Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Two Stars’ Category

Duke (Morgan Freeman) is the manager of the Villa Capri, an upscale resort community for senior citizens in Palm Springs. He loves to be the king of the castle. He is freewheeling, his staff loves and supports him, the women residents adore him, and he is surrounded by a court of friends. Things are good in Duke’s kingdom as he prepares for Christmas with live camels in the nativity scene.

When Leo (Tommy Lee Jones) moves into unit 71, things change quickly. The women call him “new food on the buffet” and Duke finds out quickly that Leo is a better poker player and golfer. When his ladies start fawning over Leo, Duke realizes he’ll be trouble.

Then Suzie (Rene Russo) shows up in town and both mean are smitten. As it turns out, though, she is from the corporate office of the Villa Capri, essentially Duke’s boss, and sent to clean house – starting with firing him.

Before long, everyone is after Duke. Leo steals the show, Suzie is getting him fired, and somebody else is apparently trying to kill him.

Just Getting Started is a light comedy that makes us all laugh. It’s a silly little story with some unexpected twists, but is is carried by the star power of a  strong cast of veteran actors. And that makes it an enjoyable movie to watch and get away for a little while.

Read Full Post »

Most of my reviews start with a brief overview of the book, perhaps a few sections of quotes, while making sure I don’t include any spoilers. Then I talk about how I felt about the book and why I rated it a certain way. If I can relate it to similar books I have read and reviewed, I might draw the parallels and provide cross references.

I can’t do that with The Three-Body Problem. It is too different from anything I have read before. I have to attack this one from an “out of the box” viewpoint. It is definitely the first time I ever read a book by a Chinese author. It is fairly well translated by Ken Liu, and he even has a section in the book at the end where he talks about his efforts translating it. I have a lot of experience with how language changes your thinking, even the person that you are, from studying multiple languages, English being my third one. I also have several years of Japanese, both writing, reading and speaking under my belt. Although my Japanese is very, very rusty, I have experienced how an eastern language results in very different thinking from that of the Romance and Germanic languages.

I know nothing of Chinese, but reading this book has me inspired to pick up Chinese 101 and see where it leads me.

The Three-Body Problem starts in the early 1960s in the midst of the Chinese cultural revolution, when scientists and other educated people were vilified, persecuted and often publicly executed. It follows a young female scientist who witnesses the brutal killing of her father and is subsequently hauled off into a remote research station where she would presumably spend the rest of her life. Alas, the cultural revolution changed faster than people could age, and quickly modern China arose all within the lifetimes of young people born in the 1940s and 1950s. The book gives an in-depth insight into the Chinese soul, their views on class status and particularly education and science.

But it is a science fiction book. The three-body problem is a mathematical problem that arises from trying to predict the orbital motions of three bodies – three stars. Our sun is a single star, and our eight planets have circled the star now more or less stably for over four billion years. We have a stable solar system. But not all star systems are single stars. Many star systems are binary systems, and there may be planets orbiting one of the stars, or perhaps both, and the second star can have severely destabilizing gravitational influences on the planet. We don’t actually know enough about planets in binary star systems, but we have pretty good mathematical models that can predict what happens.

But things change entirely when you add a third star. The fate of any planets in such a system is what one might call chaotic. And yet, the nearest star system to our own is that of Alpha Centauri, which consists of Alpha Centauri A and B, a binary system, and Proxima Centauri, a third star a bit further away from the other two. As unlikely as it may seem, the premise of The Three-Body Problem is that an intelligent civilization far advanced technologically from our own has developed in the Alpha Centauri system, and humans have made contact.

As that, The Three-Body Problem is a first contact novel.

The book was in my reading library, and I had started working on it some years ago, but abandoned it, finding it hard to read. Then recently a colleague recommended it to me out of the blue, and that motivated me to pick it up again and work through it. It takes some time to get used to the Chinese way of thinking. I found many differences, but I also found many surprising commonalities. Modern Chinese do not appear all that different from modern Americans. The story is complex, there are many side plots, not all of them necessary. That made some of the sections seem bloated and unnecessary to me. There is also no end, it just finishes abruptly, setting up for the sequel.

Overall, The Three-Body Problem is a science-heavy science fiction work, which speculates much about physics at the particle level, and what a vastly advanced scientific society could do to humankind, should it want to do it harm.

Yes, first contact is not pleasant or rewarding with the denizens of Alpha Centauri.

Read Full Post »

To raise funds for a local cancer hospital, a few enterprising ladies within a Woman’s Institute in an English town decide to pose nude for a calendar. Since all the ladies are over 50, it takes some convincing for some of them. The club, their husbands, the town, all have their own doubts, and the young local man they choose to be the photographer has a particular challenge in front of them: Photograph 12 village ladies naked, make them look good, and make the calendar a work of art. But in the end, all is good, and the calendar is a worldwide hit.

This 2003 movie is based on a true story that took place in a tiny town in Yorkshire, England. Along with the challenges the making of the calendar poses, the story also tells some subplots of the lives of some of the women and the conflicts they endure.

Calendar Girls is a comedy, without any great lessons, and I didn’t actually plan on watching it. I just couldn’t make myself walk away as the story unfolded. Uncomplicated, lighthearted and cheery, I just kept watching and enjoying it until the credits rolled.

This was an English movie. Hollywood would not make one like this, and that alone is a reason why you’d want to watch it.

 

 

Read Full Post »

It’s 1939 in England, and the start of World War II hangs heavy in the air. Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan) is a wealthy but ailing widow who lives on an estate in Suffolk. In her fields are “mounds” of earth that have been there throughout history. She hires Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes), a professional “excavator” who takes on the job of digging into the mounds to see what might be buried beneath.

When Mr. Brown discovers the outline of a buried ship, the local archeological establishment sniffs fame and starts taking over the dig, not wanting to leave the results and the laurels to who they consider an amateur. They eventually dig out a 27-meter long Anglo-Saxon ship and an assortment of buried treasures from the 6th century, a time in history that we normally call the Dark Ages. After this find, the archeologist calls it “Dark Ages no more.”

The Dig deals with family, working and class relationships in English society. It is set in front of the backdrop of the country preparing for war with Germany. Based on the true story of the Sutton Hoo treasures, dramatized by the 2007 novel The Dig by John Preston, the movie gives a romanticized view of rural life in pre-war England, along with all the fog, the rain, and the green countryside we expect to see.

 

 

I noticed in my WordPress reader that there are many other people who reviewed this movie just recently. It’s a 2021 release, and I am sure it’s because we’re all starved for NEW materials after the pandemic dark year. Here are some of the links I found:

The Dig – Review ‹ Just A Little Bit Random ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

The Dig (2021) ☆☆☆(3/4): Their friendship over burial mounds ‹ Seongyong’s Private Place ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

Film Review: The Dig (2021) ‹ Paris Franz ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

The Dig (2021) Review!! ‹ Welcome to Moviz Ark! ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

THE DIG*** Shallow ‹ Vagabond Shoes ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

The Dig ‹ The Silverback Digest ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

The Dig ‹ THE VIEW FROM THE TURRET ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

Exhuming emotion  ‹ Fremantle Herald Interactive ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

Review: The Dig ‹ A Few Good Reviews ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

Movie Review: The Dig ‹ Howard For Film ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

The Dig ‹ Lofty Music and Film ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

I imagine you have to be quite dedicated to read twelve reviews of the same movie, but I thought it might be an interesting experiment.

 

Read Full Post »

The story starts in the year 2049, a few weeks after “The Event,” some apocalyptic global disaster that kills pretty much all life on earth. Augustine (George Clooney) is a space scientist stationed in the Arctic. When all his colleagues are flown out, he stays behind. Maybe he realizes that everyone else dies anyway, and the Arctic is one of the last safe places in the world.

He is lonely, and he is ill. As he goes about his daily routine, he discovers that a little girl was left behind. This complicates matters for him. A cantankerous old man is not a good caretaker for a little girl who (for some reason) does not speak.

Parallel to the catastrophe on earth, mankind’s first interplanetary space mission just visited a formerly not discovered moon of Jupiter, called K23. It is, due to internal heating, suitable for human habitation. The crew is now on its way back, approaching earth. Augustine knows that and tries to contact them to warn them about the disaster and encourage them not to come back.

The crew of the ship suffers severe damage from flying through a debris field and barely makes it back to earth. The situation is hopeless for the few people left on earth, and it’s just as hopeless for the space travelers who are weary and homesick after years in space and want nothing more than to go home. But that does not seem possible anymore.

The Midnight Sky is based on the novel Good Morning, Midnight, by Lily Brooks-Dalton. It apparently follows the book very closely (I have not read the book, but gathered this from reading some reviews). It’s an unlikely story, with an open end, or you might call it no end at all.

I enjoyed the depictions of the space ship, the way they generated artificial gravity, and how they moved about the vessel. There were some nice EVA (spacewalk) scenes, too. The damage to the ship by meteorites was done with pretty neat special effects, but the fact that the ship survived a hail of rocks and ice was very unlikely. Also, I understand that it’s not possible to show realistically what it would look like to get hit by pebbles in space traveling 20,000 to 30,000 miles per hour. Just putting that into perspective, a bullet shot from a rifle exits the barrel at 1,200 to 2,800 miles per hour, depending on the type of rifle. Can you see the bullet flying? You obviously could not see the rocks coming at you at more than 10 to 20 times the speed of a bullet. You would just be obliterated from one moment to the next. But that does not make for a good movie.

Overall, I found Midnight Sky to be a good story, but not one you absolutely have to go and see – unless you’re a space buff – then you have to.

Read Full Post »

It’s 1985 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Rookie Special Agent Stella York is one of the first female FBI agents, and she does not have the support of her peers or her superiors. Yet, the case she is put on is completely baffling.

Two dead men are found in a van that crashed into a power pole, yet the power pole does not show any damage, while the van is totaled. The van is a GMC model nobody has ever heard of in 1985. Furthermore, the license plate expiration sticker shows “10.”

One of the dead men’s fingerprints are an exact match with those of a prison guard at a local prison – which is impossible. Then, during a chase on I-275 North, she witnesses the gory death of a suspect in a car accident, yet, she runs into him very much alive a day later. Nothing makes sense, until one of the witnesses opens up to her and tells her that she’s dealing with time travelers. From the chronological point of view, events seem to happen out of order.

Agent York is losing all her professional credibility when she approaches her superiors with her theory.

Agent of Time plays in Nathan Van Coops’ universe of the In Times Like These, a series of books I have read. See the reviews here:

In Times Like These

The Chronothon

The Day After Never

The Warp Clock

More specifically, Agent of Time plays within the In Times Like These story. I have read prequels to successful books before, and they are usually entertaining, because I know the world that comes after the prequel ends. But I have never read a book that plays “within the original story.”

If you have read the hugely famous Harry Potter series of books, you will understand what “Muggles” are. In Harry Potter, the action takes place among people who are involved in magic: wizards, sorcerers, and the like. Everyone knows that magic is real, and understands its rules. Muggles are the regular people, like you and I, who do not have magical talents and in almost all cases do not believe in magic and do not know it’s going on all around us – well – at least in the Harry Potter universe.

In Nathan Van Coops’ books, the action takes place among people who routinely travel in time. They take it for granted, and they use it creatively. But the rest of us, the time-Muggles, have no idea time travel is possible, it’s happening, and it’s routine for some people. Agent of Time plays parallel to the story of In Times Like These, but it is told from the point of view of time-Muggles like Stella York. What would it look like if there were time travelers amongst us, doing their things, and what would it be like if there were time traveling criminals?

You don’t need to have read In Times Like These to understand Agent of Time, but you will enjoy it MUCH more if you have. I would recommend that you read In Times Like These first, then read Agent of Time, and you’ll have the best experience.

Agent of Time is a short book of only 137 pages. It was free on Amazon. I literally read the whole thing in one day, yesterday. The author probably was in a rush to get it out, because it fell kind of short. The ending was somewhat abrupt, probably setting us up for the next Stella York story, the time-Muggle. But it’s a good addition to the series, and Van Coops is still, in my opinion, one of the strongest writers in the genre.

 

Read Full Post »

It is the year 997 in England, the end of the Dark Ages. The people live in wooden houses and use primitive tools.

Edgar is an eighteen-year-old youth, the son of a boatbuilder. During a Viking raid, his village is destroyed, his father is killed, and his mother and brothers have to move to a new village and start from scratch, trying to survive.

Ragna is the daughter of a Norman nobleman who falls in love with Wilwulf, the ealdorman (you’ll have to look that up here) of Shiring. She moves to England to marry him, but she has no idea what the customs are in her new world. Quickly her life is all but destroyed.

Aldred is a young monk who wants to turn his monastery into a center of learning and culture. This is in the time when copies of books were written by hand, and when books where hugely expensive and impossible to own.

Wynston is the bishop of Shiring, a cunning, brutal man who will stop at nothing, including fratricide, to get what he wants, more power and more riches.

The lives of these four people are interlinked and connected as we watch them struggle for survival, for love and lust, for power and for enlightenment. But in the end, the story is too simple, the plot predictable, and the characters are one-dimensional and not believable.

I bought this book without bothering to first download the preview to see if I’d like it, based completely on the reputation and caliber of the author. I have read the “Kingsbridge Trilogy” starting with Pillars of the Earth, one of the best historical novel I have ever read. The Evening and the Morning is the fourth book of the Kingsbridge series, written as a prequel to Pillars. It plays about a hundred years before Pillars, when the little hamlet that will once become Kingsbridge consists of just a few hovels in the middle of nowhere.

I have no idea why the title of the book is The Evening and the Morning. Surely, Follett could have spent a little more time thinking of a better title. The book is over 900 pages long and it takes patience to read. I was hoping I’d get more history out of the experience, but I really didn’t. The story is a love story, a tale of utter evil and brutishness, power and abuse, sex (too much of it) and melodrama. Disney could have written the story, and it could have played anywhere and at any time. It just turns out it played in the decade between the years 997 and 1007, during the reign of King Ethelred II.

The Evening and the Morning is a nice attempt at a historical novel that describes life during the Dark Ages, or better, the end of the Dark Ages, but it misses a lot of opportunities. Edgar, one of the protagonists, could have been shown as an old man, jumping forward closer to the 1100 period, where Pillars starts. As it turns out, I learned more about the history of that period in England browsing wikipidia.org for Ethelred, the term “ealdorman,” the Viking raids, and court life during that period than I learned from reading The Evening and the Morning. 

Follett is a great writer, and this book leaves me with the feeling that he just wanted to write something quickly and without much imagination to make some money from his loyal followers. The book really doesn’t have anything to do with the Kingsbridge stories, other than it plays 100 years before John Builder first sets foot into the town of Kingsbridge is search of a job.

That’s when it gets exciting. You will not miss anything if you skip The Evening and the Morning.

Read Full Post »

Movie Review: 41

41 is a pretty bad movie title for an amateur movie. You have to actually watch it to understand what it is.

Aidan is a college student to seems to go through the motions in his life without a lot of enthusiasm. One morning, after class, somebody that looks like himself, walks up to him and tells him not to go to the Heathscape Hotel.

Of course, that’s like somebody telling you not to think of a yellow elephant. So Aiden ends up going to the Heathscape Hotel and through a few strange events discovers that in room 41 (hence the title of the movie) in the bathroom, there is a time-portal. All he has to do is pull back the linoleum in the corner of the bathroom, climb into the hole for a moment, pull himself back out, and he arrives – yesterday.

Since it’s yesterday, he can now leave the room, if he makes it past any potential occupants in the hotel room itself, walk downstairs and find himself. After all, he should remember what he did yesterday, and then find himself. However, if there is somebody in the room and he can’t leave the bathroom – no problem – just climb back under the floor for a second, come back out yesterday again, which, of course, is now the day before yesterday of the original day.

By going back in time, he is trying to prevent the death of his girlfriend in a gruesome car accident while he was driving, but he does not seem to succeed.

41 is actually a pretty good time travel story, albeit with one plot problem: If you can only travel back, you create another copy of yourself every time you do it, and you really never come back to the present. This conundrum isn’t solved in this movie, but it has a pretty neat twist at the end that makes it a worthwhile story, so much so, that you’ll be tempted to want to watch it again to make sure what you saw was what actually happened.

The acting is poor, the production is skimpy, and the plot is full of major holes, but there is one hole in a bathroom in room 41 that makes it all worthwhile.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is a struggling and unemployed writer. His girlfriend Lindy (Abby Cornish) breaks up with him over lunch. She has just been promoted to editor and does not want to be with a loser anymore. At rock-bottom, Eddie runs into an old friend who gives him an experimental drug called NZT which is supposed to unleash 100% of one’s brain capabilities and capacity.

Eddie takes the pill, and immediately realizes that it gives him virtual superpowers. He remembers everything he has ever seen, read, experienced, watched and observed, and he can put together conclusions from those memories with lightening speed. His laser focus quickly results in unleashing a financial genius. When he draws the attention of business tycoon Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro), their collaboration gets them on the way to make billions.

But the drug has side effects, there is only a limited supply of it, and he quickly finds out that he is not the only one that has it. His life gets complicated very fast.

Limitless is an action thriller of a different kind. It explores the capacity of the human brain and its possibilities – which do appear limitless.

I enjoyed watching this movie. It was entertaining. But – end the end – forgettable.

Read Full Post »

When her husband dies in a terrible car accident, Libby’s life falls apart. Her two young daughters give her the reason to continue. She packs up the minivan and moves out to the country in Central Texas, where her aunt runs a struggling goat farm.  She offers her room and board in exchange for help on the farm.

The kids adapt to life in the country quickly, but it’s harder for Libby. There are secrets in her family, and her overbearing mother and her aunt aren’t exactly helping her uncover her past. There is also a cantankerous farm manager who does the work around the farm, teaches the girls some very practical skills and slowly gets Libby’s attention as well.

The Lost Husband is a story of life’s hard knocks in contemporary rural Texas, where life on the farm is everything, and where city slickers are frowned upon.

The movie is an adaptation of the book The Lost Husband by Katherine Center. I have not read the book, but saw some reviews that state that the movie follows the book closely. It’s a feel-good family movie, with something for everyone, but it does not go too deep. A lot of reviewers on IMDb gave it 10 out of 10 stars, which seems strange to me. The Lost Husband has some of the feeling and sentiment of Fried Green Tomatoes, but it’s no Fried Green Tomatoes.

Read Full Post »

Three young men with disabilities need to get away from it all. Two are in wheelchairs, one of them completely disabled from the neck down. And the third is blind. All three of them are virgins. They make a pact to get away, and escorted by a nurse driver, they go on a road trip from somewhere in the Midwest to Montreal, where they heard there was brothel that “caters to people like them.”

At first, the nurse does not know what’s going on, but by the end of the first day, staying in a motel, she figures it out. Soon she joins their quest and helps them escape the tentacles of their parents who, thinking they are “in trouble” are trying to bring them back home.

On they go, and they each find what they are looking for, but not exactly where they thought they would find it.

I enjoyed watching this film, even though there are some unrealistic scenes and some plot holes. But it was meant to be a comedy and to put a spotlight on disability, something the able-bodied among us can easily ignore. It was good and heartwarming, and when I got up from the couch after watching I was grateful that I could do so without asking anyone to help me.

Come As You Are is a remake of the acclaimed Belgian film ‘Hasta La Vista’ which in turn is based on the real-life story of Asta Philpot, which was chronicled in the 2007 documentary ‘For One Night Only’.

Read Full Post »

Five decades after the Vietnam war we still have riveting movies about that war, or that conflict, as it was called back then. Spike Lee tells the story of Da 5 Bloods, the nickname for a group of all black Vietnam veterans, Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis), and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), who go back to find and exhume their fallen leader, Stormin’ Norman (Chadwick Boseman), and bring him home, and to find the massive cache of gold bars they buried there in 1971. To help them, Paul has brought along his adult son, David (Jonathan Majors).

They find Norman, and they find the gold. The problem is, you can’t just carry out that much gold in backpacks without attracting the wrong kind of attention, and the ensuing conflicts during the retreat brings out the worst in each of them, all deeply damaged from post-traumatic stress and ruined lives. Today’s Vietnam is not the Vietnam of the 1960s, but it’s also not Kansas. There are still plenty of landmines that can kill, and demons that can drive you insane.

In today’s age, where black Americans are once again the targets of hate, injustice and suppression fueled by nascent resurgence of racism let loose in our society, a movie about the fates of black soldiers in a war that wasn’t theirs hits the mark. Beware that this movie has some very horrid imagery that once seen, will stay with you for a long time. Some pictures cannot be unseen. I have warned you.

Read Full Post »

 

It’s six years after Olympus has Fallen, when Allen Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) was the Speaker of the House and was Acting President during the terrorist crisis. Apparently, President Asher has served his two terms, and now Allan Trumbull is the President of the United States, and Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is his most trusted Secret Service agent.

There is a high-tech assassination attempt on the president while on a fishing trip. His entire Secret Service detail is killed, and only Banning survives and manages to save the president. He is wrongfully accused of the attack and arrested. After he escapes against all odds, it becomes clear to him that he has been set up. Alone on the outside, the entire U.S. law enforcement machine after him, the president in a coma in the hospital, Mike Banning goes on the offensive, saving the legitimate government from a coup at the highest levels.

While the action in Angel has Fallen is as intense (and unlikely) as in Olympus has Fallen, this is a somewhat better movie – that is – if you like the intense action hero style movies, where everyone gets killed and the hero gets beat up and scratched and shot and poked, but it never seems to stop him.

Read Full Post »

If you ever want to know what happened to Jesse of Breaking Bad after the end of the series, when Walter White was killed, El Camino is the movie to watch.

Through a series of scenes going forward after Walter’s death, and via many flashbacks, El Camino brings back the full cast of characters, Jesse, the hapless Todd, Skinny, Badger, and definitely Mike. There is also a flashback appearance of Mr. White and Jesse in a coffee shop, which is priceless.

I watched El Camino right after watching the second episode of Better Call Saul, and before watching the third, and the whole series, with El Camino in the middle, brings me back to 12 years ago when Breaking Bad was breaking really bad in this country.

El Camino is a “must watch” for anyone who followed the Breaking Bad craze. And while this review is not about Better Call Saul, I have to say: The current (and last) season of Better Call Saul, which is the immediate prequel to the Breaking Bad series, is the best of Better Call Saul ever. You must see that one too.

Read Full Post »

At the end of The Clan of the Cave Bear, Ayla is expelled from the Clan, and she walks away into the unknown wilderness in search of “The Others,” her own people.

Eventually, she finds The Valley of Horses, with a suitable empty cave on a cliff in a protected canyon, a stream with a waterfall above it, and the steppe not far beyond the valley. The glacier, which shapes the local climate an the flora and fauna, is not far away toward the north.

Ayla makes her home there. The rescues a colt and raises it, and later she rescues a baby cave lion, and raises it too. She ends up spending three years alone in the valley with her animals.

Jondalar and Thonolan are two young brothers on a journey down the Danube to the “sea,” which of course is what we know as the Black Sea today. On their odyssey they get to know many different tribes. Eventually, they end up in Ayla’s valley under catastrophic conditions, with Jondalar severely injured.

Ayla nurses Jondalar to heath and eventually the two become a couple.

I read The Clan of the Cave Bear decades ago for the first time, and I remember reading The Valley of Horses, its sequel, also, but I remembered nothing about it. When I recently re-read Clan, I decided to also re-read Valley. They are the first two books of the Earth’s Children series of six books written by Auel. I enjoyed The Valley of Horses to a degree. It does a nice job portraying life in the stone age by the Cro Magnon man, our direct ancestors, and it contrasts that to the lives of the Neanderthals, of “the Clan” as they are called in this series. I have always been interested in pre-history, taking place in southern and eastern Europe during the current Ice Age but before the last glacial period – or about 30,000 years ago.

Jondalar’s home is where France is today, and Ayla’s home is originally in today’s Crimea. The Valley of Horses is about where today’s Kiev is in Ukraine. The Cro Magnon people were on the rise with their advances in hunting techniques, weapons and general social structure. The Neanderthals, who had reigned over Europe and Eastern Europe for more than 100,000 years, virtually with no changes in their lives, were on the decline. There was occasional interbreeding during that period, between the two sub-species of humans, and this overall backdrop sets the stage for The Valley of Horses.

The story is a bit boring at times, particularly when the author repetitively describes things that she has described before. There is also a surprising amount of explicit sex, with detailed, graphic sex scenes going on for pages. I can understand that it’s necessary to include sex to describe the lives of the people, but there is too much of it in this book. Sometimes I felt like I was reading a romance novel, and it should have had a Fabio-like dude with a fur loin cloth holding a blond vixen in a passionate kiss. I don’t know why the author found it necessary to include as much sex as she did. It got repetitive to me, and I found it unnecessary.

I got my fix of pre-history with these two books.

I now marvel about time-scales. This played 30,000 years ago. That’s 10 times as long as our modern timescale, if you think of the time of the ancient Greeks as the start of modern times. No innovations occurred in their lives for tens of thousands of years, thousands of generations. When I compare that to the pace of innovation we are experiencing now, I am awestruck at the length of human history, and how long we endured under very challenging conditions so I could be here today.

I will not read the next four books in the series, but it peeked my interest in anthropology. So today, at the bookstore, I picked up “Who we are and how we got here – Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past” by David Reich. It’s a science book. It won’t have sex scenes, but it’ll give me that feeling of awe when I face the unlikely history of humanity.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: