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141. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the
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142. The Golden Age (The Golden Age)
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143. Star Wars: Empire Volume 4-The
$17.16 $16.06 list($26.00)
144. The Shadow of Saganami (The Saganami
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145. Grant Comes East
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146. Specter of the Past (Star Wars:
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147. Victories and Sacrifices (Star
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148. The Speed of Dark (Ballantine
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149. Children of the Mind (Ender Wiggin
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150. The Supernaturalist
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151. Y: The Last Man - Book 4, Safeword
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152. Dandelion Wine (Grand Master Editions)
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153. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
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154. The Curse of Cain
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155. Beast Master's Planet : Omnibus
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156. The Bradbury Chronicles : The
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157. Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs
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158. Imperium
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159. Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge
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160. Alas, Babylon (Perennial Classics)

141. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Deluxe 25th Anniversary Edition
list price: $35.00
our price: $21.00
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Asin: 1400052939
Catlog: Book (2004-10-19)
Publisher: Harmony
Sales Rank: 9454
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142. The Golden Age (The Golden Age)
by John C. Wright
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
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Asin: 0812579844
Catlog: Book (2003-04-14)
Publisher: Tor Science Fiction
Sales Rank: 6158
Average Customer Review: 4.08 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Golden Age is 10,000 years in the future in our solar system, an interplanetary utopian society filled with immortal humans.

Phaethon, of Radamanthus House, is attending a glorious party at his family mansion celebrating the thousand-year anniversary of the High Transcendence. There he meets an old man who accuses him of being an imposter, and then a being from Neptune who claims to be an old friend. The Neptunian tells him that essential parts of his memory were removed and stored by the very government that Phaethon believes to be wholly honorable. It shakes his faith. Is he indeed an exile from himself? He can’t resist investigating, even though to do so could mean the loss of his inheritance, his very place in society. His quest must be to regain his true identity and fulfill the destiny he chose for himself.

The Golden Age is just the beginning of Phaethon’s story, which will continue in The Phoenix Exultant, forthcoming from Tor.
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Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars A spectacular debut!
Where can one start in reviewing this book? It is tremendously entertaining, at once a grand space opera, a detective story, and a much-less-grimy-than-genre cyberpunk narrative, with enough philosophy and depth to keep things interesting without getting bombastic or tedious. If you like any one of these things, you should consider this novel.

There is a lot of detail and far-future terminology (the names alone are fascinating) thrown at us from the very beginning. However, Wright wisely doesn't spend a lot of time trying to tell us how all of the technology works, or explaining all the details of the richly-imagined Golden Oecumene. We figure it out through context and the actions of the characters, which helps keep the story moving without getting bogged down. The Golden Oecumene is also refreshing in the SF genre, as an imagining of the far future that is neither dystopian nor utopian-but-hiding-a-dark-secret. At its core, this is an optimistic novel, and optimism is often sorely lacking in SF.

If there is any obvious flaw in this book, it is that the ending seems somewhat abrupt; I suspect that this books was the first half of a larger volume that was arbitrarily chopped in half by the publisher. Hence, the "Volume 2" designation on the sequel, "The Phoenix Exultant." Buy both books and read "The Phoenix Exultant" immediately afterward; you will be glad you did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ten Star Science Fiction!
Life, 10,000 years from now. Read this and you enter into a world of immortal beings where consciousness takes many forms as minds find many diverse vessels in which to inhabit. Nanotechnology, computer science, and other technologies have transformed civilization into a true golden age where Sophotechs (conscious computers who think many times faster than humans) control nearly everything. The group called the Hortators exhibit much control also, so is this really a golden age as it appears to be at first glance? The primary character here is a man called Phaethon, who has lost a good part of his memory as a result of a process of selective amnesia, a result of previous actions he cannot remember. He becomes obsessed with discovering the missing memories, with much intrigue along the way, and this is at the heart of a great mystery, brimming with passion and intellect, and ambition.

John Wright uses much reality based imagination here, this is far-future science fiction at it's best, without reverting to fantasy. I especially enjoyed the questions of personal identity and how that relates to whether or not a person is the original or a copy in cases of transferring minds from one medium to another, very thought provoking, speculation that will surely move from science fiction to reality someday, well done here. To use an old cliche', it does'nt get any better than this, with superb plot and character development. THE GOLDEN AGE is book one of a two book series, the concluding novel is THE PHOENIX EXULTANT, yet to be published.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life changing...
Ok, so there are a few things I'd like to get straight with you right off the bat...

1: I just got back from a semi-romantic dinner with my 24 year old ex...stunningly beautiful, tall, absolute angel. Anyway, all to say I needed a few drinks to help reconcile why she's my ex, so, technically, I'm drunk.

2: I've been agonizing over how to write a review about a trilogy so important to me, so life changing, that in all my determined creative ability, I've failed to find proper words for.

Allright then, now that I've set the contextual table for my mindset in writing this review...

Hmmm...three 400 something paged books, that's quite an investment for even the most voracious reader. Me, I almost abandoned this series in Shanghai China (where I brought it to serve as a semi-cerebral distraction from the dark melee that is Shanghai to a well-to-do 30 year old). Anyway, about 50 pages into this first book I almost dropped it. Although fascinated by the bigness of its scope (10,000 years into the future, insanely just wasn't hooking me right). I put it down for a couple of months, but found myself talking to friends about what I had read. For instance, I would share how (that far into the future) characters took the potential for miscommunication so seriously that it would take a page or so to issue a simple salutory greeting (of course! strange, but that's just right!) So, while it didn't grip me from the start, its unique style, complexity, and substance stayed with me. I decided to give it another chance.

I'm so thankful I did.

At around 80-100 pages I was consumed in this strange but believable world of the future, set so far ahead of any reasonable predictatory event horizon most mere mortal authors would attempt. John Wright pulls it off in a way that is sure to earn him a place at the table of some of the best sci-fi writers of all time. Delicious prose gives life to a story so well detailed, characters so solid and dynamic, it wouldn't surprise me if there exists whole books he wrote just to make sure there weren't inconsistencies.

Damnit, I'm getting off the subject. Here is the essence of what I'd like to communicate. Having waited until finishing this trilogy before writing this review I can say this:

The first book (The Golden Age) is fascinating, well-written, and rife with mind-numbing concepts detailing the wildly fantastic potential of humanity that far off in the future.

But that's not why you should read The Golden Age.

You see (and this is where I'm really going out on an assumptive limb) I believe the author constructed the entire series to make one life changing point; a point made in one paragraph of the second to last page of the trilogy...the most important advice I've ever read or heard in my life.

I've told this to friends, and in each instance tendered this warning (because I could see what they planned to do): "It won't make sense to you unless you read the books".

And I mean it.

Unfortunately, as rational beings we need basis to believe anything; important understandings require substantial basis. That's what this trilogy is about. Other than being enormously entertaining, it builds 1500 pages worth of basis in making a simple, elegant, and enormously important statement.

It's now 2 in the morning, I'm exhausted (but newly sober). I hope that this review stimulates sufficient interest to compel you to pick up this first book, read 80 pages, and see if you yourself aren't seduced. However, unlike most pleasures, this series will leave you more fulfilled, more inspired, more uplifted after finish than during.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Accomplishment
Mythic Tale of astonishing depth, Shakepearean drama, and thrilling science. The trilogy IS the LOrd of the Rings of SCifi.

Like many others have said the first 100 pages leave you confused yet eager to see where this is going.

It is probably not for everyone.

The relationships among the major characters is Truly some of the best writing ever. I cant wait for Mr WRights next book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Break through the naming conventions
Plot Summary (as much as this thing can be summarized by me anyway): The time is the far future where mankind can live for as long as he/she/it wants. Most of life is spent in various dream states where living computers and various other things transmit your desired appearance onto mannequins in other peoples aesthetics when you want to visit them. The solar system is colonized and energy is harvested from the sun. No one need suffer, ever. Have a bad day, have your memory erased and stored somewhere. Anyway, to start the story the protagonist, Phaethon, is walking around the masquerade that is part of the Transcendence festivals which occur every 1000 years. It comes to light to him and to us that a large chunk of his memory was erased, like 250 years worth of memory. It is further discovered that he agreed himself to this arrangement, but does not understand or know why since he has been forced to erase that part of his memory. Phaethon leaves the masquerade to various different places to try and understand why he made himself do this, why the government (such as there is one) will banish him if he attempts to rediscover his lost memories, and who he, his wife, and father really are.

Opinion: Wow! It took me a while to figure out all the language in the book (there are many large, compound words full of meaning that I'm sure I missed alot of). Once I got the basic grasp of the structure of the societies involved, I was engrossed. This story has many facets, many of which I listed above in the summary. I seriously need to pick up the second book in this series because This book just ends. Not much is resolved, yet many things seemed to have been resolved. The resolutions bring up many more questions. The descriptions did get a little tedious at times, especially with all the strange vocabulary, but it didn't occur enough for me to lose interest. I feel that the universe is set up enough now and expect more action in the next 2 books. I'm not even really sure how many books this story will take. I really loved this book though. 4.5 out of 5

Recommendation: I would highly recommend this book to anyone who like sci-fi. I would not call it cyberpunk, but it does have a cyberish mentality to it. ... Read more

143. Star Wars: Empire Volume 4-The Heart of the Rebellion
by Judd Winick, Ron Marz, Steve Hartly, Randy Stradley, Paul Chadwick
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
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Asin: 1593073089
Catlog: Book (2005-04)
Publisher: Dark Horse
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Book Description

She was the catalyst that helped to turn a rag-tag rebellion into the Rebel Alliance. She provided the impetus for the "Heroes of Yavin" in their attack on the Death Star. And she was the spark that ignited the flames of passion in one of the galaxy's most notorious rogues. "She," of course, is Princess Leia, the leader - and heart - of the Rebellion against Palpatine's galactic Empire. The four stories in this volume follow Leia from the weeks just before the events in A New Hope, to the time just before The Empire Strikes Back - from her first transforming experience with armed rebellion, to facing the ramifications of consequences of the destruction of her home planet, to the beginnings of true love. ... Read more

144. The Shadow of Saganami (The Saganami Island)
by David Weber
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
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Asin: 0743488520
Catlog: Book (2004-10-26)
Publisher: Baen
Sales Rank: 1702
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Book Description

The Star Kingdom has a new generation of officers! And this elite group hand-picked and trained by Honor Harrington herself is going to be needed immediately, as their first assignment turns out to be more dangerous than anyone expected. What was supposed to be a quiet outpost, far from the blazing conflict between the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the People's Republic of Haven has actually been targeted by an unholy alliance between the slaveholders of Manpower, the rival star kingdoms of Mesa and Monica, and the bureaucrats of the Solarian League. The alliance stands to benefit if the Havenites defeat Manticore, and are preparing for a surprise attack from the rear to divide Manticore's forces, which are already strained nearly to their limits. With their captain, the young Manticoran officers will risk their careers, if not their lives, on an unauthorized mission to expose and counter the threat to their Star Kingdom. Follow their journey as they show what they're made of as New York Times best-selling author David Weber begins a new series that will be a must for the hundreds of thousands of Honor Harrington fans. ... Read more

145. Grant Comes East
by Newt Gingrich, William Forstchen
list price: $24.95
our price: $15.72
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Asin: 0312309376
Catlog: Book (2004-06-01)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Sales Rank: 1786
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Grant Comes East, the second book in the bestselling series by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen, continues the story of a Confederate victory at Gettysburg. The first book examined the great "what if" of American history: Could Lee have won the Battle of Gettysburg? A Confederate victory, however, would not necessarily mean that the Southern cause has gained its final triumph and a lasting peace. It is from this departure point that the story continues in Grant Comes East, as General Robert E. Lee marches on Washington, DC, and launches an assault against one of the largest fortifications in the world.

Across 140 years, nearly all historians have agreed that after the defeat of the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, the taking of Washington, DC, would end the war. But was it possible?
Lee knows that a frontal assault against such fortifications could devastate his army, but it is a price he fears must be paid for final victory. Beyond a military victory in the field, Lee must also overcome the defiant stand of President Abraham Lincoln, who vows that regardless of the defeat at Gettysburg, his solemn pledge to preserve the Union will be honored. Lincoln will mobilize the garrison of Washington to hold on no matter what the costs.

At the same time, Lincoln has appointed General Ulysses S. Grant as commander of all Union forces. Grant, fresh from his triumph at Vicksburg, races east, bringing with him his hardened veterans from Mississippi to confront Lee.

What ensues across the next six weeks is a titanic struggle as the surviving Union forces inside the fortifications of Washington fight to hang on, while Grant prepares his counterblow. The defeated Army of the Potomac, staggered by the debacle dealt at Gettysburg, is not yet completely out of the fight, and is slowly reorganizing. Its rogue commander, General Dan Sickles, is thirsting for revenge against Lee, the restoration of the honor of his army, and the fulfillment of his own ambitions, which reach all the way to the White House. All these factors will come together in a climatic struggle spanning the ground from Washington, through Baltimore, to the banks of the Susquehanna River.

Once again, Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen create a brilliant story of how the Civil War could have unfolded. In Grant Comes East, they use their years of research and expertise to take readers on an incredible journey.
... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book !!
I loved not just "Grant Comes East" but also "Gettysburg" as well. These books are written as an alternative history to the American Civil War if only General Lee had taken a different option prior to day 2 of the battle of Gettysburg.
In the first novel, Lee stays true to form and turns the battle against the Norther Army into a battle of 'manuver' instead of a straight up battle of attrition that Gettysburg became on day 2 and day 3.
Many historians argue about Lee's state of mind ( was he ill and fatigued ) and to the possiblities of his tactics as well as how he managed his 2 new corps commanders ( Hill and Ewel ).
In the first book - Lee is more hands on and does not allow his subordinates to make the mistakes that they do.
Obviously, in the first book, Lee comes out victorious.
In the second book - Lee has no choice but to turn over control of the army to the only effective commander that he had - Grant.
The book gives a great portrit of Grant as a man and commander as well as insite into how Lee's campaign would have evolved had he be successful against Meade.
Also - in the second book - Grant is forced to bring much of his army of the west with him as the Army of the Patomic has been nearly destroyed. I belive that this would have happened if the AOTP had been destroyed - no need to leave forces in the west when the major theater was in the east.
Obviously, the campaign was NOT about feeding his troops but bringing the Union to its knees - feeding his troops and taking the war north was only an added benefit to the war ravaged N. Virginia countyside.

I can't wait till next summer when book 3 comes out ( also sorta looking forward to Star Wars III as well!! LOL )

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Alternate History
As a Civil War buff and history fan in general, I eagerly devoured Newt Gingrich's previous alternate history book, Gettysburg, and having thoroughly enjoyed it, looked forward to his sequel, Grant Comes East. After starting the book, I ran through it in less than two days, relishing every page. Grant Comes East is a masterful piece of the age-old what might have been genre. Gingrich marvelously writes his characters, Grant, Lincoln, and Lee most famously, but also those less known to history such as Union Generals Haupt and Sickles. Haupt is the Union general in charge of logistics and supply of the army (what I found to be a refreshing inclusion) and is highlighted throughout the story as a miracle worker, shifting men and supplies across the Union to confront the threat Lee's army now poses to Washington. While Sickles, the somewhat erratic Union general and Tammany crony (who in actuality lost his leg at Gettysburg), maneuvers himself into command of the remnants of the Army of the Potomac and eagerly looks forward to capturing glory prior to the 1864 election.

Gingrich does well to keep a great sense of realism throughout a book that hinges on a particularly hypothetical event. Realpolitik and maneuvering are still a fact of life in both the Union and Confederate governments- neither has any foolish, idealistic realizations in the wake of the North's previous defeat. Jefferson Davis and Judah Benjamin (the Confederate Secretary of State) are both brought into the fray and work calculatingly to increase the South's chances of foreign recognition in Europe.

Overall, Grant Comes East is a superbly done, well written "what if" that captures both the wonderful character portraits of a Jeff Shaara novel and the historical possibilities of a Harry Turtledove novel without the blemishes of either. I highly recommend this book for Civil War buffs as well as though with a passing interest in our nation's history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Grant Comes East
I bought this book for my husband for Fathers Day. He is a real civil war buff, union fan at that. He began reading and simply could not put it down. He said it was a book he actually hated putting down but also hated knowing that the more he read the closer he was to finishing it. He has requested the 1st one about Gettysburg and is already anticipating the coming of the 3rd book in this series. It was fun to see my husband enjoying a book like my children enjoy their toys at christmas. Love it and Five Stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining.
I enjoyed this second book in what promises to be a series of fictionalizations of the Civil War from Messrs Gingrich and Forstchen. As with the first, the writing is fairly crisp and the flow very nice, making the book an easy and enjoyable weekend read.
The first volume, Gettysburg, left us with Lee giving in and allowing Longstreet to attempt an outflanking maneuver of the Union supply base southeast of Gettysburg rather than charging up Cemetery Ridge again. The outcome for the Confederates was, as well it might have been, rather better in the former scenario.
This volume picks up after the Gettysburg (& Union Mills) debacle and has Mr Lincoln calling for the hero of Vicksburg to take control of all Union armies in the field, especially of what then remained of the famed, fabled and oft-misused Army of the Potomac.
It may be fiction, but of course we know so much about Grant as a soldier and commander that it really takes very little in the way of imagination to simply have painted him into the picture at this critical (fictional) juncture. How he responds is of course the stuff of the book, the contents of which I won't divulge here, save to say the ending leaves little doubt as to the issuance of a third volume, which (in my opinion) might just see what chess players term "exchanging".

5-0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, entertaining, and plausible "what ifs"
Although I am not a Civil War buff, I thoroughly enjoyed this continuation to one of the greatest "what-ifs" in American history. After finishing the amazing "Gettysburg," I was worried that the next book would simply go too far afield into the realm of impossibility. But it seems, at least from some of the research that I've done, that the authors keep true to the spirit of the characters.

I love the character studies of Grant and his temptation of alcohol, Lincoln and his challenge of holding together the union against a background of politcal backstabbing, and of course Lee with his challenge of leading his army to victory after victory
without wasting his manpower.

What stands out most to me is the intense discussion between Benjaman and Lee of emancipating the southern slaves and allowing them into the army.

Finally, though I miss Henry Hunt and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in this volume, I'm pretty sure we'll see them again in the third installment.

I think, to enjoy this series at its fullest, you should ready Shaara's "Killer Angels" as many other reviewers have said. ... Read more

146. Specter of the Past (Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn, Book One)
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
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Asin: 0553298046
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 98571
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Science Fiction Large Print Edition From Hugo Award-winning author Timothy Zahn, whose unprecedented best-selling trilogy became a landmark in the history of science fiction, comes Specter of the Past. Now Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo must battle to safeguard the fledgling New Republic from a dead imperial warlordand from itself! Specter of the Past brings together all the trademark action, suspense, startling revelations and brilliant spectacle worthy of the name Star Wars. ... Read more

Reviews (217)

5-0 out of 5 stars Specter of the Past
"Specter of the past" is set fourteen years after the battle of Endor. Timothy Zahn, the famous author of the Thrawn trilogy- Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising and the Last Command, has again brought up Gilad Pallaeon- now the supreme commander of the Imperial fleet. It potrays the memories we have about the trilogy. In this book, Pellaeon will urge the Moffs to surrender and end the long civil war between the New Republic(once the rebellion) and the Empire.
Pellaeon knows that the Empire is at the brink of total collapse and is trying to salvage the remaining fleet and star systems. However, Moff Disra- a loyalist has contacted a con artist- Flim and with the help of Captain Tierce tries to stop Pellaeon from acheving that purpose.
Flim, now "Thrawn", is a rallying point for the Imperials and Zahn manages to bring back the battle tactis and genuiness of the dead Thrawn.
He also allow an issue that may cause the New Republic to crumble under a bloodbath of genocide and civil war. He pieces together these two and also allows Mara Jade and Luke Skywalker to team up again.
It is really a reunion of old events and memories and the new ones manages to fit into the whole picture smoothly like a Jig-Saw puzzle. Once completed,it is an excellent piece of work.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, could have been better
Timothy Zahn is my favorite Star Wars author by far. I've always felt that he, out of all the rest, is the only person who has ever been able to capture the Star Wars magic in his books. Specter of the Past is a good book with a plot that just wasn't what his original trilogy had. I love Paelleon and Karrde and using them both in this story was a good idea. I wish Zahn would have done more with Paelleon and less with his new characters, Tierce, Disra, and Flim, which I find rather dull. I remember when I read his first trilogy, I found myself rooting for Thrawn and Paelleon as much as I did for Luke and all the good guys. He just made them so interesting and so real. That's one thing this book lacks. The bad guys just aren't intersting. In the next book, if Zahn does more with Paelleon, I think the it will be better. Still, it is an excellent tale as only Timothy Zahn can tell them. I mean, some of the garbage from the Black Fleet Crisis, like the Quella and the warping of the personalities of most of the characters, was just too much. It totally ruins the Star Wars universe. With Zahn writing books again, I'm a happier reader. I recommend that you read this book, although it doesn't quite have the power that Zahn's original trilogy did.

5-0 out of 5 stars For the Amateur Reader
For someone who doesn't read all that often and couldn't tell you the importance of the great literary works, this was just a book to read and enjoy. And that is exactly what this book did for me, it entertained me a lot and left me excited to read the next one. A great read, goes quickly, you won't want to put it down!

4-0 out of 5 stars return with a great story in a new series [no spoilers]
"Specter of the Past" is the first novel in The Hand of Thrawn series approximately ten years following The Thrawn Trilogy. It continues the tradition of creativity and intrigue from the prior novels.

Timothy Zahn resumes with a struggling New Republic in the aftermath of the battle against Grand Admiral Thrawn. However, strong political developments dominate the storyline, detracting from the strengths of amazing battles that were the groundwork in the first series.

While not as rich in cultural developments, character favorites continue to risk their lives in the conflicts of New Republic versus Empire. In addition, a select few in the Empire pull a fascinating con on the galaxy regarding the fate of Grand Admiral Thrawn.

I recommend this series to any fan of the Star Wars universe.

Thank you

5-0 out of 5 stars The Adventure Begins Anew. . .
After reading Timothy Zahn's first Star Wars trilogy, and finding that it was good, I, being an avid SW fan, set my sights on the dozens of other books written afterward. They. . . weren't so good. In fact, some of them were downright bad, either using a tired device over and over again (superweapon anyone?) or destroying the characters. I began to lose faith in the franchise as literature-worthy.

Then Zahn wrote Specter of the Past, the first of The Hand of Thrawn Duology, and I believed again.

While his Thrawn Trilogy is usually considered best, this is perhaps his most daring work. With his first trilogy, he had no canon material he had to follow, allowing him an essentially clean slate with which to work. However, after five years and over a dozen novels, there was a lot of histroy that he just couldn't ignore. However, once again, Zahn proved to be more than equal to the task, using characters and events from the earlier and inferior novels to further his story or expand his characters. And, being Zahn, it worked.

The story of Specter of the Past is one of galactic conflict on a familiar Star Wars scale, but it also weaves threads intrigue and shadow plots into the play, giving the novel a fresh feel from the usual "The Imperials have a new superweapon!" arc, and it works well. One of the two main threads focuses on the supposed return of Grand Admiral Thrawn, who we saw die in The Last Command, in all his strategic genius and glory. The second thread involves the framing of the Bothans for the destruction of a pacifist planet. While Leia tries desperately to hold the New Rupiblic together in the face of a catastrophic backlash, Han and Lando struggle to acertain if Thrawn really has returned.

Meanwhile, on a covert mission, Luke and Mara run into an Imperial style ship manned by clones, which vanishes into deep space. As Mara gives chase, she discovers a strange planet with a mysterious link to Grand Admiral Thrawn. Luke, recieving a disturbing premonition of her possible death, races to join her.

Behind it all is a brilliant mind and a daring con, backed by a ruthless and greedy warlord bent on galactic domination. However, where others have failed, they may very well succeed.

All the characters that Zahn introduced us to are back, and better than ever. Captain Pelleon holds a nominal authoritative position in the Imperial Remnant, struggling to find a way to end the decades-long conflict that has toppled an empire, while also wondering at the possible return of his mentor. Talon Kardde, smuggler and business man, journeys to the edge of the galaxy to meet a man he betrayed to uncover the truth about the Bothans. And Mara Jade is, of course, just as we remember her; smart, sassy, strong, and a perfect foil for Luke. Damn, but they make a great team.

While there's plenty of swashbuckling and space battling in Specter of the Past, the stage is only being set for something much MUCH bigger. Zahn is creating something grand in this volume, something which has ties not only with the SW books by other authors, but also brings back seemingly unimportant details from the Thrawn Trilogy as all too important. It really makes you admire his genius in storytelling and planning, and wonder whether he had planned follow-ups to the Thrawn Trilogy from the very beginning.

Any way you slice it, The Hand of Thrawn Duology is a wonderful addition to the Star Wars franchise, and is a wonderful set-up for a grand finale. ... Read more

147. Victories and Sacrifices (Star Wars: Clone Wars, Vol. 2)
by Haden Blackman, Randy Stradley, John Ostrander, Toms Giorello, Brian Ching, Jan Duursema
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1569719691
Catlog: Book (2003-09)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Sales Rank: 9851
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From one of the swamp moons of Naboo, to the war-torn cityscapes of Brentaal IV, the battles of the Clone Wars have thrown the galaxy into turmoil. New Separatist threats, ranging from deadly biological weapons, to dark Jedi, to unkillable alien bounty hunters, have the loyalist Jedi and their clone troops pushed to their limits. This graphic novel collection contains three separate, yet linked stories of heroism and sacrifice set during the time between Episode II and Episode III! ... Read more

Reviews (3)

I have been critical of the occasional lack of quality control by lazy editors at dark horse. But this comic is magnificent! I had tripidations when i realized that two writters, 3 pencilers and 3 inkers were involved. But the editors and everyone else did their jobs and the results are tremendous.

The master plan for the entire PRE-QUEL endeavor has been very satisfying so far, unlike the extremely disappointing NJO. Here the master plan combines excellent novels and comic books with the movies to tell the story.

Excellent followup to volume 1. Great job Lucas films and darkhorse.

5-0 out of 5 stars The New Face of War
The Clone Wars rage on in this exciting volume.

This book contains the first appearances of the two new villains of the Clone Wars: the bounty hunter Durge, and Asajj Ventress, the female Dark Jedi.

If you saw the CW animated series than you are familiar with these villains. They are great new characters, and are the new face of war. Durge has a very cool look as well as an entertaining personality and dialogue.

The art is handled by three artists, all of them excellent. This features the first time Brian Ching drew an issue (Republic #53), and it's nice detailed work. Jan Duuresma is outstanding, as usual. Tomas Giorello also does a commendable job.

Dark Horse is really doing tremendous work with Star Wars right now. In my opinion, the current SW comics are among the best they've ever published.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Wars continue...
Anyone who has read the first collected comic "Star Wars: Clone Wars; Volume 1" knows that the art work and story lines are excellent!!!

This issue expands on the conflict of the Clone Wars and develops the characters more so you can really get a feel for who they are and how they act, especially the Sith Warriors. Volume 2 contains much more action than Volume 1 and leaves you wanting the next Volume already!

If you have a love for Star Wars and the expanded universe of the comics; or if you just love a few great war stories in a sci-fi setting, this is the comic for you. However it should be said that although this comic can be read without reading the first volume, those that have read the first will enjoy this comic more as they can notice the character development and know the origins of some of the conflicts in this volume.

Happy reading and (Always wanted to say this), May the Force be with you! ... Read more

148. The Speed of Dark (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345447549
Catlog: Book (2004-03-02)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 8573
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the near future, disease will be a condition of the past. Most genetic defects will be removed at birth; the remaining during infancy. Unfortunately, there will be a generation left behind. For members of that missed generation, small advances will be made. Through various programs, they will be taught to get along in the world despite their differences. They will be made active and contributing members of society. But they will never be normal.

Lou Arrendale is a member of that lost generation, born at the wrong time to reap the awards of medical science. Part of a small group of high-functioning autistic adults, he has a steady job with a pharmaceutical company, a car, friends, and a passion for fencing. Aside from his annual visits to his counselor, he lives a low-key, independent life. He has learned to shake hands and make eye contact. He has taught himself to use “please” and “thank you” and other conventions of conversation because he knows it makes others comfortable. He does his best to be as normal as possible and not to draw attention to himself.

But then his quiet life comes under attack. It starts with an experimental treatment that will reverse the effects of autism in adults. With this treatment Lou would think and act and be just like everyone else. But if he was suddenly free of autism, would he still be himself? Would he still love the same classical music–with its complications and resolutions? Would he still see the same colors and patterns in the world–shades and hues that others cannot see? Most importantly, would he still love Marjory, a woman who may never be able to reciprocate his feelings? Would it be easier for her to return the love of a “normal”?

There are intense pressures coming from the world around him–including an angry supervisor who wants to cut costs by sacrificing the supports necessary to employ autistic workers. Perhaps even more disturbing are the barrage of questions within himself. For Lou must decide if he should submit to a surgery that might completely change the way he views the world . . . and the very essence of who he is.

Thoughtful, provocative, poignant, unforgettable, The Speed of Dark is a gripping exploration into the mind of an autistic person as he struggles with profound questions of humanity and matters of the heart.

From the Hardcover edition.
... Read more

Reviews (33)

4-0 out of 5 stars Life lessons for each and all
With *The Speed of Dark*, Elizabeth Moon steps out from her usual role of science fiction author to deliver a gimlet-eyed perspective of what it means to be 'normal,' and in the process shows the reader what normal means.

Others elsewhere ably limn the story's plot; surprisingly, few note how Elizabeth Moon has used the medium (its context) to help tell her tale -- and convey her message -- via employing a style at once affectless yet lucid. This is a worthy parallel (and metaphor) to protagonist Lou Arrendale's changed mental and emotional state, and showcases an author at the top of her form.

I enjoyed the insights about "pattern recognition"; I enjoyed learning about the inner world of fencing; I enjoyed the insights into the inner turmoil autistics (and those close to them) suffer; I enjoyed reading each word, as 340 pages flew by. Chapter 18, in particular, left me agog in wonder, and I immediately re-read it to savor its finer qualities.

Yet don't let my dry prose deter you from a stellar reading experience. Recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read
I just finished THE SPEED OF DARK and found the read an enjoyable one. I genuinely liked Lou Arrendale, in part because I found refreshing his logical and no-nonsense approach to the world. You don't have to be autistic to realize how common it is to say unnecessary things, to perform unnecessary actions during the course of a normal day simply because of habit or to satisfy social custom. On the other hand, his occasional confusion about the meaning of certain phrases, facial expressions, etc. were frustrating to him, and gave me a brief glimpse into the life of a person with autism.

As much as I enjoyed this book, I will say that I found many of the characters and their dilemmas one-dimensional. Had Moon chosen to tell the entire story from Lou's point of view, I would have found it easier to believe. But by telling a portion of the story through the eyes of others (in order to sharpen plot points that otherwise might have been a little vague), she was obligated to add a little more texture than she did. Yes, there are single-minded corporate go-getters in the world, but one character in particular made such poor decisions that his actions were nearly cartoonish. His complete lack of compassion toward the challenged individuals under his command seemed a little contrived without more character development on his part.

I would also have preferred Moon end the book before Lou began treatment. This is a judgment call on the author's part, but it might have been more interesting had the story not wrapped up so nicely.

All told, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who'd like a fiction read a little off the beaten path. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

4-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look on people!
"The Speed of Dark" tells a story of an autistic man, Lou, in a near future. The date is not specified, but it should be around 2040. Our protagonist works for a big firm, doing pattern recognition, but a new manager deciedes, that he will be better as a guinea pig for a new method to cure autism. So, this looks like a thriller, a man against the system, that kind of thing.

But it's not. This story, told from Lous' point of view, is a tale of his trying to understand 'normal' people. And it's a wonderful look on people, which managed to paint the autistic persons more human, then the 'normal' ones. Lous' attempts to understand human behaviour, to see patterns in it are very interesting, and gave me food for thought for a long time to come.

There are several drawbacks to the novel.
One is the black and white colors of the characters, which make the bad guys of the novel more caricatures, then realistic characters. While it can be justified by the overall structure and purpose of the novel, I would liek them, at least, not to be so in-your-face-arrogant-SOBs.
Another drawback for me was the adrupt ending of the book. I won't get into the details, but at one point Lou had to make a very seriouse decision. The results of it are given just a couple of pages, and one of the storylines, which was very important, and a delight to read, got only ONE SENTENCE!

Still, this book told me a lot, not only about autistic people, but also about myself. Read it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, but sometimes frustrating
This book is moderately interesting and mostly well thought out. It portrays the normal life of an autistic person credibly, and cautiously approaches some important dilemmas about identity.
But what it leaves out is sometimes frustrating. The ending is a bit too cryptic. The ape research that plays an important role in the story is hardly explained at all, as if it could only be understood by experts, when it seems to me that the research must have included some observations of behavioral changes in the apes that an average person could understand and which should influence the protagonist in his difficult choice.

4-0 out of 5 stars CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
4.5 Stars. What made me want to read this novel was two-fold: it won the Nebula Award and it has often been referred to in the same breath as "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes. The Nebula Award is not always given to the book I would choose, but any story mentioned with Daniel Keyes' fantastic short story(later expanded by the author into a fine novel) is worth any Science Fiction fan's attention. As for the title of my review, "CHAPTER TWENTY ONE" is the chapter in "The Speed of Dark" where I thought that perhaps this novel had initially been a short story and later expanded, as well. I will return to this book again many times in the future just to read from that chapter to the end of the book. I lost sleep reading this book, which is always a sign that the novel has me enthralled. As for negatives, there are a few minor complaints such as one of the villainous characters in the story getting his come-uppance a little too easily, "And the saved!" That plot resolution was too tidy and too quickly resolved. The first twenty chapters are solid 4-star material with some excellent writing and a genuinely original perspective from the protagonist, Lou Arrendale, who is an autistic man given the chance at a cure for his condition. The only other negative I felt sour about was the all-too-expected and somewhat sanctimonious scene in the novel where Lou is trying to figure out what is "normal" anyway? If the world were predominantly autistic would "normal" people seek treatment to fit in better with society? Anyway, that section does not last long. I have never been a fan of writers who have their characters self-reflect for pages on end, but that very short section was the only moment where I thought the author let out the slack a little too far. The rest is very enjoyable. This book is thoughtfully written and obviously very personal for the author, Elizabeth Moon, who is the mother of an autistic child. While reading this book don't be surprised to find yourself finding patterns in multi-colored carpet fibers or architecture or other things with a definite or potential mathematical structure to them. The main character's profession involves pattern analysis and it echoed into my own life on more than one occasion. This book affected me on many levels, altering my perspective about people and how they relate to one another, and to a lesser degree whether or not "change" is a good thing or not when considering individuality. Any book that makes me think is definitely worth recommending to others. On the cover of this novel is a picure of a white-and-red pinwheel with several rows of binary numbers overlapping the cover from top to bottom. After reading this book the cover makes more sense than ever before. That, and I will never look at a pinwheel in the future without thinking fondly about this book. Pick up this splendid novel and enjoy! Thank you for reading my review. ... Read more

149. Children of the Mind (Ender Wiggin Saga)
by Orson Scott Card
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812522397
Catlog: Book (1997-06-15)
Publisher: Tor Science Fiction
Sales Rank: 6889
Average Customer Review: 3.68 out of 5 stars
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Children of the Mind, fourth in the Ender series, is the conclusion of the story begun in the third book, Xenocide.The author unravels Ender's life and reweaves the threads into unexpected new patterns, including an apparent reincarnation of his threatening older brother, Peter, not to mention another "sister" Valentine.Multiple storylines entwine, as the threat of the Lusitania-bound fleet looms ever nearer.The self-aware computer, Jane, who has always been more than she seemed, faces death at human hands even as she approaches godhood.At the same time, the characters hurry to investigate the origins of the descolada virus before they lose their ability to travel instantaneously between the stars.There is plenty of action and romance to season the text's analyses of Japanese culture and the flux and ebb of civilizations. But does the author really mean to imply that Ender's wife literally bores him to death? --Brooks Peck ... Read more

Reviews (173)

3-0 out of 5 stars Picks up where Xenocide left off
"Children of the Mind" is the final book in Orson Scott Card's Ender Quartet. It picks up right where "Xenocide" left off, and is the logical conclusion to Ender's story, wrapping things up in a satisfying enough manner.

Like the books that preceded it, "Children of the Mind" is largely character driven, and this is certainly one of its strengths. Few of the characters are explored in excrutiating detail, but Card gives us just enough of a glimpse into their lives and personalities to give the reader the feeling that we know these people.

While the book is certainly satisfying in that it ties up all the threads woven in the previous books, I feel that it is the weakest of the series. I'm not sure that much would have been lost if it had simply been compressed and included as the final chapters to "Xenocide". That said, if you are a fan of the series, and particularly if you have read "Xenocide", then "Children of the Mind" is a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars no sLeEp for me
i read it. in one night. and i read slowish. i have never read a more passionate (albeit rushed) book in my life. the deep dialouge, the character completion, just the mental images and scenes. the use of many cultures throughout the series....just beautiful.

5-0 out of 5 stars The final tale is all you could have hoped for.
Ender's Game entertained me, Speaker for the Dead educated me, Xenocide enthralled me, and finally Children of the Mind absolutely immersed me. I think by far this book beholds the best character development out of all of the books. Establishing great characters from Xenocide, you truly get to know, feel, and grow with the focused characters in the fourth book as they develop relationships both brutally and beautifully, confront the final fears that the series has built up to while also producing an amazing end to the Ender Wiggin Saga. The many sides of the tale are so well intertwined, that connecting with the characters and their emotions become so much more easier than what Card did previously. All the profound touches on religion and culture are all here, fantastically written by Card yet again. If the first three books have kept you enraptured, do yourself a favor and finish the amazing saga with Children of the Mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Card picks up brilliantly where Xenocide left off.
After reading Xenocide , I was eager to read Children of the Mind. Children of the Mind was a lot better than I thought it would be after reading Xenocide and having been disappointed with Card straying from his roots that made Ender's Game and Speaker of the Dead such good books in the series. What makes Children of the Mind great is not only does it make up for Card pouring his heart's philosophies out in Xenocide, but Children of the Mind does what the last book in a series should do; which is close it out in a proper fashion. The plot, the story, and the amount of philosophy are all just right in Children of the Mind. Readers who are coming off Xenocide will be pleasantly surprised to find the Children of the Mind is nothing like its philosophical other half in Xenocide. In particular, the strengths of Children of the Mind include believable characters such as Grace Drinker, Malu, and Wang-Mu. I've enjoyed the Ender Quarter immensely as I've searched the summer for cures to boredom. With the Ender's Quarter I not only found a way to pass the time but found out some things about the world around me and how Card teaches the reader as well as writing a particularly good storyline.

2-0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent with Xenocide!
Ok, I just started on this book...but I noticed several ERRORS immediately!!!! FIRST: It says Jane will "die" once all the networked computers of the hundred worlds is turned off. WRONG! in Xenocide it says Jane WILL LIVE even without the computers, but she will be mentally crippled. SECOND: It says there are dozens of FTL starships now in use. HOW CAN THAT BE? In Xenocide it was clearly established that Jane can only take a ship OUTSIDE and back INSIDE IF...IF either Ender or the duplicate Peter or the duplicate Val were inside it! So how can there be "dozens of FTL starships in operation"???!!!!!! Ender has vowed never to go OUTSIDE again. That leaves the duplicates of Peter and Val. So how is it that suddenly dozens of FTL starships are in use????? What is Orson Scott Card thinking? Has he forgotten what he wrote in Xenocide? ... Read more

150. The Supernaturalist
by Eoin Colfer
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786851481
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 1177
Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the not-too-distant future, in a place called Satellite City, thirteen-year-old Cosmo Hill is unfortunate enough to come into the world unwanted by his parents. And so, as are all orphaned boys his age, Cosmo is dipped in a vaccine vat and sent to the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys-freight class.At Clarissa Frayne, the orphans, called "no-sponsors," are put to work by the state, testing dangerous products that never should be allowed near human beings. By the time the no-sponsors are sent to their cardboard utility pipes, given their nightly meal pack, and finally fall asleep, they are often covered in burns, bruises, or sores from the work of the day.Cosmo Hill knows that he must escape, even though he has no idea what might be waiting for him on the outside. He plans for the moment when he can make a break. When that moment finally comes, he nearly dies while escaping. But he is rescued by a gang of "Supernaturalists," a motley crew of kids who all have a special psychic ability-one that Cosmo is about to learn he has as well. They "see" supernatural Parasites-tiny, translucent creatures who feed on the life force of humans. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent and fascinating book!
This book and its author created a fascinating world and reality in which to follow believable characters through the fantastic. Much the way more traditional sci-fi and space opera has done over the years and continues to do: "Stranger in a Strange Land", "Rendezvous with Rama", "2001", "2010", "Childhood's End", "I,Robot", "Ringworld", "Advent of the Corps", and more.

3-0 out of 5 stars No Artemis Fowl
I became a fan of Eoin Colfer after reading the Artemis Fowl series. Unlike the Supernaturalist, the Artemis Fowl books have in-depth characters, unique plots and witty dialouge. Here, Colfer seems to focus purely on the technological aspect of the story, and forgets the rest. Sure, while we get a blow by blow description of the characters plugging in some electro gadget or other, we wonder what this has to do with the story.
The charactars are pretty stereotypical, with nothing particularily unique or fascinating. The plot is interesting enough, and the setting, while grotesque is well presented.
The problem is, the characters don't seem to interact with the setting or eachother. When Colfer throws in the "plot twists," there is no slow suspensful build up to make them as shocking as they could have been. It's as if someone said, okay the bomb blew up in the Restaurant! Versus, showing people eating and minding their own business, and then showing the villian with the bomb.
What this book did do for me, is help me appreciate how good the Artemis Fowl books really are. I've felt that the Supernaturalist is Eoin Colfer's second dud (counting the Wish List.) I really hope he doesn't suffer from Sophomore Slump, and brings back the sparkle and magic of Artemis Fowl. Perhaps this book should have spent some more time in the editing room, replacing the technology with actual human emotion.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not a waste of time or money
This is not Aretimis Fowl. If you come in excpecting Artemis Fowl, you are likely to be disappointed. This is a very good book. Eoin Colfer uses his ability to write fantastic characters that you find your self torn between who you like the best, similiar to Aretmis Fowl. Take it from me, an average 14 year old boy much like Cosmo, Colfer captures his feelings greatly. However, sometimes the plot moves a bit to fast and some of the early plot twists are a tad predictable, despite it you will find yourself loving this book. The one thing that seperates this from Aretimis Fowl is the fact that this one has a better ending then any of the three. Overall, a book you won't be sorry you read.

5-0 out of 5 stars HIS BEST BOOK YET!
I finished this book more than 12 hours ago and I still can't stop thinking about it. The plot was great and it will possibly be one of the best sci-fi books you'll ever read.

The story mainly focuses on Cosmo Hill, but gives the point of veiw of other characters too just like Eoin Colfer does in many of his books. Once you start reading this book, you will not want to put it down. I know I didn't.

I hope it becomes a classic for years to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Colfer's best
When i first picked up the book i thought that it was another badly written book that was all about what things in the future would have. IT IS NOT. While this does take place in the future (the darker side of the future) it focuses on so many other things. The plot kept me involved from the start, from the exciting and dangerous escape of Cosmo and Ziplock, to the climactic and plot-twisted ending of the book (which just kept me having to tell somebody about).

The characters are so well represented, and i loved reading about how the Supernaturalists were like an immune team. Cosmo is the perfect character to focus on, because of his constant curiosity and charming nature, while Mona, Ditto and Stefan all have traits that are just too much to include here.

The plot is definitely the most exciting and creative part of the story. I don't think i've ever read a book with a plot that built up to the climax so well and left me as surprised at the plot twists (The first one I kinda saw coming, but the one near the end that leads to the climax took me completely by surprise)

this book definitely goes up there with Colfer's other masterpieces - Artemis Fowl 1 + 3 (the second one i found a little boring. The wish list was well written, but i didn't really like the characters or the story)


BRAVO COLFER!!!!! ... Read more

151. Y: The Last Man - Book 4, Safeword (Vertigo)
by Brian K. Vaughan
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1401202322
Catlog: Book (2004-12-01)
Publisher: DC Comics
Sales Rank: 3200
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152. Dandelion Wine (Grand Master Editions)
list price: $7.50
our price: $6.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553277537
Catlog: Book (1985-04-01)
Publisher: Spectra
Sales Rank: 16989
Average Customer Review: 3.88 out of 5 stars
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World-renowned fantasist Ray Bradbury has on several occasions stepped outside the arenas of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. An unabashed romantic, his first novel in 1957 was basically a love letter tohis childhood. (For those who want to undertake an even more evocative look at the dark side of youth, five years later the author would write the chilling classic Something Wicked This Way Comes.)

Dandelion Wine takes us into the summer of 1928, and to all the wondrous and magical events in the life of a 12-year-old Midwestern boy named Douglas Spaulding.This tender, openly affectionate story of a young man's voyage of discovery is certainly more mainstream than exotic. No walking dead or spaceships to Mars here. Yet those who wish to experience the unique magic of early Bradbury as a prose stylist should find Dandelion Winemost refreshing. --Stanley Wiater ... Read more

Reviews (204)

5-0 out of 5 stars Realistically Delightful
Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine can only be described in two words: Literary Triumph.

Dandelion Wine tells the trials and tribulations of Green Town (known in the real world as Waukegan), a small town in Illinois. Set in the 1920's, the action primarily revolves around young Douglas Spaulding...a good friend, a loving brother, and a poet at heart.

Like most Bradbury works, Dandelion Wine is not exactly a complete novel. Rather, many short stories pop up within the action...from a suspected witch that lives down the street, a trip into the country, and the purchase of new sneakers, each is a story within itself. Each of these stories is recorded by Douglas Spaulding and his faithful little brother Tom. They long to hold onto these memories and make the most of them.

Dandelion Wine is more than guaranteed to excite the senses as well. Bradbury has such control over sensory imagery that the reader can easily smell the sweet scent of dandelions on every page, breathe the small town air with every word, and hear the faint jangling of a trolley in the distance. The book is also chock full of meaningful symbolism, witty metaphors, and unforgettable similes.

Although it is in Illinois, Green Town could be any lonely town, and Douglas Spaulding could be any young child who longs to hold onto his memories and treasure them forever in a bottle of Dandelion Wine.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Book
So far I have enjoyed reading Dandelion Wine. It is an excellent book that keeps you wondering and wanting to find out what happens next, full of magic and mystery. Young Douglas Spalding in the summer of 1928 has discovered that he is alive; he is learning to truly treasure life and to love his childhood as well as anticipate the years to come. Bradbury has a very poetic writing style which makes the book a nice read. Read this book to go on a wonderful summer journey, Bradbury's use of descriptive words will help you to feel like your actually seeing all the excitement going on in little Green Town. You'll learn to think about the small things in life and appreciate nature, You'll notice all kinds of things that you never really took the time to see before.

1-0 out of 5 stars Dandelion Wine
This is without a doubt, the absolute worst book i have ever read in my life. Let me tell you i have read some horrible books that are pointless and have no relation whatsoever to life. However this one takes the cake. This isn't just a boring book. I have read books that were well made but are just boring to me such as Rebecca, Kidnap, and Great Expectations, but this book has no plot. Dandelion Wine is 239 pages of description. Some of the chapters include the character Douglass buying a pair of shoes, picking grapes, and brushing his teeth. This, as you can see, is quite "thrilling". I would rather take medicine than read this.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Favorite
This is one of my top 5 favorite books. Bradbury rocks.

5-0 out of 5 stars A series of metaphors about life in an active summer
This is a chronicle of a simpler time in Middle America, often presented in the form of a metaphor. It is the summer of 1928, from opening day until the school supplies are readied for the first day of school in the fall. New sneakers, packed with enormous potential for running, jumping and general activity are one of the opening traditions of the summer. The title comes from the making of dandelion wine, which is considered to be a way to pack the emotions of summer into a bottle. Since the dandelion flower is yellow and round, it bears some resemblance to the sun.
As the story moves through the days of summer, there is the pain of a friend moving away, the fear of a major summer illness of a child, the death of a great grandmother, the concern over a haunted area of the town, and a women's social society. Through it all, there is a note of underlying mysticism, but it is simply humans in a small town doing what people did in small towns in those days. The introduction of the supernatural forces is clearly meant to be a set of metaphors for the usual unusual events over the course of an active summer. The best example of this is the happiness machine. One of the inhabitants builds a machine that mentally takes you to many of the exotic places in the Earth. However, the wife of the man who built it points out that it is a bad thing, because it makes you want to go places you can't. Furthermore, it doesn't make the supper, mend the clothes, clean the house, or do any of the routine, but necessary tasks of daily life.
One of the most moving segments was the death of the great grandmother, who dies contented, considering it just another event in a long life filled with many happy routines. The segment begins with a recapitulation of her life, all of the actions of cleaning, cooking and taking care of children. She makes one last sweep of the house to check on things, and then goes upstairs to her bed to die. She dispenses some last-minute advice about how to carry on, commenting that she will live on in her descendents. With that last act out of the way, she curls up in bed and quietly and peacefully dies.
Reading it took me back to the days when I was twelve and growing up in Iowa. We had our summer rituals, the places we avoided because of the spooks, our favorite fields and swimming places and we also let the doors slam behind us. Bradbury writes very well, but you cannot appreciate these stories if you take them too literally. However, if you are capable of thinking metaphorically, then this is the summers of my youth as well as the youth of millions of other active boys. ... Read more

153. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553574132
Catlog: Book (1997-03-03)
Publisher: Spectra
Sales Rank: 89284
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Shadows of the Empire illuminates the shadowy outlines of a criminal conspiracy that exists in the background of the events in the movies, ruled by a character new to us. Prince Xizor is a mastermind of evil who dares to oppose one of the best-known fictional villains of all time: Darth Vader. The story involves all the featured Star Wars movie characters, plus Emperor Palpatine and, of course, Lord Vader himself. ... Read more

Reviews (314)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite Star Wars books
I've read other Star Wars Expanded Universe books (like the Thrawn Trilogy) and been less than impressed. Some of them are [unsatisfactory] (like the Jedi Academy trilogy and The Crystal Star) and some are good (like Dark Force Rising). That being said, I wasn't sure what to expect of Shadows. It had a huge multimedia push (toys, books, games) which makes you wonder about the quality of the source material. So I picked it up feeling somewhat jaded.

All this time later, I've read Shadows at least three times and each time I like it even more.

The book takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. While Luke works on his Jedi skills (and building a new lightsaber) on Tatooine, Prince Xizor plots to destroy Darth Vader's influence over the Emperor by having Luke killed. Meanwhile, Leia and Lando attempt to recover Han Solo's carbonite-frozen body from Boba Fett with the help of Dash Rendar, a smuggler like Solo.

The main reason why I like Shadows so much is because of Prince Xizor: he has much more depth to him as a villian than Darth Vader does. At times I liked the character so much I wanted his plans to actually succeed; unfortunately, if they did, most of Return of the Jedi wouldn't have been able to happen. Xizor's character I found to be one of the most interesting I'd ever encountered in a novel. Perry developed him to be much more than a simple villain with a simple plan; he's infitely more realistic a character than Perry's other creation, Dash Rendar (to whom I thought was a low-rent Han Solo clone). The only real fault with the novel is that it doesn't do much with Boba Fett, but, then again, I've never got the appeal behind Boba so it wasn't that much of a fault.

Shadows of the Empire might be my favorite of the Expanded Universe novels, and Prince Xizor might be one of my favorite Star Wars characters. So, it's pretty obvious that I liked this book a lot and would highly recommend it. It's vastly superior to the other Star Wars novels out there.

4-0 out of 5 stars Recaptures the spirit of the original movie.
Shadows was probably the most-hyped book in the whole Star Wars line, which I consider unfortunate. Many people went in believing all the spins, and came out disappointed. What they missed was that it's a very solid action novel which is very much in the same spirit that Lucas created. All of our heroes are here, except for Han Solo, who is encased in carbonite and en transit to Jabba's Palace. Much of the story revolves around their unsuccessful attempts to rescue him. These adventures also resolve many of the questions raised by Return of the Jedi, such as where Leia got her Boussh disguise, or exactly how those Bothans died getting the Death Star information. The other main plotline involves a previously unseen foe, Prince Xizor (she-zor), who leads the criminal empire called the Black Sun. Much of the book is concerned with the power struggles between him, the Emperor, and Darth Vader within the Imperial Capital of Coruscant. It is these political games which were the most facina

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
This was my first venture into Star Wars books, and being a longtime fan of the movies I decided to read some of the books.

The plot was decent, and I enjoyed reading what happened in between Empire and Jedi(and it answered some questions about things in Jedi).

Well, I dont think I can say anything positive that hasnt been said before about this book, so I'll explain why I gave it 4 starts instead of 5.

There are parts in the book that borrow lines from the movies, and its hard to picture Xizor there with the Emperor. Vader also seems weak in parts of this book, and like he's Xivors puppet(which ruined my vision of Vader as being powerful and only bowing to the Emperors will).

After reading this book, I will most certainly continue to read Star Wars books.

3-0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but still entertaining.
The most interesting thing about "Shadows of the Empire" and what makes it most valuable to read is the fact that its an attempt to describe the events between the far superior "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" and succeeds in explaining a few things that a die hard Star Wars fan might have mused upon after many viewings of the movies themselves. The fact that "Shadows of the Empire" sadly falls short of expectations isn't so much the ideas contained within the plot, but more because of the clumsy writing style of the author, as well as his introduction of new, but unoriginal and lukewarm characters that overall do nothing to add to the totality of this most noble creation of science fiction.
For instance, two of the most notable of the new characters failed to achieve the lofty ambitions the author evidently held for them. Xisor, the head of the largest interstellar criminal organization in the Star Wars mythos, tries too hard to be as evil and dominating as Lord Vader; instead, ending up being the stereotypical "bad guy" engulfed in a sea of self conceit while frustratingly pining away over Princess Leia. And then there is Dash, a carbon copy plagarism of the inimitable Han Solo; enough said.
I think this book had a lot of potential and could have even come off as at least a decent addition to the flourishing genre of Star Wars literature if only the author spent more time with character and plot development. Too clumsy and far too unoriginal for anyone but a diehard Star Wars fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Starwars:Shadows of the Empire
wrote by : Jim Bayes#
#Star Wars
Shadows of the Empire
This book is between "Empire strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi ." The book is about Luke Skywalker being hunted down by Darth Vader (which we know is Anakin Skywalker ) and during the time Luke is constructing a new lightsaber and also training to become a Jedi Master . With him is Leia , Chewie , Lando and the two droids named R2-D2 and C-3p0. Alongside his companions they are trying to spring a plan to get Han Solo back and out of Frozen Carbonite . Which they are distracted by a character named Prince Xizor , which he is very wealthy and the boss of the Black Sun . He is also trying to get Luke but he wants to kill him . This book is very impressive which shows what they did between the sequels . I give this book a 10 out 10 and I would advise this book to anyone with a good since of adventure .

Publisher- Lucas film LTD Author- Steve Perry
Year- 1996
Pages- 384 pgs.
Price- $5.99
Isbn- 0-553-57413-2 ... Read more

154. The Curse of Cain
by J. Mark Powell, L.D. Meagher
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 0765310880
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Forge Books
Sales Rank: 29912
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

On April 14, 1865 John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theater, or so the history books tell us ... but what if there was a second gunman who actually pulled the trigger?
The Curse of Cain
Like The Day of the Jackal, The Eagle has Landed, and The Key to Rebecca, The Curse of Cain is the cat and mouse story of a ruthless professional assassin hired to kill the Union President and the Confederate agent dispatched by Jefferson Davis to thwart his plan.
Like Forsyth's Jackal, Follett's Needle, and Higgins's Devlin, the assassin-Basil Tarleton-is a charming agent of death.Jack Tanner-a Confederate era Jack Ryan, is willing to forego matters of the heart in order to carry out his mission and save the life of the President of an opposing nation.
Set in the closing weeks of the Civil War and against the backdrop of the notorious Lincoln conspiracy (and subsequent cover-up) as well as the actual Confederate intelligence network that existed in Washington, D.C. at the time, Powell and Meagher tell a heart-stopping tale of suspense and intrigue. This dangerous mission follows assassin and pursuer, as they close in on their targets in enemy territory where exposure means certain death.
The Curse of Cain races to the page-turning climax on that fateful night at Ford's Theater.
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fast-paced Civil War Thriller
Almost since the moment Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, writers and historians have argued about the possibility of Confederate involvement in the president's killing. A large part of the issue has centered on whether the South stood to gain anything by Lincoln's death - at least in the minds of those high up in the Jefferson Davis administration. Though we may never reach a consensus, there is much to recommend the argument that the South was better off with Abraham Lincoln alive than dead. This is the underlying assumption of this new and exciting novel by J. Mark Powell and L. D. Meagher.

In The Curse of Cain, Powell and Meagher put a new twist on the Lincoln conspiracy. In their version of the story, the assassination is indeed the result of Southern malfeasance. But the chief instigator, a Confederate congressman, is actually a loose cannon, and when his own government learns that he has hired an assassin to eliminate Lincoln, they send an agent to find the killer before he brings the "Curse of Cain" down upon them all.

Powell and Meagher have built their story around a plausible idea, and have constructed a well-paced narrative with just the right mix of action and intrigue. Their heroes include the Confederate agent, Kate St. Claire, who spends her time cultivating contacts in the upper strata of Washington society; and Jack Tanner, a no-nonsense detective in the Confederate provost guard. Their villains are Basil Tarleton, a cold-blooded killer; and John Wilkes Booth, his reluctant cohort who wants only to capture the president. These people move about in a deadly game of cat and mouse, each team set against the other, but both with the ultimate goal of saving the Confederacy.

The Curse of Cain is a fast-paced adventure with heart-stopping action and surprises at every turn. It is a great read, and would make an excellent addition to any collection of Civil War literature. ... Read more

155. Beast Master's Planet : Omnibus of Beast Master and Lord of Thunder
by Andre Norton
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 0765313278
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Tor Books
Sales Rank: 154417
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Book Description

In 1959 Andre Norton published The Beast Master, a fast-paced science fiction adventure that introduced to readers a new kind of hero, Hosteen Storm. Storm, a Navajo from the American southwest, served in the Planetary Confederacy forces as a Beast Master teamed with an African eagle, a meercat, and a dune cat.

Telepathically linked to his team animals, Storm served valiantly in the war that eventually defeated the alien Xiks, though victory could not prevent the aliens from destroying Earth. With his homeworld gone, Storm emigrated to the colonized frontier planet Arzor, where he would have to help fight a holdout Xik force that has brought the war to his adopted home.

In Lord of Thunder, Storm's beast master skills and animal partners are needed to unravel the mystery behind a huge gathering of the indigenous Norbies. Only Storm and his half-brother Logan Quade can penetrate the Norbies' clan secrets and discover what is behind the threat of an uprising that could destroy the tenuous peace between the colonists and the aliens who share their planet.

These two novels are science fiction adventure at its best. Here is exciting space opera full of colorful, absorbing SF action on an alien world, as only Andre Norton can write it.
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156. The Bradbury Chronicles : The Life of Ray Bradbury
by Sam Weller
list price: $26.95
our price: $18.33
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Asin: 006054581X
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 139061
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157. Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs
by Kevin Padian, Philip J. Currie
list price: $122.95
our price: $122.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0122268105
Catlog: Book (1997-09-17)
Publisher: Academic Press
Sales Rank: 274149
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This book is the most authoritative encyclopedia ever prepared on dinosaurs and dinosaur science. In addition to entries on specific animals such as Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, and Velociraptor, the Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs covers reproduction, behavior, physiology, and extinction. The book is generously illustrated with many detailed drawings and photographs, and includes color pictures and illustrations that feature interpretations of the best known and most important animals. All alphabetical entries are cross-referenced internally, as well as at the end of each entry. The Encyclopedia includes up-to-date references that encourage the reader to investigate personal interests.

Key Features
*The most authoritative encyclopedia ever prepared on dinosaurs
*Includes many detailed drawings, photographs and illustrations in both color and black-and-white
*Contains comprehensively cross-referenced alphabetical entries with internal references, as well as references at the conclusion of each entry
*Provides in-depth references, allowing readers to pursue independent interests
*Includes sixteen plates and 35 color illustrations
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This is a great book, considering how huge it is. Being written in 1998, this book has all the current knowledge. There's more info on the actual era and the technical asspects of dinosaurs than the actual dinosaurs. Despite the price, this book is worth it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Questions about dinosaurs that go deeper than the surface?
If so, then this is the book for you! The Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs is a wonderful, up-to-date book that covers most, if not all, topics concerned with dinosaurs. Well put-together, beautifully illustrated, and written by today's top paleontologists, the Encyclopedia is well worth the price. Although it doesn't get too technical, this book is not for the uninformed. A must have for any serious dino-enthusiast - believe me, it will answer your questions, and lead you to ask more! 5 stars may not be enough for this one! (Plus it's massive enough to knock some sense into the not-so-dino-loving loved one or associate in your life!)

5-0 out of 5 stars This definitely belongs on the shelf of any dino-lover.
When I first received this book for Christmas, I was shocked! The book was the size and weight of a telephone book! It's packed with skeletal drawings, cladograms, paintings... You name it, it's in the text.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice work!
This is really a good book, with much nice information and artwork (although more art plates may have been a good idea). The numerous articles are written by specialists and that makes the book more up-to-date and interesting than many others. However, articles are very short, so that people will quickly become interested to get more informations. This is possible with references given at the end of each entry.

However, I think this book is a bit too technical for the basal concepts it describes; the style *The Complete Dinosaur* is, I think, more approprite.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, up to date information on dinosaurs!
We've all read the bylines: the public loves dinosaurs. And it's true. But we're also not all that discriminating. As a result, many dinosaur books are very out of date. The Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs is a notable exception to this. Each topic is written not only by a paleontologist, but by a dinosaur paleontologist who specializes in that particular subject. The result? A compendium of information that could otherwise be obtained only by attending perfessional meetings for years. And of course, at professional meetings technical laguage is the norm. Anyone want to decipher "the relevance of the arctometatarsilian pes to the phylogenetic analysis of coelurosaurian theropods"..? The Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs is written plainly and clearly. Any interested adult or teenager could master the knowledge within much easier than, say, highschool algerbra. As a student of paleontology, and someone who has attended numerous professional meetings, I can say with confidence that this book will equip any aspiring paleontologist with the knowledge needed to reach the "next leve" of understanding of the dinosaurs. ... Read more

158. Imperium
by Keith Laumer
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
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Asin: 0743499034
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Baen
Sales Rank: 78650
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Book Description

Three complete novels of cross-time action and suspense by Keith Laumer, grand master of science fiction adventure. Brion Bayard was an American diplomat . . . until he was kidnapped on the streets of Stockholm, and thrust into what he thought was a truck. At first, he was relieved to find that his abductors were very apologetic, and very British. Then they began speaking about nations and leaders which Bayard had never heard of. That was understandable, they told him, because they were from Earth, but not his Earth. There are millions or more parallel Earths, each different in some slight way from the other, where history has taken every possible turn, where the heirs of Napoleon rule Europe, where King John tore the Magna Carta to shreds and executed those who had presented him with it, even one where the ancestors of Homo sapiens lost the evolutionary struggle to another upright ape, who became the dominant intelligent lifeform. But mostly there are uninhabitable worlds, destroyed by the discovery of the technology to travel from one parallel Earth to another and the misuse of it. The Earth of the Imperium is at war with another parallel Earth and Bayard can stop the war by killing the ruler of the aggressor Earth and replacing him-because the ruler is a parallel version of Bayard. But when Bayard goes on his mission to the alternate Earth, things don't turn out to be quite that simple. And that was only the beginning of Bayard's adventures as he defends his new homeworld, both from internal enemies and invaders from the other side of time, becoming the staunchest and most resourceful defender of the Imperium!Publisher's Note: Imperium has previously appeared in parts as Worlds of the Imperium, Assignment in Nowhere and The Other Side of Time. This is the first unitary edition. ... Read more

159. Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith : Prima Official Game Guide (Prima Official Game Guides)
list price: $14.99
our price: $10.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0761551646
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: Prima Games
Sales Rank: 8706
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160. Alas, Babylon (Perennial Classics)
by Pat Frank
list price: $11.00
our price: $8.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060931396
Catlog: Book (1999-04-01)
Publisher: Perennial Classics
Sales Rank: 14817
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The classic apocalyptic novel that stunned the nation with its vivid portrayal of a small town's survival after nuclear holocaust devastates the country. ... Read more

Reviews (205)

5-0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable, haunting and very, very real.
I read this book 40 years ago and it has haunted me ever since. Most people think of nuclear war as the destructive blast and the resulting radiation fallout. I don't think many people think of the long term survival techniques that any survivors will have to face, such as when the main character loaded up on meats for his freezer, never thinking about the lack of electricity due to the destruction of the power sources. Having once been VERY near-sighted, the part dealing with the glasses definitly hit home. And reading about the simple things that people traded, such as honey since there was no sugar, reminded me of stories from my mom about WWII and trying to make a cake with all kinds of strange substitutes. This book is a very realistic portrayal of what could happen to some of us should a nuclear war erupt. It's one of those books that should be on the mandatory reading list of all high-schoolers.

4-0 out of 5 stars Scary, effective
In "Alas, Babylon", Pat Frank tells us how a small town in Florida named Fort Repose survives the year following a major worldwide nuclear war between the two sides involved in the Cold War that ended in the late 1980s. This book was written in 1959 when fears of nuclear destruction were basically at their peak. The descriptions of post-holocaust life seem quite realistic and plausible.

Without giving too much away, the residents of Fort Repose witness the destruction of neighboring cities and discover that they are completely isolated from the rest of the country (what's left of it). With no electricity, communications, or imported goods (the town is surrounded by dangerous radioactive zones), Fort Repose is in big trouble. Fortunately, a couple of the town's residents hang onto hope and struggle to learn the basics of survival in an environment without modern conveniences. Problems which were merely annoying before the war transform into serious impediments. For example, a very near-sighted main character gets his eyeglasses broken and his spare pair stolen. Those of you like myself who can hardly function day to day without corrective lenses will be able to relate to this man's despair at being doomed to many months or more of blurry vision.

Frank's experience with the military is evident. The buildup to the ballistic missile launches is suspenseful and climactic. The actual warhead explosions over the Floridian cities (witnessed by Fort Repose residents from a distance) seem realistic and very scary.

The novel never really falters, it remains interesting and a page turner right through to the end. But it ends kind of abruptly. I'm not sure if there's any other way to end a novel like this. Recovery from a nuclear holocaust on the scale portrayed would be an excruciatingly slow process due to the near-total loss of manufacturing capacity, intellectual know-how, and mobility due to the impassable radioactive zones. So there can't really be a "good" ending to nuclear war and I guess that's the message of the book.

Highly recommended! By most accounts, better than Nevil Shute's The Beach, which I haven't read. If you want to get an idea of what life in a small town would have been like in the 1950s had things gone drastically wrong between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, look no further.

5-0 out of 5 stars Almost too good . . . .
I read this book as a teenager and was so taken by it that I would reread it several years in a row. Its picture of life after a nuclear war is harrowing and frightening. In a sense, this is a prelude of the story that concludes with "On the Beach". The only problem is that Frank writes so well and gives such a hopeful slant to the possibility of survival that some readers might want to be there when the missles start to fall. (By the way, this much superior to that mess of a movie "The Day After"--and, oh how I wish, it would have made a splendid film. I believe it was made as a Playhouse 90 for TV in the 50s. Oh, would I love to see that!)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
While Nevil Shute's "On the Beach" deals with nuclear war after the fact, Pat Frank puts the reader right in the middle of the war and lets them witness firsthand the mass hysteria and carnage that would accompany the beginning and aftermath in the first few years afterwards.

The actual beginning of the nuclear war occupies only the first few chapters of the book, and the fallout, both literally and figuratively, is what makes up the rest. Having the reader in the middle of the action is what hits home the most--especially when the radio address by the new president, a woman who is about twentieth in line to succeed the president, reads a complete listing of the areas with so much fallout that people are forbidden to enter or leave them. Chills will run down your spine when you read this part and realize that you are right in the midst of one of these zones.

This book is more optimistic than Nevil Shute's, so perhaps it's less realistic. However, Frank weaves a wonderful story of people picking up the pieces of the shattered world and managing to move on together in the face of such tragedy. Definitely a worthwhile read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Takes the reader to a different world, magnificently
This was required reading for me in a high school freshman English class. Am I glad! As one of the first books I read as an adolescent, it awakened in me the potential power of books, how they can inspire and get us in touch with our feelings. How to some extent they can tell us whether we are even feeling, by whether we are emotionally connecting with the book. I really was sucked into this post-apocalyptic adventure, with its highwaymen and primitive fight for subsistence. Somehow the idea of a post-apocalyptic world forces us to get in touch with ourselves, by removing what is phony and comfortable and, often, unearned. There is love, action, thought and feeling here. A tremendously entertaining book. ... Read more

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