Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review: The Evolution of Physics

The Evolution of Physics (Originally published 1938), by Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, is a great introduction to physics for those who are not as mathematically inclined, such as yours truly.  I found this book in the bottom of a pile at a used book store, which made it that much more exciting when I began reading.  Einstein was truly a genius in more ways than that which he is commonly known.  He was one of the first to really give the masses a crash course in what physics is really about.

After reading this book I feel I've grasped the basic concepts (Read: everything but the mathematics) of many principles of physics to include the theory of relativity.  As a science fiction author, it gives me great pleasure to be able to talk more intelligently about the subject so I can be better prepared to write harder Sci Fi rather than the mostly soft Sci Fi I've been into thus far in my career.

The beginning of the novel starts with Newton and continues on from there.  Einstein goes through each principle as though he was looking at it through the lens of the time, then continues to show how those theories were modified or disproved and how they were replaced.  Ultimately, he ends with the best understanding of physics at the time, with the understanding that his work would be expanded upon and would grow with time.

I would recommend this novel not just for the layman, but also for any freshman going into a physics program at university to refresh their memory and gain a better understanding of how the master viewed these principles.  It's fascinating to me to be given a window into his thought processes that I can actually understand (without delving into his dense papers on relativity, etc.)

Bookophile Rating of The Evolution of Physics: Excellent (For a novel that helps the lay reader gain a better understanding of physics.  The only thing that put me off was the old spellings of words that were a distraction, such as the continued usage of 'clew.'  I realize this is asinine of me.  I accept that.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Looking for Authors to Interview/Guest Bloggers!

Hey everyone!  

Authors: I'm looking to add some new features to Bookophile Reviews. The first such feature is Author Interviews! I'm looking for up and coming or already established authors to do a feature on. If you'd like to be featured on Bookophile Reviews, leave a comment below before Friday, August 22nd for consideration.  

Bloggers: If you'd like to post a guest review of a book, leave a comment or contact me by email (instructions on the contact tab at the top of the page). I'm not too worried about keeping genre-specific, I know I have eclectic tastes.

Readers: Let me know what books you want reviewed in the comments!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review: The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate

This book, written by Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957) and John Teramoto is not just a guide to the main principles of Shotokan Karate, but a guide to many aspects of life.  Each of the twenty principles is made into a chapter, which begins with commentary by Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan Karate.  After that, John Teramoto gives a fresh perspective that relates the principle to the present, giving readers unfamiliar with karate a great reason to read this book.  The twenty principles could easier be applied to business or other disciplines.

Throughout the novel there are anecdotes that explain why the specific principle is important from the perspective of karate and life.  I would recommend this short book (128 pages) to anyone looking for a quick read that will make you think.  Even a couple weeks after I read it I find myself thinking about a few of the principles that resonated particularly well with my life.

Bookophile Rating: Good (For a book you can read in an afternoon that will leave you taking a closer look at your own life).


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Gizmo Publishing Company Now Accepting Submissions

It's my pleasure to announce that Gizmo Publishing Company is accepting submissions for publication!  Please read below for more information.

"Founded in 2013, Gizmo Publishing Company aims to produce high quality books for sale in the online marketplace. Gizmo is not a huge publisher, and that allows us to give each of our titles the attention they deserve, and allows us to maintain a high standard of quality.

 Gizmo is seeking to publish novels in the following genres: Science Fiction, Steampunk, Military Fiction/Non-Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, as well as Literary pieces of Fiction."

From the submissions page:

"Gizmo Publishing is currently accepting submissions for the following genres: Science Fiction, Steampunk, Military Fiction/Non-Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, as well as Literary pieces of Fiction.

We only publish original works. If your book has been published in any format, including eBook or any other method, then we will not publish your book. This includes any self publication, even if the publication was for your own promotional use or to hand out to friends and relatives. We only publish first editions.

We only accept queries by e-mail. Please make this a one-page query with no attachments. If we like what we see, we'll ask you to send us the entire manuscript as a single Word file. Send an e-mail to Submissions [at] gizmopublishing.com"

Note: Gizmo Publishing Company was founded by the writer of this blog. Please direct questions to the email above.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Book Review: Fool Moon

The second book in the Dresden Files series, Fool Moon brings back Harry Dresden as the only professional wizard in the telephone book who also happens to doubles as a consultant to the Chicago Police Department.  The second installment in the series finds Harry Dresden lending a hand in solving a series of murders involving the full moon.  One real interesting takeaway from this book is that Jim Butcher didn't just stick with plain old werewolves.  No, he broke them down into multiple types and styles of wolves.  This brings an added dimension as Harry has to find out who the murderer/s is/are and sort out who's good, who's bad, and who's neither.

Fool Moon also shows the reader more of Dresden's power than Storm Front.  In the first novel, I kept waiting for Dresden to do something spectacular, and was often left wondering if he was really so great after all.  Fool Moon definitely upped the ante in that respect, and I expect future installments will have Dresden growing even further in power and presence.  As far as writing style, it is on par with the first novel.

I read elsewhere that Jim Butcher wrote the first three novels in the series back to back and then approached a publisher, who picked up all three.  Friends have told me that in future installments Butcher's writing gets even better as he better learns his craft and really comes to know the characters.  This is good news, because as it stands the first two novels, Storm Front and Fool Moon, are good novels in and of themselves.

However, besides Dresden's power growing and a new set of baddies, Fool Moon wasn't as intriguing as Storm Front simply because the first time I was introduced to Harry Dresden, I was really interested in the character, the world, and the relationships.  In Fool Moon, I don't feel like a lot of new ground was broken with the relationships and Dresden's character from an interpersonal standpoint.  Sure he is more powerful (or shows more of his power), but we don't learn too much more about the magical world than
we learned from Storm Front.  I would, however, still recommend this as a solid fantasy read that gives hope that future installments will be even better.  If you liked Storm Front, you should read Fool Moon if nothing more than as a bridge to the supposed better installments to come.

Bookophile Rating: Good (For a solid read that shows promise for future installments)


Monday, April 15, 2013

Film Review: The Bourne Identity

The Bourne Identity is a 2002 film based on the 1980 novel of the same name.  It follows Jason Bourne, an amnesiac attempting to discover his true identity, while terrorist organizations, assassins, and the CIA want him dead (the latter due to a deep-rooted conspiracy).  Bourne must use all of his considerable skill to discover the truth before it is too late.  This is the first in a franchise that spans four films (so far) as well as three original books by Robert Ludlum and seven additional books by Eric Van Lustbader.

The film's opening scene was potent.  Matt Damon is dragged out of the sea with bullet holes in his back.  He is nursed back to health by the Captain of the fishing boat that saved him.  He finds his memory is gone and all he has is a tiny metal chip that looks like a grain of rice which can flash a safety deposit box number.  He is dropped off in Italy to track down clues to his past.  Soon he finds himself on the radar of people intent on killing him.

Matt Damon gave a thrilling performance as Jason Bourne.  It was a part he was meant to play.  I personally enjoyed when he randomly broke into various languages without knowing he could speak them.  Also, his trick with remembering license plates was humorous.

The part of Marie, played by Franka Potente, was adequate, though lacked real chemistry with Damon.  Probably the thing I liked most about her was the kind of car she drove (an old Mini Cooper).  For fans of car chases, you will find there are some great chase scenes in this movie.

Bookophile Rating: Excellent (For great acting by Damon, and a good plot that unravels splendidly).

Monday, April 8, 2013

Film Review: A Scanner Darkly

A Scanner Darkly is a film based on the novel of the same name by psychedelic master Philip K. Dick.  The movie was filmed digitally then filtered by a process called interpolated rotoscope, which gives the film a comic book sort of look that is pretty unique.  The main premise of the story is that in the near future, there is a drug epidemic in which much of the population is addicted to a drug called Substance D.  The government has created a sort of police-state to deal with the crisis, which results in countless police detectives and snitches around every corner.

The acting was quite good by the main cast.  Notably, Woody Harrelson's drug tripping performance was the most memorable of the bunch.  The film deals with mind-bending realities that Philip K. Dick so enjoys exploring.  For the most part, A Scanner Darkly is an interesting ride, although at times a terrifying one.  Dick had firsthand experience with a multitude of drugs and so his dystopian vision is all the more vivid.

About the only downside of A Scanner Darkly is at times the pacing is slow and I found myself itching for something to happen.  It's one of those films that is much better in retrospect when thinking about the concept, or the idea of the film itself, rather than the quality of the film itself.  Although this film never found mainstream success, I believe it is one of the closer adaptations of Philip K. Dick's extensive works and has its place in the hearts of his fans.

I recommend this film and the source book for fans of Philip K. Dick, dystopian fiction, psychedelic drug trips, and a glimpse into a dark subculture that, though few talk about it, already exists in America today.

Bookophile Rating: Good (For a film that is enjoyable despite its flaws and offers a new way to show audiences the inner workings of a dark subculture).