Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Replica: A Short Story

Please check out my newest short story, entitled Replica.

In the year 2054, Army Sergeant Logan Martel hunts for an insurgent plotting a horrific attack on the west. It is in this world of high-tech equipment and prolific robotics that Logan finds himself set adrift, searching for what's left of his own humanity. Will he find what he's looking for? Or will he become merely a replica of his former self?

This 4,464 word Short Story will make you question the future of robotics and humanity.  Available on Amazon for .99 cents.  Nook version coming soon. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Book Review: The Natanz Directive

The Natanz Directive is an international espionage thriller written by Wayne Simmons and Mark Graham.  It follows Jake Conlan around the world in his attempt to confirm reports of Iran's nuclear program and, if possible, disrupt those programs before it's too late.  It's been a while since I've read a thriller as timely as this one.  While reading it I turned on the news and found the stories on TV eerily similar to what was happening in the novel.  I found Wayne Simmons' experience in the intelligence community helped make the novel believable down to the smallest details.

The writing style was really the only downside of this novel.  The main character was likeable enough, but the sentences were written awkwardly and there were many out-of-place references to songs that disrupted the flow of the story.  Ultimately I was glad I slogged through the first two thirds of the novel so I could reach the climax, which was exciting, though I feel it wrapped things up too quickly and too nicely.  This was perhaps the only deviation from the realm of possibility in the novel.  Real covert missions seldom wrap up that nicely with a little bow on top.  I would expect there to be political consequences, inquiries, a change in international ties, or something as a result of this mission.  None of those consequences were mentioned and it felt as though the author said, "And they lived happily ever after.  The end."  Give me a break.

Bookophile Rating: Average (For a decent story that failed mostly in the subtle underpinnings and performed about average in everything else).

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Book Review: The Hunters

The Hunters, written by James Salter, is a gritty tale of Korean War pilots attempting to become "aces" by felling five enemy MiGs.  The story is centered around Captain Cleve Connell and his fighter wing.  Within the ranks there are bitter rivalries and the best of friends, but one prevailing theme is wingmanship. 

The writing itself was juvenile at times and powerful yet simple in others.  Every once in a while, Salter came through with a real gem of a thought, though the rest of the novel seemed to drag its feet from plot point to plot point.  Thinking of the novel in retrospect, however, those key moments that were done well are the ones best remembered.  Luckily, the novel is short enough that it didn't feel as though I was wasting my time because the overarching plot was actually interesting.

The book is very loosely based on Salter's time in the Korean War which shows through with his thorough insight into what it was like to be a fighter pilot in the fifties.  Despite parts that dragged and sporadic infantile sentence structure, I would recommend this book to those that are interested in Air Force history or aviation.  I would not recommend this book to those who cherish good storytelling in addition to a good story.  Sometimes, it's all in how it's said.

Bookophile Rating: Average (For poor sentence structure and story flow, but redeeming qualities in overall plot and quaint fifties nuances).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Book Review: Physics of the Future

For several years I've turned on the TV and watched the silver-haired physicist Michio Kaku equate complex theoretical physics to something the lay-person can relate to. This book is no different. Physics of the Future takes the form several futurists have used in the past, but one that is relevant today. Like Jules Verne, Kaku makes bold predictions of how the next century will pan out. In retrospect, Verne's predictions were mostly conservative, regardless of how outlandish they must have seemed at the time. However, Kaku consulted with over 300 scientists at the top of their respective fields to weave a tapestry of what future advancements could look like. It was with that mindset that I began reading Physics of the Future.

Michio Kaku splits up his volume into several chapters, each dealing with a different type of technological advancement. I found the chapters on Biotechnology and Medicine the most interesting, though they dealt little with physics. It seems only a matter of time, by Kaku's calculations, that humans will be able to live forever, or near enough to make no matter. Growing new organs, robotic limbs, soon the stuff of science fiction will not only be possible, it will be commonplace. Kaku's vision of the future is more optimistic than others I've read in the past. It seems his work is focused on what can be accomplished without any setbacks or global catastrophes. I, for one, believe the next hundred years could look a lot different if things keep going the way they are. However, people in the late 19th and early 20th century probably thought the same in their time, only to be proven wrong in the end. Most of Kaku's predictions are probable, which makes you think about how little our world has advanced in previous centuries as compared with the previous hundred years and certainly the coming hundred years.  

Bookophile Rating: Good (For optimism and insight into the possibilities that only a few years ago would have been laughed at as impossible)