Category Archives: Review
This is another thoughtful book from Peter Kreeft with many valuable insights. Of particular significance to me was his observation (and my realization) that our society speaks of “having values” rather than “pursuing virtue.” This crafting of our language supports the subliminal indoctrination that channels us into believing or even espousing the idea the “the good or what is right” is not a real quantity like the natural laws but rather is made up or invented by people. Kreeft calls us back to pursuing virtue and abandoning the relativism that plagues us with moral equivocation. He sums up this idea by stating that society cannot long exist without virtue and virtue cannot long exist without religion.
A second important insight for me had to do with the strands of thought and practice that were brought together in Christianity. He argued that as Christianity built on it’s Jewish foundation, wrote it’s ideas using the Greek language and gradually brought more and more gentiles under it’s wing, it brought together three strands: conscience from Judaism, reason from the Greeks, and imagination from the pagan gentiles to craft the fabric of the faith.
Having said that, I will read this book over and over again because of the powerful and significant ideas it advances. I am less enthusiastic about the writing style. Kreeft often uses short sentences and the ideas do not flow well but rather come out like a machine gun barrage. I overlook the stylistic deficiencies because of the content.
This first entry in E. E. (Doc) Smith’s Skylark series is one of my favourites. It begins with Richard Seaton, a physical chemist, discovering a mysterious new trans-uranic element “X” in some platinum waste, which, under the right conditions, has the ability to transform the mass of copper into pure energy and so gives rise to a new space drive.
In many ways these books are space westerns, with non-stop action. Because it was first published in 1934, it provides a glimpse into how writers and readers thought in those days. Of course there are many things about space, physics, and chemistry that we know now that they did not know then, but even that is interesting to me. The optimism and sheer inventiveness of these books I find delightful. This is a book that I like to read over and over again.
With permission, I have reproduced a review from Goodreads on The Halcyon Dislocation. It’s always encouraging to find that the hard work has paid off. Here’s the text of the review:
An incredible adventure – Glad I wasn’t there for the dislocation.
I try not to give books 5 stars very often (cheapens the value). But I read this and enjoyed every minute. Well-deserving.
Basically a University/Naval station Island… is relocated to a different reality. What appears to be a science experiment gone wrong becomes much darker and deeper than first realized by our valiant band of heroes. And somehow Jesus and truth fits into all this. Go buy your own copy – you can’t have my signed 1st edition. (Is it Peter? Don’t care. I’ll boast anyway.)
I read book 2 first, I thought that would be a creative challenge and insight into Peter’s writing abilities. Indeed this made me totally enjoy the character development and early obstacles (AND Evil escapades) that are being set-up in the beginning of the Halcyon series. In Book 1 We get to know the characters in a less stressful setting. By book 2: Everything is Off the Rails and non-stop action. Similar to Star Wars 2: The Empire Strikes Back, no time for intros – start shooting at stuff.
Now I may have to go and read book 2 again, just for the flow of the story. Maybe i’ll do that when book 3 comes out. Quit stalling Peter – get to work, your fans are close to rioting.
Peter gave us a brilliant setting for Christian Apologetics and liberal moral mayhem (those two always go together). Like Eve in the garden we get to see a New society apply a godless lack of morality and spiritual blindness, all in the name of young lusty freedom and Corporate/Political Power. Even though this is Sci-fi, we have a very modern University doing its debaucherous best to erase any Christian virtues and family structures ALL in the name of liberal progress – and thankfully Peter shows us the undeniable results of this secular materialism and free thought: throw out the rules, you throw out the meaning and purpose of Love, Hope, Peace and family values.
And I especially enjoyed the Dalyites. Even in a setting like this we see the uprising of a religious cult. This is endlessly entertaining. Hope this plays out nastily in the 3rd book. I loved seeing our Christian hero “AL” dealing with Atheists on one side, and Fundamental extremist Cults on the other…and monsters of course.
But all is saved by the cute – Badger like: Hansas. Short insightful Warriors of truth. And they make great friends. Can’t get enough of these guys.
Peter has a huge challenge theologically with this sci-fi scenario. How does Jesus, Sin, and God’s Glory play out in this alternative realm? We’ll see. I have a feeling Peter has a plan to tie it all together. This book appears to be succeeding where Stephen R. Lawheads “The Song Of Albion” failed – Christianity is truthfully laid out and brought to the front of the story. I look forward to even more of this in book 3.
The only thing this book was missing was a long nasty car chase. (but the stories not over yet). Maybe I can get Peter to make a Hansa character in my honor??? A brutally snarky theologian comedian.
Warning: You may learn more about boating than you ever wanted to. I’m a landlover myself. (less)
I had a hard time deciding between two stars and three stars for this novel. In the end, I decided on two stars. I found the definition of non-Aristotelian (Null-A) thought an ill-defined and incoherent concept. From my perspective Null-A seemed to imbue the adherents with super-human mental acuity completely disconnected from “integrating animal (thalamus) and human (cortex) parts of the brain.”
In the Foreword the authors tries to shed some light on Null-A. He says: “In World, we have the Null-A (non-Aristotelian) man, who thinks gradational scale, not black and white—without, however, becoming a rebel or cynic, or a conspirator, in any current meaning of the term.” I was hoping after reading the book I would understand what A. E. van Vogt meant. That never happened for me.
You can tell I like a book when I read it over and over again. Here is my review in Goodreads.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I like long books that keep me engaged. Keeping my interest in volume 10 of the Wheel of Time series is a tribute to Robert Jordan’s skill as a writer. In this volume, the main characters are separated in their journeys and each face their unique challenges. Each one continues to grow and develop. Jordan introduces developments and new plot twists which are different enough to keep my interest.
Although I don’t find the world view inherent in Jordan’s work quite as satisfying as Tolkien’s, still it’s an imaginative world where I want to spend my time. There is much beauty and there is a wholesomeness in Two Rivers folk that reminds me of the nobility in Tolkien’s protagonists (and to my mind this nobility is absent in Game of Thrones).
If you like long books, with an exciting, everchanging plot, excellent character development, in a world brimming with beauty, goodness, danger, and evil—this is a book series you will likely enjoy and read over and over again as I do. Crossroads of Twilight is an excellent member of this series and continues to delight.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ship of Storms recounts the life of Marcus Ramsey-Legend during the brief war of independence between Earth and the Martian colonists. He ultimately encounters The Jupiter Effect, the insanity all who venture beyond Mars to the outer planets encounter. Interspersed with this main narrative is an extended series of flashbacks which fill in the details of Ramsey-Legend’s life.
The book is well-written and the character development is finely-crafted. In comparison to other SF colony independence stories such as R. A. Heinlein’s Red Planet and Between Planets, the plot (for me) moved slowly and had few surprises. I also found the extensive flashbacks broke up the continuity of the narrative.
These comments reflect personal preferences. For those who prefer character development over plot, Ship of Storms may well be a book you would love, enjoy, and rate more highly than three stars.