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The Brethren
The Brethren
von John Grisham
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 35,32

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Sometimes Grisham is great; this one's not even good, 27. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Brethren (Gebundene Ausgabe)
How do you tell which John Grisham is going to show up? Are you going to get the incredibly clever and funny author of The Client? Or are you going to get the somber and plodding author of The Chamber?
I don't know, but The Brethren is neither funny nor somber. The two plot lines (prison mail fraud and a rigged presidential election) are so far-fetched that you're dying for signs that you should take it all tongue-in-cheek, but by the time you get to the end it's more like head-up-rear. None of it makes any sense in the real world and, frankly, the prose is half-hearted at best and the characters are un-characterized and the deadpan and entirely unsurprising nature of the whole book bores you to death from start to finish.
"Stephen Bury" (a.k.a. Neal Stephenson et al) wrote a nice little book called Interface, which is a much better bet if you're looking for a goofy fiction on things presidential. Or if you're into the far-out conspiracy angle, there's Robert Anton Wilson. Heck, I can't even begin to enumerate the better efforts.
What the heck went wrong here?
Oh, well. I'll just have to hope for a return to form in Grisham's next book.


Every Man a Tiger: The Gulf War Air Campaign (Commander Series, Band 2)
Every Man a Tiger: The Gulf War Air Campaign (Commander Series, Band 2)
von Tom Clancy
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 15,69

5.0 von 5 Sternen Outstanding primer on war, 24. Juni 2000
In Every Man a Tiger, Clancy (and Horner) has written one of the best and most accessible books on warfare. He explains acronyms, he discusses strategy and military politics, and all in all does an exceptional job of writing a layman's introduction to the art of making war.
So, Winston Churchill it's not. But, on the other hand, Every Man a Tiger comes across as a book with much less of an axe to grind than About Face (which I nonetheless highly recommend). Is it a bit self-serving to Horner? Yes, but less so than the vast majority of other books written by or with the aid of retired generals.
Most recommended to anyone wanting to learn more about the higher level workings of the modern military. Other readers will find this book interesting as a quasi-biography of Horner and as a relatively even-handed narrative of the Gulf War.


Shooter's Bible 2000
Shooter's Bible 2000
von William S. Jarrett
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen That's right, an index of NEW firearms., 13. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Shooter's Bible 2000 (Taschenbuch)
If you want something that lists collectible firearms, look for something with the word "COLLECTOR" in the title. Meanwhile, the Shooter's Bible is an invaluable source of information for someone seeking information on NEW or recently manufactured firearms. Not much else like it available, and it's updated annually.


Red Mars (Mars Trilogy)
Red Mars (Mars Trilogy)
von Kim Stanley Robinson
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 6,70

4.0 von 5 Sternen Just read Red, 6. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Red Mars (Mars Trilogy) (Taschenbuch)
This first book of Robinson's massive three-book epic is the interesting one. The first book is about the journey, travelling on Mars, exploring, technology, and the like. The political struggles and interpersonal intrigue have started but this book doesn't rest on them. I wouldn't say that Red Mars is a "page turner" but at least it isn't a "page flipper" like (to me at least) the next two.
Red Mars starts out being a hard SF tech novel but by the time it's done it has mutated into a mostly political work that could just as easily be written about (somewhat incestuous) neighbors wrangling for control of your own subdivision's community association. That trend continues in the later books, where the technology becomes a sort of background murmur and most of the text is devoted to longwinded and somewhat distant arguments.
Enjoy Red Mars for the not terribly intimate and moderately bloated saga of planetary exploration and development that it is. But don't expect as much from the later books. They're suitable for stuck-on-an-airplane-with-six-hours-to-kill reading but not all that exciting otherwise.


Orbital Resonance
Orbital Resonance
von John Barnes
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen A must-read for John Barnes fans, 3. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Orbital Resonance (Taschenbuch)
Now that with the end of the 1990s the scope of John Barnes's work has become clearer, it's possible to put his first "hit" novel, Orbital Resonance, into perspective. It's a very Heinleinesque SF novel about a spacebound culture told from the first-person perspective of a thirteen year old girl. It's also a coming-of-age story, but ... with a twist. It's a sort of an-entire-spaceship-coming-of-age story. If there's one pattern that Orbital Resonance begins to establish, it's Barnes's interest in cultural change and evolution and the planning thereof. (Sounds like Heinlein again, doesn't it?)
A well-written book that needs that "almost a short story" feel, Orbital Resonance is a good introduction to John Barnes. It won't give you much of a feel for what his longer books are like, but then again, they don't resemble one another all that much either.


One for the Morning Glory
One for the Morning Glory
von John Barnes
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen Mother of Storms, it isn't!, 3. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: One for the Morning Glory (Taschenbuch)
This excellent foray into fantasy by John Barnes isn't as much sword-and-sorcery as it is a novel length Grimm's fairytale. It certainly isn't a Disney fairytale. Comparison to Goldman's The Princess Bride is appropriate. The writing always has a whimsical tone, but both good and bad things happen with regularity.
Barnes's ability to change his tone and style completely from book to book always amazes me. (I'm still not convinced "John Barnes" is a single human being.) If you like your fantasy cockeyed yet lyrical, this is a book for you.


A Million Open Doors
A Million Open Doors
von John Barnes
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen A "cultural SF" novel, 3. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: A Million Open Doors (Taschenbuch)
A Million Open Doors is a well-crafted "cultural science fiction" novel in the vein of Jack Vance. The protagonist Giraut is a young epee-wielding "jovent" from Nou Occitan. Jovent culture apparently lies somewhere between that of 18th century aristocracy and that of Alex and his droog buddies in A Clockwork Orange.
Dissatisfied and dishonored, Giraut leaves his world through a "springer" (an instant teleportation device) to become an Ambassador for the Thousand Cultures. The world on which he lands contains two polar cultures: Caledon, where money becomes a holy arbiter of value, and austere St. Michael. Both cultures are deeply religious and theocratic although opposite in just about every other respect.
When the springers come for the first time to each of the Thousand Worlds, a "Connect depression" ensues. Giraut and the other ambassadors are there to help Caledon and St. Michael re-enter interstellar human culture ... but it turns out to be a challenge.
A Million Open Doors doesn't have a well-defined linear plot, per se. At the least, it is a coming-of-age story for Giraut, who grows out of his jovent ways as the story progresses. If you like atmospheric science fiction with interesting scenery and well-developed characters, you should find this book to your liking.


Escape from Kathmandu
Escape from Kathmandu
von Kim Stanley Robinson
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 19,10

4.0 von 5 Sternen Romp through the Himalayas, 31. Mai 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Escape from Kathmandu (Taschenbuch)
I'm ambivalent about some of Robinson's longer works, but I found this relatively short 4-part novel totally delightful. Somewhere between Hunter S. Thompson and Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser in tone, it reads less like fiction and more like a thinly fictionalized (but broadly embellished) autobiography.
Told in the first-person voice of one hardy, happy-go-lucky George Fergusson, Escape from Kathmandu drags you through jungles, through the offices of local bureaucrats (much more challenging than jungles), OVER a certain notable mountain, and into encounters with a range of mystical beings, both human and sort of human.
It's a definite eye-opener for Robinson fans (who may not even recognize it as the work of the man who wrote the "Colored Mars" trilogy), and a must for fans of dryly told stories that fall on the border between adventure and fantasy. Don't expect the pretense and angst that usually comes with a Robinson novel--he gave them a miss on this one.


Finity
Finity
von John Barnes
  Taschenbuch

3.0 von 5 Sternen Competently executed; indifferent result, 31. Mai 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Finity (Taschenbuch)
While John Barnes has written a number of simply outstanding books (Mother of Storms, One for the Morning Glory), this Pohl-esque entry into the alternate worlds genre isn't one of them.
Finity gets off to a good start. The (first-person) narrator speaks in stilted, self-centered prose like, perhaps, a character from a R.A. Lafferty novel. It becomes apparent, after a while, that he inhabits a world that seems to have a changing past. Not only that but this changing past seems to be different for everyone. And then there is the matter of the United States having gone missing.
It's an interesting premise until it turns into a road trip. Then the story begins leaking steam. One of the characters turns out to be a red herring. (Or something very much like a red herring.) People you've just begun to know turn out to be expendable or not around for all that long for other reasons.
The mess is polished off with a couple of dream sequences that might have been adapted from the rendezvous of Picard and Kirk (well, not really, but ...). Quirks of physics and mathematics explain everything away.
Overall, underwhelming. Not a bad book to be stuck on an airplane with (which is where I read most of it) but there's better reading to be had. Much of it, in fact, with Barnes's own name on it!


Programming Perl (Nutshell Handbook)
Programming Perl (Nutshell Handbook)
von Larry Wall
  Taschenbuch

4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A "don't have to" read, 31. Mai 2000
The official reference for the Perl language did not improve in its second generation. The original "purple Camel" is, in my opinion, a true classic where books about programming and programming languages are concerned--I rank it right there with The C Programming Language, Anatomy of Lisp, Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs, and so forth. It was a classic because it was filled with lucid expressions of the thoughts of Perl's quintessentially pragmatic creator, Larry Wall. It was a classic because it provided a literate and thoroughly reasoned counterpoint to arguments in favor of more formally based languages and programming styles.
But ... somewhere in the extensive revisions, additions, extensions, and deletions that transformed the first Camel book into this, the second Camel book, the magic went away. And some very suspicious stuff went in. The book lost its digressive, essayic feel and became more of a perfunctory reference work. Additionally, some of the completely new material turned out to be just a little ... strange. The discussion of object-oriented programming based around the term "thingy" just doesn't do it for me. (Ignore all that and read Damian Conway's book instead.)
Preferences of style and tone aside, an unavoidable flaw of an infrequently-updated book like this one is that it inevitably refers to an obsolescent version of Perl. If you want current Perl documentation, you need to read the man(ual) pages that came with that version of Perl. What's in this book is generally but not completely accurate for newer versions of Perl. And because it's intended to be a more or less complete reference covering even small details, it can't help but be dead wrong on some points as the language continues to evolve. Bear in mind, also, that much of the material in this book comes STRAIGHT from the man pages. (Just not the up-to-date versions.)
A third edition is in the works, which will no doubt be at least a temporary improvement. If the newer version restores the insight and charm of the original, it will certainly deserve a place on your programming bookshelf. But as a reference work intended to cover a constantly-evolving language, Programming Perl will always suffer by being out of date.
If you are the type who dislikes reading electronic documentation, by all means, buy a copy of this book. But you'll find that you have to use the online documentation anyway.


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