Jan. 8th, 2006 07:00 pm
threemonkeys: (Waxlion)
Back to work tomorrow. It is like a black cloud hanging over my day. The sporting attractions of one day cricket and NFL playoffs are helping take my mind off it but never for very long. On the plus side, the return to work notion prompted me to wash my car - more than 6 months since I last did it.

My to read shelf has a small degree of organisation to it. It is too small to accommodate all the unread books stacked in the normal manner, but it is quite deep. So some books are shelved normally upright along the back . Others sit in piles near the front. Broadly speaking, the ones in the piles at the front are more recent purchases or have a higher priority than the ones along the back. Such has been my buying and reading in recent times that the ones along the back have been there quite some time. The perils of being in the bottom of a LIFO stack. Every so often I read a book from the back, just to satisfy myself that I will read them all one day.

So to aid in my distraction efforts, I pulled Wheelers by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen from the back part of the shelf. I think I bought it because Bizy Bees were having one of their periodic hardback fiction sales where a third book becomes effectively free if you buy two other heavily discounted titles. Wheelers was a third book that I took because nothing actively appealed.

Sometimes you uncover a gem when you buy a book like this. Not in this case. It is a sound but perfectly ordinary first contact story told by a couple of people with scientific backgrounds. Sadly as is often the way in cases like this, the book becomes somewhat buried in exposition and description. The story is OK and the characters competently developed but all too slowly - like they are really only there to provide a framework for the science - only the science wasn't anything startling. It feels like the kind of book produced 50 years ago rather than 5.

But one thing stood out even more. This is an Arthur C Clarke book. It kept shouting Clarke's influence in all kinds of ways but without the benefit of ACC's relaxed style. It might even be considered a tribute. I suspect there might even be a market for that somewhere.


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