Sunday, 24 September 2017

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The Best Halloween Ever - Barbara Robinson - The Herdmans Book 3

The Best (Worst) Halloween Ever
The Herdmans Book 3
Barbara Robinson
Harper Collins
ISBN 9780060766016

eISBN 9780062076946

My son came home from school raving about The Best School Year Ever, and wanted to read it together because of how much he was enjoying it. When I looked into it and found out that it was part of a trilogy he freaked out. I picked up all three so we could read them together. We have read them out of order but this was the second one we read.

There are over 15 editions of this book and it is available in a number of languages. I had not heard of this series or the author until my son came home from school excited about this series. This is the third book in the Herdmans trilogy. The Herdmans are a family of unruly children that have a knack for getting in trouble and spoiling things. The description on the back of the book is:

"The Herdmans plus Halloween have always spelled disaster. Every year these six kids -- the worst in the history of Woodrow Wilson School, and possibly even the world -- wreak havoc on the whole town. They steal candy, spray-paint kids, and take anything that's not nailed down. 
Now the mayor has had it. He's decided to cancel Halloween. There won't be any Herdmans to contend with this year, but there won't be any candy, either. And what's Halloween without candy? And without trick-or-treating? The Herdmans manage to turn the worst Halloween ever into the best Halloween ever in this uproarious sequel to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."

It is a really fun read. It has a great surprise ending. Well worth the read.

Books by Barbara Robinson:
My Brother Louis Measures Worms: And Other Louis Stories
Temporary Times, Temporary Places
The Happy Horses of H. Goodwine
The Fattest Bear in the First Grade
Hull Daily Mail: A Part of the Community
Across from Indian Shore
Trace through the Forest
One Off

The Herdmans Series:
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
The Best School Year Ever
The Best Halloween Ever

The Best Barbara Robinson Treasury Ever

Friday, 22 September 2017

Glen Eyrie Castle & Conference Center - A Photo Essay

Glen Eyrie Castle & Conference Center - A Photo Essay

Back in the summer of 2002 I spend the better part of August in Colorado springs at Glen Eyrie Castle & Conference Center helping to run an international conference for work. The conference center is right next to the garden of the Gods. I captured some amazing photo's.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Life Engineered - J-F Dubeau - World Engineered

The Life Engineered
World Engineered
J-F Dubeau
Sword & Laser
ISBN 9781941758595
eISBN 9781941758601

I was given a signed numbered limited edition copy of this book. But because I prefer eBooks it sat on my shelf for almost a year. But something about the cover and the jacket flap wright up kept causing it to come it mind. So I eventually picked up the eBook, and ripped through it over 2 days in three sittings.

For a debut novel this book really impressed me. It reminded me of the classic science fiction I enjoyed as a child, Heinlein, Herbert, and Betser. The story is compelling and the pace is very rapid. It is an intriguing concept . The description of the book is:

"The Life Engineered, begins in the year 3594, where humanity is little more than a memory a legend of the distant past destined to reappear. Capeks, a race of artificial creatures originally created by humans, have inherited the galaxy and formed a utopian civilization built on the shared goal of tirelessly working to prepare for their makers return. 
One moment a cop dying in the line of duty in Boston, the next reborn as a Capek, Dagir must find her place in this intricate society. That vaguely remembered death was but the last of hundreds of simulated lives, distilling her current personality. A robot built for rescue and repair, she finds her abilities tested immediately after her awakening when the large, sentient facility that created her is destroyed, marking the only instance of murder the peaceful Capeks have ever known. For the first time in their history, conflicting philosophies clash, setting off a violent civil war that could lay waste to the stars themselves. 
Dagir sets off on a quest to find the killers, and finds much more than she sought. As the layers of the Capeks past peel away to reveal their early origins, centuries-old truths come to light. And the resulting revelations may tear humanity s children apart and destroy all remnants of humankind."
The world is incredibly well thought out. With different lines of robots but all forming a single society. The mix of different earth mythologies along the different lines of Capeks.  There were some real twists in the plot that I did not see coming. First humans have gone missing but they have left behind a vast array of Capeks or robots but not dummy machines. These robots have personality from living virtually many many lives until they are ready to join society in physical form. A Form they design and build themselves. Nut now someone is killing off whole lines of robots. And in trying to figure out why the mystery of why Human's went into hiding starts to play a darker more ominous importance.

And my first thought upon finishing the book was I hope there will be more. My second thought was I wish I had read it earlier. It was a great little read.

Books by J-F Dubeau:
A God in the Shed

World Engineered:
The Life Engineered

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Child and the Man

The Child and the Man

This photo was given to me when I returned to university a second time in the spring of 1998. I was moving to a town where I hardly knew anybody. I was starting back at university. I didn't know what to expect. But this picture framed in just simple glass sat above my desk. Over time I came to see myself as both figures. The man I was becoming and the child I had been. The one looking back; and the other forward. There are divergent paths on the hill ahead, much as life often takes us ways we do not expect to go. But eventually they narrow into one cresting the hill. But a man showing vulnerability for his helm is off and his neck is exposed.