Books

THE KINGDOM OF GODS: Book Three of the Inheritance Trilogy by NK Jemisin takes place a century after the first book, as the Child Trickster God Sieh discovers an impulsive vow of friendship with two children has turned him mortal, aging and losing power (partly because aging runs fundamentally against the nature of a child god). This leaves him very ill-equipped to cope with a world uprising against the remaining Arameri power, a cult of masked assassins and an ambitious demigod planning to elevate himself into the big leagues. An impressive finish to an outstanding trilogy.
FULL-CATASTROPHE LIVING: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn includes a lot of familiar material (your outlook affects how you deal with problems, stress can make you sick, listen to your body) but also some good practical how-to stuff on meditating. I’m not sure how much help it will be, given my mind’s tendency to wander, but it looks promising.
As a big fan of the 1930s pulp hero Doc Savage, I’ve begun filling up some of the remaining gaps in my collection, most of which are the omnibus editions that came out in the 1980s (when I was often too broke to buy). Here we have Omnibus #4, all written by Lester Dent using the Kenneth Robeson pseudonym.

MYSTERY ISLAND is a 1941 in which sinister Europeans try to kidnap Johnny (“His geological expertise is so far advanced, it’s like a man 100 years ago knowing everything about radio.”) as part of an implausible scheme to raise the ocean floor in the Atlantic, cut off the Gulf Stream from England and thereby freeze it over. Some good character bits and the Bad Girls are fun, but overall unimpressive. Interesting though that even though Doc’s working on American defenses when the book starts, there’s no hint that the villains are German or that this is part of WW II (probably because this was written pre-Pearl Harbor when supporting intervention was still touchy).
Doc’s aides become MEN OF FEAR when they become so safety conscious they’re willing to kidnap Doc for the villains to keep him from going on any more Dangerous Adventures—the result of someone developing a fear gas they hope Doc can help them mass-produce. This 1942 novel has what are indisputably German adversaries (how many other countries with concentration camps had overrun Austria recently), but the name of the country still goes unmentioned.
The ROCK SINISTER is an ancient Incan artifact that someone wants destroyed, which lures Doc, Monk and Ham into a confrontation with a Latin American Hitler wannabe (the assurances America will never tolerate South American tyrants are now laughably dated), plotting to use Doc as the reason to whip up anti-Americanism among his people (“You travel to countries all over the world, intervene in their affairs—but not here!”). This 1945 one is stylistically off (Doc’s abnormally chatty here) and very talky; it also reads like Dent was hedging his bets on when we’d wrap up the war, as it has Doc fighting a Nazi-esque villain but without any tie-in with the actual war.
THE PURE EVIL is one of the later stories (1948) treating Doc as a straight detective, investigating a mad scientist’s claims to have unleashed mentalities of yes, Pure Evil. This is in a long string of adventures in which Doc exposes seeming supernaturalism, which makes his disdain for occult investigation herein rather odd. Mundane, in any case, but well written.

2 Comments

Filed under Reading

2 responses to “Books

  1. Pingback: Doc Savage! | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: The Green Eagle of Mystery Island: Doc Savage again (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.