Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book Review: “All the Weyrs of Pern” by Anne McCaffrey

This story takes place in the 9th pass with Lessa and F’lar as the Weyrleaders of Benden Weyr. It follows immediately on one of her other books, “Renegades of Pern” I think, where the AIVIS (Artificial Intelligence Voice Address System).

This story occasionally makes me think of the 60’s and 70’s in the US. There is the “Apollo” program that promises to get rid of Thread. There is the civil unrest because of changing circumstances, new “Aivis” devices in this case. There are the repeated attacks on important figures like Lord Jaxom and Masterharper Robinton.

All in all an enjoyable and epic story.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Book Review: “Dragonseye” by Anne McCaffrey

This book by Anne McCaffrey is set on Pern just before the start of the Second Pass. A number of minor plotlines are woven together. Lord Chalkin of Bitra Hold doesn’t believe, and doesn’t want to believe that Thread is about to fall. Iantine is an aspiring artist looking to begin his career. Debera leaves her family to Impress a green dragon at Telgar Weyr, which is lead by K’vin and Zulaya. Clisser is leading the College into the new pass and trying to preserve what must be preserved. Lord Paulin of Fort heads the Council as most of Pern prepares to meet Thread.

By the end of the book Chalkin has been impeached and exiled. Iantine has gained a reputation as a skilled portraitist and won the heart of Debera. The Eye, Finger, and Star rocks have been designed, and their placement on each Weyr has been established. This quote from the end of the book pretty well sums up the emotion, “What a time to be alive…”

All in all the action is simple and the physical challenges rather easily overcome for the protagonists. The politicking and personal interactions on the other hand…

It is an enjoyable story with only one obvious anachronism. It is said that the AIVIS turned itself off, despite that event not happening for another 2000 Turns.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Book Review: “Murrow: his life and times” by A.M Specter

This 700 page book focuses on Edward Roscoe Murrow, the radio and tv newsman. It begins with a brief sketch of Murrow’s parents and grandparents. The book goes through his childhood, his years working for the International Institute of Education, and then through his many years working for CBS.

It’s a fascinating book full of interesting details, from the importance of his college speech prof, to the way McCarthy threatened him. I’d say more but then I’d be going on for quite a while.

Well worth reading.