Some Book Reviews

Vox (Hardcover)
by Christina Dalcher

This book was obviously published to ride the coattails of Hulu’s rendition of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”  This is fine, but this book isn’t very good.  It reads more like a generic thriller, than a true examination of how life would be for a woman who is limited to only 100 (or whatever) words per day.

The lack of knowledge, even underlying, of the historical and current treatment of women is what limited my enjoyment of this book.  The book takes a very superficial look at the implications of this sort world.  It, weirdly, ignores the fact that women have historically suffered as second-class citizens in just about every society.  Moreover, women are still normatively treated as “lesser” humans in several countries and by most ideologies and religions.

Why does this matter? Because, if I remember correctly, the protagonist doesn’t seem to realize this.  Even though she’s well-educated and accomplished, she’s also vapid.  Her husband is dumb as a rock too.  I don’t know why they are even married.  They seem limited by lack of curiosity and introspection.  That’s really a shame.

I read it while lounging in my pool.  It was a fast read and entertaining.  It just not particularly profound.  Anyhow, the book is okay for what it is – a generic medical thriller

 

The Ultimate Solution (Mass Market Paperback)
by Eric Norden

 

The Ultimate Solution, by Eric Norden, was written and published in the 1970s.  It is currently out of print.  Last I checked, a used copy can be had from Amazon for about $35.

 

The reason this book is out of print, and will, lamentably remain so, is because it is an absolutely haunting and brutal portrayal of life in New York if the Nazi’s had won World War II.  Norden succinctly – it is really very short – describes a world devoid of compassion, empathy, and kindness.  Most of the scenes are incredibly graphic and hard to read, but they are necessary to show the sheer madness of a world that contains no check on the baser instincts of humanity.

 

This book is police procedural.  The protagonist is a detective who has been born and raised in a world where Jews no longer exist.  They have been exterminated.  Moreover, humans of African descent have been either exterminated or lobotomized; Slavs are enslaved; children are placed in sexual slavery; and no one bats an eye.  The detective is tasked with finding a Jew who has inexplicably appeared in New York.

 

The great thing about this novel is its sheer unadulterated brutality.  There’s no relief, because Norden creates a world that is foreign and ugly.  But it’s a world that should be recognized as a possibility, because we’ve been there before.

 

Anyhow, if you’re very queasy or easily upset by graphic and nonchalant portrayals of violence and meanness, don’t read this book.  Otherwise, I highly recommend it.

 

Frozen Earth (Audible Audio)
by Jasper T. Scott

 

Frozen Earth, by Jasper T. Scott, is absolutely, unabashedly, exhilaratingly nuts. This is your basic book about a middle-aged family man who, while coming to terms with his wife’s infidelity, is thrust into a madcap adventure involving Nibiru, an ice age, a Mars colony, artificial ocean habitats, and Spanish speaking robots.

This book is not particularly coherent.  Our hero, Logan Willis, is a fickle guy who second guesses himself at every turn.  Yet! Yet! Logan is incredibly dutiful.  For example, Logan loses his job on or about the time the world is told that Nibiru is coming. Instead of running for the hills like any competent survivalist or floundering in a morass of self-pity, Logan spends months searching for a new job.  Similarly, he is bound and determined to keep is family together.  Regardless, Logan can’t seem to wrap his head about the fact that he is, in fact, in a disaster scenario.  Nope, he just keeps plugging along, family in tow.

This book is really very fun.  Recommended for the sheer nonsensical hilarity of it.

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