Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Mills, Kyle. Red War. New York: Atria Books, 2018. ISBN 978-1-5011-9059-9. This is the fourth novel in the Mitch Rapp saga written by Kyle Mills, who took over the franchise after the death of Vince Flynn, its creator. On the cover, Vince Flynn still gets top billing (he is now the “brand”, not the author), but Kyle Mills demonstrates here that he's a worthy successor who is taking Rapp and the series in new directions. In the previous novel, Enemy of the State (June 2018), Rapp went totally off the radar, resigning from the CIA, recruiting a band of blackguards, many...

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Day, Vox [Theodore Beale]. SJWs Always Double Down. Kouvola, Finland: Castalia House, 2017. ISBN 978-952-7065-19-8. In SJWs Always Lie (October 2015) Vox Day introduced a wide audience to the contemporary phenomenon of Social Justice Warriors (SJWs), collectivists and radical conformists burning with the fierce ardour of ignorance who, flowing out of the academic jackal bins where they are manufactured, are infiltrating the culture: science fiction and fantasy, comic books, video games; and industry: technology companies, open source software development, and more established and conventional firms whose managements have often already largely bought into the social justice agenda. The present volume updates...

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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Gilder, George. Life after Google. Washington: Regnery Publishing, 2018. ISBN 978-1-62157-576-4. In his 1990 book Life after Television, George Gilder predicted that the personal computer, then mostly boxes that sat on desktops and worked in isolation from one another, would become more personal, mobile, and be used more to communicate than to compute. In the 1994 revised edition of the book, he wrote. “The most common personal computer of the next decade will be a digital cellular phone with an IP address … connecting to thousands of databases of all kinds.” In contemporary speeches he expanded on the idea, saying,...

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Carr, Jack. The Terminal List. New York: Atria Books, 2018. ISBN 978-1-5011-8081-1. A first-time author seeking to break into the thriller game can hardly hope for a better leg up than having his book appear in the hands of a character in a novel by a thriller grandmaster. That's how I came across this book: it was mentioned in Brad Thor's Spymaster (September 2018), where the character reading it, when asked if it's any good, responds, “Considering the author is a former SEAL and can even string his sentences together, it's amazing.” I agree: this is a promising debut for an...

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hertling, William. The Turing Exception. Portland, OR: Liquididea Press, 2015. ISBN 978-1-942097-01-3. This is the fourth and final volume in the author's Singularity Series which began with Avogadro Corp. (March 2014) and continued with A.I. Apocalypse (April 2015) and The Last Firewall (November 2016). Each novel in the series is set ten years after the previous, so this novel takes place in 2045. In The Last Firewall, humanity narrowly escaped extinction at the hands of an artificial intelligence (AI) that escaped from the reputation-based system of control by isolating itself from the global network. That was a close call, and the United States,...

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Boule, Deplora [pseud.]. The Narrative. Seattle: CreateSpace, 2018. ISBN 978-1-71716-065-2. When you regard the madness and serial hysterias possessing the United States: this week “bathroom equality”, the next tearing down statues, then Russians under every bed, segueing into the right of military-age unaccompanied male “refugees” to bring their cultural enrichment to communities across the land, to proper pronouns for otherkin, “ripping children” from the arms of their illegal immigrant parents, etc., etc., whacky etc., it all seems curiously co-ordinated: the legacy media, on-line outlets, and the mouths of politicians of the slaver persuasion all with the same “concerns” and identical...

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Thor, Brad. Spymaster. New York: Atria Books, 2018. ISBN 978-1-4767-8941-5. This is the eighteenth novel in the author's Scot Harvath series, which began with The Lions of Lucerne (October 2010). Scot Harvath, an operative for the shadowy Carlton Group, which undertakes tasks civil service commandos can't do or their bosses need to deny, is on the trail of a Norwegian cell of a mysterious group calling itself the “People's Revolutionary Front” (PRF), which has been perpetrating attacks against key NATO personnel across Western Europe, each followed by a propaganda blast, echoed across the Internet, denouncing NATO as an imperialist force backed...

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Sledge, E[ugene] B[ondurant]. With the Old Breed. New York: Presidio Press, [1981] 2007. ISBN 978-0-89141-906-8. When the United States entered World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the author was enrolled at the Marion Military Institute in Alabama preparing for an officer's commission in the U.S. Army. Worried that the war might end before he was able to do his part, in December, 1942, still a freshman at Marion, he enrolled in a Marine Corps officer training program. The following May, after the end of his freshman year, he was ordered to report for Marine training at Georgia...

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Friday, September 7, 2018

Since January 10, 2016, the www.fourmilab.ch site has been hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), using the AWS Linux machine image (AMI) as its underlying platform. This is a Linux system (very similar to the CentOS distribution) which is maintained by Amazon Web Services to provide a continuous stream of updates which avoid having to frequently re-install new releases of the system. In June 2018 AWS announced the first major update to the Linux AMI, called Linux 2. This release is a discontinuous change and cannot be upgraded directly from the original Linux AMI—one must start with a clean installation...

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Dean, Josh. The Taking of K-129. New York: Dutton, 2012. ISBN 978-1-101-98443-7. On February 24, 1968, Soviet Golf class submarine K-129 sailed from its base in Petropavlovsk for a routine patrol in the Pacific Ocean. These ballistic missile submarines were, at the time, a key part of the Soviet nuclear deterrent. Each carried three SS-N-5 missiles armed with one 800 kiloton nuclear warhead per missile. This was an intermediate range missile which could hit targets inside an enemy country if the submarine approached sufficiently close to the coast. For defence and attacking other ships, Golf class submarines carried two torpedoes...

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Rand, Ayn. Ideal. New York: New American Library, 2015. ISBN 978-0-451-47317-2. In 1934, the 29 year old Ayn Rand was trying to establish herself in Hollywood. She had worked as a junior screenwriter and wardrobe person, but had not yet landed a major writing assignment. She wrote Ideal on speculation, completing the 32,000 word novella and then deciding it would work better as a stage play. She set the novella aside and finished the play version in 1936. The novella was never published nor was the play produced during her lifetime. After her death in 1982, the play was posthumously...

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Kroese, Robert. The Dream of the Iron Dragon. Seattle: CreateSpace, 2018. ISBN 978-1-983729-21-8. The cover tells you all you need to know about this book: Vikings!—spaceships! What could go wrong? From the standpoint of a rip-roaring science fiction adventure, absolutely nothing: this masterpiece is further confirmation that we're living in a new Golden Age of science fiction, made possible by the intensely meritocratic world of independent publishing sweeping aside the politically-correct and social justice warrior converged legacy publishers and re-opening the doors of the genre to authors who spin yarns with heroic characters, challenging ideas, and red-blooded adventure just as...

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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Keating, Brian. Losing the Nobel Prize. New York: W. W. Norton, 2018. ISBN 978-1-324-00091-4. Ever since the time of Galileo, the history of astronomy has been punctuated by a series of “great debates”—disputes between competing theories of the organisation of the universe which observation and experiment using available technology are not yet able to resolve one way or another. In Galileo's time, the great debate was between the Ptolemaic model, which placed the Earth at the centre of the solar system (and universe) and the competing Copernican model which had the planets all revolving around the Sun. Both models worked...

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Verne, Jules. Une Fantaisie du Docteur Ox. Seattle: CreateSpace, [1874] 2017. ISBN 978-1-5470-6408-3. After reading and reviewing Jules Verne's Hector Servadac last year, I stumbled upon a phenomenal bargain: a Kindle edition of the complete works of Jules Verne—160 titles, with 5400 illustrations—for US$ 2.51 at this writing, published by Arvensa. This is not a cheap public domain knock-off, but a thoroughly professional publication with very few errors. For less than the price of a paperback book, you get just about everything Jules Verne ever wrote in Kindle format which, if you download the free Kindle French dictionary, allows you to...

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Neovictorian [pseud.] and Neal Van Wahr. Sanity. Seattle: Amazon Digital Services, [2017] 2018. ISBN 978-1-980820-95-6. Have you sometimes felt, since an early age, that you were an alien, somehow placed on Earth and observing the antics of humans as if they were a different species? Why do they believe such stupid things? Why do they do such dumb things? Any why do they keep doing them over and over again seemingly incapable of learning from the bad outcomes of all the previous attempts? That is how Cal Adler felt since childhood and, like most people with such feelings, kept them...

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