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Book Reviews & Random Detritus

Currently reading

The Nine Unknown
Talbot Mundy
A Handful of Dust
Evelyn Waugh
The Poems of Virgil, Translated into English Verse
James Rhoades

Original song with banjo, "The Most Dangerous Song In America". Hope you like!

Here's the new music video for One Deep Breath, a songwriting collaboration I'm involved in.

Betrayals review

Betrayals - Steve Bowers

     Betrayals is a wonderful novel based in the universe of the Orion's Arm worldbuilding project, which you can be introduced to here: http://orionsarm.com/. This continuity is a possible future history of Humanity projected out over 10,000 years from the present era, in a "Terragen" civilization spanning thousands of light-years of our galaxy, mostly connected through a vast network of traversible wormholes. At the top of the pyramid are the AI Gods, or "Archailects", which have undergone sometimes multiple levels of Singularity, ascending and transcending far beyond what baseline and near-baseline humans could ever understand. The most powerful empires, the Sephirotics, each embody some archetype familiar to most of us, often religious or environmentalist in nature. This largely governs how you can expect the inhabitants of each different empire to behave when you meet them, and what forms of government you will encounter.

     The story revolves around an attempt on the life of a Second-Singularity provolved dolphin, the Blessed Chwrrii Nashira, as she is leading a group of people in a mass ascension event. The weapon is a godtech booby trap, cleverly infected within the moving tattoos of one of the attendees. Afterwards, two transapient entitles investigate the incident by going back into events in the life of the attendee, which has been thoroughly recorded and backed up for hundreds of years. It becomes both a satisfying detective story and a very well done total immersion into the Orion's Arm universe. Highly recommended. You can purchase Betrayals by following this link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/142396

The Magic Circle review

The Magic Circle - Katherine Neville

This book started out great, yet proved to be a big disappointment. I was irked that the book ended up being a Harlequin romance disguised as a "Gnostic Adventure" as I like to call stories like this. Trouble is, the romance works better than the adventure(until the end, which is a letdown), though that's not why I bought the book. As far as the adventure, it's a jumbled mess of ideas that were better explored in Foucault's Pendulum. Everything is connected to everything else, but we don't get to dwell on any one thing long enough to get any depth, except for a subplot revolving around the secret teachings of Jesus which is unsatisfying. Tantalizing goals are held before the reader, then are not developed or revisited. The awesome climax you feel at the start that this book deserves is never reached or even approached, just maddeningly overdone flashback stories of the protagonista's convoluted family history. The only plot element with any red blood in it is the "flirtation with the dangerous bad boy" romance, and I thought the author just knifed that poor guy right in the back - he was the most interesting character in the book! I'd recommend Neville's The Eight way before The Magic Circle. Give that book a read, and this book a miss.

Here's a bit more detritus, me showing off some cool new music toys I recently got. Hope it's not too boring.

More detritus. Just couldn't resist letting everyone hear this magic tone I sorta stumbled across using these new FX pedals.

Here's a bit of detritus, since I haven't read much lately.

The Man Who Was Thursday review

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare - G.K. Chesterton

This review will be kind of a complaint. I've wanted to read Chesterton  for awhile, being interested in his Catholicism and in his reputed brilliance. Brilliant he certainly is, and the start of this book really grabbed me, opening like the kind of breakneck-paced adventure novel that Jules Verne might dream up. It has one of the best first acts of any book I've ever read. After that, though, we get bogged down with the various characters and scenes that don't seem to move the story forward like they should, until finally we have a surreal chase scene that ends up revealing the bad guy as some kind of hidden face of God, a type of Christ, as it were. I guess that's what the author wanted to communicate, but I took it a a big letdown. The spiritual payoff isn't(to me) even good enough to make it worth ruining that first-class story Chesterton had going in the early pages. So overall, a book with promise, promise that went unfulfilled. Also, I loved the poem he starts the book with.

The Galton Case review

The Galton Case - Ross Macdonald

I think that Ross MacDonald is my favorite mystery novelist, now that I've read The Galton Case. There's just something about his writing that pulls me along, so I don't want to put the book down, which is something I can't say about a lot of authors. An old, dying millionairess hires Lew Archer to locate her missing son, who walked out on the family nearly twenty years before for the love of a working-class woman. Archer, not really expecting to find much, comes up with a young man who may be the old matriarch's grandson, but whose mysterious past may show him to be an imposter if Archer can dig up the truth. If there's any fault in this book, it's the whole "family secrets" dynamic in general, which might be getting a bit stale for my taste, and it's why this book didn't get five stars. For the quality of writing, though, it certainly deserved five, and again, I couldn't put this book down.

Only To Love You, by One Deep Breath

Hi folks, I know this is a book blog, but here is some "random detritus", the newest addition to the soundcloud for the album project that I and my songwriting partner Kai are doing. She wrote the lyrics, I recorded the music, Michael Roach, a singer from Lawrence, KS, did the vocals. This record will be entitled "D'Liberation" and has been seven years in the making. This track does need a bit more work but I'm pleased with how it's coming so far. Feedback is welcome. Click the link to listen.

Love In The Ruins review

Love in the Ruins - Walker Percy

If Philip K. Dick had been a Catholic from Louisiana, he might have written this. It reads like an old-fashioned screwball comedy of the spirit, as Dr. Thomas More, Psychologist/mental patient, tries to perfect his invention, the Lapsometer, which can diagnose illness of the soul, while juggling the affections of three beautiful women and navigating professional rivalries. The setting is the near-future, after the end of the Auto Age, in which consumer culture is decaying and people are retreating either to live in the forest or small communities. There's lots of wonderful, wise musings on love and life and religion and it's all very lighthearted and funny, with none of the Dickian pessimism that might turn a reader off. It took me a long time to slog through because it's kinda dense, but I'm glad I pushed through to the end.

Mindplayers review


This is one of the most original Sci-Fi novels I've ever read. The protagonist, Allie, is forced by the court to undergo training as a mindplayer - someone who engages in direct mind-to-mind contact with others. The existence of this practice has necessitated whole new social and legal norms of behavior, which professional mindplayers with different specialties help people navigate through. Allie embarks on a career helping creative types regain artistic power they feel they've lost, and she encounters extremes of the human condition, which change her forever. The fully-realized-but-not-annoying-detailed world all this transpires in is a world of decadence, where it seems like everyone is seeking diversion from surroundings that are decaying somehow, even though on the surface it's a technological paradise. I'll need to find some more Pat Cadigan and see if she does any more work set in this fascinating future. Totally recommended to anyone looking for something new.

My song General Strike, performed by me and my band The Potlickers, live at KKFI Community Radio on 4-18-13, was just shared on Twitter by Mic Check! They're at this URL https://twitter.com/kcMicCheck/status/395668008208568322 I think this is the first time a song of mine has been shared on Twitter.

I've arranged my bookshelf!

As of tonight, the categories are:


Action & Adventure

Beats & Related

Biographies, Memoirs


Comedy, Satire

Crime & Mystery

Current Events & Issues


Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery


Graphic Novels







UFO, Paranormal & etc




This may grow soon to include Poetry, Suspense, Health & Nutrition, whatever my needs end up being. I hope this proves to be a time-saver for you, the reader. Thanks.


p.s. - if you click on a category and find the shelf is just empty and you can't figure out how to get books back, just go to the top of the lists and click on All, or down a ways and click on All Books. One of those actions should bring the books back. I have stuff cross-indexed, do if you have Favorites and Classics clicked at the same time, you might just see only one book or none at all.

Welcome to my book list!

Finally imported all my books from Goodreads, will be adding books and reviews as they become available. This is not a complete list, and you've probably read more than I have, but I find it's work for me to slog through a book, especially fiction so forgive my slowness in finishing and reviewing. I hope you find some good new reads here.

Sandman Slim review

Sandman Slim - Richard Kadrey

Surprisingly good, for a pop-horror novel, would make a not-half-bad miniseries on SyFy. Writing style is suitably snarky, if a little cheeky at times. Characters, including that of Slim, are original and refreshing. The plot is strong and cool, with original unexpected elements creeping in here and there throughout. Author has a good sense of humor. I think you'll enjoy it, but you never get the feeling that it's anything more than a confection, although a tasty one.