Search This Blog

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Poem and 3 Reviews

National Poetry Month:

My friend Mary mentioned that one of her favorite poets was Sylvia Plath, which reminded me of this riddle:

           Metaphors by Sylvia Plath
I’m a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf’s big with its yeasty rising.
Money’s new-minted in this fat purse.
I’m a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I’ve eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there’s no getting off.
 Can you guess the answer to Plath's riddle?  (answer at bottom of post)

National Letter Writing Month:

I've been working on postcards for NLM and Write_On challenges.  So far, April has seen 13 postcards or letters hit the mail.  If you are interested in receiving a postcard for NLM, let me know.  :)

Disappointing Finales:  

Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop.  I've loved the first four books in this series, but sadly, I did not love this one.  The villain was a dumkopf who would have been suitable for one nefarious episode, but not to carry an entire book.  A disproportionately large part of the book dealt with what people were eating and where. 

The first four books were so engrossing, full of suspense and well-developed characters that I couldn't turn the pages fast enough--so plodding through this final entry was a surprise. 

To have this series end with so little tension and without wrapping up some of the most interesting sidelines left me frustrated and unsatisfied.

Library copy.

Fantasy.  2017.  407 pages.

The Fate of Tearling by Erika Johansen.  The final installment in the Tearling trilogy was also a disappointment, however, at least it was captivating reading up until the last two chapters which boggled my mind.

The origin of Tearling was a problem I could overlook in previous books, but couldn't avoid in this one.  That aspect of the novels didn't work for me, but the problems in Tearling's present were always fascinating.  

Social and religious quandaries are the same throughout history, and it is always interesting to read in fantasy the problems that society faces in real life.  It is sometimes more illuminating to look at these problems in fiction and get another perspective.  

Library copy.

Fantasy.  2016.  496 pages.

A Very Strange Mystery by John Scalzi

The Dispatcher  I didn't realize this was a novella when I requested it from NetGalley, and I usually don't choose novellas, but I'm glad I did this time because The Dispatcher is such a singular mystery.  

Set in the near future, a paradigm shift alters expectations about the finality death.  People still die, but in 999 out of 1,000 cases, people who are killed intentionally --come back to life.

There is no  scientific explanation for this phenomenon, and those who die from suicide, illness, old age, or accident will remain dead, but anyone who is deliberately killed has a 99.9% chance of coming back to life.  This requires some new rules, regulations, and uh, career paths.

Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher, and usually his work involves observing dangerous operations where the risk of death is high.  If the operation goes wrong and the patient is on the verge of death, the dispatcher steps in and dispatches the individual as painlessly as possible.  So...killing the patient before a natural death occurs means that the patient will awake in his or her own bed at home, naked, but very much alive.  

There are, of course, some ethical dilemmas involved, and dispatchers have been known to venture into grey areas.  Yep, it is really difficult to determine the ways a "miracle" can be exploited.  

When Tony's colleague Jimmy Albert disappears, Tony works with Chicago PD's Nona Langdon to discover what happened to the missing dispatcher.

Originally released only in audio format, it is now available as an e-book.

Short and absorbing!

NetGalley/Subterranean Press

Mystery/SiF/Fantasy.  2016, audio; May 31, 2017 e-book. Print length:  136 pages. 
Did you get the answer to Plath's riddle? Highlight for the answer:  She is pregnant--love that last line, "Boarded the train there's no getting off."


  1. I still haven't read The Others series and I didn't know there's book 5 already! ;)

    1. I loved the first four! I've read that she is going to a spin-off series--and I'll eager to give it a try.

  2. I am sorry to hear Etched in Bone wasn't better for you. I don't want there to be loose ends! I have the first of the Tearling books, and am sorry the final one didn't end on a high note. Too many series have that problem, it seems. I think I have The Dispatcher on audio . . . I should listen to it, especially since it's short.

  3. You can send us one of your lovely postcards or letters any time, since we have difficulty getting together in person. Ricky was going through old photos today and showed me one of Fee--from college, I guess, because Dave was in one. Everyone was SO young.