Worth Reading (Fiction)

  • Mamet, David: Chicago: A Novel
    In Roaring 20's Chicago, a Great War veteran turned hard-boiled reporter falls in love with the wrong woman and then seeks to find her killer.
  • Nelson DeMille: The Cuban Affair: A Novel
    Two million dollars to charter a boat for a fishing tournament? A great way for the owner to pay off the boat's mortgage, but it turns out to include slipping into Castro's prison island in search of a lost (and perhaps imaginary) treasure.
  • Kate Atkinson: Life After Life: A Novel
    Ursula Todd has the opportunity to relive her life, over and over and over, moving steadily through the Great War and its sequels and accumulating shards of memory.
  • Connie Willis: Crosstalk: A Novel
    An empathy app leads to complications involving telepathy, Irish women and a true love that runs most unsmoothly. Classic Willis comedy.
  • Mark Steyn: The Prisoner of Windsor
    In a 21st Century sequel to Anthony Hope, the heir to the Ruritanian throne must fill in for the kidnaped Prime Minister of Great Britain.
  • Tim Powers: My Brother's Keeper
    Werewolves, the Brontë sisters, their wayward brother, their heroic dog and a conspiracy to unleash an almost dead deity.
  • Tim Powers: Declare: A Novel
    An intricate Cold War fantasy that seems so plausible that one wonders whether it is the true story of why the Soviet Union rose and collapsed.
  • H.F.M. Prescott: The Man on a Donkey
    Set during the Pilgrimage of Grace, this is the rare historical novel that captures the mindset of the actors. The hero, Robert Aske, was martyred in a way that makes burning at the stake look merciful.
  • Theodore Odrach: Wave of Terror
    Based on the author's experiences when the Soviet Union occupied his homeland after the Stalin-Hitler Pact, this book melds Chekov and Solzhenitsyn. By stages, the isolated folk of the Pripyet Marshes learn that there are worse masters than their former Polish overlords.
  • Simon Montefiore: Sashenka: A Novel
    Both grim and funny, this historical novel peers into the inner world of an upper class Russian girl turned loyal Bolshevik, highlighting her youthful fling at revolution-making in Petrograd, her fall from grace under Stalin, and an historian's effort, after the end of communism, to ascertain her fate.
  • Harry Turtledove: The Man with the Iron Heart
    Can the U.S. maintain its resolve against a defeated enemy's terrorist campaign? Imagining a post-World War II Nazi insurgency, Harry Turtledove puts this question into a new context. As Reinhard von Heydrich's "werewolves" devastate Germany, war-weary Americans call for withdrawal, regardless of the consequences.
  • Neal Stephenson: Anathem
    If you have not a smidgen of interest in how Platonic philosophy relates to the "many worlds" version of quantum mechanics, you still may like this novel, though you'll probably wish that the characters talked less. Persevere. After a slow start, the story grows compelling, and the intellectual dialogues turn out not to be digressions.
  • Alfred Duggan: Lord Geoffrey's Fancy
    Perhaps the finest book of one of England's finest historical novelists. The setting is 13th Century Greece, where Crusaders fought each other and the shattered Byzantine Empire. The history is accurate, the writing graceful and the characters not merely modern people in fancy dress.
  • Rodney Bolt: History Play : The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe
    A pseudo-history springing from the premise that Shakespeare's flashy predecessor survived the famous Deptford brawl and fled to the continent, where he secretly wrote almost all of the Bard's works. A clever, tongue-in-cheek reworking of literary history that also recreates the milieu shared by many real Elizabethan exiles.
  • Charles W. Chesnutt: Stories, Novels, and Essays (Library of America, 131)
    Fiction and essays by a black American writer who deserves a wider audience.
  • Harry Turtledove: Gunpowder Empire
    Debut of a juvenile series set in parallel worlds. 22nd century teen siblings, trapped without adult aid in a besieged city, must cope with the bizarre (to them) customs and prejudices of a never-fallen Roman Empire.
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« Haven’t We Already Tried Not Meddling? | Main | Quotes of the Day »

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Comments

“Surely the strange bedfellows are the assorted leftists, paleoconservatives and Islamofascists who think that tyranny, oppression and fraud are, ahem, a “normal and healthy development”.”

You are rapidly running out of allies in your pathetic partisan attack on the President:

George Will: “The president is being roundly criticized for insufficient, rhetorical support for what’s going on over there. It seems to me foolish criticism. The people on the streets know full well what the American attitude toward the regime is. And they don’t need that reinforced.”

Peggy Noonan: “To insist the American president, in the first days of the rebellion, insert the American government into the drama was shortsighted and mischievous, . . . “the ayatollahs were only too eager to demonize the demonstrators as mindless lackeys of the Great Satan Cowboy Uncle Sam, or whatever they call us this week.”

Now, I will grant you, I also consider these two paleoconservatives, but, hey, all conservatives are paleo in my book.

pbh

There are moments, I must say, when Mr. Hodges overtops himself.

I am, as should be obvious to the meanest intelligence, all for “meddling” in Iran’s affairs. Mr. Hodges, Pat Buchanan, the Mullarchy and (until this afternoon) Barack Obama are not. So that makes me a “bedfellow” with the mullahs? Surely the strange bedfellows are the assorted leftists, paleoconservatives and Islamofascists who think that tyranny, oppression and fraud are, ahem, a “normal and healthy development”.

"None of the victors will have any grounds to thank the United States."

My God, you are so invested in your partisanship that you are literally demanding that Obama do what the fascist mullahs are already falsely accusing him of doing. There really is something about fanatic conservatism that makes for strange bedfellows.

I offered a concept in the prior post that, as a fellow Science Fiction fan, I thought you might recall, but you appear to have chosen to ignore it. So, I'll make it plain:

"The Prime Directive:

"As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Starfleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation."

The recent comparisons of Obama with Spock are proving apt. His Cairo speech looks more and more timely and effective as following events accumulate. His statement today that "the world is watching" had a nice lefty echo to it. Just the right touch, in my view.

Anyone truly interested in the growth of Iranian democracy should observe that the revolution, as always, is in the hands of the people and they will be stronger for it if they succeed.

And, if they succeed, which seems more likely with each passing day, they will find the United States a friendly partner in their democratic future.

For which we should all hope to be thankful.

pbh

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Books by Tom Veal

Worth Reading (Non-Fiction)