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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Ursula K. Le Guin: Hainish Novels and Stories, Vol. 1: Rocannon's World / Planet of Exile / City of Illusions / The Left Hand of Darkness / The Dispossessed / Stories (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 87/1100 pages
Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated
Charles Darwin
Progress: 195/346 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 3/250 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 359/700 pages
Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics)
Keith Carabine, Joseph Conrad
Progress: 236/272 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 108/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 76/448 pages
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 pages
Crystal Singer Omnibus - Anne McCaffrey When I picked this up I had many years before read the first two novels contained in it, but not the third. Read as a whole the three work better than most of the individual parts. The sequence then comes over as a coherent history of its protagonist, Killashandra Ree, divided into Youth, Middle Years and Later Years.

Only the middle book really works individually, when Ree is caught up in events of considerable significance beyond her own life and influences their outcome greatly and the reader can become involved in an adventure.

Even the perspective granted by following the whole of Ree's career does not eliminate all the flaws: The book is littered with Irish place-names as if Ireland had conquered the galaxy; Ballybran, Killashandra, Armagh and more. No explanation is ever given for this preponderance and it jars in its improbability. Also, one of the more interesting science fiction ideas presented, the "Opal Junk" from the third book, is under-developed disappointingly and turns out to be nothing more than a McGuffin for an essential plot device that helps a story that had veered toward Tragedy to veer abruptly back toward a fairy-tale ending.

Perhaps the most serious flaw for me is that I could never entirely like Killashandra Ree - she is a realistically portrayed character with many a flaw but I think one is supposed to like her - and I did not. This made me feel that she did not quite deserve her happy-ever-after.