We're sorry. Functionality for this page is not supported in Internet Explorer 8 or older. Please upgrade the latest version of Internet Explorer, Chrome, or FireFox.
Twelve years ago, I had a bright and shiny dream. It shimmered, and the more I fed it, the more it shone.
Then one day, I dropped that dream. I got too busy. My job, that mundane boring day job, took over my life. The dream shriveled and blackened like a raisin.
Now after all this time, I'm picking it back up, feeding it, watering it, caring for it. Shine, little raisin! Grow into a bright and glorious dream once more!
I write all forms of speculative fiction -- sci-fi, fantasy, cyberpunk, horror, and weird tales. I live with my wonderful family in Bellevue, WA.
This book fits a very narrow niche of readers. Some stories may cross the comfort line for believing LDS members, dealing not so sacredly with topics thought to be sacred. Those who have never been members won't have the context to understand most of the stories.
As a former Mormon this book was perfect for me. I don't have any faith to test, and I got all the in-jokes and culture and theology. I loved the mix of Mormon culture with folklore more ancient -- or in the far future. Ghosts and zombies and aliens meet pioneers and BYU students and missionaries.
My favorite stories tended to be sci-fi. What would happen if Mormons met aliens? What if God's other children are interplanetary beings who know more about God than we do? I would love to see an entire anthology of Mormons in spaceships and Mormons dealing with future (or past?) technologies. And indeed, I was tempted to write a few of my own.
A couple of the stories I did not like, notably "Brothers in Arms", which ran a bit long, and military-based settings tend to turn me off, as do zombies.
But most of the stories were enjoyable and even great. I took my time and read this anthology over a period of months, so I will try to list my favorite stories, but I'm afraid I may forget the best parts of some of the earlier ones.
"Charity Never Faileth" by Jaleta Clegg tells of a green jello salad incident in Relief Society. I laughed my face off.
"The Living Wife" by Emily Milner is an interesting scenario and I loved the tension.
I loved the fry sauce bit in "Pirate Gold for Brother Brigham" by Lee Allred.
"Bokev Momen" by D. Michael Martindale is one of the sci-fi stories, including awesome aliens with biological-based ships who encounter their first human.
"Let the Mountains Tremble..." by Steven L. Peck is another sci-fi story about a race of people living on Mars who still think they're at war with the people on Earth.
"Traitors and Tyrants" by John Nakamura Remy and Galen Dara is a graphical story about four sister-wife martial artists each with a special talent. I'd like to see a whole series on this, even perhaps a graphic novel.
"That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made" by Eric James Stone is set in the sun, in a future where a handful of solar-plasma beings have been converted to the Gospel.
"The Eye Opener" by Brian Gibson explores a possible mythology of what might happen when you open your eyes during prayer.
"The Mountain of the Lord" by Dan Wells is a pioneer story involving the undead. It was very entertaining and has a cool doctrinal payoff in the middle.
All in all, I'd like to see more of this kind of thing -- I'd like to see enough LDS members open to ideas that may challenge their sacred cows to make a large market for books like Monsters & Mormons. And I highly recommend this for ex-Mormons and other non-members familiar with the culture and doctrine.
It took me a while to get around to reading this classic by George Orwell. It is an incredibly short book, so if you've also been putting it off, you can get to it soon.
The historical context in this allegorical tale is the rise of Marxism in Europe, especially of the figures Stalin and Trotsky. The animals on a farm decide to overthrown their human owners to create their own society where from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. We all know how this worked out in the history of Russia (and China, and elsewhere), and this book clearly maps this arc, as the revolutionaries trade one unfair regime for another.
Orwell's 1984 gave us lots of phrases. Animal Farm gave us a couple, too, and you may recognize them as your read them.
Some may consider the book dated. After all, any serious attempts at pure Marxism are gone forever. Every first-world nation has some mixed system of socialism and capitalism. A balance has been struck, that of free(ish) trade backed with a safety net, regulation, and government-built infrastructure. In America we like to toot our horn at how non-socialist we are compared to Europe, but really it's just a matter of degrees and implementation. None of us are willing to see people die in the streets, so we do a little (more or less) take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.
This book warns of dangers that one might think are long past. But I would argue otherwise -- not that I expect a sudden Marxist uprising, nor do I expect a slow takeover by the commies. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Towards the end of Animal Farm, I was suddenly struck by how this book could equally apply to those living in a semi-socialist society (like ours) who decide to buck off The Man (the government) in favor of a new system (unfettered capitalism) where everyone supposedly owns more of their own stuff and makes more of their own choices, but end up with the same old oppression.
This cycle is not limited to Marxism - the powerful will try to grab or keep power using lies. A century ago, it was, "Capitalism is bad, socialism is good!" Capitalism indeed was corrupt and abusive on many levels. So socialism rose (even in America).
Decades go by, and as socialism became a powerful idea and attracted the powerful, the chant became, "Socialism is bad, capitalism is good!" Socialism is reigned in and balanced now (what remains is that which was successful, like Social Security here, and NHS in England). Yet the refrain keeps being shouted. Socialism hasn't been a danger since the late 70s, yet Socialism is still the Great Enemy, safety nets have been and continue to be removed, and regulations have been and continue to be thrown from the shoulders of the rich.
All these years, the farm animals keep on getting screwed, believing one day it is the socialists screwing them, and the next, the capitalists screwing them. (These days, think Tea Party vs the Occupy Movement.) Sometimes, these groups are right (more or less), until they push the pendulum too far in the other direction.
And usually, it is the group they are taught to love who is really screwing them (or will eventually be screwing them). It is the corrupt and those who have enough power who can teach the people who to love and hate.
Orwell offers no solutions in Animal Farm. Like 1984, this is merely a cautionary tale. One we can apply today. We should always keep an eye on both the government AND business to see which is making a grab for the most power in any given year. We can love capitalism for its benefits, and hate it for its flaws. Likewise, we can love socialism for its benefits, hate it for its flaws. If we can break the shackles of blindness and ignorance, we can fix the flaws as they arise, and admit to the benefits of both systems.
We live in a democratic republic, which means we have the freedom to keep the powerful and corrupt in check. As long as we're not deluded by the lies.
This book was 100% what I expected based on the reviews I read. I grabbed it because it was free, and it kept popping up while I was looking at various urban fantasy lists on Amazon and GoodReads.
There were lots of great ideas in this book, and I loved the unique landscape painted in my head. I don't know if the author intended, but I pictured much of the book set in this gray concrete desolation with flashes of intense color from the characters and certain settings. The visual style is almost comic-book or cartoon, but not quite.
I read the new version that came out in April 2012, so according to the author the writing has been polished. It was very readable, although at times I was confused about who was talking or exactly what was going on in the action. Certain aspects of events seemed disjointed, slightly off. Other than that, no problems with the prose.
Some of the readers complained that they simply hated the main character, Rae. This might have been cleaned up in the revisions, because I liked her fine. But I didn't love her. In terms of capturing the personality of a mythological creature, especially a fairy, the author arguably does an excellent job. Rae is fiery, impulsive, confusing, and indecisive. And not always all that bright. She is not human, and therefore does not act human. Perhaps we shouldn't love her.
It is incredibly fast-paced. Perhaps too fast paced. We never really get a chance to stop and heal (as readers), it's just right on to the next conflict.
This is the kind of book that I could almost love, if not for its little flaws. If you like urban fantasy and fairies, this book will not be a waste of time.
It's hard to say whether I liked this book. It was paced well, and had a lot of deep insights into the horrors of war. On the other hand, the horrors of war are depressing, and so was this book.
I was never sure if I liked the main character. He was almost like two different characters. Possibly three. I think if I had liked the protagonist more, I would have liked the book better.
Even though it is sci-fi, it also had a strongly literary bent. Possibly not my style. I'm less interested in people living in the real world, and with one small change, this story would not be sci-fi at all. It was about real people living in real history doing real things, with some weird stuff going on in order to tell the story in a weird order. There were no amazing new ideas about the possibilities of technology, no twists. This book was about war, pure and simple.
But it is a story that needs to be told, about the bombing of Dresden, about WWII, about how crappy it all is. There were many deep political and philosophical insights, and this was done very well, thematically and symbolically, as well as through the prose.
The Harrad Experiment is set in the 1960s, and tells of a college established to form new styles of looking at relationships. It is written in diary-style, by four of the fictional students, covering their four years there.
This is an interesting book, which at the time of its publication, was revolutionary. Keep in mind it was written when censorship was considered a good thing, by an author who had to travel to India to get a copy of the Kama Sutra.
I was surprised to learn that during the first twelve years, before it went out of print, The Harrad Experiment sold 3 million copies. It garnered a huge following, and people thought Harrad College was a real place, and clamored to attend. The author received letters from people all over. Had the internet been around, it would have spawned blogs and forums and communities.
As it stands, along with the works of Robert Heinlein, it is considered one of the founding novels that lead to the modern polyamory movement. I am polyamorous, living with two life-partners in a triad relationship, and we are raising three children. I owe my lifestyle to this book, although I didn't read it until many years after becoming poly.
I started reading this book a few years back, but found it a bit boring, perhaps because the co-ed dorms and free-love living arrangements were not so shocking to me, as a practicing poly person in the early 2000s. So the authors hook failed on me. Also I think I was also expecting something a bit more sci-fi. After about 20% in, I set it down. I just returned to it, determined to finish it no matter what.
It does get a little more interesting, and plot points *do* happen, though I still found it a bit dry. The dialog is stiff and at times, not natural, just the author speaking through his characters.
Oddly, due to the setting, culture, and subject matter, it reminded me a bit of Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, which is also set in a college (in the early 1970s), and I almost wonder if she was slightly influenced by The Harrad Experiment. (Not to imply Tam Lin is a novel about polyamory - it isn't, though her characters do experiment with the new sexual mores than 1973 provided them.)
Rimmer imagines a world in which sex is a product of love, deep abiding connection with other human beings, of learning the inner landscape of multiple lovers to create life-long bonds of family. He extends this idea of family to children, with the idea of creating family units for the purpose of raising happy, healthy human beings.
I found some of his approaches a bit fixated on "the right way" to do things, that all society should follow the authors ways, or perish. The book did cross the lines into being preachy. The author has his idea of what is good and right based on his personal experiences, and rules out experiences and preferences of others.
For example, he is against all forms of what he calls "sick sex", which contextually, he implies BDSM, kink, and other lifestyle variations. Some people do find deep connection and spirituality in power exchange, but he is unable to recognize this.
Likewise, he comes across as a bit homophobic, focusing on heterosexuality, and ignoring the family bonds and importance of the power of love in homosexual unions. Parts also come off a bit sexist.
This book is a product of its time, so I can't blame him too much, given that it is *still* hard to think outside those boxes in today's age.
Rimmer also has, both in the novel and in the essay at the end, a staunch anti-porn stance. This is understandable, since his goal is to rid the world of rutting, physical, mindless sex, in favor of emotional and spiritual connection. That is to be commended. Indeed, those who only understand the physical form are surely missing something, and that is indeed a huge part of sex in America today. But both types of sex have a place within a person's life and relationships.
In spite of itself, Harrad University gave off a culty vibe. It is run by a married couple, and at the end of the four years, the students seem lock-step with what the teachers have given them. The students are off to convert the world to their exact standards, with regimented rules and new laws that will solve all problems and make everyone be happy.
Rimmer has a naive view of what makes people unhappy in life, and what makes people incompatible with each other. His conclusions seem very utopian, i.e. if only the world would follow my plan, there would be no war, no divorce, no addiction, just happy children frolicking about. In fact, we are psychologically complex creatures, difficult to persuade. We clutch our childhood pain, and brandish our defense mechanisms, and all these things lead much more often to human pain than outmoded monogamy. Human beings are not healed so easily, nor are they persuaded to change their morality, no matter how much it makes sense for them to do so.
His essay at the end, and the discussions of the students in their fourth year, present some good ideas that seem really great on the surface, but with deeper thought would prove to have all sorts of unintended consequences.
After finishing this novel, I was surprised to learn two things. One, that there is a movie based on this novel, available on YouTube, which I have added to my To Watch list. And secondly, there is no Wikipedia article for the novel. And their should be, since I'm sure the history of this book, and how it was received by America, is fascinating. Rimmer's biography provided in the back of the book was not enough to sate my curiosity.
Very funny book satirizing the newspaper business. I was hoping for more grammar and writing jokes, that I used to see come across the @FakeAPStyleGuide twitter account, and as implied by the title. Nevertheless, it was a great commentary on politics and the news of the last 3,000 years, broken into categories like Computers and Legal. I LOLed in a few places.
Disclaimed: I got this book for free. Won it in a Twitter contest.
Beautiful art, great story line. This is a classic dystopian tale. Some aspects don't stand up to time very well, given that the story takes place in the late 1990s, in a post-nuclear world where Nazis have taken over Britain. However, if you hang up your disbelief hat, and pretend it's an alternate universe, you can relax and go along for the ride.
Did I say relax? The story is tense, the world is dark, and the characters are terribly flawed. The content is pretty hardcore, as one would expect when Nazis rule. This story contains no gallant heroes in white armor, and as a close look at history tells us, such heroes may never exist.
This book has inspired movements in the present day. The Guy Fawkes mask has come to represent several modern anarchist-leaning, anti-corporate, anti-government movements, especially the hacktivist group, Anonymous, and as an influential branch of that, the less geeky Occupy movement. While our present day is certainly not as suffocating as the England in V for Vendetta, there is still a lot of political oppression, and real people suffering and oppressed in real ways. There are those who believe things in the here and now really are that bad. At the very least, they wish to prevent it from getting worse.
The message of violence in this book is a little unsettling. A few years ago, I would have shaken my fist in the air and, with V, called for revolution. But now? I believe revolution should be a slow and democratic process. Even if it is painful. Because violence is much more painful, and often ends in worse tyranny. In that sense, I hope people take this book as metaphor. Let the outrage show in persuasive words, not bombs, or even in angry words. In the end, well-formed arguments have liberated more nations from oppression.
My parents ran a retail shop when I was a teen. As an adult, I wanted to start an online retail business, and potentially a brick and mortar, but I wanted something to fill the gaps of my knowledge.
This book is very practical. It covers all aspects of starting a retail business. Highly recommended if you are considering starting a retail store of any kind.
A profound view of feminism within Mormonism. This is a collection of essays, poems, and research papers dealing with various women's issues in the church, including the historical perspective, ERA fights, views of Mother in Heaven, etc. I have purchased copies of this book to give to my family members. Very enlightening....Read more