October 11th, 2004


Capella's Golden Eyes, Christopher Evans

Capella's Golden Eyes
Christopher Evans
Best Price $0.49
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Picked up this pulp at Twice Sold Tales in the U-District this spring. It looked pulp, and I wasn't disappointed. Here's the basic plot, a couple of youth on a colony planet accidentally run into a member of the M'Threnni race. The M'Threnni are aliens that live offshore and provide much of the raw material that keeps the colony going. Yet no one has seen them in decades and no one knows why they help the colony. The youth become embroiled in the politics of the planet, much of which revolves around theories of what the government should do about the M'Threnni.

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So I'm confused. There's nothing resolved. The loose ends are on the cables that tie a battleship to the dock. It really seems to me to be the first book in a series, but I can't find a subsequent book.



Smoking Poppy, Graham Joyce

Smoking Poppy
Graham Joyce
Best Price $1.12
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First mainstream fiction I've read in a while. Manda lent it to me. In return she gets to borrow my Orson Card book Crystal City which I've been remiss in getting to her. Anyhow, been a bit since I've read regular modern fiction. I tend mostly to read genre fiction of one sort or another, simply because mainstream is so varied that I'll forever have a hard time judging books no matter how much of it I read. Oh, I'll know a few authors and pull them off the shelf with regularity. But in genre fiction I know the form, and can more easily judge ahead of time whether there's a chance I'll like something. This by looking at the cover, the publisher, the blurbs, excerpts, and the first few pages.

Enough of my soliloquoy. I probably mispelled that. I liked this book. It's the story of Daniel Innes, who travels to Thailand to see his daughter Charlie after he's notified that she's been imprisoned for drug crimes. Knowing how drug crimes are punished in South-East Asia when prosecuted, he travels there quickly with his best drinking bud Mick (who won't let him go alone) and his son Phil, a hard-core Christian. In Thailand, he discovers another young woman has usurped his daughter's identity, leaving her behind in the jungle. So there he treks to find her.

He finds Charlie in a jungle village run by an opium gang lord. He's not holding her hostage. In fact, he'd rather she left. Still, he's not the nicest guy in the world. Charlie believes evil spirits have her trapped in her hut. Daniel must convince the drug lord, the villagers (who don't even speak Thai), and the drug gang to help him. And he has to keep from killing his son Phil who irritates the hell out of him with his constant praying and references to the Bible.

So yeah, good story. Good characters. Only nit I have is the standard controlling father/rebellious children theme. No one in the story is presented as the evil bad guys. They all are to some degree human.

Hard Hat

More work news

Well, not really news. I'm caught up. I have tasks to do. But I don't feel behind. First time in a couple of months at least.

I've been using my task list in Outlook (synchronized with my PDA) quite extensively since I purchased the PDA this summer. While still dawdle, procrastinate, and goof-off, it's helped me focus on what I need to get done. It's noted there and I can make an effort to cross things off. Otherwise I tend to forget until I have too much to do.

I'm down to less than 20 items on my to-do list for work. Most of those left are low-priority nice things to get done sometime. The important things are all done, or don't need to be done just yet. I've got three things to do in spare time on my recruiting trip to UC Davis from Wednesday night through Saturday morning. Mostly document review and commentary.

Also, the work laptop has let me get a lot more work done at home. I refuse to use my home computer for work. About all I'll do is use it to VPN into the corporate network and then remote control my desktop. Not the most efficient. But it's equivalent in my mind to commuting. However, I won't put actual work on this laptop. Expedia didn't pay for it. And I don't want to blur the line between my work projects and my play projects, giving IAC an in to owning my private work. Now I have the work computer, and I can get a ton done, even in a short period of time (no interuptions). Including on the bus, and I can mentally count that as part of my work day.