was reshaping all my thoughts about literature, about story telling, about politics, society, culture, magick.

Part Orwell's 1984, part Phantom of the Opera, part Batman in Dark Knight mode, V FOR VENDETTA tells the story of an England under the rule of a fascist government and the journey of a young girl from street prostitute to rebel leader. V. himself is a poetic twist on the Beast from Beauty & the Beast, or Eric from Phantom of the Opera, a masked anarchist who moves about the fascist reign of terror with the ease of a neutrino unaffected by gravity. Possible the result of a bizarre medical experiment in a concentration camp, V. is now determined to bring down the government and free the minds and bodies of the masses suffering under its own psychological oppression. Fusing ideas from Wilhelm Reich, Aleister Crowley, George Orwell and even the Batman comic book, Moore has created his own Dark Knight, a far more mysterious and morally problematic one. He carries upon his shoulders the weight of the world, attempting to bring light and hope to the darkness prisons where men and women are beaten and tortured for being homosexual, to the medical labs of the prison camps where Mengele-like doctors are operating without inhibition on dehumanized prisoners.

V FOR VENDETTA raises the bar on the literary value of comic books, taking the genre of Batman and Spider-man and elevating it above the level of fist-fights, action sequences and costumed villians into the realm of a modern-day political and magickal myth. And towards the end when Evey the heroine watches the crowds in the street riot and destroy each other, she says, "Is this your anarchy, V?" and V replies, "No, this is Chaos" that one little moment, V. has made a distinction that is too subtle for most writers, far less the writers of comic books.

4-0 out of 5 stars Frightening and powerful
In the early 1980's, Alan Moore (Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell, chances are if you're reading this you know the list) began this chilling work. In an alternate world, it's 1997, and America and the Soviets have nuked each other to extinction. England is left, now under a fascist regime, and everything seems to be under control, until a mysterious terrorist, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and calling himself V, begins picking off government officials and destroying buildings and monuments. Moore's storytelling is nothing short of chilling; from the basic element of the loss of freedom to a totalitarian government to just who really fights for good (is it V or the government?), V For Vendetta is nearly unforgettable. That combined with David Lloyd's ultra eerie washed out color art make this one of the most chilling works in the world of comics you'll ever likely find. It's not as profound or as important as Moore's Watchmen or his Swamp Thing run, but this is still worth reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars No superheroes in a comic? Gee, what a concept. . .
A vision of a totalitarian future of Britian cut off from contact with the rest of the world (which may no longer exist), this story is very indiciative of the time when Alan Moore started it, the early 1980s. It's a bleak view of the future from the British culture that gave us punk rock and Max Headroom. Compared to them, this is somewhat optimistic. However, it's also obvious that Moore didn't finish the story soon after he started it, instead returning to it years later (sometime during his work on DC's _The Watchmen_). There is a change in the outlook and a bit of a rushed feel towards the end.

There are two protagonists in this story: the vigilante, a terrorist who takes on the totalitarian government while dressed as Guy Fawkes, and the girl he saves from government thugs and then mentors. But Moore follows the lives of a number of characters, from party officials to cheap thugs, and views this world through their eyes. The characterizations of these people making their lives in an oppressive regime is realistic. The change of views is also a nice parallel to the story's all-seeing computer and camera system that the vigilante hacks into and slowly takes control of.

Moore doesn't make the vigilante, known as V, impossibly pure. In fact, V's manipulation of the somewhat innocent wife of a party official, Rose, is harsh. He justifies his cruel manipulations as necessary to create a natural outcome of anarchy. And he seems to place art above people at times -- a truly complex character.

This is not Moore's most mature work, but there is an energy and imagination here that is excellent, and the pacing works well. Others' comparissons to Orwell's work and even _Lord of the Flies_ are well earned. Although I disagree with some of the politics Moore champions, I think the internal logic of the story is sound, as are most of the characters' motives and actions. Moore presents what kind of people really make up a despotic state.

The art is also not up to modern standards, instead confined to the format of the British magazine it was originally serialed in. That's best viewed as an amusing artifact.

Without a doubt, this book shows its age -- as much as _1984_, _Animal Farm_, and other politically-oriented fables do. Times change, but futuristic stories are more about the times they're written in than the future. And this is a fable with a definite (political) moral -- despite the rest of the story's subtlety and shadings.

5-0 out of 5 stars Strange that Alan Moore would write this...
Many of the themes here seem strange coming from Alan Moore, frankly. Other reviewers have called the work "Orwellian", but actually, it's closer to a British version of Ayn Rand, as the story is closer thematically to "Anthem" and even parts of "Atlas Shrugged" than "1984".

And that seems odd to me. Alan Moore definitely does not seem to be the Ayn Rand type, and I'm sure he's not a fan of her economic beliefs or even her rational philosphy, but he's borrowing directly from the absolutist nature of her heroes (V is as sure of himself as John Galt ever was) and he's painting a portrait of the nature of freedom that closely matches Rand's (tying freedom together with identity, ala "Anthem").

Anyway, "V for Vendetta" is dated in that the story takes place in a "future" time that we are already well past, but the story itself is timeless in ways that WATCHMEN can never be. Whereas WATCHMEN plays with comics conventions and now shows the age of those very industy trends, VENDETTA took a different approach, trying to be it's own entity. As such, it still stands alone as a unique and inventive story.


4-0 out of 5 stars Still holds up, mostly..
Just re-read 'V for Vendetta' again, to see what I thought of it after all these years. Putting aside all of the book's political, scientific and socialogical naivites (some of which Moore himself points out in the introduction and afterward), this story is shockingly effective, if a bit heavy handed, and yes, depressing.

In re-reading it, V comes off as less than a character and more as the polemic abstract that Moore intended. Yes, V's drive toward anarchy is little hard to swallow, and being asked to sympathise with a terrorist in light of today's world is difficult ( which is the main obstacle I see in this story ever making it to the movie screen, that, and the overriding British-ness of the story, which I understand is integral and which I appreciate. Too much would be lost in transplanting this to an American setting).

Also, there are some unexplained plot holes: one being just how does V gain access to the fate computer? Without being detected?

That said, the first third of this book is still impossible to put down, really great stuff (aside from some character stumbles: V spouts quotes and exposites and it comes off as intially awkward), as the authorities unravel why V may doing what he's doing, but I really enjoyed the middle section this time, which chronicles Evey out on her own. The scene where she is captured and confined is still harrowing and mind-blowing.

All in all, I see this as a very personal and well-crafted story by Alan Moore, although people always want to compare it to Watchmen in terms of quality and realism. Bear in mind that it was serialized in its initial run and created over seven years. David Lloyd's artwork, while at times muddy (I still have trouble telling who's who in the last third), is also often brilliantly rendered, cinematic, and very effective. He has a way with a panel or facial expression that is attuned perfectly to the emotions conveyed by the story. Moore wrote at the time that he would not finish the story's run with any other artist, and one can see why.

Again, as Moore explains the book's evolution in the afterward, this is the work of younger, hungry and sometimes naive artists. As a comic work I find it moving, magnificent and compelling. ... Read more

40. Art of Imagination: 20th Century Visions of Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy
by Frank M. Robinson, Robert E. Weinberg, Randy Broecker
list price: $99.95
our price: $84.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1888054727
Catlog: Book (2002-10)
Publisher: Collectors Press
Sales Rank: 72064
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Since the beginning of his existence, man has used imagination to create magical worlds that would transport him beyond the borders of reality. Art of Imagination is a trilogy consisting of the award winning Illustrated History series: Science Fiction of the 20th Century (Year 2000 Hugo Award Winner), Horror of the 20th Century (Bram Stoker Award nominee), and Fantasy of the 20th Century creating the ultimate collection. It was in the twentieth century that book, magazine, and poster artists reached new pinnacles of creativity in depicting the unknown. This collection of works by artists and designers of movie posters, books, and magazines provides a hearty feast for the eyes of the enchanted reader. These artisans and their works are the subject of this new must-have book for not only collectors of memorabilia, but for every person who has longed to step into his or her imaginary world, be it one of fantasy, flight, or fear -- if only for a moment. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A heavyweight vision.
First off I think you should know that this wonderful book's 768 pages weigh a bit over ten pounds. It is a reprint of three very popular Collectors Press 20th Century series, Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy. I bought this copy because I'm interested in visual popular culture and I was very impressed with the historical scope of the subject matter, the 1300 colored illustrations include not only book jackets but covers of magazines, comics and nicely, film posters.

With so many illustrations you can search out your favorites, I like the work of Hannes Bok, Kelly Freas and Jeff Jones and there plenty of examples of their work. Running through all the images the three authors contribute a popular history of each genre but it is the huge collection of covers that make this a knockout book for me.

BTW, I bought this big book at a huge discount and I suggest you take the trouble to check the title out on the comparison shopping book websites, you'll be surprised at price variations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Necessary purchase for my collection of art texts
Being a professional artist, and a mondo horror fan, I was craving to get my pencil smudged paws on this book. Over 700 pages of lavishly illustrated science fiction and horror history. Art of Imagaination brings to attention the works of the great artists who have worked in this field for over a century. Anyone with even a minor interest in thsi subject would find this text a true page turner. Highly Recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Trip Through the Fantastic!
This book is a must have for anyone who is creative. If you've lost your sense of wonder, this book will bring it back. You cannot help but be inspired by this fine tribute to the illustrators and art directors of fantastic art. You will not be disappointed buying this book. No cheap black & white stroll through memory lane here. It's a full color journey spotlighting the creative talent of imaginative artists from days gone by to today. High quality paper and binding are the icing on the cake. A tip of the hat to the authors and publisher for such an authoritative volume on a thinly treated subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars Biggest Bargain Going--and Best
First of all: a disclaimer. I edited one of the three books incorporated in this single volume as well as an overall introduction. But I'm not shilling for the book--I don't have to. Included in this one volume are "Science Fiction of the 20th Century," "Horror of the 20th Century," and "Fantasy of the 20th Century." An illustrative history of the three genres--in one volume. Bought separately, they would have run you $... The same plates were used in this volume, the same paper--in many cases, the reproduction is even better than in the original volumes. NOT available in most bookstores. This is probably the biggest, single, hardbound volume of 4-color illustrations ever published in the United States. If you looked at the single books in the series and passed because of price, take a look at this one. Not just for the pretty pictures--the written historical sumamries are also worth the price. End of commercial--nobody's paying me to write this and any royalties as such have been prepaid. Fellow editor/authors Robert Weinberg and Randy Broecker know their stuff. Reason for this screed: I'm damned proud of the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars DEFINITIVE & THRILLING
If you have ever had even the slightest interest in Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror art, this book is the best choice. Rather than tossing out the same old trite examples, the authors have collected an astounding number of the very best covers and illustrations from pulps, novels and posters - all from the finest names in the business. Printed on high-quality gloss paper, every page is a treat for the eyes and a confirmation that pulp art holds an important place in American popular culture. All of the best authors are represented, the best artwork, and fantastic commentary. A perfect gift for a Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror fan - or for yourself! You won't be sorry for the price: The exceptional quality of the printing, the vibrant colors, and just the delightful heft of a book so filled with great pop art will be worth every penny. ... Read more

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