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81. Atlas Shrugged
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82. Economics of Money, Banking, and
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83. Finding Serenity : Anti-Heroes,
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84. Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters
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85. Old Soldiers
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86. Contact
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87. Amazonia
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88. Sphere
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89. Destroyer (Foreigner)
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90. Foundation (Foundation Novels
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91. Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake
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92. Ultimate Alien Anthology (Star
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93. Market Forces
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94. Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles,
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95. Watch on the Rhine (The Posleen
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96. Hollow Men (Star Trek: Deep Space
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97. Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse
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98. Gathering Blue (Readers Circle)
99. Ghost In The Shell 2: Man-Machine
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100. Neuromancer (Remembering Tomorrow)

81. Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand
list price: $19.00
our price: $13.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452011876
Catlog: Book (1999-08-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 29666
Average Customer Review: 3.98 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

At last, Ayn Rand's masterpiece is available to her millions of loyal readers in trade paperback.

With this acclaimed work and its immortal query, "Who is John Galt?", Ayn Rand found the perfect artistic form to express her vision of existence. Atlas Shrugged made Rand not only one of the most popular novelists of the century, but one of its most influential thinkers.

Atlas Shrugged is the astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world--and did. Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged stretches the boundaries further than any book you have ever read. It is a mystery, not about the murder of a man's body, but about the murder--and rebirth--of man's spirit.

* Atlas Shrugged is the "second most influential book for Americans today" after the Bible, according to a joint survey conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club
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Reviews (1124)

5-0 out of 5 stars What I always knew, but could never find the words to say.
"I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."

Thus, the hero of Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged chooses sides in an epic struggle for man's soul - not in heaven, but on earth. The central plot of Atlas Shrugged is a mystery story: as Dagny Taggard, a successful railroad executive, watches the entrepreneurs and inventors of her society disappear one by one, she seeks to discover the source of the scourge that is destroying her world. She witnesses the consequences of the ethics of altruism and collectivism as her society descends into socialism, productive men are turned into slaves, and mooching beggars into her masters.

Throughout the novel, Ayn Rand presents clear examples of her philosophy in action through strong heroes and treacherous villains who demonstrate the importance of philosophy and the consequences of moral and immoral lives. Her characters ask and answer numerous important questions such as "Is reality independent of our minds or is it shaped by them? What is the result of basing our actions on emotions and what happens when we base them on reason? Why are so many successful individuals hated for their success? Should love be free or must it be earned? What is the proper role of government?" However, the most influential question Atlas Shrugged answered for me was "what kind of life must a man lead to achieve a state of guiltless happiness?"

The influence of Atlas Shrugged on my life has been so profound that I am still learning new applications of the philosophy Ayn Rand presented every day. This book is for everyone who has ever questioned the ethics of altruism and asked "what is the purpose of my life?"

5-0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for all
This book easily fits into the category of timeless American Classics. Despite being written in 1957, Rand is masterful in not dating her work. I strongly recommend this to all Americans, as it clearly defines the road that awaits us if we allow socialist policies (championed by modern liberals) to hold sway. The book accelerates the process, and shows the absurdity of the logical extension of liberalism. I think anyone who considers themselves a liberal (or is a registered Democrat) should read this book to truly understand the deeper roots of their beliefs. I would strongly suggest this should be required reading for all students before graduating high school, however its length makes that untenable. This book was recommended to me by an extremely liberal professor (also a lawyer) who claimed she could not reconcile her beliefs with the persuasive arguments put forth by Rand. It truly shows that capitalism and the profit motive have been and continue to be the greatest forces for positive social change in the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars The most important book of the 20th century
I highly recommend this book along with the Fountainhead. Ayn Rand is a master in portraying heoric individuals triumphing over the collective-relativist mentality. She elucidated their aim in crystal clarity - the enslavement of man as a rational thinking being. One only need to look at the corrupting husk of the Soviet empire to validate her prescient observations.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book for those who value TRUTH
In a world without values, honesty, facts, and without hope, Miss Rand has painted a picture of a society with these characteristics. She takes the reader from level to level in an ever increasing crescendo of devastating social policies until the reader feels like they have climbed a mountain of insight into the darker side of the human condition. What is amazing is that this book was written well before the collapse of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries whose demise is forecast in this novel's display of the evils of socialism. Some people may not care for this book's treatment of wasteful and illogical social policies which are shown to be morally bankrupt. Not everyone will enjoy or understand this book... but then I doubt that Miss Rand's message was meant for everyone. She tells the enlightened reader that there are choices in life and leaves it to the individual to take responsibility for their own actions or inactions. Atlas Shrugged is quite simply humanity's Newest Testament with John Galt as its prophet.

3-0 out of 5 stars One of those books to read just because everyone else did
Look at all these reviews! - If you average them out, you're likely to get the truest possible assessment of this book:


In my opinion, any knowledge-pounds you gain by reading it are burnt off by the effort required to get all the way through it.

It's not a horrible story and it's an easy enough read, but with its thinly veiled "lessons" and its too-ideal-for-life characters, it comes off as corny.

And as for those lessons; reading some of the other reviews here makes me wonder if maybe I missed something, but I certainly didn't find anything particulary profound in it. Basically - work hard, take pride in your work, and don't look for any free handouts. That's it.

If you're considering reading it for these lessons, I'd recommend you watch a few episodes of either Lassie or Leave it to Beaver instead.

If you're considering reading it for the story, don't bother. Life's too short. Spend the time on something more entertaining.

If you're considering reading it just so you can say you've read it... well then, what are you reading this review for? Go read it.

: )

Hope that helps. ... Read more

82. Economics of Money, Banking, and Financial Markets, Update Edition, The (6th Edition)
by Frederic S. Mishkin
list price: $110.00
our price: $110.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0321113624
Catlog: Book (2002-07-02)
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Sales Rank: 167121
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good treatment of the role of money
The author is very good in leading the reader through how money and its avaliability play an important role in determining the economy of any country.
The banking industry and its role are covered as well - starting from a historical perspective to the present day. Our class was doing a chapter on the various reforms in the banking industry when the Enron-Anderson scandal happened. We had some very though-provoking discussions in the class based on the material in the text.
While I am not a complete stranger to economics, I took home a lot of valuable information by the time I was done with this course and this text book. I only wish the publishers had included a CD ROM of real-world exercises / problems that stimulate thought on issues to consider when determining monetary policy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and accessible book
Highly recommended for both dummies and people familiar with economics. The author presents an unbiased, unpartisan, clear introduction to numerous aspects of monetary policy, financial institutions, and financial markets. Along with factual material the author presents important and profound generalizations and principles.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good book for intermediate level
The book is designed well with appropriate headings and sub-headings making it smooth to read and navigate. The language used is also well understood.

This book introduces the various financial markets: bond, stock, foreign exchange and a brief discussion on derivatives. It gives a general idea and analysis behind the operating mechanisms of monetary policies, paving the way for further studies into the topics.

Its main focus is on the U.S. economy, and includes applications in the European Union and Asia as well. Small sections are devoted to real world applications, with reference to the concepts taught.

For who:
On the other hand, this book remains an introduction to monetary economies and is not for students seeking detailed analysis. Students should also have a basic background on economics in order to utilize the text to the fullest.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent textbook on monetary economics
For once, there is an economist with a passion to teach and communicate well. Although it is supposed to be an introductory text in monetary economics, I return to it again and again to check my basic understanding of this subject.

4-0 out of 5 stars Perfect Introductory Book for Money and Bank Theory
Perfect for an introductory course in Banking and Monetary Theory. Requires a preview of basic economics to really get the most benefits. Undergraduate students would surely appreciate it. ... Read more

83. Finding Serenity : Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly (Smart Pop series)
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
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Asin: 1932100431
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Benbella Books
Sales Rank: 1659
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this eclectic anthology of essays, former cast member Jewel Staite, "Kaylee," philosopher Lyle Zynda, sex therapist Joy Davidson, and noted science fiction and fantasy authors Mercedes Lackey, David Gerrold, and Lawrence Watt-Evans contribute to a clever and insightful analysis of the short-lived cult hit Firefly. From What went wrong with the pilot? to What's right about Reavers? and how the correspondence between the show's creator Joss Whedon and the network executives might have actually played out, the writers interrogate the show's complexity and speculate about what might have been if the show Firefly had not been cancelled.
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great addition to Firefly
I love Firefly and so I greatly enjoyed reading this book. Although there were a couple of essays I didn't really care for (what was the purpose of the one comparing Firefly to The Tick?), I liked seeing FIrefly from so many different points of view. One of my favorite essays was about how the music adds to the show. It makes me want to watch it all again right now so I can hear the music for myself. I also loved the essays about the relationship between Wash and Zoe and also about how freedom is used on the show and what it means for each character. I can't wait for the movie!

5-0 out of 5 stars Review from
For a brief period of time at the end of 2002, Joss Whedon, the man responsible for "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer," had a science fiction series on FOX television called "Firefly."Only eleven episodes aired before the show was unceremoniously cancelled, but the show lived on for its fans when all eleven episodes, plus three unaired shows, were released as a box set.In this way, the show kept its original fans and gained many more.The boxed set sold so well that Universal Studios acquired the rights to make a film based on "Firefly."

Jane Espenson, the "Firefly" writer who announced news of the film in 2003, has now edited Finding Serenity, a collection of essays about the television show, its universe, and characters.These essays run the gamut from larks, such as Glenn Yeffeth's attack on the FOX executives who cancelled the show to Keith R.A. DeCandido's well reasoned explanation for why the pilot-as-aired did not manage to attract an audience, to Lyle Zynda's complex look at the existential philosophy found in the series.

Many of the essays tend to focus on the same topics, although from different points of view.One of those topics is the strength and abilities of the women of the cast and crew.However, even as Tanya Huff describes the abilities of the second-in-command, Zoe Warren, or Robert Taylor lauds the women as the stronger portion of the crew, Nancy Holder sees them as weak and stereotypical.

One of the strengths of "Firefly" is that in just over a dozen shows (including the un-aired episodes), Whedon was able to create enough hooks and mysteries that the twenty authors represented in Finding Serenity are able to tackle a wide variety of topics, from the aforementioned question of the strength of characters to the existence of the Reavers, a bogeyman who the crew of the spaceship Serenity meet up with.Nevertheless, there are numerous other questions which are only touched upon in the essays, such as the mysterious history of Shepherd Book (played by Ron Glass) or the agenda of the equally mysterious Blue Sun corporation.

Several articles compare "Firefly" to other television shows, most notably Star Trek and its sequels, but also Don DeBrandt's comparison to the cult show "The Tick."These articles rely, to some extent on familiarity with not only "Firefly" but also the other show."Mirror/Mirror:A Parody" requires the reader to have some idea about the characters and situations of "Enterprise," as well as share Roxanne Longstreet Conrad's opinions of the two shows.

One of the high points of the anthology is the inclusion of an article by Jewel Staite, who portrayed the Serenity's mechanic Kaywinnet Lee Frye.Staite's essay looks at her five favorite moments from each of the episodes of "Firefly" and provides an adjunct actor's commentary to the various commentaries available on the DVD sets.It also serves to demonstrate that the actors, or at least one of them, is as big a fan of the show as the people who watched it.

While the essays in Finding Serenity can't provide a replacement for new episodes of the series or the upcoming film (scheduled for release in September, 2005), the book can help fans of the series scratch the itch to discuss the show and perhaps get a little more feeling for the various characters, secrets and subtexts, or at least the ideas of other fans of the show.

3-0 out of 5 stars Oh man oh man does my head hurt
Having never fallen in love with a TV show until I met Firefly, I bought this book hoping it would help me understand why I like the show so well.Unfortunately, the book hasn't helped much. I thought I liked the show in part because of the importance it placed on the value of freedom.However,the essay "Freedom and the Illusion of Freedom in Joss Whedon's Firefly" discussed how the characters aren't really free at all. I've watched my favorite episode, "Objects in Space," several times, sensing that there's many layers of meaning there, if only I could find them.There's a whole essay on "Objects in Space," but the arcane references to existentialism and post-modern subjective truth go right over my head.There's also about half a dozen long fairly academic essays about the mighty power of The Women of Firefly which don't really float my boat.What's missing are pieces that address the ship "Serenity" as a character, the interesting fusion of science fiction and the western genres, and even the basic question of why Firefly resonates with so many people.

What I like best are the less academic pieces.There's a funny essay that contrasts the three dimensional richness of Firefly to the dull flatness of the recent incarnations of Star Trek. There's a nice piece by Keith DeCandido in which he convinced me that the original Serenity pilot should have been limited to an hour because it truly is a little slow in parts.Best of all is Jewel Staite's piece combining her perspectives as an actress and a fan of the show to show us her favorite moments of each episode.

Also, the book cover and the title make it look as if it's some sort of new age self help book on how to use crystals to achieving holistic healing.This book is possibly worth a look if you're a big fan of the show.You can always skip the parts that make your head hurt.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile addition to my Whedonverse Collection
As with any collection of essays, it varies with the author.I have not finished the book but am 2/3 through.I have found interesting insights, giggled, and just shared the love.I love that some of my fav scifi authors are just as big fan as I am.Even the few criticisms are tempered with love.If you like this type of book, definitely buy it. ... Read more

84. Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters
by DickStaub
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
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Asin: 0787978949
Catlog: Book (2005-03-11)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 2284
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Written by award-winning radio personality Dick Staub, this compelling book is filled with anecdotes from the Star Wars films that serve as a launching pad into rediscovering authentic Christianity. Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters also contains quotes from revered “Jedi Christians” such as Thomas Merton, Teresa of Avila, the Apostle Paul, G. K. Chesterton, and other theologians, mystics, writers, and philosophers. The author sheds new light on the struggles and challenges of living faithfully in postmodern life and offers a reintroduction to what C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien called the “one true myth,” Christianity. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars About time Christians stop critiquing Star Wars!
When I was a teenager, I remember at Sunday School, we used material from Focus on the Family (Dr. James Dobson's organization) and when one lesson critiqued Star Wars as a pagan-influenced film and "Empire" especially for its "Buddhist concepts", our Sunday School class voted to drop use of Focus on the Family for our lessons. That was back in 1989 and I've never liked Dr. Dobson since (as I've learned more about him).

In the late 1990s, when I learned about how George Lucas was inspired by Joseph Campbell and his study of ancient mythologies to create the brilliant "Star Wars" saga, that got me interested in learning Joseph Campbell. There's nothing "evil" or "pagan" or even "anti-Christian" in learning about how other mythologies influenced story-tellers and religions through the ages. Unless Christians realize this fact, they will continue to lose out to popular culture and become as irrelevant as Zeus and Medusa.

I saw this book and it piqued my curiosity. I wanted to see if the writer had an anti-Star Wars bias or was he willing to examine the ideas in the film series in relation to Christian viewpoints. Fortunately, he is not like James Dobson...that is to say, he's not threatened by the big ideas presented by Star Wars. This book is amazing and necessary, as the writer ties in ideas to Christian ideas without stretching the point to where it doesn't fit. Fortunately, the writer seems to be advocating a kind of Christian life I'm familiar consistent with Jesus' call to help the poor and afflicted, the commitment to peace and nonviolence, etc. He doesn't try to distort the message of the Star Wars films by advancing the conservative/fundamentalist Christian line that supports wars, unfiltered capitalistic greed and compassionless economics...he sticks with the Jesus of the New Testament and early Christians who stood up to the Roman Empire. Thus, the writer has good credibility with me and this is a book I'd love to teach in my church's young adult Sunday School class.

The reason I subtract a star is because the writer totally got "karma" wrong. In one chapter, he criticizes George Lucas for his decision to change Han Solo's firing at Greedo first in the special edition of "Star Wars: A New Hope" because Lucas believes that killing without reason means there can be no hope of redemption (which isn't true if you follow the trajectory of Anakin Skywalker to his ultimate redemption). The writer tries to say that this view is what karma is. That is not true. Karma is simply the Golden Rule...a universal law much like the law of physics (for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction). Karma is any action that returns to the originator of such action. If you do evil, evil will come back to you. If you do good, good will come back to you. That's all it is. To distort it as something else hurts one's credibility a bit. To me, it seems like a lot of Christians are threatened by karma...even though no one should be. Jesus taught a principle of karma and if we all lived by the law of karma, we would have nothing to fear. Only people who commit evil acts want karma to be untrue, because they don't want to pay the price of their sins.

Other than that one glaring error, I recommend this book for study, as it will help people become better Christians and that is a good thing. Too many people have fallen away from Christianity because of the hypocritical leaders. Anything that helps people understand what Jesus really was about is a good thing.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Unique Integration of Theology and Culture
At the end of the 20th century, Paul Tillich tried to integrate theology and culture so that a world come of age could connect with Christian faith.While his attempt was brave, his failure may be explained by a departure from the concrete and radical teachings of Jesus, favoring instead the obscure language of ambiguous religion.

Dick Staub's book is successful precisely because his integration of Christian theology, history, philosophy, culture and biblical text embodied within the popular Star War myth retains the radical claims of Jesus for thinking and living Christianly.

As I read the book, I felt I was immersed in a meditation or devotional guide for the day.The reader is introdcued to mini-vignettes of church history, world culture, spirituality, history, politics and philosophy as the Jedi story is woven throughout the book.At other times I felt as though I was offered a study guide in refreshing language into the basics of Christianity with no requirement of prior religious knowledge.

Whether part of the Jedi following or not, Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters assures the reader that her quest for spiritual reality is only superceded by God's historic seeking of all humanity through the cross of Jesus Christ.The Gospel is conveyed to both mainline liberal, conservative evangelical or for most others who are spared the use of religious labels---all of whom desire spiritual fulfillment created by the nihilism of North American consumerism barely challenged by an equally commodified Christian(?) church.

What Dick Staub has accomplished is a new paradigm for communicating the historic Gospel story of God's love for the world.His book is an effective interplay of both medium and message without the one subsuming the other.Its fast-paced, succinct medium written humanly and vulnerably strips away the usual barriers that often accompany usual theological discourse.At the same time, its message is precisely retained without regrettably dumbed-down reduction that often characterizes today's religious parlance in a misguided attempt to trade off truth for "relevance."

All future 21st century theological discourse is now challenged to grapple with Staub's linguistic paradigm when confronted with contextualizing the Gospel into an increasingly post-human culture.

Paul O. Bischoff, Ph.D.
Wheaton, Illinois

5-0 out of 5 stars Rare Jewel on Today'sBookstore Shelves

Excellent!Practical!A Rare Find On Today'sBookshelves!!

Storytelling is the oldest form of passing wisdom from one generation to the next.The elder tells the story of his experiences, weaving in lessons he has gleaned.While the younger listens, the story becomes part of his/her mental landscape.Then when a similar situation arises, VOILA!The story is remembered by the youth.... and the lesson is applied.

Dick Staub is the consummate teacher/mentor in Wisdom of the Jedi. With a heart longing to reach the younger generation, he forges powerful metaphors and analogies from Star Wars for a generation who finds itself in an abyss of society's smorgasbord of sense overload and material possessions.

Today there is much talk of one's "spiritual journey" or "path", but not much evidence of radical transformation.Christianity `lite' doesn't seem to have questions about God......No Holy Mystery......No Awe.....just answers in fill in the blank Bible studies or in systematic theology.

Staub challenges the average Christian with Star Wars metaphors offering transformation, hope, and a sense of meaning.Those who choose to look at their relationship with God through the Star Wars lens will glean unexpected riches....and will finish the book with an excited mind and spirit.

Each generation has to discover God for itself. If Dick Staub had lived 100 years ago, he would have been an old man in the chimney corner passing down the faith through creative he urged young listeners to co-create with their Creator.Go buy the book. Itpierces the soul with laserlike precision and makes everything else, except being a follower of Jesus Christ, as exciting as a dial tone!

May the Creator of the Force be with you.

Sharon Newman Bordine, Ph.D.
NASA Teacher in Space representative

5-0 out of 5 stars A Metaphor for Life's Journey in Faith
The great success of this book rests not only on Dick Staub's ability to challenge his audience, but also his knack for persuading readers to challenge themselves.Mr. Staub rightly exposes the superficiality and hypocrisy that plague what he calls "Christianity-lite," and encourages us to move beyond that trap in search of a more authentic and transforming faith in and through Jesus Christ.Anecdotes and scripture verses abound, encouraging readers to continue their exploration of the "One True Myth" once they've turned the book's final page.Although the Star Wars metaphors will no doubt irk some cultural isolationists within the fundamentalist community, I highly recommend this book to anyone in search of genuine spirituality.

Note:If you simply wish to further your understanding of Jedi lore and philosophy, I suggest that you refer to the Tales of the Jedi series from Dark Horse Comics.Not only are they excellent reads, they also contain insight into the history of the Jedi Order, the rise of the Sith, and origins of the conflict between the two.However, don't expect "Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters" to resolve Star Wars continuity gaps, or provide you with a lengthy discertation on the theology of the Jedi.It's simply *not* the author set out to do with this book.As for the alleged "crass commercialism" of this work, I find it hard to reconcile such a notion with a careful reading of Mr. Staub's work.He is actually quite pointed in his criticisms of the gimmick mentality pervasive in today's "Christian" subculture, and challenges his readers to seek something deeper and more authentic than flavor-of-the-week faith.

1-0 out of 5 stars Caveat emptor
This work is nothing short of a cheap attempt to not only jump on the bandwagon, but to eat the donkey as well.It seems as if Staub wrote this book as a Christian philosophy piece without regard to Star Wars then, when no one took interest in it, added the Star Wars reference to drum up attention.
His comparisons of Christian philosophy to ideas posited in the Star Wars movies are entirely unconnected.The book uses Star Wars as an enticement so that the author can then move into his own Christian philosophy, but never relates the ideas in a meaningful way.
After reading the work I am forced to wonder if Staub bothered to watch Star Wars at all.In chapter 3 Staub describes Yoda as, "...a strange, bluish, big-eared, wizened little creature."Yoda, sweet friends, is green---not blue.
As a book of Christian philosophy this work is pedestrian, but as an analysis of the philosophy of Star Wars this book is nothing less than a contemptible swindle that uses a reference to popular movies to sell an unrelated book.
... Read more

85. Old Soldiers
by David Weber
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416508988
Catlog: Book (2005-09-01)
Publisher: Baen
Sales Rank: 37066
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Book Description

Captain Maneka Trevor was the sole human survivor of the Dinochrome Brigade's 39th Battalion . . . but she hadn't wanted to be one. The Bolo known as "Lazarus" -- Unit 28/G-179-LAZ -- was the 39th's sole surviving Bolo . . . but he hadn't been hers. The doctors and the Bolo techs have put them both back together again, yet there are wounds no doctor or technician can heal. And now Maneka and Lazarus must serve together once again, in a war whose stakes are literally the survival or extermination of the human race. They are all that stand between a desperate, secret colony of humanity and destruction: a Bolo commander torn by survivor's guilt and a Bolo whose very existence reminds her of all she has lost. The odds against them are heavy, the stakes are huge, and surrender is not an option. The Dinochrome Brigade is used to that, but can Maneka and Lazarus survive their own shared past to defend the present?

... Read more

86. Contact
by Carl Sagan
list price: $64.50
our price: $64.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671434004
Catlog: Book (1985-09-01)
Publisher: Simon Schuster Trade
Sales Rank: 166474
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

La única novela que escribió, Carl Sagan imagina una gran aventura, el primer encuentro del hombre con otros seres inteligentes. ... Read more

Reviews (275)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent if you have ever had an interest in science
..and this is from a guy who dropped out of first semester physics. I don't agree with the reviews that have made it sound like Sagan was trying to show off the breadth of his knowledge, or achieve some literary standing that remained out of his range. It was a rare pleasure to read a novel written by someone who expressed (and revived in me) the far-reaching curiosity I knew as a child and teenager. The novel did have a "flat", restrained feel to it, similar to Sagan's nonfiction, but I felt that this was not inappropriate, given the context (it certainly did not read like a textbook--the reader who said that needs to see some textbooks!). There were some minor unnecessary features, but fewer than I have seen in other authors who turned the experiences of a prior career into a novel (recently I've read a lot of Grisham, for instance), and I wasn't bothered by them. I read the novel after seeing the movie, and recommend this sequence, since I enjoyed the book far more, and particularly because the third act of the book is significantly longer, more scientifically interesting, and more detailed than the one in the movie (although not having read the book beforehand, I enjoyed the movie's version). Although I enjoyed the entire book, the part involving Pi really won me over. I don't know if it was Sagan's idea, but it is the most original sci-fi concept I have read about in years (I haven't gotten a tingle like that for a long time, probably because I keep seeing the same ideas rehashed). He does have some of the same appeal as Crichton. While he is less skilled as a storyteller, he more than makes up for it by having such a well-performed climactic section of the book; he does not suffer from Crichton's typical pattern of amazing and thought provoking openings, an even stretch in the middle, and a formulaic, disappointing wrap-up.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Good Science Fiction Read!
In my mind there are two kinds of science fiction in the world ... one: Earth is under attack by aliens, space ships, secret government aircraft, save the president!, laser missiles, and a lame movie ... and two: the good kind. Guess what kind this is?

Contact is mostly about the impacts of a message from intelligent life forms on the human race. Argus, a project set to scan the cosmos for communications from intelligent life forms finds a baffling sequence of zeros and ones, coming from somewhere around the star Vega. It is decrypted, and Earth is sent into a multi-trillion dollar investment, and a huge controversy. Religious leaders fight against scientists over the true meaning of the message.

The characters entertain me, and I love their personalities. They are all very human ... no one is a super hero. It takes place from the point of view of Eleanor Arroway, director of the Argus project and genius. She goes through a transformation in the course of the book, her personality changing and her mind widening. Other characters include the intriguing Hadden, (and his spectacular ending), and a hilarious female president of the United States.

This is not a modern book, (we're past the year 2000 and there are no space stations or alien communications in sight), but it is not dated. Set your mind back a few years before you read it.

Contact, though the abrupt ending may disappoint some, is about the unification of the world. This is not lame alien attack science fiction ... the aliens actually open the eyes of scientists and bring about a new age for Earth. A common goal helps to bring about world peace.

If you love science fiction, read this! Entertaining, intriguing, and a book that will hold you interest, Contact is what I recommend for the science fiction reader.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Novel; Failed Political Point
"Contact" is the story of one Dr. Eleanor Arroway, a radio astronomer whose work is responsible for Earth's first contact with an extraterrestrial species. From the start, Dr. Arroway is presented as a curious, confident, rational, independent lady--the ideal scientist. His description of her childhood and adolescence especially is poignant and serves to establish the Dr. Arroway we see throughout the novel.

Though Dr. Arroway is the quintessential inquisitor, she is still a human being, subject to human yearnings and human desires--and, primarily, human failings. This plays significantly throughout the book, as the political obstacles she must deal with are often complicated by her romantic and professional involvement with scientists in key influential positions, both in and out of government.

Faced with opposition from the Department of Defense, which is worried about what the Soviets; religious evangelists, who are concerned that they might not like the theological implications of contact with an alien species; and envious colleagues, who are worried that they might be publicly embarrassed, Dr. Arroway is forced to make compromises and concessions to reacher her one goal--the construction of the "Machine" described in blueprints transmitted to Earth by the alien civilization.

It must be said, though, that the primary purpose of this novel is to build support for government funding of scientific work, especially projects such as the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). At this, the novel fails miserably. Dr. Sagan's argument takes for granted that government has any place funding any sort of scientific work in the first place, a tenet that many (myself included) do not accept.

Dr. Sagan wrote "Contact" to present a fantastic case for continued funding of SETI. What he produced was a fantastic story--in fact, the best science fiction novel ever written--but did not make his point.

5-0 out of 5 stars more than a novel
While taking care to keep the fantastical adventure scientifically sound, Sagan seems to have given into his didactic nature. The book is a novel in the sense that it focuses on the central characters' thoughts, feelings, and experiences, but it is also an examination of human culture and philosophy. Fascinating . . . it will provide enlightenment for all future generations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book and Great Movie!
Sagan had the knack of getting his humanistic point of view out without being offensive to the general populace. He was also a great explainer of scientific ideas in a simple way, to make it easy to understand and interesting. I wish he would have lived longer so he could've written more novels. I think novel writing could have been his best skill. He died too young.

Jeffrey McAndrew
author of "Our Brown Eyed Boy" ... Read more

87. Amazonia
by James Rollins
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060002492
Catlog: Book (2003-06-01)
Publisher: Avon Books
Sales Rank: 22795
Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Rand scientific expedition entered the lush wilderness of the Amazon and never returned. Years later, one of its members has stumbled out of the world’s most inhospitable rainforest -- a former Special Forces soldier, scarred, mutilated, terrified, and mere hours from death, who went in with one arm missing . . . and came out with both intact. Unable to comprehend this inexplicable event, the government sends Nathan Rand into this impenetrable secret world of undreamed-of perils, to follow the trail of his vanished father . . . toward mysteries that must be solved at any cost. But the nightmare that is awaiting Nate and his team of scientists and seasoned U.S. Rangers dwarfs any danger they anticipated; an ancient, unspoken terror -- a power beyond human imagining -- that can forever alter the world beyond the dark, lethal confines of . . .

... Read more

Reviews (76)

5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting to the last page!
If you loved SUBTERRANEAN, you're going to love AMAZONIA. Having a personal tendency to rank books by my favorite authors, this one ranks head to head with Rollins' first thrill ride SUBTERRANEAN. The concept and plot of this novel are both captivating and unusual thus making a suspenseful and exciting story to read. Add to that the gigantic man eating crocs, land lubber piranhas and giant black panthers (my own personal faves), you're set for a rollercoaster ride. You'll find that
the action doesn't slow down and the characters drive the plot to its triumphant conclusion. The worse thing about reading this book was the feeling of "what am I going to read now to top that?" after I finished it! The prologue alone was enough to hook me. Highly recommended. Rollins easily leaves his peers in the action/adventure genre behind him in the dust with this new novel.

4-0 out of 5 stars Grabs you from page 1
Like all of James Rollins' books it presents a fascinating premise within the first couple of pages. One of the things I like about his writing is that there is very little "fluff", that is he sticks to the story and keeps it moving along at a fast clip. Every chapter was different and fascinating.

I like the way he often uses actual places in his books (although the Amazon doesn't seem too mysterious". In this book, I assume the plants and shaman medicines described are real, as are many of the dangers normal to that part of the world.

The only negative comment is that this book (as well as Subterranean) stretches the imagination a bit too much for my liking. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the read and finished the book in a few days, I have a hard type imagining a 100' long alligator, for example.

Don't let this deter you though. If you enjoyed any of his other books you'll not be disappointed with Amazonia.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT! GREAT!
I am not going to rewrite here what the book is about since my fellow reviewers so kindly already did that. I am just going to say that this book was GREAT!! I have been a Dean Koontz fan for years (and still am), but James Rollins books now share my bookshelve space. If anyone out there can tell me of any other authors that write like Mr. Rollins I would love to hear from you. The only others I have found that come anywhere near his style is Preston Douglas and Lincoln Child. Please e-mail me if you have any names for me

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book
I loved this book. I couldn't put in down! I felt like a little kid trying to read a private note in class as I tried to read this book at work. I would recommend this book to anyone!

3-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
Suspend belief on this one. It's absolutely necessary to enjoy it.

It isn't hard to do, though. The author has some fun with the more unbelievable aspects, winking almost, and the action is kept realistic, merely the circumstances are unbelievable. That's the key to holding the book together.

The characters aren't anything overly memorable, but you'll remember highly trained military squads against over-sized 'gators (well, almost) for quite some time.

The twists can often be seen, right down to an animal pal that is there to be sacrificed. Why must all books of this type include some sort of animal/robot sidekick there exclusively for the purpose of saving everyone's skin in the last act? Don't authors know WE SEE THIS COMING A MILE AWAY? Shame on them for committing to such an amateur device.

The ending, though a bit of a letdown after the action, works. You've already suspended disbelief for the appearance of the events, so suspsending it further for the cause isn't too hard. It's still a letdown, but not nearly as much as these stories often have.

If you're a fan of the loose science-fiction action/horror genre you'll be a fan of this. Think Preston/Child, Jeff Long, Matt Reilly, and Clive Cussler, falling somewhere in the middle of that grouping. ... Read more

88. Sphere
list price: $27.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394561104
Catlog: Book (1987-05-12)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 313326
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton is possibly the best science teacher for the masses since H.G. Wells, and Sphere, his thriller about a mysterious spherical spaceship at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, is classic Crichton. A group of not-very-complex characters (portrayed in the film by Sharon Stone, Dustin Hoffman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Queen Latifah) assemble to solve a cleverly designed roller coaster of a mystery while attempting (with mixed success) to avoid sudden death and expounding (much more successfully) on the latest, coolest scientific ideas, including the existence of black holes. Somehow, Crichton manages to convey the complicated stuff in utterly simplistic prose, making him, as his old pal Steven Spielberg puts it, "the high priest of high concept." Yet there is more to Crichton than science and big-ticket show biz. He is also, as any reader of his startling memoir Travels knows, a bit of a mystic--he is entirely open to notions spouted by spoon-bending psychics that most science writers would scorn. Sphere is not only a gratifying sci-fi suspense tale; it also reflects Crichton's keen interest in the unexplained powers of the human mind. When something passes through a black hole in Crichton's fiction, a lesson is learned. The book also contains another profound lesson: when you're staring down a giant squid with an eyeball the size of a dinner plate, don't blink first. ... Read more

Reviews (666)

4-0 out of 5 stars Mike-SAS pudong
"WOW" the first impression after putting Michael Crichton's sci-fi novel, Sphere.The novel is set in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in an underwater lab.A mysterious ship is discovered, with gadgets and equipment far into the future.A team of elite scientists are sent to the lab to discover more about this strange ship.Soon, Norman Johnson, lead psychology scientist is standing next to the space ship, only to discover that the ship is not from another planet, but from the future.But as soon as they venture deeper into the ship, more and more strange things are starting to happen.Animals that would normally be crushed by the water pressure start appearing; a hurricane strikes, trapping all of the scientists in the water.And suddenly, even without any power the computer starts receiving messages from an unknown source.Norman thinks its proof of an alien, but no one believes him.Soon a giant squid that can understand what they say starts attacking the lab.It destroys most of the lab and most of the crew and scientists.With limited food supply, Norman travels into the space ship in search for food, but instead he finds an alien object, a perfect sphere.Knowing that he may be the first to be in contact, Norman enters the sphere. Only to be confronted by his own unconscious mind.He gets the power to change things with his imagination.As he tries to change everything that has happened to the lab, the remaining two scientists show a nasty surprise.Both of them have been to the sphere, so all three's power contradict each other.Finally, when Norman and another survivor team up to destroy the lab and set sail back to the surface.Although the story gets really confusing, the book is a terrific read.And should definitely be read by all Crichton fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Sphere by Michael Crichton is about the United States military having a secret project to figure out why there is a spacecraft dating from the future at the bottom of the sea. Mathematicians, biologists, psychologists, zoologists, and more go down to the bottom of the sea to figure out what this spacecraft does. Norman Johnson leads the exploration and through twists and turns they start to see the pieces of what the spacecraft is. As they look through the storage areas, they come across a sphere. You will never expect what happens after its discovered. This is a great book that will make you think about what happens next, but you will never guess what actually happens as Sphere takes you through twists and turns. I feel it's a Great Book.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Guaranteed to read all day or your money back!!"
This is a great book for all sci-fi lovers like me. The concept of **** (I did that as to not give away the good parts of the book) is truly fascinating to me. If you are interested in UFOs, then this is a book for you. Anyone who hasn't read this book should read it, for the people who have already read it, READ IT AGAIN!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars CRICHTON'S BEST BOOK!!
Unlike many authors of "page-turning, non-stop action, thrilling, etc" books, Michael Crichton let's the reader understand the novel's characters and their personalities.
This book was simply amazing, the only problem is i'm not very patient and the first ten pages of the book i read about a year ago and decided it was a boring book. Then earlier this week after reading State Of Fear, i needed more crichton, so i picked this up again. i finished it in two sittings. i was GLUED to this book.

I think this is crichtons best book, but i've only read: Prey, State of Fear, Rising Sun, and Sphere

the movie i saw a few years ago and i remember it being cool... i dunno

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!!!!
Michael Crichton is one of the best writers of our time. This book is a perfect example of this. If you're into science fiction you will like this for sure. This book is much better than the movie. It mixes a lot of technological science fiction with suspense in a well balanced way. If you're a fan of Michael Crichton and haven't read this book. Please do. You will not regret it. It's a must buy. ... Read more

89. Destroyer (Foreigner)
by C. J. Cherryh
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756402530
Catlog: Book (2005-02-28)
Publisher: Daw Books
Sales Rank: 163542
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Book Description

The first book in the new Foreigner trilogy from the Hugo Award-winning author

C.J. Cherryh, one of the most prolific and acclaimed science fiction writers in the world, now delivers the seventh book in her Foreigner series and the first book in the new Foreigner trilogy-the epic tale of the survivors of a lost spacecraft who crash-land on a planet inhabited by a hostile, sentient race. From its beginnings as a human-alien story of first contact, the Foreigner series has become a true science fiction odyssey.
... Read more

90. Foundation (Foundation Novels (Paperback))
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553293354
Catlog: Book (1991-10-01)
Publisher: Spectra
Sales Rank: 3904
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Foundation marks the first of a series of tales set so far in the future that Earth is all but forgotten by humans who live throughout the galaxy.Yet all is not well with the Galactic Empire. Its vast size is crippling to it.In particular, the administrative planet, honeycombed and tunneled with offices and staff, is vulnerable to attack or breakdown. The only person willing to confront this imminent catastrophe is Hari Seldon, a psychohistorian and mathematician.Seldon can scientifically predict the future, and it doesn't look pretty: a new Dark Age is scheduled to send humanity into barbarism in 500 years.He concocts a scheme to save the knowledge of the race in an Encyclopedia Galactica.But this project will takegenerations to complete, and who will take up the torch after him? The first Foundation trilogy (Foundation,Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation) won a Hugo Award in 1965 for "Best All-Time Series."It's science fiction on the grand scale; one of the classics of the field. --Brooks Peck ... Read more

Reviews (261)

4-0 out of 5 stars The fall of the Galactic Empire begins
Foundation consists of five stories separated by several decades each. The Trantorian Empire has lost its hold on the outer perimeter of the galaxy. Hari Seldon, founder of the predictive science of psychohistory, knows that the Empire is doomed to collapse and that thirty millennia of barbarism and anarchy will ensue before a second empire will rise. But Seldon claims to know a way to shorten the dark ages from 30,000 years to a single millennium.

The stories in Foundation chronicle the infancy and development of Seldon's Foundation society initially established on the remote planet Terminus. Seldon's psychohistory predicts several crises that the Foundation must survive in order to bring about the desired drastic shortening of the dark ages. Four of the five stories each describe a crisis that confronts the Foundation.

So far I've read the Robot series, the Empire series, and the first three books in the Foundation series (Prelude to Foundation, Forward the Foundation, Foundation). I find the epic story so far to be extremely engaging and imaginative. The stories in Foundation are a bit disconnected and not fleshed out enough, but nevertheless do a more than adequate job of describing the fall of the Galactic Empire.

5-0 out of 5 stars True classic
Personally, I don't like "classic" sci-fi. It can be preachy, dated, dry, corny or just not as "mature" as modern science fiction. However, Asimov gives just enough characterization, not too much science and the right amount of action adventure and conceptual gems to keep your mind racing. He truly is the grand daddy of science fiction.

Quirky lines like "Galaxy knows!" or "By Seldon!" evoke nostalgia for the time of space rangers and laser guns. So what if nuclear power is a thing of the past? Asimov doesn't beat you down with tecnobabble. You just know that thats the prime power source in his idea of the future. Remember, this was written in 1941. Furthermore, the writing style and dialogue don't seem dated at all. Asimov's writing is simple, clean, and doesn't get bogged down with excess ramblings. His true talent is in plotting unexpected twists and turns that make this book a pageturner.

Hari Seldon created psychohistory. It is mathematics applied to the development of human society on a grand scale. Seldon's new science predicts the path of human civilization with no regard to individual actions. Religion has given us fate vs. free will. Asimov poses a perhaps even more frustrating question, what if science tells us that one man's will cannot change the path of history?

You're not going to get soliquoys droning on and on about a lost love or a crumbled courage; But what you do get is a brilliant collection of short stories Asimov wrote separately that later were compiled as one novel.

The four(?) stories are brief yet cohesive glimpses into the developing stages of the Foundation's rise amidst the decay of the Imperial Empire. Each character driven event propels the Foundation through its first stages of development: political autonomy, technology protected by religion, and economy. I think Asimov did a great job in breathing life into these characters. After I finished the book, I remembered Hari Seldon's mystic wisdom, Salvor Hardin's determination and Hober Mallow's money hungry practicality and what remains is an overwhelming sense of awe and satisfaction. You will get that too.

1-0 out of 5 stars Waste of time;Stick to Robot novels.
This book is one of the most overrated books I have ever read. There is very little in the way of plot and character development. There is no climax in this book. The book reads like a historical record, similar to Tolkiens Silmarillion, rather than an actual story. If you like reading historical records, you may like this book. If you are looking for an exciting novel.... better luck elsewhere.

5-0 out of 5 stars The "Foundation" series was mesmerizing!
But, then, how could it not be when its author was the incomparable Isaac Asimov? There are, of course, plenty of other noteworthy works by all manner of Old Masters as well as newer authors that, in my opinion, at least belong next to the "Foundation" series simply because they, too, are great sci-fi adventures and space opera: "Stranger in a Strange Land", "Puppet Masters", "2001", "2010", "Rendezvous with Rama", "Ringworld", all the "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" books, as well as books as new to the genre as "Advent of the Corps" and others. I mention them only to show that what great sci-fi authors like Isaac Asimov started decades ago still lives and breeds more and more fantastic works!

5-0 out of 5 stars Not just the greatest trilogy ever...
But Asimov is one of the greatest science-fiction authors to have every lived. His massive work adding itself to works by other such sci-fi masters: "Childhood's End", "Rendezvous with Rama", "Stranger in a Strange Land" as well as the more modern cyberpunk works like "Neuromancer", "Mona Lisa Overdrive", "Snow Crash", "Prey", and "Cyber Hunter". All are must-reads for any hardcore science-fiction and cyberpunk collector. ... Read more

91. Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter (Paperback))
by Laurell K. Hamilton
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0515134503
Catlog: Book (2000-10-01)
Publisher: Jove Books
Sales Rank: 11011
Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

There are a lot of monsters in Anita Blake's life. And some of them are human. One such individual is the man she calls Edward, a bounty hunter who specializes in the preternatural. He calls her to help him hunt down the greatest evil she has ever encountered. Something that kills and maims and vanishes into the night. Something Anita will have to face alone...

Praise for the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels:

"In Obsidian Butterfly, Laurell K. Hamilton delivers an erotic, demonic thrill ride. Her sexy, edgy, wickedly ironic style sweeps the reader into her unique world and delivers red-hot entertainment. Hamilton's marvelous storytelling can be summed up in three words: Over the top. She blends the genres of romance, horror and adventure with stunning panache. Great fun!"-- Jayne Ann Krentz

"Hamilton has endowed her heroine with a charming mix of male bravado, feminine guile, and self-deprecating humor."-- Publishers Weekly

"Ms. Hamilton's intriguing blend of fantasy, mystery, and a touch of romance is great fun indeed."-- Romantic Times

"Hamilton takes her world by the teeth and runs with it, devising a whipcrack adventure that moves like the wind, grips you by the throat and doesn't let go."-- Locus

"Mayhem, madness, old spells and older vampires. And Anita Blake at the center of it, struggling to stay on top...perfect!"-- The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
... Read more

Reviews (245)

3-0 out of 5 stars Obsidian Butterfly / The Edward Book
As Laurell Hamilton said in the opening acknowledgements, this book is for the Edward fans out there. (Edward is the sociopathic bounty hunter we know from the earlier Blake books.) People who haven't read the rest of the Anita Blake series won't get much out of this one; unlike its predecessors, it doesn't bother explaining past events and relationships, and new readers may be completely lost. However, assuming you've read the first eight books of the series, there's a lot to be enjoyed in Obsidian Butterfly. The author does a wonderful job with the characters in this book, especially Edward, and watching them develop and interact in new situations is a treat. Though only Anita and Edward are familiar from the previous books, a new supporting cast of surprisingly deep characters makes its appearance. It's enough to make most readers overlook the shallow, muddled plot and the irritatingly repetetive self-analysis by the hero, who narrates the book. Despite the excellent character development, witty dialogue, top-notch action sequences, and morbidly fascinating gore, this is not one of Laurell Hamilton's best books. Add the fact that this book is unsuitable for readers new to the series, and it becomes a poor choice for Laurell Hamilton's hardback debut.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Frighteningly Good Read!
"Obsidian Butterfly" by Laurell K. Hamilton is an enthralling addition to the Anita Blake series. It is filled with expertly rendered horror and action sequences that will have readers nervously looking over their shoulders for days!
In this 9th instalment of the series, Edward the cold-blooded assassin calls in the favour Anita owes him for killing one of his back-ups some time ago. Edward, alias Ted Forrester, needs Anita, tough-as-nails necromancer and vampire executioner, to come act as his back-up in a case that has him seriously spooked (and Edward being spooked is absolutely unheard-of!). So, Anita packs her bags and travels to New Mexico.
Anita is horrified when she sees the gruesome and gory murder victims and the even more horrific "survivors". Everyone is at a loss as to what would be capable of committing these atrocities. In hope of gaining some insight into the case, Anita seeks the help of the local Master Vampire Itzpapalotl (English translation: Obsidian Butterfly), a self-proclaimed Aztec goddess. From that point on, Anita runs into all kinds of nasty people and preternatural creatures, and readers are treated to some fantastic (and violent) action-adventure sequences. Anita is determined to stop whatever is committing these heinous crimes, and as she tries to do just that, she has to fight her way through many perilous situations. The non-stop conflict builds to a wonderfully simple but thrilling climax that is sure to satisfy readers.
I really, really enjoyed this book. I thought it was a fascinating departure on Hamilton's part, though it is certainly not appropriate for the faint of heart. "Obsidian Butterfly" provides a refreshingly different storyline and a very interesting up-close look at the inner workings of Edward. Edward is a highly intriguing character, and his contrasts and mysteries, along with the exciting storyline make the nearly 600 pages of this book fly by. I couldn't help but miss Jean-Claude a little, but the strengths in this story more than made up for his absence. Anita continues to grow and evolve as a person, and I think she is a fabulous character. "Obsidian Butterfly" is truly wonderful entertainment, so don't miss out. It is suitable for first time readers of the series as well as long-time fans, and is sure to be enjoyed by all!

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book so far!
I've read all the previous Anita Blake books, and I have to say this book gave me a pleasant surprise after the crap that was "Blue Moon". Blue Moon was the previous book and had so much sex and porn inclinations in it, that I was skipping whole sections at one go. Now I'm just a regular guy who loves the occasional porn, but Blue Moon really went overboard. In Obsidian, the story was interesting, and there was surprisingly little sex. It felt like Laurell finally woke up and concentrate on writing a good story instead of trash. Well done!

3-0 out of 5 stars Ok, Just ok
When I first started reading this series I enjoyed it. But up to this book I started to find Anita very annoying and this book seems to cultivate all her annoying characteristics into one rollercoaster ride. Basically Anita has turned into an overly aggressive teenager with a mine is bigger attitude. Which makes you hope one of the monsters would just eat her and get it over with. The story line is still predictable and the dialog is weak. I'm not sure what happened to the series but I hope the next book is better.

5-0 out of 5 stars I adore this one!
This is my favorite book of the series. The action and detail are outstanding. Anita's moral dilema, accompanied by a perplexing mystery and disgusting murders, make this book very absorbing.

It's not for the faint of heart however, so be carefull. Some of the scenes, one in particular involving children, are very disturbing.

All in all a good read. ... Read more

92. Ultimate Alien Anthology (Star Wars Roleplaying Game)
by Eric Cagle, Michael Mikaelian, Steve Miller, Owen K. C. Stephens
list price: $34.95
our price: $23.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786928883
Catlog: Book (2003-04-19)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Sales Rank: 89123
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Every Star System Has Its Heroes.

From the Outer Rim to the Galactic Core, countless different species populate the galaxy. While most members of each of these alien races share similar characteristics, among every species--from Geonosians and Jawas to Clawdites and Krish--great heroes and despicable villains can be found.

This sourcebook features:
• Descriptions of 180 alien species, including those from Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
• New prestige classes, including the Aerobat, the Changeling, and the Findsman.
• Species-specific gear and weapons, including Nagai electromesh armor, the Cerean meditation crystal, and the Kerestian darkstick.

To use this sourcebook, you also need the Star Wars Roleplaying Game Revised Core Rulebook.
... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Kel Dors, Kushibans, and Falleens...Oh, my!
So far I have just about every release of the new D20 based Star Wars role playing game from Wizards of the Coast (with the exception of the GM screen and character sheets, that is.)- I figured since it was such a welcome departure from the lousy and unheroic WEG game engine that it deserved my attention. And being a complete salivating Star Wars fanatic didn't hurt either. Now, Wizards obviously has a different publishing philosophy than West End Games does, and that's a shame. WEG had excellent source material- I always use it when designing the current campaign that I'm working on, because for the most part Wizards doesn't publish all that many books on places (Core Worlds book nothwithstanding) and things (planets, people, weapons, source books from the novels, etc.), instead the focus on guides for making characters and places, rather than provide them directly in published works.

This is a double edged sword, because given that Wizards now owns (as far as I know), all of the WEG material, it would be nice if they started releasing it after converting it to the D20 rules. Enter the Ultimate Alien Anthology- a send up to the Alien Anthology published in 2001 and gave only a handful of aliens. The Ultimate book provides almost 200 different species that PCs and GMs can use for characters. I have seen many science fiction RPGs where they only provide you have a half-dozen races to play, providing 200 seemed like a gift from the Force, and the authors really did their homework by providing aliens from not only the movies, but also the books and previous WEG publications. Each entry is laid out clearly and includes notes on personality types, physical description, homeworld, sample names, life span, favored classes, special abilities- like darkvision, species traits pluses or minuses to Strength, Dexterity, etc. and a sample species commoner type. Each grouping of races also has a height chart with very well done illustrations of each alien. The book offers such a diverse selection of aliens that it should provide even the finickiest role player enough of a choice to find something he or she likes.

There are some powers and abilities that should be examined carefully before handing them over to a PC, but for the most part the book is quite well balanced between the races. Star Wars has such a massive amount of creatures in it that a book like this was needed and my only complaint is that they left out non-sentient creatures. That is, all the monsters present in the first anthology are gone, more importantly, they got rid of the Hoojibs! Star Wars without Hoojibs is like a day without air! Seriously, I suspect Wizards will publish a Star Wars bestiary or monster manual that will include rancors, Corelian sand panthers, mynocks, gundarks and space slugs. For now the older Anthology will have to do for 'monsters'. For the most part, though, the Ultimate Alien Anthology is probably the best source book Wizards has done for Star Wars to date- but I do want more books with a lot more substance than we have been getting.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Name Says It All!
When one hears the words "Ultimate Alien Anthology", one expects a lot. You expect to see every alien ever seen in the movies, or read about in the books and games.

Ultimate Alien Anthology delivers. Within the pages of this book are a total of 180 alien species. This gives players plenty of options for generating a character, and it gives the GM tons of options for NPCs.

Also included in this book is a section on prestige classes. Some are left generic enough to fit several races (i.e. the Aerobat), although I felt that there should be more race-specific ones. The Findsman prestige class would have been a good example of a race-specific prestige class, but the GM can allow non-Gand characters for this class as well.

UAA also has two appendices - one for new feats, and the second for Yuuzhan Vong characters. Most of the feats are fairly unremarkable, mainly adding in some D&D feats, or improving on natural abilities.

The second appendix details how to play Yuuzhan Vong characters, including how the Vong work for each class. Add into tht a sidebar on Yuuzhan Vong gear, as well as notes on skills and feats.

Overall, the rules look adequate, although I have to wonder why Gamorreans don't have a Charisma penalty.

This book's primary weakness is its art. The quality varies throughout, and some art does not portray some races adequately, mainly due to the scale in comparison with other races. The Gand looks like he's as tall as an Ewok, and the Hutt's size appears smaller than what it actually is.

Overall, this is a good quality book. It has something for everyone, from players to GMs to non-gamer Star Wars fans who just want some info on the aliens of Star Wars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another quality book for the Star Wars line
Comparing the Ultimate Alien Anthology to the original Alien Anthology is much like comparing a Cadillac to a LeCar. Where the original book evoked yawns with its bland artwork, uninspired layout, and strange, bipolar mix of artistic renderings and photos, the Ultimate book is eye-catching, tasteful, and most importantly, chock full of content.

Starting from the outside, this attractive book gets a BIG mark in the plus column because it's hardcover. Softcover books may be cheaper, but they get damaged too easily. And of course, like most of the recent Star Wars books, it's full-color throughout.

The book begins with a thoughtfully designed table of contents that breaks all of the topic areas into alphabetical lists. As one reads on, it becomes evident that most of the races from the Alien Anthology and the Revised Core Rulebook make a return- a few, most notably the Yuuzhan Vong, have been tweaked- and there are many new races as well. Every single race has a labeled picture, so there will be no doubt what a Chev looks like, or if the picture you're looking at is actually a Chevin. As always, the race profiles and descriptions are informative yet concise.

If this book was simply a list of races it would still be a good product, but it's the extras that really push it over the top. There are literally dozens of items of new gear (look for the Gamorrean Battle Plate!), sixteen new feats, and six new prestige classes: Aerobat, Beastwarden, Bodyguard, Changeling, Mystic Agent, and Telepath. The Big Game Hunter and Findsman are also back in revised form, for a total of eight prestige classes.

The Prestige Classes aren't truly race-specific. For example, you no longer have to be a Gand to be a Findsman (although it certainly helps)- and while an Aerobat is usually a flying character like a Geonosian, it could also work for a character wearing a jump pack. This open-ended approach is a nice touch.

Ironically, the Ultimate Alien Anthology fails to deliver in the one area that the original Alien Anthology shined: non-sentient creatures and animals. Other than a small sidebar for the Beastwarden, there is not a single creature to be found. However, I wouldn't call this a liability because it seems to be a deliberate decision on the part of the authors to keep the book focused on its topic, rather than a careless omission. Hopefully, we'll see a "Creature Anthology" at some point in the future. If you can't wait that long, then you may still find the original Alien Anthology to be useful for that purpose, but in every other way the Ultimate book is clearly superior.

In short, it's my opinion that the Ultimate Alien Anthology is everything that the original book should have been. It's a standout performer with all the style, flair, and depth of information that has been a feature of the last several Star Wars roleplaying books. Whether you are a brand new player or the most discerning GM, I'd recommend it as a solid investment for anyone playing the game.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow... that's a lot of species. A must have for every GM
It's like the monster manual, but it's Star Wars... and it's huge. So many species to play, newer pictures and drawings, from the Codru-Ji of Munto Codru to the Zeltron, Celegian and the Defel.

At first i didn't find a need to have all these aliens. The Alien Anthology was more than enough for me. But now that i have it, I'm putting in all these colorful characters and species for heroes to interact with, new challenges. There are a handful of new prestige classes to really personalize heroes. Be sure to take a look at the Telepath, or the Mystic Agent with the wall-walk ability.

If you have the Alien anthology then you probably have a few dozen species as opposed to about 180 the Ultimate Alien Anthology offers. What doesn't it have? Non-playable species are not in the UAA. What else doesn't it have? Some of the species in the AA didn't cross over to the Ultimate AA, so, maybe it's another Lucas Arts marketing ploy, or a way to make everyone who bought the AA already feel better. As well, there are drawings of the species, done by a variety of artists, but they are fresh new pictures that also compare height, just so you can get a general idea of the speices. But the AA gave, for most species, a male and a female pictures... the UAA just gives random genders, or more typical, Noghri male, Zabrak Male, Zeltron Female. Some species or sub-races such as Lorrdians and Firrerreo, Lorrdian's especially would have a few differences. Still many of the entries in the Essential Guide to Alien Species still have not made their way into the WoTC official ruling.

Bottom line... get it. It's a great book to add an edge into your campaign or just spice up the usual cantina with some colorful characters. All in all it's a great buy, good price, a bunch of creatures... and they're already adding more on the WoTC site.

3-0 out of 5 stars Alien Smorgusboard
This book is a wide selection of aliens, mostly a reprint of all the previous aliens published in previous books.

As such it's a good reference book, even if a bit dry. The prestige classes are mostly race specific, but are pretty interseting. ... Read more

93. Market Forces
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345457749
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 4432
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Richard Morgan, the award-winning author of Altered Carbon and Broken Angels, strikes out into new territory with Market Forces, leaving behind the farflung battlegrounds of Takeshi Kovacs for the not-so-distant future of corporate Earth. Here, Morgan extrapolates a world where commodities trading reaches a brutal pitch and the outcomes of banana republic uprisings are the new market. Now, on the road to success, the brokers of the new economy compete for status and promotions via road rage on the freeways of new London.

Morgan's conflicted protagonist, Chris Faulkner, is a comer known for one spectacular kill that shot him to the top of mid-range global capital firm. He parlays his reputation and skills as a driver into a job in the emerging field of "Conflict Investment" at the world's hottest and hardest firm. Soon he finds himself running with the big dogs and rises to the top of a brutal realm, but his ascent is quickly threatened by vicious senior partners, gold-digging suitors, fame, fair-weather friends, and his own nagging conscience.

Market Forces is at once an anti-globalization treatise and anime fantasy meets The Road Warrior. Morgan employs the graphic-novel imagery of his two previous novels to create a disturbingly brutal picture of slash-and-burn capitalism run amok. There are times when Faulker's moral quandries seem hollow in the face of his actions but this isn't Crime and Punishment. Enjoy the ride and "come back with blood on your wheels or don't come back at all." --Jeremy Pugh Exclusive Content

A Winning Translation: An Exclusive Essay by Richard Morgan

His novels may paint a bleak picture of the future, but Richard Morgan has a great attitude toward language, and one word in particular. Read his exclusive essay and find out why he'll never consider himself, or anyone else, anything worse than an occasional non-winner.

... Read more

Reviews (24)

3-0 out of 5 stars Flawed but intriguing dark near-future
Chris Faulkner is a man on the move. He's used his driving skills to kill one famous driver an defeated others and now he moves to one of the hottest companies out there. But Shorn, his new company, doesn't believe in sissy stunts like dragging one of Chris's injured opponents to the hospital. Now that Chris is playing in the big leagues, he faces some tough competition. As he learns to party and kill with the big boys, his marriage begins to deteriorate. But the worst comes when he realizes that some of his worst enemies are within his own company.

Author Richard K. Morgan spins a darkly dystopic near-future where a form of capitalism runs amuck. Road Rage has become a formally recognized method of resolving disputes and private companies have taken over small wars, funding guerilla movements or repressive regimes in return for control over the economies. The CIA and former Russian intelligence agencies are now private companies, still doing assassination and gun-running, but doing it for profit rather than for some supposed national interest.

The dark future world of MARKET FORCES is intriguing. In a world where every government function is considered for privatization, why not warfare? And managing third world economies for private corporate benefit is as old as the Roman Empire and the Banana Republics of Central America. Still, I thought the car-wars element was a big far-fetched.

What kept MARKET FORCES from being as compelling as I'd hoped, and as the intriguing world should have allowed, was the protagonist's character. He seemed too willing to abandon his wife and chase after the beautiful reporter. He gave up his relatively peaceful ways too quickly, almost happily. I didn't really get a sense of struggle or sacrifice on his part. Still, the action moves fast, the car-wars stuff is a lot of fun, and the whole dark futuristic feel makes MARKET FORCES a book to read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Impressive.
This was the first novel I've read by Morgan, but after reading Market Forces, I'll have to go back and pick up his first two efforts.Other reviewers have said this book is the weakest of the three he's written; if that's so, the first two must be spectacular!

I greatly enjoyed this novel.True, it wasn't a classic for the ages, but what is?Or rather, what is recognized as being a classic at the time it's written?*wink*The writing was crisp and flowing, never bogged down, and was lean without being light in description.The dialogue was smooth, and the characters were great.All of them had their seedy sides, things that made me say 'what the hell is wrong with you?', but that's what I liked about them.No cardboard cutouts for me, thanks.I like conflicted characters; anything else is boooooring.

4-0 out of 5 stars Morgan's best book so far
One of the strengths of science fiction is to explore ideas.
The core idea that Morgan explores is the result of globalization
and competition, both between individuals and between countries.
As a software engineer who has seen the engineering community
savaged by the offshoring of engineering jobs, I have sympathy with
the point of this allegory.

The character in Morgan's two previous books is a mercenary.
I never felt that the character was deeply developed beyond the
understanding that he had seen and done some terrible things.
While burnout may truely become an overriding character
trait, it lacks complexity in a story.

Chris Faulkner, who is the central character in "Market Forces"
is a complex character who develops as the plot unfolds.
As in life, Faulkner is forced to makes choices and we see
the result of these choices in the storyline.

The other character in the story is "market forces" and the
result of unrestrained and largely unregulated capitalism.
The world described in the story exists to make a point.
The "car combat" that is a constant theme in the story
and the "corporate samurai" culture is not something that
Morgan is suggesting will come to pass.The world the
story is set in exists to make a point about some of the
uglier aspects of the evolution of modern globalization.

4-0 out of 5 stars Occasional tedium sandwiched between excellence.
I'm a big fan of Morgan since I first picked up Altered Carbon and its sequel Broken Angels.I was a little unsure as to where he would take me with without Takeshi Kovacs along, but the end result is overall quite good.

Some far out ideas are presented in Market Forces, some of which I don't think are actually that fanciful come 50 years from now.It was difficult to stop reading this generally, but there were some parts throughout where I found myself skipping paragraphs.

Apart from the pacing issues (which I overcame pretty quickly) Market Forces is another winner from Morgan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
Morganextends today's market forces and demogaphic to a logical extreme.Anyone who thinks the book "absurd" -- as some reviewers here have -- never has worked on Wall Street or been a senior manager in a large corporation.The metaphors and allegories are all too real, my friends.(Check out the Enron recording of the traders rejoicing at the burning of a refinery in California.)It is all, too, too close to the truth, and I am not quite sure how he has done it without hanging out in board rooms or the bars of investment bankers.Will partnerships be decided by death races in the future?Probably not, but this fine work of fiction certainly uses the conceit brilliantly to chart the ethical challenges of corporate America today. ... Read more

94. Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles, Book 2)
by Frank Herbert
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0441172695
Catlog: Book (1994-11-01)
Publisher: ACE Charter
Sales Rank: 4186
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

(2nd in Dune Chronicles)

The bestselling science fiction series of all time continues! This second installment explores new developments on the desert planet Arrakis, with its intricate social order and its strange threatening environment.DUNE MESSIAH picks up the story of the man known as Maud'dib, heir to a power unimaginable, bringing to fruition an ambition of unparalleled scale: the centuries-old scheme to create a superbeing who reigns not in the heavens but among men.But the question is: Do all paths of glory lead to the grave?

"Brilliant . . . It is all that DUNE was, and maybe a little more."(Galaxy Magazine) ... Read more

Reviews (137)

5-0 out of 5 stars Finishes Making Herbert's Point
While Dune Messiah is the second part of the Dune trilogy, I think Frank Herbert really accomplished his goal of describing the failure of the future-seeing hero in this book. Unfortunately, you might have to read the first Dune book to get to this one.

The second book takes over twelve years after Paul Atreides' triumph over Emperor Shaddam IV. He is master of all he surveys, and yet he sees trouble on the horizon, trouble which none of his miraculous powers can stop. He can only bide his time until "the inevitable" comes to pass. Herbert is not fond of this vision for humanity (to know the future in advance), and he makes that very plain in this novel. In many ways, Dune Messiah is a much easier book to read than the first one, as everything is set out in much plainer language.

There is a conspiracy against Emperor Paul Muad'Dib (spelled with a lower-case "Muad'dib," just to confuse me) in this book, as well. We have the wicked old crone, Gaius Helen Mohiam, a Spacing Guild Navigator, the history-writing, conniving Princess Irulan, and something not mentioned in the first book: Scytale, a Tleilaxu "Face Dancer" (shape-shifter). Herbert manages to conjure all of these characters up believably, and also portrays what's going on in everyone's head. The motivations are clearer in this book, and the imagery (for me) much better.

We also find Paul's sister Alia has become a power in her own right, conducting ceremonies she does not believe and which give her no peace, but which somehow manage to calm the masses. Herbert is unflinching in his judgment of Paul and Alia as religious manipulators, and manages to question (as might a suitably inclined reader) how the average person could believe such hokum. Herbert seems to insinuate that religious conviction comes at the point of a sword, a belief which might hold a slight grain of truth, depending on which of the sword you're on.

The book also contains the first appearance of a "ghola," a body raised from the dead by the genetic technology of Bene Tleilax, but with no memory of its former self. The ghola, in this case, happens to be the loyal Atreides retainer, Duncan Idaho. Duncan, too, has a role to play. Even when he states bluntly that he was sent to destroy Paul, that does not prevent him from drawing close to the Emperor. This is all remarkable stuff, and richly told.

In the end, the universe outguesses Paul Atreides. That's the best way I can explain the ending without telling you the ending in specific detail. I really enjoyed this book, and find it a quick and quotable story.

4-0 out of 5 stars It isn't that bad.
The sequel to the brilliant "Dune", "Dune Messiah" continues the story of Paul Atreides Muad'Dib, leader of the Fremen and Emperor of the Universe. This time, though, the story is less epic: The Harkonens have been defeated and a corrupt Emperor has been cast away from his throne, the precious spice is now being distributed by necessary quantities and the Bene Gesserit have gained Paul's entire mistrust.

This time we are told about a spiritually hurt Paul Atreides, a man who still cannot come to fully grasp the devastating power his god-like nature has on the psyche of those who worship him as a Messiah. Paul's attempts to stop the bloody jihad set in motion by his messianic reign are futile and his minions seem to enjoy the bloody massacre just for the sake of killing, using Paul's image solely as a shield, an excuse for mindless slaughter. Worst yet, his prescient powers have shown him the terrible future that awaits humanity, and the horrible alternative, a sacrifice so monstrous not even the Kwizats Haderach dares face. Meanwhile, a conspiracy against Paul's life is being cooked among a wide number of people, ranging from government agents to retired fedaykin warriors.

Many judge this to be the worst among the Dune books, but personally I find it a very good read because we have a more direct chance to take a deeper look at Paul's disturbed mind. A worthy little book filled with surprises.

5-0 out of 5 stars Continuation...
but strangely short--given the first book's gargantuan size. The book also seems as tho' it didn't have Herbert's full attention. He seemed tacitly to admit this once when he said that "parts of Children of Dune were written before Dune was finished." It also suffers from the fact that it was first serialized in a SF magazine. It seems as tho' it were "remixed" after the fact.

Although Herbert continues to use the Prophet Mohammad's life as a scaffolding for his story, he departs widely from the Koran's account while still retaining an essentially Arab flavor to the story. (These books are, by the way, incredibly popular in the Muslim world.)

Those minor criticims aside, the story continues towards its headlong conclusion in the Golden Path. To say much more would spoil it for the uninitiated. If you liked Dune, read this one just to get to "Children" and, the piece de resistance, "God Emperor of Dune" where Herbert's mastery becomes complete and the Golden Path is revealed to us in all its terrible majesty.

The last two books before cancer and grief killed him were almost after thoughts. After Leto II, what was there to say?

2-0 out of 5 stars What happened?
Dune is a colossal work. Dune Messiah is a disappointing work. I don't understand how the same man could have written both books. Dune has strong characterization and a strong plot; Dune Messiah has neither. Dune Messiah substitutes characterization with psycho-babble. Half the dialogue in this book doesn't make any sense and doesn't further the plot. The ending is strong, but it doesn't make up for all the nonsense that Herbert subjected me to. (Don't let anyone try to tell you that this book is "deeper" than Dune because of all the confusing things the characters say. "Deep" only equals "confusing" for people who can't read.) All that said, Dune Messiah made me feel like I was reading Fanfic. It was mildly entertaining, but please don't confuse it with the real thing.

5-0 out of 5 stars A more personal look at the cast
Sure, not much happens in the book in terms of war and political intrigue, but this book really tells you who the people actually are and how they think. I really felt sorry for Alia and Paul, and I learned how must it suck to have their powers. I loved it. ... Read more

95. Watch on the Rhine (The Posleen War)
by John Ringo, Tom Kratman
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743499182
Catlog: Book (2005-08-01)
Publisher: Baen
Sales Rank: 7038
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Book Description

In the dark days after the events in the book Gust Front, but before the primary invasion, the Chancellor of Germany faces a critical decision. Over the years, with military cutbacks, the store of experienced military personnel had simply dwindled. After the destruction of Northern Virginia, he realized that it was necessary to tap the one group he had sworn never, ever, to recall: the few remaining survivors of the Waffen SS. Watch On the Rhine is perhaps the most unbiased, and brutal, look at the inner workings of the Waffen SS in history. Meticulously researched, it explores all that was good, and evil, about the most infamous military force in history usingthe backdrop of the Posleen invasion as a canvas.

... Read more

96. Hollow Men (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
by Una McCormack
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743491513
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Star Trek
Sales Rank: 338480
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97. Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman
list price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553107046
Catlog: Book (1997-10-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 436480
Average Customer Review: 2.66 out of 5 stars
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This is the 30-years-in-coming sequel to Walter M. Miller's seminal work, A Canticle for Leibowitz. It chronicles the odyssey of Brother Blacktooth St. George, a fallen monk of the Leibowitz order who becomes secretary to the politically ambitious Cardinal Brownpony. Brownpony is involved in a complex scheme to break the rule of the Hannegan Empire, which dominates the 35th-century's post-apocalypse world. Even though Brownpony's plans will ultimately restore both the world and the declining Papacy to some form of order, he is not a religious man, although he is drawn to those who are. He sees something profoundly religious in Blacktooth, who on the surface seems to be a disgraced monk foundering in confusion because of his love for a woman, his semi-pagan visions of the Virgin Mary, and his nomadic heritage. Ultimately it seems that Brownpony's--and indeed humanity's--salvation may lie with Blacktooth, who will never quite realize how great is the gift he's been given. ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Parallel Novel to Canticle
Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman is a parallel novel to A Canticle for Leibowitz, taking place during the second section of Canticle. The writing style is different - definitely more complex - than its predecessor. Many of the issues dealt with in Saint Leibowitz will probably not sit well with many readers who enjoyed Canticle - homosexuality stands out as one of those. I think these two aspects of Saint Leibowitz are the main reasons for discontent amongst the people who gave this book one star.

For starters, there's a lot happening in this book. The reader learns about the political, social, and economic atmosphere of the the lands traveled. There's a lot of history involved, and a lot of "current" events are discussed in detail.

There are at least five main cultures in the book, and different characters go by different names within different areas of the land. This isn't so bad, considering only a handful of characters have different nicknames, but some characters are called by each of their names on the same page.

The Wild Horse Woman plays a significant role in the book, however she doesn't show up a lot as a character. Instead, her presence is felt in many of the tribal religious/spiritual practices.

All in all, this book has a lot more depth to it than what you can usually find on the bookshelf. As a parallel novel, it's incredible. Just keep in mind, it isn't Canticle. If you want to read a book exactly like A Canticle for Leibowitz, read A Canticle for Leibowitz.

5-0 out of 5 stars Too quick to judge
Long, complicated, misled, bloated, massive. These all describe Walter M. Miller's long-awaited sequel to the revolutionary novel "A Canticle For Leibowitz." However, it is too easy and too hasty to discredit "Saint Laibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman" simply on these merits alone. The awe that surrounds ACFL comes only in part from the story itself. Most of its sense of wonder comes from what it represented and who wrote it. Miller had converted to catholicsm a few years before the book was published. His hopes for christianity are prevalent throughout the book, particularly since only the righteous survive the second flame deluge at the end of the novel. In SLATWHM, most of his hopefulness is gone. Blacktooth, who is obviously Miller, has seen that the forces that drive his religion are no different than those that drive our tyrants and despots. Unable to reconcile religious politics with his christian spirituality, Blacktooth ultimately abandons the church. Now, it seems that (according to Miller) not only is the secular world cyclical, but the religious as well. Those who would read SLATWHM for the purpose of being merely entertained should expect to be disappointed. It is rather a study of Miller's belief system and its subsequent deconstruction. The novel took seven years to write, but I expect that the development of Blacktooth/Miller's worldview extend back much further than that. SLATWHM should be read in the same frame of mind that one should read Philip K. Dick's "Valis." The reader knows that Dick was insane when he wrote it, Dick knew he was insane when he wrote it, and the central character Horselover Fat (an extension of Dick into the novel like Blacktooth for Miller) knows that he is insane. Nevertheless, he is able to treat the subject with considerable clarity. Sad, and convincing, SLATWHM seems like less of a novel than a documentary of Miller's decline into incurable despair. Bisson's ending is adequate for the nove! l, but not accurate. Miller wrote the final words when he told a 911 operator that there was a dead man in his front yard.

5-0 out of 5 stars A church tapestry of politics and traditions
One author sets murders in a medieval Roman Catholic monastery and it becomes an object of popular acclaim. Another author sets Papal politics in a post-nuclear holocaust society and it's dubbed "Sci-fi", and tossed in the remainders bin. Neither book deserved the fate it received. Miller's second look at post-nuclear North American society reveals a church divided within and still struggling with Caesar after three millennia. Popes tend to church politics with one hand and civil society with another. Somewhere in the middle are the lesser religious tending their adherents or hiding from the conflicts.

One such "lesser religious" is a monk, Blacktooth St George. A resident at the monastery long dedicated to the memory of Isaac Leibowitz, nuclear scientist and martyr, Blacktooth harbours doubts about his calling. His roots are from the Plains people and their pagan heritage conflicts with the Roman Catholic Church's ideal of monotheism and self-sacrifice. Attempting to shed the burdensome vows, Blacktooth is conscripted to the service of a lawyer cardinal. Elia Brownpony, too, is a former Plainsman, but has risen quickly in the Church hierarchy due to diplomatic talents. Diplomacy usually involves conspiracy, and Brownpony must be adept at both for he is struggling to reunite the broken church. Theology isn't the basis of the schism, however. The expanding empire of Texark has challenged the Pope's power. Brownpony, wheeling and dealing, uses Blacktooth as a major instrument.

Politics are a lesser challenge to Blacktooth than the condition of his own spirit. Beset by visions and his glands alike, this mid-thirties adult is known as Nimmy, an appellation applied to young boys. He encounters a genetic mutant, a heritage of the holocaust, whose only flaws are an uncanny insight and a rampant libido. She seduces Nimmy, who doesn't quite break his vows, and supposedly produces two children. Her image haunts him as he goes about his role of personal assistant. He's also haunted by the multi-figured image of a pope of African descent. All these conflicting visions keep Blacktooth on edge and in peril. His reconciliation of all these disparate forces are the theme of Miller's "midquel" of Canticle for Leibowitz [this story commences at the middle of Canticle, not the end].

Swirling roles of church and state and the Church and the individual formed the basis of "Canticle". Expanded and enhanced in this book, they are nicely integrated with convulsions that shook the Roman Catholic Church after the 1960s. Bisson has done Miller's original draft proud in completing a compelling story of the pressures on faith. Through a complex plot, the characters are kept realistic, if somewhat bizarre. Religious institutions, particularly under stress, are never simple, and the complexities are well handled and you never lose the threads, no matter how tightly they seem tangled. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]

4-0 out of 5 stars Love in a crazy future
If you loved the post-apocolyptic world of 'Canticle for Leibowitz', you have to read this. It is too bad Miller did not produce more. I loved 'Canticle' and had to read this sequel. This story takes place about 70 years after the middle section in 'Canticle' (Fiat Lux), and delves deeply into the politics and religion of the fictional future, much more so than its predecessor. Actually, the result reminded me more of 'Dune' than 'Canticle'--the nomadic tribal people rising up against the controlling empire and the religious people moving between the two, stirring up trouble. Where 'Canticle' had the broad view, basically taking us from nuclear devastation to nuclear devastation as history repeats itself, this book focuses very closely on a few compelling characters serving a papacy in exile for a few years during during an era when technology hovered somewhere around that of our 19th century. And Brother Blacktooth is one of the finest characters in literature that I have read in a long time--trying to find love (both God's and woman's) in a crazy and confused time.

I have removed one star for length. I cannot help thinking that if Miller had lived to publish this, it would have been more concise. Still, this book demonstrates what a storyteller Miller was.

3-0 out of 5 stars Almost a good book
I reread Canticle for L recently and found this book as well on the shelf so read it... definitely not the same style as the first and written in a very different context. It's interesting and led me to read about the author and why this book was published at all... and why his work is so limited. The context of the first was a very real fear of nuclear annihilation during the 50's phase of the Cold War... the context of the second is said by some to be the life of the author. It's a timely read in the context of 2002, with RC church scandals along with people considering the winnability of nuclear war in South Asia. It's also occasionally difficult to read due to some signs of it being a little hacked up over years of writing ... a somewhat confused use of dialects and out-of-context variants of person's names... and the not completely invisible hand of the 'editor'. ... Read more

98. Gathering Blue (Readers Circle)
list price: $6.50
our price: $5.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440229499
Catlog: Book (2002-09-10)
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Sales Rank: 3485
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Kira, an orphan with a twisted leg, lives in a world where the weak are cast aside. She fears for her future until she is spared by the all-powerful Council of Guardians. Kira is a gifted weaver and is given a task that no other community member can do. While her talent keeps her alive and brings certain privileges, Kira soon realizes she is surrounded by many mysteries and secrets. No one must know of her plans to uncover the truth about her world and see what places exist beyond. ... Read more

Reviews (174)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another compelling look at future societies
Gathering Blue, by Lois Lowry, is another great novel about a future society. Though it is called a companion novel to The Giver, Lowry's earlier book about a future Utopian society, Gathering Blue is by no means a sequel. It follows the life of Kira, an orphan girl with a twisted leg trying to survive in a society that shuns and discards the weak. After her mother dies, Kira faces a life or death trial in front of the Council of Guardians. She is given the important job of being the threader of the sacred Singer's Robe. There, she meets Thomas the Carver, little Jo, the future Singer, and Matt, a troublesome tyke. This novel makes you think of where our current society is heading, and what we will become if we do- a greedy, self-centered world with no diversity and much power. Gathering Blue is a wonderfully written book that is sure to make you wonder how you can prevent this society from coming into full existence.

4-0 out of 5 stars Gathering Blue
Kira is a young girl about twelve or thirteen who has just lost her mother to illness and many years ago lost her father to a hunting accident where he was taken by beast. This now orphan is faced with the difficult challange as where to live because one of the women that live near her Verona tries to take her cott to make a fenced in area for her tykes and chickens. This matter is take in front of the Council of Guardians. The Council decides to give her cott to Verona and keep Kira because of her wonderful skill in threading to restore the robe worn by singer who sings the most important song that tells of the events of the history of the people. Along the way she realizes that there are secrets that the world around her is hidding and she trys to look for them.

She gets help along the way from her friends Thomas the Carver, Matt, and Branch.

Lois Lowry is a master at creating new worlds in which the characters live in. This world in which Kira lives in is very different than the world we live in today, it mostly resembles older times where people do not yet know about showers and hunting is one of there main sources of food.

This book as a whole was excellent, but the end of the book was not very good. It left the reader with many questions in which were not answered at the end.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lavender blue, dilly dilly. Lavender green.
A book that seems primed for Middle School discussions due to its open-to-interpretation ending. This tale is the second in the Lois Lowry futuristic trilogy. Beginning with "The Giver", continuing through "Gathering Blue" and finishing with "The Messenger", the tales tell the stories of utopias gone awry. Call them utopias gone dis, if you will. Though the first two books make only the most casual of allusions to one another, the third ties them all together. Each deals with how simple citizens of the world can begin to challenge authority on a basic every day level. As you might imagine, these books are banned from schools and libraries with breathtaking frequency. In "Gathering Blue" we read about a girl, her artistic talents, and her growing awareness of the world around her.

Kira was born with a misshapen foot, a serious defect in the society in which she lives. Raised by her mother to be proud and strong, Kira must deal with her mom's untimely death and a village that is hostile to her presence. When brought before the village's Council of the Guardians, the rulers of this local berg, Kira is given a chance to become not only accepted but also admired. Adept with a needle and thread, she is given the challenge of restoring and improving the robe belonging to the Singer of Songs. While living within the council building she meets and befriends a boy who is adept with wood carving and a child that sings with incredible beauty. Yet as Kira learns more and more about her living situation and the world around her, it becomes painfully clear that those who have supposedly helped her in the past may be keeping her for their own devices. Kira must decide whether to leave this uncomfortable situation for a place that would welcome her freely or to stay and try to change the way things are.

Anyone who is a fan of Lowry's books in this series won't be disappointed by this addition. Certainly it leaves the reader wanting more, but that's just the mark of a good writer. Personally, I was a little amazed to find these stories so very similar to Zilpha Keatley Snyder's "Below the Root" books. This isn't to say that Lowry stole Snyder's ideas, but rather that the plots in these books are universal and popular. Fans of "The Giver" who worried about Jonas's fate will find some comfort in the brief allusion made to him in this story. As with most of Lowry's tales, this book relies on strong characters and an airtight plot. At the same time, it accomplishes the difficult task of giving the reader some space to figure things out on his or her own. Few books do this well. "Gathering Blue" is one of the few.

Though not as airtight a tale as "The Giver", "Gathering Blue" raises some important questions about society itself. Those who blindly follow their leaders will inevitably end up in a harsh cruel world. It takes people like Kira, the artists and crazies, to call into question those who would make our decisions for us. In this day and age ESPECIALLY, this is an incredibly important lesson to remember and retain. For as long as this book remains read, it will hopefully help its readers to question authority. It's a strong message presented in a lovely little package.

4-0 out of 5 stars pretty good all round book!!
Gathering Blue is about a girl by the name of Kira who lives in a village society set in the future. Before she is born, her father is reported killed and then much later when her mother dies of a terrible illness, Kira's life becomes endangered. Luckily though, because of her skillful talent with threads, she is kept and well taken care of with two other talented children. While she is there, some mysteries start to unfold which lead up to an end with an amount of surprising twists.

Gathering Blue is written very well - full of details so you can imagine every character and setting very clearly. The ideas for the future society in this book are very imaginative and unique. The story is also quite different. (If you're thinking this book sounds a lot like one of Lowry's other books, The Giver, then you're wrong because the story and the future society in The Giver is totally different!) The second half of Gathering Blue is much more gripping than the first half but still, this is a pretty good all round book!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Read
"Gathering Blue" is part two of a three part trilogy of a post apocalyptic world. "Gathering Blue" focuses on the struggle for life in a small village after the "fall" and what makes a person important. The main character Kira, is born lame and should not have survived until the start of this story, but she has a talent as a seamstress and village elders have need of her skills. Much like "The Giver", this book focuses on a study of society and trying to come to an answer. Because this book is aimed at young adults, most of the baser behaviors are only hinted at, which actually make them more horrible because it has been left to the imagination. Much like all good reads, the giver leaves one with more questions than answers. "Gathering Blue" is an enjoyable read for both early teens as well as adults. It is a good start for young adults to start to read and question the role of society for them and in general the larger population. ... Read more

99. Ghost In The Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface (Ghost in the Shell)
by Masamune Shirow
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 159307204X
Catlog: Book (2005-01-19)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Sales Rank: 1296917
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Book Description

March 6, 2035. Motoko Aramaki is a hyper-advanced cyborg, a counter-terrorist net security expert heading the investigative department of the giant multi-national, Poseidon Industrial. Partly transcending the physical world and existing in a virtual world of networks, Motoko is a fusion of multiple entities and identities, deploying remotely controlled prosthetic humanoid surrogates around the globe to solve a series of bizarre crimes. Meanwhile, Tamaki Tamai, a psychic investigator from the Channeling Agency, has been commissioned to investigate strange changes in the temporal universe,brought about by two forces, one represented by the teachings of a professor named Rahampol, and the other by the complex, evolving Motoko entity. What unfolds will be all in a day's work...a day that will change everything, forever. ... Read more

100. Neuromancer (Remembering Tomorrow)
by William Gibson
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0441569595
Catlog: Book (1995-05-01)
Publisher: Ace Books
Sales Rank: 3255
Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Case was the best interface cowboy who ever ran in earth's computer matrix.Then he doublecrossed the wrong people...

Winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick Awards. ... Read more

Reviews (338)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Neuromancer is one of the few SF books that ever drew me into its world. I was fascinated from the first page, and ten pages in I WANTED to live in this world - I wanted to be a part of this universe, to personally KNOW the protagonist Case, to run against "an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence". I wanted to believe every word I read. The book *is* a bit technical if you're not used to the cyber-world, but it is also easy to understand if you re-read each paragraph or chapter as you go along. (That's how I did it, and in effect, literally read the book twice on the first occasion.) You get a feel for the jargon and you begin to understand and visualize everything that happens. This book will always hold a special place in the hearts of second and third generation hackers - it was definitely the inspiration for countless games, and the locales in the book - Freeside, Chiba, the Sprawl - are familiar places in the underground world. William Gibson opened up a whole new genre of SF when he wrote this one. This will always be one of my faves.

5-0 out of 5 stars slot this
This book is phenomenal. Read it. Samuel R. Delany's influence is apparent in a lot of Gibson's writing (concepts, some style, etc.), but Gibson is his own writer. And an amazing writer, at that. His style is sleek and slick and graceful and gritty and shiny and polished and dirty all at the same time. It's a joy to read his prose. I saw a review on this board in which someone refers to Gibson's writing as "murky" and says that his story is confusing, or obscure. Well, that is part of the point of this novel. The characters are living in a confusing, fast-paced, data-soaked world, so why should you have an easy time understanding it? There's so much going on around them that *they* can barely keep track of it, so don't expect an easier time for yourself. And that is one of the best things about this story--it's mysterious, sometimes confusing, and great. I've read it 3 or 4 times by now, and although the plot has become much clearer to me, it still retains a sense of mystery and wonder that makes it one of my all-time favorites. P.S.--It's 1997, almost 1998: if you haven't read this book by now, then what are you waiting for?! How un-hip can you get? :-)

4-0 out of 5 stars Vast, jacked-in fantasy
It is my understanding that Gibson coined the term "cyberspace"-and very beautifully. When I dream of cyberspace realities, I can not help but invoke fragments of William Gibson's vast, jacked-in hallucination-what you might call "virtual reality".

There was one more component to William Gibson's cyberspace-that of the spiritual-and these segments are quite beautiful.

I'm giving this book 4 "Amazon" stars because I think Gibson's "Count Zero" is even better--especially the references surrounding the artist Joseph Cornell. One can't nitpick a classic such as this--too much--although some aspects of the adolescent "cyberpunk" content are difficult to reconcile in maturity--regardless, I can acknowledge the need for these significant concepts to be made available via an accessible pubescent perspective.

This book left me craving more Gibson "cyberpunk"--and there's not much to be found. I've read Gibon's short stories--not bad. I couldn't get into "The Difference Engine" or "All Tomorrow's Parties"... I'm not feeling "Pattern Recognition" in the store either, but his blog has piqued my curiousity. I want Gibson to bring the world to its knees, in tears. Pretty please?

To discuss the book--if it's allowed by Amazon, hit me up on AIM/Yahoo "yesiliveinaustin"

3-0 out of 5 stars Idea-rich but weak storytelling, see below for alternatives
I have a love-hate relationship with this novel. On the one hand, its got so many damn-good ideas, and it's worth reading for that alone. I won't spoil the fun of uncovering the ideas, because that's the meat of the book--unfortunately, Gibson does not prove to be as strong a storyteller as he is an idea-man. The ideas are buried between dense prose that mesmerizes one into a fugue-state. The plotting is weak at best, often leading one to think that the places visited exist solely to showcase the technologies of the story. Character motives defy analysis. It is told from the viewpoint of an anti-hero, which is not bad in itself, but you are often left wondering what the point is--does he really learn anything?

The story is really a means of exposing Gibson's ideas about future societies, computers and biological science. In that, it truly shines. Fortunately, the book is fairly short and thus it is saved from itself. Neuromancer gets very high marks for originality and subject matter, but low for the craft of storytelling.

If you are interested in this genre, then Neal Stephenson does the best job in SNOW CRASH. Bruce Sterling does an admirable job in SCHISMATRIX as well (although I'm uncertain about applying the cyberpunk label to it). Lastly, Philip K. Dick deals with similar material in DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP (the film upon which Bladerunner was loosely based). He wrote it before the emergence of the "cyberpunk" term, although critics probably would have included it had he written it during the early nineties.

5-0 out of 5 stars simply awesome
I remember reading this for the first time in '86 or '87, and it changed my worldview. Now I just re-read it for the first time in years and was once again blown away. This is simply magnificent sci-fi and magnificent writing. There are occasional dated references, but on the whole it still stands. The sad thing is that we're not even close to realizing the world he describes. In fact it felt closer in the mid-80's than it does now. Anyway, this is a great book, truly a great book, and a must read for any sci-fi enthusiast. ... Read more

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