Saturday, October 30, 2010

Great Price for $21.24

Marvel Encyclopedia Review

This book was purchased for my 9yr old who LOVES anything Marvel. We saw the book at a bookstore for a much higher price, came home and found it for a much lower price on Amazon. The book has very detailed and colorful pictures, but not "comic booky." The book is large and for the marvel fan, this would make a perfect coffee table book to display. My child just loves to look at his, and the first night after recieving his he fell asleep with it. He takes it to school with him everyday to share with his friends and look at during his free reading time. I would have to say this purchase was money well spent.

Marvel Encyclopedia Feature

  • ISBN13: 9780756655303
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

Marvel Encyclopedia Overview

Celebrate 70 years of Marvel Comics with The Marvel Encyclopedia! Fully updated with new images and text, this one-volume encyclopedia contains more than 1,000 of Marvel's greatest-from well-known characters such as Spider-Man, the Hulk and Wolverine to lesser known heroes and villains.

An essential book both for new fans and for those who grew up loving the comics, The Marvel Encyclopedia is full of artwork, stats, and history for every character in the Marvel Universe. Updates on characters include information from the story arcs of Civil War and Annihilation, and brings fans up to date with the aftermath of Secret Invasion.

TM & © 2009 Marvel Entertainment, Inc. and its subsidiaries. Licensed by Marvel Characters B.V. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Shame on you Marvel/DK !!..... - iamme -
This is certainly NOT a complete encyclopedia of characters by ANY means !! Your "O" section of characters goes from "Occulus to Overmind"....You completely left out a profile for the classic Daredevil villain "The Owl" who has been excluded in both this Marvel Encyclopedia Edition and the previous edition ! It's inexcusable to leave out such a classic Marvel villain TWICE now from this and the previous edition, while featuring some waaaaaay more obscure villains. Also NO profiles for other popular Marvel villains such as : Bulldozer, Piledriver, Thunderball, Scarecrow, Diamondhead, ManBull, and the supervillain group The Wrecking Crew nas no profile either ! Shame on you Marvel, DK, the writers, and everybody involved, for these terrible mistakes !

too basic - Jason Westfort - Boynton Beach, FL
For Amazon's price this book is a no brainer for any collector or someone interested in learning more about Marvel. However, I was disappointed upon its arrival. Being a longtime reader I found the information far too basic. Nearly the same amount of coverage is listed for insignificant, peripheral characters as it is with classic heroes and villains. This is especially true regarding the 'powers' section. The artwork is good and its number of entries expansive but again, just not enough depth.

love it - June Cleaver - Your backyard, USA
I purchased this book at the IRA conference in Chicago--it is absolutely amazing. The pages are thick and the colors are so very vivid! Sorted alphabetically, it lists all the characters with a "factfile" (height, wiehgt, real name, occupation, first appearance)and then "powers" and "allies/foes" for cross-referencing. I would recommend this book for any-aged Marvel fan. Mom or Dad could read it while Jr. is entertained by the awesome visuals and older children can read alone (my guess is approximately 7th-grade reading level).

suddenimpactmartialarts - C. Ellis - lakeville,ma
The new entries are good,artwork is good.It would have gotten 5 of five...but,heres the problem...theres no new or different art on all old enties from previous edition,which is 80% of the book, which i own

*** Product Information and Prices Stored: Oct 31, 2010 00:30:06

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Great Price for $21.61

Fire-Tongue Review

Written early in his career, Fire-Tongue is one of Rohmer's best and, in this reviewer's opinion, even better than his Fu Manchu series. Though this story is the sequel to Bat Wing, it is not necessary to have read the earlier book to enjoy the story and characters in Fire Tongue.

The story contains several characters: Paul Harley, an independent investigator; Nicol Brinn, a renowned world adventurer, and Philomena Abingdon, an English beauty whose father dies under mysterious circumstances.

This pulp mystery combines them and several other characters into the strange world of Fire-Tongue that may be the name of a cult, the name of a prophesied Zoroastrian god-messiah, or simply a cold-blooded assassin.

Or maybe all three.

In spite of its abrupt ending and its glossing over of some dramatic moments that this reviewer believes Rohmer should have embellished, Fire-Tongue is well worth the time if you like pulp mysteries. However, be aware that the racist and sexist overtones, common for the day in which the novel was written, may be offensive to some.

Fire-Tongue Overview

The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Subjects: Fiction / Action

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Customer Reviews

I Love Sax Rohmer! - D. Harrison - GA, USA
I might be a bit biased in my review because I absolutely love Sax Rohmer!

I found this book to be just as enjoyable as his Fu-Manchu books (but Brood of the Witch Queen is still my favorite).

As mentioned earlier, make sure you check out the edition you are buying (this goes for all classic books).

I am reviewing a Kindle version of the book (ASIN: B003YUC894)

Check the edition and publisher carefully before you buy... - Kiwi - Mississauga, Ontario Canada
Sax Rohmer's books are great, enjoyed them a lot when I was a kid. However, when you're buying, check the edition and publisher carefully before you close the deal. The version of "Fire-Tongue" published by General Books LLC is a poor quality, automated reproduction with no index, no illustrations and quite a number of typos. The "Look Inside" is for another publisher's imprint of the book, which is a prfessionally edited version, unlike the General Books LLC version.

To quote here and there from the publishers web site, which I took a look at:
"We created your book using OCR software that includes an automated spell check. Our OCR software is 99 percent accurate if the book is in good condition. However, with up to 3,500 characters per page, even one percent can be an annoying number of typos....... After we re-typeset and designed your book, the page numbers change so the old index and table of contents no longer work. Therefore, we usually remove them. Since many of our books only sell a couple of copies, manually creating a new index and table of contents could add more than a hundred dollars to the cover price....

....Our OCR software can't distinguish between an illustration and a smudge or library stamp so it ignores everything except type. We would really like to manually scan and add the illustrations. But many of our books only sell a couple of copies....

....We created your book using a robot who turned and photographed each page. Our robot is 99 percent accurate. But sometimes two pages stick together. And sometimes a page may even be missing from our copy of the book. We would really like to manually scan each page and buy multiple copies of each original. But many of our books only sell a couple of copies....."

You get the general idea by now. Unfortunately, these low quality reproductions (450,000 listed under General Books LLC) have the reviews associated with the original or with better quality imprints associated with them. The product description is totally misleading for the buyer that's not aware of this publisher.

IMHO this is unethical marketing. Anyways, your decision. But at least you know more about General Books LLC (also, be aware that there are quite a number of publishers now doing this - so if you're buying an older book, it really pays to check the publisher carefully - and quite often, a hint that all is not what it seems is the cover - these el cheapo scam publishers usually don't bother with book cover art related to the actual content).

Sax Rohmer mystery - bicar - Wisconsin
I'm not familiar with Sax Rohmer (Fu Manchu never attracted me) but I recently read one of his ebooks and liked it enough I thought I would try another. He is a very good wordsmith but the story was a little hard for me to get into. I'd try another one though.

Not his best work, in several ways - T. Simons - Columbia, SC United States
I read this after having burned through a number of other Sax Rohmer ebooks, and it wasn't my favorite at all; I much preferred his Fu Manchu novels.

The story is standard pulp fare -- detective, mysterious murder, dark secrets, enigmatic villain, beautiful ingenue, etc. So far, so good. Like other Rohmer books, there are some elements which presage the Indiana Jones movies (especially, here, Temple of Doom).

This particular pulp potboiler has several problems, though.

1) The writing is comically bad. The keynote might have been when the protagonist declares this the "biggest case of my career" when we have literally no idea who the villain might be, but there were many other sharp contenders (an honorable mention must go, for example, to "You are out after one of the big heads of the crook world").

2) the plotting is painfully predictable. When an elderly man visits the protagonist, announces he thinks people are trying to kill him, begs for assistance, and then decides to tell Our Hero about it all later that day, over dinner, instead of, you know, right then in his office like he came there to do. . .yeah. We all know about how long that guy's going to live (exactly long enough to choke out an Enigmatic Phrase over the soup). By itself, that kind of thing wouldn't be so bad, but, well, there's another problem:

3) The misogyny and racism. The best example of this work's misogyny might be this two-line exchange between the protagonist and the ingenue: ""Why do you insist on treating me like a child?"/"Perhaps because I enjoy doing so". The real kicker, though, is the books' casual racism; lines like "The manicurist incident indicated an inherent cruelty only possible in one of the Oriental race" are all too common, and whenever the heroes take an oath it's "on [their] honor as a white man," etc. On the one single occasion where a caucasian does something reprehensible, the narrator takes care to note "the prominence of upper jaw singularly reminiscent of the primitive Briton . . . utter stupidity and dogged courage are the outstanding characteristics of this type."

It's possible to defend that sort of thing by saying Rohmer was a creature of his era, but even at the time he was writing, Rohmer was decried for the rampant racism in his books; one of the later Fu Manchu novels, published shortly before WW2, features the protagonists attempting to save a Hitler analogue and thereby foil Fu Manchu's plot to prevent a world race war.

Regardless, though, for a modern reader, this kind of thing is fairly painful to read. In his Fu Manchu novels, it's worth working past the racism just to read the iconic descriptions of the Fu Manchu character. Here, though . . . well, there's no Fu Manchu here, and without that iconic character, what's left is just racist pulp. Skip this one, and grab the Fu Manchu series instead.

*** Product Information and Prices Stored: Oct 28, 2010 11:45:05

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Great Price for $7.49

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) Review

This edition and its companion books carry the series from a popular book to a classic product. The Harry Potter series has matured into a finely produced, collectible, cherished edition for the ages. This edition is meticulously put together with the most durable binding of any edition, into books that will last for generations with normal care. The binding, stitching, and ribbon book mark are hallmarks of the most prized of books, and deservedly so.
I love the Harry Potter saga, and would enjoy it any edition. But, the Bloomsbury Special edition gives it the cachet of a true classic, which I hold it to be. This printing will, in a few years, amount to what a first illustruated printing of "Alice in Wonderland" amounts to.
This edition amounts to the first real production of the Harry Potter series in a truly lasting book, rather than the falling apart editions we have suffered with for so long. The Scholastic hardbound editions seem to hold up, but the paperback editions fall into loose pages.
HP is finally taken seriously enough to become a sturdy, well published, well bound series of books.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) Overview

Running time: 11 hrs., 48 mins.

For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well. And the Azkban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, "He's at Hogwarts...he's at Hogwarts."

Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) Specifications

For most children, summer vacation is something to look forward to. But not for our 13-year-old hero, who's forced to spend his summers with an aunt, uncle, and cousin who detest him. The third book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series catapults into action when the young wizard "accidentally" causes the Dursleys' dreadful visitor Aunt Marge to inflate like a monstrous balloon and drift up to the ceiling. Fearing punishment from Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon (and from officials at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who strictly forbid students to cast spells in the nonmagic world of Muggles), Harry lunges out into the darkness with his heavy trunk and his owl Hedwig.

As it turns out, Harry isn't punished at all for his errant wizardry. Instead he is mysteriously rescued from his Muggle neighborhood and whisked off in a triple-decker, violently purple bus to spend the remaining weeks of summer in a friendly inn called the Leaky Cauldron. What Harry has to face as he begins his third year at Hogwarts explains why the officials let him off easily. It seems that Sirius Black--an escaped convict from the prison of Azkaban--is on the loose. Not only that, but he's after Harry Potter. But why? And why do the Dementors, the guards hired to protect him, chill Harry's very heart when others are unaffected? Once again, Rowling has created a mystery that will have children and adults cheering, not to mention standing in line for her next book. Fortunately, there are four more in the works. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson

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Customer Reviews

Great Value - Naomi Maggiora - Grand Prairie, TX, USA
I bought this book to replace a copy my granddaughter had that had been read so much it was falling apart. The book was received as advertised and in a very timely manner.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - k.prather -
The book was missing slipcover. Book was listed as used in good shape. I would not have purchased it if I had known book was missing cover. Otherwise, book was in good shape and arrived within time

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Laura -
I absolutely love the book, and to hear it read is even more exciting! He changes his voice, and is very dramatic. LOVE IT.

*** Product Information and Prices Stored: Oct 24, 2010 05:45:05

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Great Price for

Flutter (My Blood Approves series) Review

Lots of action is where Flutter strays from feeling like Twilight. I enjoyed Twilight for the sweet dialogue between the leads. But in Flutter, there's more dialogue and story with side characters that i started skimming through just for Alice and Jack or Peter parts. Team Peter since book 1, i weeped a tear for him here and have my finger crossed for him. Enjoyed Alice's sex scene with Jack. Good read.

Flutter (My Blood Approves series) Overview

Flutter - the third book in the My Blood Approves series...

Being undead doesn't make life any easier for Alice Bonham.

Her younger brother's love life is heating up, while hers is... more complicated. Mae is falling apart, her best friend Jane is addicted to vampire bites, and if Alice doesn't get her bloodlust under control, someone will end up dead.

Alice volunteers for a rescue mission with Ezra. But going up against a pack of rabid vampires might be too much, even for him.

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Customer Reviews

AWESOME!!! - Ashley Miller - Ventura, CA USA
Man, Im completely hooked! I can't seem to put these books down! Another great book in the series!

A GREAT Series - C. Parham -
Could not stop reading. If you like twlight or Tigers Quest- you will enjoy. There should not be a ending to all these good books. LOVE THEM ALL

Wow - K. Thompson - Englewood, NJ
I love this series. The suspense, characters, and plot are great. I am starting to feel like I don't want this series to end. I wonder if a few movies will be made based on the books. To me, this is a better read than the Twilight series. I can't wait to read the next installment with hestitation because I will be getting closer to finishing this amazing series.

Enjoyable - Justagirlblues - Guyton, Georgia
I read all four books in this series in two days because I just had to know what was going to happen next! Great new author who I can't wait to see how she grows in her work in the coming years. Looking forward to reading Switched in the morning.

*** Product Information and Prices Stored: Oct 21, 2010 02:00:05

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Great Price for $4.75

New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2) Review

Sorry for the bad review before, it was my own fault for overreacting. The seller responded to emails fast and was very helpful.

New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2) Feature

  • ISBN13: 9780316160193
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BRAND NEW FROM PUBLISHER! BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2) Overview

"Shoot," I muttered when the paper sliced my finger; I pulled it out to examine the damage. A single drop of blood oozed from the tiny cut. It all happened very quickly then. Edward threw himself at me, flinging me back across the table... I tumbled down to the floor by the piano, with my arms thrown out instinctively to catch my fall, into the jagged shards of glass. I felt the searing, stinging pain that ran from my wrist to the crease inside my elbow. Dazed and disoriented, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm-into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires. Legions of readers entranced by Twilight are hungry for more and they won't be disappointed. In New Moon, Stephenie Meyer delivers another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural twist. The "star-crossed" lovers theme continues as Bella and Edward find themselves facing new obstacles, including a devastating separation, the mysterious appearance of dangerous wolves roaming the forest in Forks, a terrifying threat of revenge from a female vampire and a deliciously sinister encounter with Italy's reigning royal family of vampires, the Volturi. Passionate, riveting, and full of surprising twists and turns, this vampire love saga is well on its way to literary immortality.

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Customer Reviews

I think I'm actually dumber now. - CoLiamPet - New York
I thought it couldn't get worse but, yes, it did. So let me get this straight, super creepy stalker boyfriend who treats you like you can't formulate an idea, leaves you in the middle of the woods like the sniveling little whiney brat that you are and this is a bad thing? Okay, I give, where's the punchline? Oh wait, there isn't one. I guess it's me for reading this garbage. I can't go on, if you want to know why I think this is utter and complete trash see my Twilight review, that pretty clearly sums it up.

It's a book doesn't matter of it's new or used you can still read it. Very happy.

Kinda slow - A. Germain - FL
It's taken me a long time to decide to read the Twilight series. The 1st book was really good, but I felt like New Moon could've been A LOT shorter than it was. It took me a lot longer to read than the 1st book because it didn't hold my interest as long. It wasn't until last last quarter of the book that I started to enjoy it again.

*** Product Information and Prices Stored: Oct 20, 2010 06:30:05

Monday, October 18, 2010

Check Out A Tale of Two Cities (Penny Books)

A Tale of Two Cities (Penny Books) Review

Mr. Jarvis Lorry of Tellson's Bank is traveling in the Dover Mail, 1775. Men from the bank frequently travel from London to Paris. He receives a message when the Dover Mail is stopped, and he learns he is to escort Lucie Manette to a reunion with her long-lost father. In Paris he encounters Monsieur Defarge and his wife, Madame Defarge. It seems that Dr. Manette has taught himself to be a shoemaker and that he doesn't remember his old banker, Jarvis Lorry. An issue arises as to whether Dr. Manette is fit enough for the journey to England.

In 1780 Tellson's Bank is still old-fashioned. Mr. Charles Darney is a defendant is a court proceeding and Mr. Lorry and Miss Manette testify to having seen him five years previously in the vicinity of Calais. He is acquitted. Dr. Manette has started to receive patients again. Jarvis Lorry spends many Sundays with Dr. Manette and Lucie. At times Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton are part of the company. Darnay and the Manettes are voluntary exiles from France. Mr. Stryver, a barrister, and Mr. Darnay seek Lucie's favor. Lorry warns Stryver he may not succeed.

There is so much color in a Dickens novel, street scenes, grotesque names, (Cruncher), so many roles assumed, (Barsad, spies), and so many droll ways of telling a story, (an officiating undertaker), a reader is overcome with admiration for the author's craft. Dickens is comparable to Shakespeare in terms of breadth of subject matter.

I don't think historical writing is Dickens's strong suit, but, in any event, Dickens is Dickens, and the momentum given to him through Carlyle's work carries him to the end. In his personal life Dickens was in a sensitive and overwrought state, and this shows through in his portrait of Dr.Manette. Manette, for reason of his incarceration, seems to be afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder.

A Tale of Two Cities (Penny Books) Overview

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known' After finishing A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens said 'it has greatly moved and excited me in the doing'. One of his most haunting novels, it has, since its first serial publication in 1859, continued to exert a grip on the popular imagination. Set during the French revolution in a lethal, vengeful Paris and a leafy, tranquil London, the two cities of the title are only a part of the novel's stark dichotomies, which are continued as Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay - their lives touched by the same woman - are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris only to fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

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Customer Reviews

timeless classic wrought w/ mistakes (publisher review) - genamo -
The back cover does not match "look inside" picture - I received a condensed version of Dickens' story consisting only of train/mistress story. Last line: "His affair with Nellly eventually cost his his marriage." Their typos, not mine.
Title heading on every page inside reads "A Tail of Two Cities." Once again, their mistake (spelling), not mine.
So what else is wrong with this printing? I don't know this book well enough to risk finding out...
Also there is no publishing page in the book - is this a legal copy?

Overrated "classic" - Howie - North by Northwest
Sure, the story has some twists at the end, but I find the language arcane as well as archaic. The story-telling is cumbersome and sometime confusing; there are large chunks of narratives about irrelevant details (such as the chapter "The lion and the jackal", it does little to advance the plot). The dialogues are pretentious and unnatural -- the characters speak with a lot of parenthesized texts. The actions of the people are also to some extent unexplained and unexplainable: why does Carton sacrifice himself to save Darnay? Because of his love for Lucie? At the end he is portrayed as some larger-than-life hero and martyr, but I find some hollowness and unbelievability in that.

Dickens' contemporaries and French counterparts, Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas, who also wrote a few books using the same backdrop (the French Revolution). I think they are both better writers and story-tellers.

Never read this in high school or college - Book Club Mom -
I don't think I can say anything about this book that hasn't been said. I thought the characters, the plot and the historical backdrop were terrific. I'm not sure why I never read this in school, even as an English major. This is the kind of book that will stay with me forever.

Having said that, I don't think most high schoolers could ever fully appreciate this book. I read this at the same time as my 10th grader, who did not enjoy it. I think it's a struggle for most younger readers to understand the plot and Dickens' writing style. If you have to read it for school, try to appreciate it and think about reading it again when you are older - it is very much worth the effort!

*** Product Information and Prices Stored: Oct 18, 2010 08:45:06

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Great Price for $0.39

Al Capone Does My Shirts Review

This book was assigned to my students for summer reading by their English teacher, so I read it as well. It's a page turner! Simply written in a breezy, creative style, the author seamlessly introduces younger readers to a life unfamiliar to most of us, and to people of special needs, such as the sister of the main character, in a caring manner. As a history teacher, I did not know that families of guards and other workers once lived on Alcatraz. I look forward to discussing the book and the people we met, even the little touch of romance, with my students. And thanks to the "teaser" at the end of the book, I simply have to read the sequel, just to see what else Gennifer Choldenko has cooked up. And I'm 55! Highly recommended!

Al Capone Does My Shirts Overview

When Moose Flanagan and his family move home, yet again, and become residents of the famous prison island Alcatraz, things get interesting. First of all, they share the island with a few other families and a lot of pretty heavy-duty criminals including Al Capone. And secondly, Moose's sister is starting a new school, which everyone hopes will help her become more integrated with those around her. When Moose comes up with some pretty cunning money-making schemes based on his famous co-residents, he does not count on his sister becoming inadvertently involved. This is a charming, funny and utterly enchanting book that skillfully and delicately weaves a humorous tale with some important issues.

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Customer Reviews

Simplistic and Sad - Katy in San Francisco - San Francisco, CA United States
The whole book can be summed up in Moose's opening statement:

"I'm not the only kid who lives here. There's my sister, Natalie, except she doesn't count."

Apparently all they have to do is get rid of Natalie and their lives will all be better.
Poor Natalie.

I'm the mother of a child with autism, and I hated this book. I hate how it is assigned to children to read and permeates the message of segregation of people with disabilities in society. Kids with autism do not need special schools and to be taken away from their families, kids with autism need to be accepted and loved, and made part of families.

OK Book Quality - Deborah Crane - PELL CITY, AL, US
Al Capone book was supposed to be new book. It did not arrive in "new" condition. Was not satisfied with this product.

Don't have your kid read it if they have autism - Moggy -
My son's class was assigned this book. My son has autism, and is fully included in a regular 5th grade class. I hated this book because I don't want my son or his classmates to think that all people with autism are like the character Natalie in that book. The book gives a very negative picture of autism, the main character Moose is embarrassed by his sister, wants her out of his life and sent away to a "special" school, the Mom is traumatized by her daughter's autism, and lies about how old Natalie is (says she is 10 when she is really 16). The whole point of the book seems to be that the family's life will be better once they send the autistic daughter away.
So I hated that this book was assigned, and think it is an awful way to introduce children to the reality of autism. Autism is not mentioned in the text of the book (it wasn't called that during the time period in which the book takes place) but it is mentioned in the author's notes in the end. The kids reading it are all going to want to know "what is WRONG with his sister?" and they will find out it is autism, and they will think all people with autism are like the Natalie character, and that is not true. For children who have autism, this will make them feel bad about themselves having autism, because it portrays the sister as such a crazy person. I am so upset that this book was assigned to my son's class!

*** Product Information and Prices Stored: Oct 16, 2010 06:21:15

Friday, October 15, 2010

Check Out Thirst No. 3: The Eternal Dawn for $6.59

Thirst No. 3: The Eternal Dawn Review

Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire series was one of my favorite things to read as a youngster. I purchased each book as it hit the shelves and devoured them gleefully. I was so terribly unhappy that the series ended in The Last Vampire: Creatures of Forever. That said, however, the ending of that book, the end of the series, was perfect. All the loose ends were tied up into a nice little bow. All questions answered. It was over.

Imagine my surprise (and from what I've seen by poking around the internet, the surprise of many) when I saw that there was going to be a 7th book. What? But Sita's story was over! Done! Finished! We, her devoted fans, knew precisely what happened, we knew her story, we knew the truth, we'd read THE END. Boy were we fooled.

Like many others I wondered how, after such a solid ending to the series, Christopher Pike could bring Sita back into the limelight. I imagined it would be stunningly brilliant, written eloquently and beautifully...the story would flow from the pages into my brain and I would sigh in utter bliss.

Yeah, no.

By the end of Chapter 2, I was so thoroughly and completely disgusted with the blatantly SILLY way that he brought her story back into play that I had to place my bookmark on the page, close the book, and walk away. It was that, or fly to Christopher Pike's house and ask him very plainly, "What were you THINKING?". And where was his EDITOR? Seriously?

Of course, it's -Sita-, man. You have to find out what happens to her, you have to see. After a day or two, when my level of rage over the absolutely insanely boring way he explained things, I picked up the book again.

Boy am I glad I did. I know that not everything Christopher Pike writes is a masterpiece. He's not the most brilliant author, at times his writing is choppy and he is repetitive in a way that makes me grit my teeth, but the story - ah the story! By the end of Chapter 3 I was hooked. I forgot, since it's been nearly a decade since I've read a Christopher Pike novel, that sometimes he starts slow. But then the flow happens and you're drawn into the tightly woven story that keeps you snugged tightly in its arms until it darn well chooses to release you. For me, that was at the very last page, the whispered words that sealed that particular portion of the novel also assured that I will be anxiously awaiting, and pre-ordering, Thirst No. 4. Yes, people, there's another coming. Summer of 2011, it says. Read stories 1 - 6 (or Thirst No 1 and Thirst No 2), Read Thirst No. 3: The Eternal Dawn. Sita dazzles, but not in that sparkly glittery craptastic way that Dear Eddie does...I promise you'll be enchanted.

Thirst No. 3: The Eternal Dawn Feature

  • ISBN13: 9781442413177
  • Condition: New
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Thirst No. 3: The Eternal Dawn Overview

Alisa has spent the past five thousand years as a vampire, living alone and fighting for survival. In her loneliness, Alisa cannot resist bringing Teri—a descendant of her human family—into her life. But Alisa is surrounded by death and destruction, and just by knowing Alisa, Teri’s life is at risk.

Alisa’s guilt grows when she becomes involved in a dangerous conspiracy. A top-secret group knows Alisa’s secret and will stop at nothing to use her powers for their cause. As Alisa desperately tries to protect herself and Teri from the unknown enemy, she discovers a force more powerful and more lethal than anything she has ever seen. Alisa doesn’t know who to trust, who to challenge, or who she will become….

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Customer Reviews

He does it again... - jillyan -
Although I'm not a fan of writing reviews, my passion for CP outweights everything else. I'm an old school fan, so when I saw the new cover for The Last Vampire aka Thirst no.1 in the bookstore... I'm ashamed to say I was a little disappointed, but the minute you open the book and let CP do what he knows best, you're automatically transported into Sita's world. (I re-read the entire serious to refresh my memory in anticipation for the release of Thirst no. 3) And I can vouch that this book doesn't fail to do just that. The ending was a bit disappointing in my opinion, but that doesn't mean you still don't crave to know what happens next. CP is like a cult band. His fans are loyal! Until we meet again Sita... ;)

Like finding an old friend. - Jamie Hoelscher -
I was shocked and very pleased when I learned there would be a new addition to Pike's The Last Vampire series. I began reading Pike when I was elementary school(!) and fell in love with his writing style, original stories, and intriguing characters, the epitome of these, of course, being Sita.

I have read and re-read the first six installments of The Last Vampire since they were released in the mid-nineties, and they were always special to me. I just finished Thirst No. 3 (or, The Last Vampire 7) and absolutely loved it. I have read all of Pike's work. Some of it is outstanding, some aren't my favorites, but all are worth a read. This novel stands up to his best work. It is easy to see that this is his favorite group of characters to write about. I have read a lot of "Vampire" books in my life - Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris - not Twilight, can't bring myself to do it - but Sita blows them all away. She really would, too.

I would strongly suggest to anyone new to Pike to start the series from the beginning. It will bring a much better appreciation to the new book. Any die-hard Pike fan will love it.


Christopher Pike's Vampire - dayna -
This Thirst is the best of the series. While too long for my taste (I had to skip through pages in the first and second books because it dragged, this last book provided more action than the other two. Christopher Pike fans would have to pick this one up.

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This Side of Paradise (Penny Books) Review

When first published in 1920 This Side of Paradise rapidly became a bestseller and launched the career of its 24 year old author, F. Scott Fitzgerald. The novel's protagonist, Amory Blaine, is clearly a stand-in for Fitzgerald himself.
The book traces Amory's life from early childhood to young adulthood and describes in great detail his challenges and conflicts as he reaches maturity in the very turbulent second decade of the 20th century. Amory, like the author, becomes a Princeton man. Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of This Side of Paradise is that Fitzgerald's unbridled nostalgia for his time spent at Princeton comes through loud and clear. (The fact that he never managed to graduate does not seem to have diminished his fond memories one iota.)
By his own admission, Amory is an egotistical elitist who has little or no empathy for the less fortunate lower classes. Much of the novel consists of Amory's introspection on the true nature of love, personal fulfillment, the relevance of religion and other equally obtuse subjects. This Side of Paradise is also a bit odd from a structural standpoint in that there is an overabundance of poetry interspersed with the prose and one of the more important chapters is written largely in the form of a play complete with lines of dialogue and stage direction.
Those inclined to criticize this book will see it as a hodgepodge of self-indulgence. But to the generation who came of age circa. 1920, it contained much that rang true.

This Side of Paradise (Penny Books) Overview

This Side of Paradise is the debut novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Published in 1920, and taking its title from a line of the Rupert Brooke poem Tiare Tahiti, the book examines the lives and morality of post-World War I youth. Its protagonist, Amory Blaine, is an attractive Princeton University student who dabbles in literature and has the book's theme of love warped by greed and status-seeking.

In the summer of 1919, 22-year-old Fitzgerald broke up with the girl he had been courting, Zelda Sayre. After being drunk for much of the summer he returned to St. Paul, Minnesota, where his family lived, to complete the novel, hoping that if he became a successful novelist he could win Zelda back. While at Princeton, Fitzgerald had written an unpublished novel called The Romantic Egotist and ultimately 80 pages of the typescript of this earlier work ended up in This Side of Paradise.

On September 4, 1919, Fitzgerald gave the manuscript to a friend to deliver to Maxwell Perkins, an editor at Charles Scribner's Sons in New York. The book was nearly rejected by the editors at Scribners, but Perkins insisted, and on September 16 it was officially accepted. Fitzgerald begged for early publication—convinced that he would become a celebrity and impress Zelda—but was told that the novel would have to wait until the spring. Nevertheless, upon the acceptance of his novel for publication he went and visited Zelda and they resumed their courtship. His success imminent, she agreed to marry him.

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This Side of Paradise (Penny Books) Specifications

Fitzgerald's first novel, reprinted in the handsome Everyman's Library series of literary classic, uses numerous formal experiments to tell the story of Amory Blaine, as he grows up during the crazy years following the First World War. It also contains a new introduction by Craig Raine that describes critical and popular reception of the book when it came out in 1920.

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Customer Reviews

A story of crippled souls - Kurt A. Johnson - North-Central Illinois, USA
Amory Blaine was born to an eccentric mother and a cold and distant father. This is the story of his life, but more than that it is the story of his search for love, and his search for meaning - both ultimately disappointingly unsuccessful.

I gather that this book, the first one that F. Scott Fitzgerald published, was wildly successful when it was first published, in 1920. It really spoke to the Lost Generation. Well, reading it now some 90 years later, it does not have the same impact - nor could it.

As a window on the Lost Generation, or at least on their tastes, it is quite interesting. As I read the book, I could not help but reflect on a thinker I knew many years ago who spoke of people who loved themselves best, but were forever on a fruitless search to find someone who would love them more. All of the characters in This Side of Paradise have that same problem - a deep and overwhelming love for themselves which makes them unable to give unconditionally of themselves.

I suppose that is why I did not find myself enjoying this book at any point - there is nothing uplifting here. The crippled souls of the characters only inspired pity in me, as I watched what I knew to be their fruitless search for love and meaning.

So, if you are interested in the Lost Generation and the 1920s, then you will probably enjoy this book. If you are looking for a work of literature that will feed your soul and send you forward, then you will probably not enjoy this book...as indeed, I did not.

Perfecting his craft? - fra7299 - California, United States
Part of the problem with Fitzgerald's being affiliated with a prized novel, The Great Gatsby, is that the author's other novels must be compared to it. I use this as an opening because, while the instances of early talent in the writer are here in his debut novel, the story, even though richly autobiographical, fell a little flat. Maybe this is part due to the fact that for a good deal of the book the protagonist, Amory Blaine, is pretty much synonymous with the shallow, aimless generation that Fitzgerald and other Lost Generation authors tried to depict. With the exception of minor moments of insight late in the novel, Amory is as superficial as the world seems around him.

Some have a problem with the experimental format of This Side of Paradise. It is written as a narrative, poem, drama, letter and journal. I didn't feel that way, and thought it gave a unique aspect to the novel. Fitzgerald's technique seems to coincide with the modern novel of experimenting with narrative. However, the story's subject itself clearly comes across as an author working into his craft, rather than having perfected it.

Within the story, Amory Blaine searches for identity and meaning of life amid outside influences--his mother, the world, the war, his acquaintances at school, his friendships, and his loves. While there were some moments of insight, the story comes across as a bit flat and meandering. In the final estimation, the characters were a bit too artificial.

Fitzgerald's movement towards perfecting his skill is evidenced, however. There are some valid insightful moments for the protagonist in the book's concluding pages, and Fitzgerald's style is evidenced in these brief snapshots. Fitzgerald's style would be perfected later in The Great Gatsby.

This pretty much takes me back to my original argument. The Great Gatsby is vastly superior in terms of depth, narrative and likability of main protagonist than This Side of Paradise. Not to say that there isn't a glimpse of talent here, and future higher achievements, but I'd rather be reading The Great Gatsby.

Definitely not my cup of tea - Love shopping Amazon - MA USA
I have to say that I found this book to be quite boring. i've been laid up for a few weeks. I have a Kindle so have been able to read and enjoy many of the classics. This was a book i had to stop reading several times and always wondered why i returned to it. I will try something else by Fitzgerald from his later years. I won't give up on someone others consider a brilliant writer.

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

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Glass Review

Glass is the fantastic sequel to Crank, and continues to chronicle a girl's downward spiral into the world of drugs and addiction. Surprisingly, I preferred it to Crank, and I think that's largely due to Hopkins evolving as a writer. It resonated with me more as a reader, and I loved getting an opportunity to spend more time with Kristina and her family.

As was the case with Crank, Glass is not an easy or pleasant story to get through. It can, at times, be very difficult to read, especially as Kristina finds herself once again addicted to the monster. No amount of family advice or help can put her back on the right path, and this becomes apparent when she all but ceases to care for her own child.

I did find myself liking new boy Trey, and whether that's a good thing or bad, I don't know. He's an incredibly flawed character, and is in no way the person Kristina needs at that point in her life. There's never any doubt that he's a bad influence, though he does seem to be a strangely good fit for her. He at least tries to be supportive, and I believe his heart is in the right place. It's just a shame he can't kick crank and, in doing so, show Kristina that it is possible.

This series, along with Hopkins' verse writing, absolutely fascinates me. For me, it's a voyeuristic look into the lives of teenagers who desperately need help, but who can't stay away from drugs long enough to get it. Their stories are hard-hitting and important, and they should be a permanent fixture on school library shelves everywhere. If ever there was an author or a series of books with the power to educate teens on the ramifications of substance abuse, it would be Ellen Hopkins and the Crank series. I just hope these books continue to get the respect they deserve, as they really do have the ability to help and change lives.

Glass Feature

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Glass Overview

Crank. Glass. Ice. Crystal. Whatever you call it, it's all the same: a monster. And once it's got hold of you, this monster will never let you go.

Kristina thinks she can control it. Now with a baby to care for, she's determined to be the one deciding when and how much, the one calling the shots. But the monster is too strong, and before she knows it, Kristina is back in its grips. She needs the monster to keep going, to face the pressures of day-to-day life. She needs it to feel alive.

Once again the monster takes over Kristina's life and she will do anything for it, including giving up the one person who gives her the unconditional love she craves -- her baby.

The sequel to Crank, this is the continuing story of Kristina and her descent back to hell. Told in verse, it's a harrowing and disturbing look at addiction and the damage that it inflicts.

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Glass - Mrs. Magoo - California, United States
Review from [...]

Title: Glass
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Grade: B+
Ideal Audience: Boys & Girls, 12+
Sequel to: Crank

Summary: Kristina's life is finally back on track. She is taking care of her baby boy, Hunter, and is no longer strongly addicted to meth. It seems like things might be back to normal again... until she falls under crank's spell again. Just like before, Kristina finds herself drowning in her addiction.

Bree is back, and Kristina can't control her. Meth pulls her so far under that she is no longer fit to be a mother, and her own mother kicks her out of the house, assuming full responsibility for Hunter. However, Kristina/Bree still manage to find room and board, and her addiction continues.

But is she taking it too far? Buying and selling meth is illegal, and Kristina/Bree is getting more and more reckless. After a while, she becomes desperate. She needs money and she needs meth, never mind how she gets those two things...

My thoughts: While I continue to enjoy Ellen Hopkins's poetic style, I didn't think Glass was as good as Crank. The first in the series was more interesting to me because it showed Kristina's downhill spiral, while Glass was following Kristina while she was way down at the bottom.

Nevertheless, the whole series made me interested in the rest of Ellen Hopkins's work. I love her writing style and, although the premises of some of her stories are slightly disturbing/depressing, I still enjoy reading them.

Pure Imagination Reviews - Lori Lawson - USA
In Crank, Kristina was introduced to the monster. In Crank I still felt some sympathy for her. Her life was spiraling out of control. She was young and made some mistakes, but she definitely wasn't past the point of no return. In Glass, my sympathy was gone. Kristina knew exactly what she was getting herself into. She knew exactly what kind of pain she would cause everyone, including her child. She knew what the monster was doing to her body, yet she did it again and again..and again. Her self destructive and self centered behavior take center stage in this book.

I was going to say that I still enjoyed this book immensely, even with Kristina's stupidity, but enjoy is the wrong word to use for this book. It's hard to enjoy a book about drug addiction. Although, I can't think of another word to use. It's like a train crash. You know that something awful is eventually going to happen, but what can you do to stop it? I can't wait to read Fallout, and get to the end of Kristina's story. I honestly hope that it is a happy ending, but I'm not sure if it can be.

Once again I must say that, Ellen Hopkins writing is incredible. I've never read a verse novel quite like this. It's beautiful, and powerful, and terrifying all at the same time. This book is an anti-drug. It should be required reading for teens. I beg you, teen or adult, to read Crank. You won't be disappointed.

Great but Missing Something - Britnie R. Smith -
I read crank first. I got it from a friend and in the same day another friend had glass.I read them both in one day. I used to be addicted to meth and so the book appealed to me. I loved the books and I couldnt put them down. i kept hoping there would be a turn around and the girl would finally get off meth, but the simple fact is life isnt always beautiful and the story is true and the author kept it true. She did a good job of describing what its like on meth except for the wigging part. people on meth are completely paranoid and it gets to be an insain and frightening thing. I believe had she showed that part of meth to her younger readers it may have frightened them more into not using. getting paranoid is a very big part of meth and i wish she would have showed that more in the books. Other than that great job i loved the book. Cant wait for fallout the third and final one of the series. It comes out this year and will be through the eyes of her children. She ends up having 3. Buy the book and read it. It is a good book.

Glass Review - Kristen S. Wooten - Chicago
I thought that Glass was a perfectly titled book and a great follow-up to Crank. The one criticism is that the ending should have ended with Kristina`s story. There needed to be closure to this story. I also would like to know what happended to Kristina after the story concluded. I really enjoyed the poetry format of this book. I thought that was an interesting way to write the story. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and woud recommend this to others.

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Ubik Review

"The worlds through which Philip Dick's characters move are subject to cancellation or revision without notice," sci-fi great Roger Zelazny once wrote, and it strikes me that Dick's "Ubik" is a perfect example of that statement. The author's 25th science fiction novel since 1955 (!), "Ubik" was originally released as a Doubleday hardcover, with a cover price of .50, in May 1969. It finds Dick giving his favorite theme--the mutability of reality--a thorough workout in a wonderfully well-written, at times humorous, increasingly bizarre story. Indeed, the book may be Dick's "spaciest" outing since 1964's "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch," and had me wishing that I had originally read it back in my college days, while under the influence of some, uh, psychotropic substance!

In the book, the reader makes the acquaintance of the various members of Runciter Associates, run by Glen Runciter and his half-dead wife, who is able to give business advice although in cryogenic "cold pac" in a Swiss "moratorium." Runciter Associates is comprised of special individuals who almost come off like very unusual members of the X-Men, except that these individuals, rather than commanding superpowers, possess what must be called antipowers; that is, they can cancel out the fields put forth by telepaths, clairvoyants, telekineticists and so on. During a promisingly lucrative business venture on the moon, Runciter, his assistant Joe Chip, and 11 of the various antitalents are ambushed in an explosion, orchestrated by Glen's enemies. Runciter himself is gravely injured and put into cold-pac storage, while the other team members scramble to find out how this attack transpired. But wait...why does reality itself seem to be changing? And why are various objects reverting to earlier forms, such as a modern (1992) stereo in Joe's apartment suddenly morphing into a Victrola? And how is it that everyone suddenly seems to be living in the year 1939, while one by one the team members crumble to dust? And just what is up with Ubik, a miraculous spray can that seems to be their only ticket to salvation? Dick certainly had his imagination working on overtime when he plotted out this one, that's for sure, and the wonder of it all is that, ultimately, the story DOES hang together coherently and ingeniously. It is a bravura piece of work, and one that "Time" magazine chose for inclusion in its "Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century" article. No argument from me!

"Ubik" really is a consistent pleasure to read. The aforementioned humor pops up in many guises, from throwaway remarks (such as a reference to a Supreme Court ruling to the effect that a man can murder his wife if he can prove that she would never grant him a divorce; the five-times-married Dick giving vent to some pleasant daydreaming, perhaps?) to hilarious turns of phrase (a man is said to be wearing a dress "the color of a baboon's ass") and to the truly outlandish outfits that all the characters wear (the moratorium owner sports a "tweed toga, loafers, crimson sash and a purple airplane-propeller beanie"). As in so many of Dick's other novels, amphetamine and LSD use are spotlighted, and the author's empathy for the plight of his characters is strongly pronounced. Dick also gets to show off his knowledge of 1930s minutiae in this tale, whether from in-depth research or by dint of having been an 11-year-old himself in 1939 America. His details are not ALWAYS spot on, however; a 1939 issue of "Liberty" magazine is said to contain a famous story entitled "Lightning in the Night," although that story actually appeared in the August 1940 issue; the Ford tri-motor plane is said to have come into existence in 1928, whereas 1925 would be closer to the mark. Still, these are the merest quibbles. "Ubik" is basically an extraordinarily clever, mind-blowing entertainment. It may cause some to furrow their brow in bewilderment--"very confusing," Joe Chip thinks to himself at one point--but I can't imagine anyone not being bowled over by this amazing piece of work. It is, quite simply, Philip K. Dick at his best, and modern-day science fiction doesn't get too much better than that.

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Ubik Overview

Filled with paranoiac menace and unfettered slapstick, UBIK is a searing metaphysical comedy of death and salvation--salvation which comes in a convenient aerosol spray, to be used only as directed!

Ubik Specifications

Nobody but Philip K. Dick could so successfully combine SF comedy with the unease of reality gone wrong, shifting underfoot like quicksand. Besides grisly ideas like funeral parlors where you swap gossip for the advice of the frozen dead, Ubik (1969) offers such deadpan farce as a moneyless character's attack on the robot apartment door that demands a five-cent toll:

"I'll sue you," the door said as the first screw fell out.

Joe Chip said, "I've never been sued by a door. But I guess I can live through it."

Chip works for Glen Runciter's anti-psi security agency, which hires out its talents to block telepathic snooping and paranormal dirty tricks. When its special team tackles a big job on the Moon, something goes terribly wrong. Runciter is killed, it seems--but messages from him now appear on toilet walls, traffic tickets, or product labels. Meanwhile, fragments of reality are timeslipping into past versions: Joe Chip's beloved stereo system reverts to a hand-cranked 78 player with bamboo needles. Why does Runciter's face appear on U.S. coins? Why the repeated ads for a hard-to-find universal panacea called Ubik ("safe when taken as directed")?

The true, chilling state of affairs slowly becomes clear, though the villain isn't who Joe Chip thinks. And this is Dick country, where final truths are never quite final and--with the help of Ubik--the reality/illusion balance can still be tilted the other way. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk

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Customer Reviews

Ubik - Roland -
I've always been deeply in love with Philip Dick's paranoid worlds. I love his books, I love his short stories, I even love things like Our Friends From Frolix 8. There is something raw and razor-sharp, almost clinical in Dick's writing, something that transcends style, ideas and story. You can always tell that a part of him - and it might very well be a dominant part - not only believes in what he writes, but lives it.

I haven't read all of Dick's books. I haven't even read half of them. Still I've read most of those whose names everyone knows, and I have read enough to think that even a genius of his magnitude would be hard pressed to write anything quite as good as Ubik twice. If I had to point at a single one of Philip Dick's works as his magnum opus, that would undoubtedly be it.

As Michael Marshall Smith aptly puts it in the forward of my edition of the book, there is a mind-boggling number of SF ideas in Ubik: time-travel; psychic abilities and their corresponding anti-abilities; the dead being kept in a state of "half-life" where they could be reached by the living; alternate realities and reality revision; futuristic space-faring society; dystopian economic system. Many authors would spin a book around any ONE of those, but for Philip Dick it's always what's underneath the flesh that matters, so he casually presents them ALL in the first ten pages of his novel.

In Ubik's world technology has advanced to the state where colonization of the Moon and other worlds is possible. Psychic phenomena are common and many people employ psychics in their business ventures or shadier dealings. And since no law could control such powers, the so called "prudence organizations" have appeared. Those who work in them have the ability to negate one psychic power like telepathy or precognition. Meanwhile, people could be put in "cold-pac" after death - a half-life existence that slowly diminishes until the person dies again, this time - forever.

The main character, Joe Chip, is a technician for Glen Runciter's prudence organization. When a client hires twelve agents to negate telepathic spies in his lunar facilities, Runciter and Chip travel with them to the Moon. The assignment turns out to be a trap, possibly set by the company's nemesis Ray Hollis (who leads an organization of psychics), and Glen Runciter is killed in the ensuing explosion. The party quickly returns to Earth to put him in cold-pac.

But afterwords the twelve agents and Joe Chip begin to experience strange reality shifts. Food and drink deteriorate prematurely, and the world seems to regress into the past. What's more disturbing, they all receive messages from Glen Runciter, implying that it is actually he who is alive, and they who are in cold-pac. And above all is the ever-present Ubik, appearing in commercials on TV and radio. Nobody knows what it is, but it is everywhere. And it is important.

Then the deaths begin...

Ubik is a deeply unsettling book. The characters' hold on reality is at best loose, and the uncertainty they feel as to the nature of their very existence seeps into the reader's own mind, turning the novel into almost a horror story. When the action and the race (quite literally) against time begin, you are almost grateful for the opportunity to evade the disturbing questions concerning what's real, what's not, and which one is more dangerous. Dick's misleadingly simple language and the traditionally schematic relationships between his characters, only seem to accentuate the unnatural events he is painting.

Philip Dick is a master of multiple realities that intertwine and overlapp until the mind's ability to grasp it all simply fails, and madness begins. As Paul Di Filippo says in a review of the book, "No reality is priveliged". Nowhere is Dick's ability to test the limits of perception and self more strikingly demonstrated than in Ubik. And even if you take nothing from the book, but the amazing mystery and suspense filled story, it would still have been one of the most satisfying reading experiences you've ever had.



One of PKD's best - Clearsky311 - Melbourne, Australia
To be read by anyone who has questioned there own reality and seen it as being unreal as a dream. Death scenes in the book bring reminders of the Tibetan Bardo Teachings. Recommended Reading for all!!

Best place to introduce yourself to Philip K. Dick - H. Jin - Melbourne, Australia
'Ubik' is one of the best places to introduce yourself to Philip K. Dick. The story contains a number of his trademarks, but it is also one of his more straightforward books and contains a number of elements that would be familiar to many sci-fi fans.

The story itself is multi-faceted. The set-up involves Glen Runciter and his organisation of "anti-talents", who are a sort of futuristic industrial counter-espionage. When a large-scale operation to the Moon goes badly wrong, Runciter is killed and his employees find reality beginning to disintegrate; time going backwards, Runctiner contacting them from beyond the grave, and themselves frighteningly wasting away. The bulk of the book deals with the efforts of the characters to figure out the cause of this degradation and how it can be stopped.

The book contains plenty of standard Philip K. Dick elements. Protagonist Joe Chip is the standard down-on-his-luck "everyman" hero, with Pat being the cooly mysterious female lead. The dynamic between Joe and Pat is fascinating, with her highly original anti-talent possibly being connected to the bizzare circumstances in which they find themselves. Likewise, the idea of a warped or illusional reality is a standard feature among many of Dick's books, and is utilised well here. In addition, I particularly enjoyed the concept of "anti-talent", which highlights Dick's influence on the Cyberpunk genre. In his world, telepathy and precognition are not always used for good, and Dick has some interesting ideas about how they may be employed in an offensive manner against rival organisations.

The story fits together well; all of the pieces seem to be nicely in place by the end, only to have the final chapter throw in a disquietening twist that leaves the ending open. This is reinforced by the ominous introduction to the final chapter, which is complete change from the cheesy advertisement parodies than introduce the earlier chapters ("Eat Ubik toasted flakes"/"Get soft and supple hair with Ubik conditioner"/"Borrow from Ubik Savings and Loan"!). A clever and well-executed touch.

One issue I have with this book (and several other of Dick's books) is what might diplomatically be called his "matter-of-fact" writing. His quite dry style makes it difficult to get emotionally involved with the circumstances or the characters. The characters themselves (apart from Joe, Pat and Glen) are somewhat poorly sketched, and often abruptly die or disappear "off camera". Also, his predictions for 1992 were way off. Keep in mind the book was published in 1969, so it wasn't as if he was looking a hundred years hence; even allowing for the fact that this might be a deliberately "ironic" or alternate-reality approach, his predictions of hovercars and lunar colonies seem very dated in retrospect.

It is a pity that Dick couldn't bring out a little more emotion in the book, and really give a detailed insight into what the characters go through in such a bizzare situation. This means that 'Ubik' succeeds brilliantly as an intellectual puzzle but falls a little short as a novel. But if you can forgive that, 'Ubik' is a clever and thought-provoking science fiction book, and is the best place to introduce yourself to the original but disturbing world of Philip K. Dick.

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