Friday, March 17, 2006

V for Vendetta

Movie: V for Vendetta

My pick for best film of the year so far (not that that's hard this year). I really liked the casting, performances, plot, everything. The film stirred the political winds due to its terrorist themes, but that's not what it's about at all. It's actually a relatively mild film, a 1984ish fantasty about rebellion. The violence, though real, is symbolic, and innocent people are not hurt. Natalie Portman, who I wasn't sure was right for a role involving physical action, turned out to be great and doesn't actually do any stunts or action sequences -- instead she's merely a cog in the plot, and she brings humanity to the story. V, on the other than hand, is pure outrageous fantasy, brilliantly done, but always distant and incomprehensible like most superheroes. He's not always nice -- witness his brilliant-yet-warped trick on Natalie's character -- but that's part of the purposeful ambiguity of the story. I liked that there's not that much to the story or plot. It's a simple, elegant little plot, not overly complicated like so many of today's pieces.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Movie: Vacancy

I still don't see the point of this film: the premise isn't exactly innovative (a couple at a seedy motel finds snuff videos filmed in the room they are in and realize they are being filmed for the next tape), and while it's well-done, the trailer pretty much gives away the entire lukewarm plot and there's just not much else to see. Sure, the cast and acting is decent, and there's a moment or two of interesting drama, but overall who cares? Nothing original or special or worth bothering with.


Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Vacation 2000 (ending)

I'm back from vacation (today's the first time I've had to catch my breath) and I've posted some cool pictures from my trip!


Friday, June 30, 2000

Vacation 2000 (starting)

Vacation started today! I drove 750 miles to my grandfather's retirement home on the beautiful Oregon coast where I'll be spending the next nine days. Far too short, of course.


Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Vacation 2002

Drove to Oceanside, Oregon on the first and spent my vacation at my grandfather's home. Had a great time, though of course it passed much too quickly. Watched a lot of DVDs and played some golf (scored 105 on the full-length Alderbrook course, a significant improvement over last year's 144).


Monday, July 9, 2001


This week is my first back from a week's vacation. What a trip! I left Thursday evening, June 28, and traveled to Oakland to pick up my cousin. We then drove that night to Fresno. The next day we got up at five-thirty and loaded all of my mother's furniture and belongings into a U-Haul truck and started the drive for Oregon. We dropped my car off at my Uncle's at Lawrence Livermore Labs where he works, then continued on our way. That afternoon, at about 3 o'clock, 40 miles south of Redding, we had a flat tire. Fortunately the U-Haul has double-tires, so it wasn't the end of the world. We drove slowly and got off five miles down the road, found a telephone, waited on hold for 30 minutes, and discovered that there was a Goodyear tire place within a couple blocks! Minutes later the tire was replaced and we were on the road. But the adventure did set us back a couple hours. Since our schedule was blown, we took our time, stopping for a nice sit-down dinner at an expensive (but wonderful) Italian restaurant in Ashland, Oregon, and continued driving throughout the night. At about 2 a.m. we were rudely awakened by a dark flying shape which collided with the windshield of the truck! In retrospect we concluded it was a bat. It struck very hard, though it didn't break the glass or anything, but it was so odd and startling, it woke us up for the rest of the trip. We finally made it to my grandfather's home in Oceanside, Oregon (west of Tillamook and a mile from the beach) at five in the morning. Our journey had taken us a full twenty-four hours!

After that, we relaxed and slept, though we did have to unload and return the rented truck Saturday evening. Then it was time for golfing. Last summer I got the bug, and this summer I bought a set of clubs and decided to actually learn how to play. I practiced at the driving range, the petite nine-hole par 3, and the full 5300-yard 18-hole Alderbrook Golf Course. I played some golf just about every day, including the big course on four occasions. During the week I learned a great deal and my game went from over double-par to slightly under. The main thing for me was not my overall score (I'm too inconsistent for that to be affected yet), but to see if I could control my shots a little better and actually make a few shots. I did well in that respect, putting forth a few good drives, some nice irons (including a few tricky ones behind trees that got me out of trouble), and a few pitching wedge chips that surprised me! My best was a bogey on a par 4 400 yard hole where I managed, for my first time ever, three good shots in a row (I usually can't hit good even twice in a row). I hit a decent 200+ yard drive, a nice long iron that put me near the green, and a chip that put me six or seven feet from the hole. Of course I missed the par put, but easily earned my bogey, and for me that was great golf. (I never did make par on any hole, but I did manage a few bogeyes, which is a good target for me.) I'll practice this year and see how much better I am by my next Oceanside visit.

I watched a few movies on vacation, but I didn't keep track of them for reviewing, so I won't. Same for the patches of soccer I got to see. Mostly it was a chance to relax, enjoy seeing some relatives I hadn't seen in a while, and play some golf.

I haven't yet put up pictures from trip, but I'll do so at some point.


Sunday, June 30, 2002


Well, tomorrow morning I head out for several weeks of vacation and traveling. Friday was my last day at the printshop -- I'm now officially a full-time magazine publisher! So I'm off to Oregon to relax for a little while. I'll get to play some golf, visit with my 87-year-old grandfather, read some books, and watch some DVDs. After that I head to New York City for the Macworld Expo where my magazine will be unveiled, and I spend a few extra days exploring the City. Then I'm back home and go to work. I'm nervous but excited. I don't know exactly what the future will bring, but whatever it is won't be the norm, and change is always interesting. After ten years at the same day job, I'm ready for anything different.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Movie: Valkyrie
Director(s): Bryan Singer

When I first heard of this I thought it was fiction; then I heard it was based on a true story. How could we not have heard about this German plot to kill Hitler? Then I watched a documentary on the History Channel and realized it's not new -- I read about the suitcase bomb plot many years ago when I was a kid. What I didn't know, and what the movie reveals extremely well, is the extent of this particular plot (hundreds of conspirators), how close they came to success, and how brilliant it was to use Hitler's own reserve army against him. The problem with any Hitler assassination, of course, is what happens after he's dead? It does no good if his successors are equally powerful and ruthless; the regime continues. So what made this plot different was the idea of using Valkyrie -- Hitler's own contingency plan for his reserve army to keep him in power in case of a coup -- to take over. The reserve army would think they were following Hitler's orders and would shut down the SS and imprison Hitler's real leaders, thus allowing the conspirators to take over. Once they were in power, the rest of Hitler's command could be shut down and a truce negotiated with the Allies to end the war. It was a terrific plan, especially in notion that Hitler did not even necessarily have to die: in the chaos following the assassination attempt, the rebels might have been able to take over anyway. Unfortunately, and tragically, of course, the attempt failed by just hours. It is sad but heroic, and it is easy to see why Germans today are proud of these people who stood up against their own commander and rebelled.

In terms of a film, this is excellently done: the complicated plot is explained extremely well (much better than the confusing History Channel documentary); it's dramatic and interesting, and not boring at all; the bewildering number of characters are kept to a minimum and we can follow what's happening. It's not the best movie ever by any means, but it is very good, emotional at times, and it's an important film everyone should see. It is hard to fathom for us today when Hitler's such a dirty word, but back then he was still considered a hero by most of Germany, who were fooled by his propaganda and did not even know 90% of the evil he was doing, and these military officers who betrayed and tried to kill him were considered traitors. In hindsight we know they were heros, but at the time they had difficult decisions to make. Would you or I make the right decision if we were in that situation today? The film provokes many interesting questions like that. Highly recommended.


Friday, May 7, 2004

Van Helsing

Movie: Van Helsing

This film is receiving a critical bash and I can't figure out why. it's like film reviewers do not understand the concept of a movie as mere entertainment. To go into this movie expecting anything more than stylish action and spectacular special effects is just silly. While most critics are down on the slender storyline, I was actually impressed it was as full as it was! I've certainly seen movies with much less story than this one. But any story is almost beside the point. This is an action film and special effects vehicle. That's it. Don't go see it for any other reason. In that respect, the film delivers what it promises. The stars are cool and beautiful, the action is non-stop, the story has some unusual twists and nicely blends numerous classic horror elements like Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman, and there's the requisite moments of humor. It's fun. The digital special effects are everywhere and generally very impressive, though occasionally cheesy or just move too fast for reality. The latter's actually a criticism: often the action's just too fast to appreciate what happened. It takes away from any realism (assuming anything in this type of film is believable). There are some strange action events, too, like a scene where the female lead, who is human, is tossed against the side of a castle and bounces downward like a pinball and then gets up just fine. I didn't really get that. Sure, she's supposed to be tough, but she's not supposed to possess superhuman capabilities like the monsters in the film. Rather weird. Of course logic should not be used in evaluating this kind of a movie. In general, the action's interesting and pretty cool, though the climax goes on too long. Fun.


Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Vanilla Sky

Movie: Vanilla Sky
Director(s): Cameron Crowe

Some people might wonder why I chose to do a weblog of films and books; a key reason is that I don't believe in coincidence, and yet throughout my life I've just happened to be reading a particular book at a particular time or seen a film right when another event crosses paths. In this case, I find it fascinating that I just "happened" to have watched two versions of Lathe of Heaven and watched K-PAX, two films dealing with psychiatrists and their patients and themes questioning our notions of reality, as does Vanilla Sky! And at the same time I've been reading a lot of Philip K. Dick novels (I'm in the middle of one now). For instance, the PKD novel I'm reading now includes the infamous "twist" at the end of Vanilla Sky, but it doesn't save it for a gimmicky ending: it opens the book with it. Unfortunately for this film, while it makes a very interesting movie and the ending explains everything and makes sense, the ending is still unsatisfactory. I can't say more than that without giving the plot twist away, and I don't want to do that. Throughout the film I was gathering clues and trying to figure out a rational explanation for the mysteries of the story: basically Tom Cruise's character begins to confuse the identities of the two women in his life, one of whom committed suicide but he still sees her. Is he crazy? Is he being set up somehow? The ending, when it came, made total sense: there are hints of it throughout the film to the extent that it's rather obvious in a second viewing. But the nature of the explanation is unsatisfactory: we want more, something with meaning. Ultimately, that's where I think the film fell apart: because of the twist ending, all the valuable insight and morality and lessons taught by the first half of the movie are meaningless. Or are they? Some might argue that it makes no difference. Tom's character certainly grew from the experiences, so change came about. The bottom line: this is a personal film meant to be experienced by each person who sees it. Whatever you find in it is yours: your truth, your reality. I cannot argue that what you see in it isn't there or doesn't count, just as you can't say that about my impressions. For me, the film wasn't as eye opening as a classic like The Purple Rose of Cairo, but it's certainly more thought-provoking that a cliche like The Matrix. It's a good film: watch it and judge for yourself.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Vantage Point

Movie: Vantage Point

This movie had an interesting premise of a presidential asassination seen from multiple perspectives, a number of prominent stars, and a relentless advertising campaign that all made it seem like it could be a decent movie. Unfortunately, they were all proven wrong. Yes, there are some good actors, but the screen time of each is brief and they aren't given much character to work with. The film hinges on the gimmicky "perspective" idea, so we see the same events from several view points, which sounds neat but turns out to be repetative, tiresome, and new information trickles out so slowly that each time the story "restarts" you want to scream with frustration because you know it'll be ten minutes before you get back to where you left off and get a new piece of the puzzle. But worst of all, the final "revelations" are decidedly lackluster. The promos have spoiled any real surprise (that the assasinated man was a double, not the real prez), and the ending is just a whimper. Lame.


Sunday, April 9, 2000

Varsity Blues

Movie: Varsity Blues (1999)

Okay film; interesting American sports psychology. I liked the conflict between the mean coach and players, but ultimately it does nothing with the criticism.


Monday, February 14, 2000


Book: Vector
Writer(s): Robin Cook

Interesting, surprisingly well-written novel. I think I'm a Cook fan, unnerving as that may be. There's nothing deep here, but the characters are well-defined and believable, and the action's good. The novel runs a bit long (I was saying "Get on with it!" in a few places), but close attention isn't required. (Excellent for reading during "Who Wants to be a Millionaire!") The plot is bioterrorism: a Russian immigrant has created some weapons-grade anthrax and plans to release it in New York City. What I usually hate about books like this is that you know the good guys will catch the bad guys before the toxin's released and save the world. Sure, you don't know the how and the when, but the bad thing will never happen. Well, I won't spoil the ending of this book, but that isn't what happens here! Brilliant ending.


Saturday, February 8, 2003

Venus Beauty Institute

Movie: Venus Beauty Institute

A French film with more potential than what it actually delivers. The story centers around several women who work at a beauty store, doing massages and facials and stuff. The lead woman is over 40 and losing her youth and desperately seeking a man, yet she is disillusioned and convinced that love doesn't exist. Some excellent dialogue, good humor, and intriguing bizarreness, but the story moves slowly and while the ending makes sense, it's somehow not as satisfying as we'd like. The film's worth seeing, but its tone promises more than it delivers.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Veronica Guerin

Movie: Veronica Guerin

Was this Cate Blanchett weekend or something? I'm not sure how this happened but somehow I ended up recording this movie as well, and it's another terrific performance by Cate. She's amazing as a tough Irish journalist who's almost stupid in how brazenly she attacks the mob. Despite numerous threats and physical attacks, she keeps writing and naming drug dealers, and in the end she's murdered, but her death sparks riots and the people drum the drug dealers out of town. Pretty cool.


Sunday, November 25, 2001

Vertical Limit

Movie: Vertical Limit

Pleasant actioner about mountain climbing. The plot's worthless -- brother goes to rescue sister who's trapped on top of K2 -- but the action's not bad. It's so over-the-top I found it scarcely believable. I seriously doubt mountainclimbers face this much death in a lifetime of climbing, let alone during one rescue mission. But of course one doesn't watch a film like this for the plot, silly character pseudo-drama, or examples of logic: it's all about the adrenaline, and this kept me entertained.


Saturday, February 12, 2000

Very Bad Things

Movie: Very Bad Things (1998)
Writer(s): Peter Berg
Director(s): Peter Berg

I love black comedies, but this one's a little too raw (i.e. several characters are plainly evil) to completely work. I loved the poetic justice ending, however. The story's somewhat predictable as one by one a group of five friends kill each other off, but the actual methods of everyone dying are well done. Semi-accidental deaths are difficult to pull off believably, but these worked.


Wednesday, April 5, 2006

A Very Long Engagement

Movie: A Very Long Engagement
Director(s): Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Though this French movie is way too long for the simple premise, it's really well done. Audry Tautou plays a girl waiting for her lost fiance, who's been "killed" in WWI. She hires a private detective and searches for information, slowly unraveling a complex series of coincidence to find out the truth about her lover. She's convinced he can't be dead or she'd "know" it, and thus, despite all the odds and peer pressure, she keeps looking for him. This sounds like it could be dry, but it is isn't. Director Jeunet cleverly keeps the action going with odd twists, bizarre characters, and his unique brand of humorous editing. Unfortunately, the obvious payoff at the end is minimal, and not completely worth the wait. It's like watching a sports movie about an underdog team: will they actually win? Gee, I don't know...


Friday, August 29, 2008

Vicky Christina Barcelona

Movie: Vicky Christina Barcelona
Writer(s): Woody Allen
Director(s): Woody Allen

Odd movie, which I sort of expected. It has wonderful dialog and performances, but the story is slight and the ending is too much like real life, which is either boring or depressing. Still, it was an interesting ride: I'm not sorry I saw it, though I do wish it had a conclusion that actually went somewhere. The basic plot is about two American girls in Spain who meet a radical painter and both fall in love with him, though of the girls is about to be married. Of course that leads to all sorts of love triangles and complications, and it gets even worse when the artist's violent ex-wife returns and we have a threesome. It is an unusual character piece and I really liked some aspects of the main characters: we see Vicky's inability to decide what she wants, Christina's search for fulfillment, and the painter's doomed love affair with his ex. But ultimately, despite this wonderful canvas and palette of colors, nothing comes of anything.


Sunday, September 3, 2000


Movie: Victory
Director(s): John Huston

Interesting concept: prisoners of war during WWII are challenged into a soccer match against Germany, and use it as a way to escape. There isn't that much soccer, at least until the finale, though the passion of the players is obvious. Pele himself stars as one of the prisoners, and of course he plays great in the final game. Okay, nothing great or brilliant, and Sylvester Stalone as the goalkeeper is a rather odd selection, but not a bad film, at least if you're a soccer fan.


Friday, November 10, 2000


Movie: Videodrome (1983)
Writer(s): David Cronenberg
Director(s): David Cronenberg

I love the bizarre and absurd, but this film didn't quite work for me. It has lots of Cronenberg's typical themes: the merging of biology and technology, reality vs. unreality, sexual horror, etc. The "plot" is about a TV producer who discovers a pirate feed of violent torture and decides it is what his on-the-edge cable station needs. Turns out "videodrome" is an electronic infection embedded in the signal, and the guy (wonderfully played by the always excellent James Woods) begins to hallucinate. Soon he (and us) can't tell what is real and what is a dream. From there the plot descends into an uncomfortable mess of corporate bad guys, betrayal, assassination, and death.

As usual, Cronenberg is saying some profound things about society and how we are slaves to technology. For instance, his idea of the "Cathode Ray Mission" is brilliant: a place where the homeless can come watch TV for free (since TV is more important than food or shelter). But in much of the film Cronenberg's ideas are just too convoluted to be of much use to anyone, and his violent, horror-filled presentation will turn off a lot of people. Overall, this is a fascinating work on the merging of television and the mind and one of Cronenberg's best films, but it's not the kind of film you can just sit down and enjoy: it's more like something that attacks you. As Woods' character says about a video in the film, "Watch out. It bites."


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A View from the Bridge

Fascinating play by Miller that's one of his best but least known. It's set in working class New York City in the immigrant community in the 1950's (I think that's the timing) and deals with subtle interpersonal relationships between families and visitors. The main story is about an uncle who dislikes the immigrant boy his neice his seeing and reports him to the authorities so he'll be deported, a shocking betrayal of the community. This was an excellent OSF (Oregon Shakespeare Festival) production.


Friday, July 30, 2004

The Village

Movie: The Village
Writer(s): M. Night Shyamalan
Director(s): M. Night Shyamalan

I went into this having heard nothing about it. After the lame Signs, I was not expecting much but hoping for better. From the reviews I've read since seeing the film, it sounds like most critics went in expecting way too much and came away disappointed. While nothing like The Sixth Sense, this is a good film. The first thing I liked about it is that it feels so different from a modern film. The village is in a different time period, a different world, with different values. Sure, some aspects of it feel like a weak imitation of an Amish town, but overall one gets these feeling that these people live in a paradise. There's only one problem: the woods surrounding the village are filled with strange creatures who kill any who enter there. So there's atmosphere of fear in the town, as everyone is nervous of "Those Who Shall Not Be Named" (yeah, I agree, that agreeing to not name them names them, and that's lame)

The second thing I liked about the film is that the twists work. No, they are not as earthshattering as those in Sense, they are predictable, and the revealing is more than a little gimmicky, but if you strip away the fanfare you have what is a simple, beautiful situation that makes sense from all angles. What makes the "twist" is simply that we are given information in the order we are given it, not that the information itself is so shocking. I can see where some people might be disappointed by the lack of a spectacular ending, but I liked it. It was in keeping with the simple, innocent lifestyle of the characters of the movie.

Third, I liked Night's direction and simpleness of the film. There's nothing especially horrifying or scary in the film -- it's very mild in that regard -- but Night keeps us on the edge of seats by constantly implying that there might be something scary coming. I think he's even playing on his own reputation here, teasing us. There's a great scene where the girl is alone in the woods and we're thinking a creature must be nearby and he shows shots of empty woods for long periods and after a few seconds you're wondering if you saw movement. That's exactly what happens in real life in such a situation: you really only have to fear fear itself.

Another thing I liked about the film was the acting. I predict Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard's daughter), will jump to stardom from this role. She was excellent as the blind heroine. All the others were also good, though few were given as much material as her.

All this is not to say this a great film. It's good -- I enjoyed it and found it fascinating -- but there's not much depth beyond the mild twists. It could have, except that Night's not that kind of writer-director. I'd love to see what a genius like David Lynch would have done with this kind of premise. The world of the village is so steeped with fear, secrets, and past horror while on the surface being so tranquil and innocent that it would fit right into the Lynchian world. He would get inside these characters, tear back the veil, expose the secrets. Night just has the secrets to give him a twist ending and thus the secrets are mere device instead of being a core character element of the film. That's too bad, but it's still makes for a decent movie. The movie has other flaws as well, such as the lack of explanation over Adrian Brody's character's actions, a lack of plot other than the "creature versus village" concept, and some things I think sounded great on paper but were weaker on film. For instance, a key dramatic moment in the film is the journey of the blind girl (Howard) traveling by herself through the forbidden woods for medical help. While that sounds like awesome drama -- she's blind, she's alone on a long journey in the scary woods, and the creatures are stalking her -- in reality it came across as forced and unbelievable (She's really able to journey miles through the woods blind? How come she doesn't fall over logs and stuff every few steps? How does she know which way to go?). Anyway, the film's not perfect, but I liked it. It has an interesting sociological message (one I'm not sure I disagree with). I did wish it had more depth, but I wish that about most movies. Obviously there's plenty of silly Nightism to mock and critics will, but that's really not fair, it's like making fun of basketball stars for being tall. It's their nature. And Night's films are all about the setup for the twist and he controls our senses to manipulate until he's ready to unveil his secrets. The point isn't that those secrets are so exciting or unusual, but that we enjoy the ride. This movie is different enough that I did just that.


Monday, August 22, 2005


My great-uncle and great-aunt visited this past weekend, all the way from Missouri. They mainly came to see my grandfather, my great-uncle's brother, but we enjoyed some local sight-seeing and good eating. Now I've got leftovers to last me all this week!


Sunday, March 5, 2000

Vital Signs

Book: Vital Signs (1991)
Writer(s): Robin Cook

This was a disappointment after the last Cook book I read. Concept-wise it isn't bad (woman doctor struggles through artificial insemination treatments and discovers discrepancies that no one will answer), but it's 75 pages too long. Cook does well making ordinary people do extra-ordinary things in a believable manner (and without coincidence and excessive luck), but in this case all that detail makes for a slow, monotonous read. (Essentially the main character travels to several countries attempting to solve the medical mystery, and at each country she starts over.) But the fatal flaw for me was the way Cook killed off the lead's best friend and she continues right on as though nothing's happened. She doesn't even grieve! Frankly, I almost put the book down at that point, but the mystery kept me interested. Unfortunately, the mystery turned out to be exactly what I thought it was on page 50, only it wasn't revealed until page 300. I hate it when authors think their plot is so great they must keep it a secret until the last page: throughout the book they reveal so little it barely keeps the story moving, and ultimately the conclusion's anti-climatic. Then you just wonder why you wasted the time reading it. Skip this one.


Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Voting 2004

Regardless of which side of the political line you fall on, you've got to admit that voting in this country is messed up. That's putting it politely. Here we are the most technologically advanced country in the world and we can't even figure out how to get people to vote electronically? That's ridiculous. I'd fire the president and every single politician currently in office until that is fixed. Just fix it. No excuses. It's absurd that we can't know the count for days, and it's absurd the incredible hassles we force people to go through to vote. For instance, I drove way out of my way and ended up at the wrong polling place -- apparently it'd been changed since the last time I voted. At the new polling place there was no parking. I had to drive around the parking lot until a space opened up. Then there was a long time. Nothing like waiting five or six hours as in some states (ridiculous), but the entire process did take close to forty-five minutes (driving, parking, waiting, voting, etc.). That's just too long, especially for young people who find it a drag waiting four minutes for a microwave dinner to cook. The bottom line is we need a uniform system that's the same nationwide, we need a technological solution that eliminates errors and gives us a quick and accurate count, and we need a way to vote via the Web, cell phone, and other simple technologies so that voting is more convenient.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Book: Voyagers (1981)
Writer(s): Ben Bova

The premise of this trilogy is what happens to humankind when intelligent alien life is discovered? That's a great premise but unfortunately the book is very dated: it was written nearly thirty years ago and a huge part of the plot is about conflict between the Soviet Communists and the USA, stuff that feels archaic today. A lot of the spy stuff is rather cheesy and overly dramatic and there isn't nearly as much philosophical content about how alien life would impact humanity as I expected: but hopefully that stuff will come in future books. Still, I enjoyed the story, and there are some good characters.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Voyagers II

Book: Voyagers II
Writer(s): Ben Bova

I liked this much better than the first book. In that one not much happened, but this one takes place 18 years later when the human astronaut hero of the first book is awakened from being frozen. He wakes to find a new world enhanced by the alien technology discovered in the first book and also learns that he's got an alien presence in his mind. This presence guides him and reveals new abilities that make him superhuman. He uses these abilities to put an end to war and death, which sickens him (and the alien inside him). He eventually tracks down the real leader and cause of all the trouble and confronts him in the climax. Very cool story, with some interesting observations on human behavior, politics, and society. Recommended.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Voyagers III

Book: Voyagers III
Writer(s): Ben Bova

This is the third book of the trilogy and they just keep getting better. I liked the second one better than the first, and I liked this one even more than the second, perhaps. This one combines exciting plot and our hero's superhuman abilities with thoughtful projection of what technology can mean to humanity. We learn the scientific secrets behind the hero's superhuman abilities (which now make total sense), but our main characters from the other books now must fight new enemies who seek the alien technology in a quest for power. The plot's gripping and interesting, though it still moves at the slow pace Bova's committed to for this series which makes it come across a little more heavy-handed than it should. But overall this is an excellent book and a great conclusion to the original storyline.