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Joined 6 months ago

Sci-fi reader and writer.

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2024 Reading Goal

12% complete! coffeemonk has read 3 of 25 books.

Jack Kerouac: Book of haikus (2003, Penguin Poets) 3 stars

Book of Haikus is a collection of haiku poetry by Jack Kerouac. It was first …

Review of 'Book of haikus' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

As much as I enjoy Kerouac, especially his esoteric/unconventional approach to poetics, I have enjoyed other collections of his poetry/haiku a little better than this one, which achieved its intention of being a comprehensive overview of his approach to the haiku form at the expense of a lighter/less selective editorial hand that resulted in a somewhat unbalanced, meandering straight-through read. Depending on what you're looking for, this may be a bad or a good thing.

I can generally recommend both Scripture of the Golden Eternity and Pomes All Sizes as being better representations (to my taste, at any rate) of Kerouac as poet and spiritual aspirant.

However, as a late entrant to the Kerouac canon, I do appreciate this volume for its chronological structure and the depth of its insight into Kerouac's pursuit of form.

Kim Stanley Robinson, Kim Stanley Robinson: Green Mars (Paperback, 1995, Bantam Books) 4 stars

In the Nebula Award winning Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson began his critically acclaimed epic …

Review of 'Green Mars' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

It took me five years of intermittent attention to finish it, but I finally made it through. This is an incredibly dense book whose glacial pace matches the glacial pace of the plot itself. Slow, plodding, and choked with scientific minutia (both presumably real and clearly imagined), this is the hardest of hard sci-fi. If you're very interested in the prospects of establishing a human presence on Mars, or perhaps in the psychology of extreme life extension, you may well love this book. Just make sure you have time to focus and settle in for long passages about things like planting genetically engineered lychen.

Una McCormack: The last best hope (Hardcover, 2020, Gallery Books) 4 stars

A thrilling novel leading into the new CBS series, Una McCormack's The Last Best Hope …

Review of 'The last best hope' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

As a prequel story, it leads—as it must—to the terrible down note that begins the series, which results in a disappointing conclusion here. The book itself is reasonably well-written, and attempts to illuminate the backstories of some of the new characters that populate the series. Somewhat inexplicably, unless I glossed over it somewhere, there's no mention of Laris until the epilogue, which seems a glaring omission.