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Audiobook Review – Starship Troopers

I first read Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers when I was twelve.  In fact, I read it three times back to back to back when I was twelve.  I’ve owned at least four copies, which seemed to either wear out or get ‘borrowed’, so I guess you could say I’m a fan.

Imagine my delight when an audiobook of this classic became available.

Join the Army and See the Universe. That is the motto of The Third Space War, also known as The First Interstellar War, but most commonly as The Bug War. In one of Robert Heinlein’s most controversial best sellers, a recruit of the future goes through the toughest boot camp in the universe – and into battle with the Terrain Mobile Infantry against mankind’s most alarming enemy.

I really can’t say anthing new about Heinlein’s story that hasn’t been said, discussed, and argued over a thousand times already.  There’s a reason he’s one of the greats in 20th Century science fiction.  Every piece of Mil SF that I’ve read has had at a bit of Heinlein in it somewhere.

Lloyd James does an excellent job as narrator in this work.  His tone, pacing, and vocalizations are exactly what this story requires.  His work is true to how I envisioned Starship Troopers the first time I read it.

If you’re a Heinlein fan, you’ll enjoy a side trip down a familiar path with this audiobook.  If you’ve never read this classic, this is an excellent chance to give Starship Troopers a try.

Audiobook Review – Galaxy’s Edge Part III

The third audiobook in the Galaxy’s Edge series is out, and I enjoyed listening to the story as much as I did reading the books.

Daring heroics, sacrifice, and courage come together as the Legion attempts to contain the fire sparked at the Battle of Tarrago. But the galaxy is spiraling into all-out war.

Captain Chhun’s Dark Ops squad is reunited with Wraith. When their mission to deny Goth Sulluss the shipyards he so eagerly desires goes awry, Chhun and Wraith must find a way to stop the Black Fleet’s advance – even if it costs them their lives.

Meanwhile, an old friend from Nether Ops executes a covert operation that will turn the focus of the Last War of the Republic in a terrible new direction.

Following Goth Sullus’s ruthless onslaughts against the Republic, a desperate House of Reason searches for scapegoats – and finds one, deserving or not, in Commander Ellek Owens. His sentence is cruel, unjust – and final. Unless Victory Squad has anything to say about it.

In the Umnar system, the soulless menace known as the Cybar seeks to break Prisma Maydoon – and to set the stage for the total annihilation of not only the Republic, but all life in the galaxy.

Cole and Anspach, coupled with narrator R.C. Bray, do an excellent job of moving us through the middle of the Galaxy’s Edge saga while still keeping our attention.   This story has it all:  action, aliens, ancient evil, action, new evil, and action.

Bray does an excellent job of pacing his narration and painting the story in the listener’s mind.  He’s helped by excellent source material, which grabs your attention and doesn’t let go.

Even if you’ve read the books that make up this story, I think you’ll enjoy Galaxy’s Edge Part III.  If you haven’t, or if you haven’t listened to parts I and II, you probably need to go back and give them a listen or read first.  This is definitely the middle of the series’ story arc.

Musings

  • It’s on days like this that I think of the mighty Hercules, who said, “You want me to clean out what?”
  • We’ve reached that transition point where summer becomes fall.  It’s where the first leaves start to change color, the days are shorter, and you have to use both the defroster and the air conditioner in the truck on the same day.
  • Today, I scheduled a consult for laser eye surgery.  Yes, I’ve finally reached that age where a new pair of glasses each year adds up to enough money that I’m willing to let somebody carve on my cornea with a ruby-chromium laser.
    • “Do you expect me to talk?”
    • “No, Mister Bond, I expect you to see.”
  • I once watched an after-action review of a Red Flag exercise where a Harrier pilot got up and asked if there was anyone in the room who had not had a chance to shoot him down.  Nobody raised their hand.
    • That’s kind of what I felt after trying to play an on-line first person shooter this week.
    • If asked, I will say I erased the game from my tablet because I have better things to do with my time.  It has nothing to do with the fact that it seemed like a waste of electrons to get shot in the face by 12 year olds again and again and again.

Book Review – Chasing the Dragon

Book 2 of Jason Anspach and Nick Cole’s series “Tyrus Rechs: Contracts and Terminations” is out, entitled “Chasing the Dragon“.

The Dragon was trained from his youth to operate as a lethal killing machine. He has tangled with crime lords, dangerous insurgents, even Nether Ops… and none of these forces has been able to bring the elusive warrior to heel.

Enter the notorious bounty hunter Tyrus Rechs.

Rechs takes on the job as a favor to an old Savage Wars buddy. Only Rechs isn’t out to kill the Dragon—his mission is to save the kid’s life.

Unless the Dragon kills Rechs first.

Chasing the Dragon picks up where Requiem for Medusa left off, with Tyrus Rechs doing what Tyrus Rechs does best:   Break things and kill people.  The story rarely stops to take a breath, and it’s a fun romp that brings us all of the fun and action we’ve come to expect from the Galaxy’s Edge universe.

Tyrus Rechs is a fascinating character.  He shares a lot with Heinlein’s Lazarus Long, although I can’t see Lazarus doing quite so much damage in an afternoon.  When the authors are done telling his tale as a bounty hunter, I hope they delve further into the stories of his long life.

If you’re looking for a page-turner that begs to be read again as soon as you get to the last page, you’ll enjoy Chasing the Dragon.

Musings

  • Someday, when I finally write an autobiography, I will name the chapter that deals with the past couple of months “There must be a pony in here somewhere!
    • Not sure what the title of that book would be, but the subtitle will be “I cut out all the interesting parts because I don’t want to go to jail.”
  • For those of you keeping track at home, it takes two pounds of ground chuck, three eggs, a half cup each of milk and oatmeal, and about two teaspoons of Montreal steak seasoning to make a rather tasty meatloaf in our new cast iron loaf pan.
    • Mmmmm, crunch edges.
    • Side dishes were mashed cauliflower and steamed green peas.
    • No, the cauliflower is not a substitute for mashed potatoes.  Only hash brown casserole is an acceptable substitute for mashed potatoes.  They are, however rather tasty, if you like cauliflower.
  • Speaking of cooking, a chili-ish stew mistakenly made with Italian sausage instead of chorizo was quite good.  I’ll have to remember that one.
  • I’ve gotten Boo to start listening to “Citizen of the Galaxy” while we take drives, and he’s getting into it.  Soon, it’ll be Starship Troopers and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
    • I will, however, let him discover Friday, I Will Fear No Evil, Stranger in a Strange Land, and Time Enough for Love after he’s 18.  There’s a fine line between “Cool Dad” and “Creepy Father”, and I do not intend to cross it.

Musings

  • I want to put something inspiring up on the wall of my cubicle.  At the moment, I can’t decide if the NCO Creed or the Code of Conduct is more appropriate for work.
  • Boo is getting settled back into school.  I think his biggest challenge is finally encountering a female teacher who isn’t enchanted by him on sight.
  • Girlie Bear is getting settled into school.  She texted me the other day demanding to know how I was able to work full time, go to school full time, and spend time with and raise my children.
    • She’s working part time and going to school full time and apparently it’s a bit of a grind.
    • All I could do was chuckle and mutter “Bless her heart”.

Today’s Earworm

With apologies to the Beach Boys and the non-geeks out there.

The hardware was made by HP
The OS, by Torvolds and me
Old SourceForge, we did comb
Patching all night
It wouldn’t boot right
Well, I need some coffee
I wanna go $HOME

So, boot up the VMS box
See how the kernel rocks
Call for the NOC to test
Let me go home, SYS$HOME
Where’d I leave my coffee?
I wanna go $HOME

The DBA, he got drunk
Deleted data using trunc
Data Protection had to restore it all from tape
By the eyes of Torvalds,
Why is this subnet firewalled?
Oh, no.
Have you seen my coffee?
I wanna go  $HOME

So, boot up the Solaris box
See how the kernel rocks
Call for the NOC to test
Let me go home,SYS$HOME
Who poured out my coffee?
I wanna go $HOME

The Windows box, it caught a worm
Wouldn’t answer to PowerTerm
Then the AIX, it came crashing down
Let me go $HOME
Why can’t I get to SYS$HOME?
Oh, this is the worst shift, I’ve ever been on.

So, boot up the HP box
See how the kernel rocks
Call for the NOC to test
Let me go home, SYS$HOME
Well, we’re out of coffee
I wanna go $HOME

Musings

  • House rule – Only 2/3 of us are allowed to be sick at any given time.
  • I need to have a word with my youngest son.  He had a bit of a stomach bug yesterday, and about 7 PM last night, started complaining of a headache and backache.
    • While his mother made a panicked search for the symptoms of meningitis before calling the pediatric emergency room, I interrogated examined the young man.
    • Turns out, he was dehydrated and the Tylenol had worn off, explaining the headache.  Fixed that with a glass of water and a Tylenol.
    • The backache was because he had fallen asleep on a book and the lego’s he has in his bed with him.   Fixed that with stern words about what does and does not belong in the bed
  • I was complimented on my ability to just put my head down and push through when presented with issues at work.  Only one of three times in almost half a century that being stubborn has been a good thing for me.
  • More folks need to learn the difference between “right” and “privilege”.
    • Being able to speak your mind is a right you have at birth.
    • Me listening to you is a privilege I extend to a very select number.
    • Me actually engaging with you is a miracle.

100 Years On – 100 Days Offensive

After stopping the Germans at the Second Battle of the Marne and pushing them back, the Allies unleashed the final offensive on the Western Front, the 100 Days.  Starting on August 8, 1918, British, French, and American divisions threw themselves at German lines, tearing wide breaches in long-held trench lines and capturing thousands of prisoners and hundreds of guns.

The first battle, Amiens, opened with 30,000 German casualties on its first day, compared to about 6,500 for the Allied forces.  German forces were pushed back and began to withdraw to the Hindenburg Line, giving up the gains they had made in the spring.

Other titanic battles met with similar success, causing the veritable collapse of German forces in France and Belgium.

Over the coming weeks, German lines slowly drew back, until the final climax of the Armistice on November 11.  By then, over a million men on the Allied side were killed, wounded, or missing, while the Germans lost almost 1.2 million, in the final onslaught on the Western Front.

Musings

  • I’ve been asked to watch my mouth around Boo, so when I need to swear, I do it in other languages.
    • Tonight at dinner, Boo sounded off with “Bozhe moi!” and I got in trouble.
    • It means “My God!”, but I still got in trouble.
    • There may come a day when I am allowed to win, but this is not that day.
  • I’ve been listening to an audiobook of Heinlein’s “The Rolling Stones” lately.
    • It gives me a sense of Serenity during my commute.
    • Even the traffic jams are no tribble at all.
  • Apparently, a door-to-door driveway surfacing dude didn’t like it when our “big damn dog” barked at him as he came on the porch yesterday.  Irish Woman replied that she had both a big damn dog and a big damn gun.  The conversation ended quickly thereafter.
    • That, friends and neighbors, is the woman I fell in love with.
  • Boo finally convinced me to play Stratego with him this weekend.  It’s been over 30 years since I last touched that game, and we had a lot of fun.
    • It reminded me of long, cold winter days spent playing board games, arguments over who caught whom cheating, and then trying to not get choked out by my brothers while I tried to choke them out.
    • Good times, good times.
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