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Mark

markpoole@books.theunseen.city

Joined 1 year, 4 months ago

Avid reader, mostly sf, but also science, politics, memoir, history, queer studies, cultural studies, literary fiction

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Boys, Beasts, and Men (2022, Tachyon Publications) 5 stars

Raw, powerful, joyful, relevant

5 stars

I rarely rate a book 5 stars. But I was incredibly and forcefully moved by the stories in “Boys, Beasts and Men.” For some odd reason I hadn’t come across Sam Miller’s work until a recent interview (I think) in Clarkesworld. These stories struck me like a bolt of lightning. It feels so good to read direct and transgressive gay literature that feels so raw, intense and intelligent. I don’t think I’ve felt this strongly about a book since reading Samuel R Delaney’s novels.

No spoilers. Just read this book!

Myth of Normal (2022, Penguin Publishing Group) 4 stars

Brilliant, inspiring but often frustrating to read

4 stars

This is a brilliant, expansive, and inspiring examination not only of the roots of human trauma and suffering, but what might bring healing and hope to both individuals and society. There are many things to praise about this book, and others have said them better than I could attempt here. But Maté also frustrates me with an excess of exhaustive biographical (and autobiographical) examples, and goes on for too long about a topic, and when he repeats myths, oversimplifications and sometimes misleading truisms. The first two of my grievances made it a hard slog to read. At over 400 pages (excluding notes and references), and given the difficult nature of much of the subject matter, I had to challenge myself to keep going. And my last grievance is why I can’t give it the 5 stars it would probably get with tighter editing and fact-checking. Some of the generalizations he …

A dreadful hunt in the galactic wastes—and the prey is Man!

Classic 60s pulp science fiction horror

2 stars

This was the first science fiction book I ever read, at the age of 9. It was on my grandmother’s bookshelf. From what I remember, it was fascinating, scary, violent, apocalyptic, a little pornographic (for the 70s), predictably gory, and probably not suitable for your average child. But it got me hooked on science fiction for the rest of my life! So five stars for that.

After devouring this book and a few other choice finds in a bargain bin at the supermarket, I was introduced by a well meaning teacher to Asimov and Heinlein. That experience bored me no end and almost turned me off sci-fi again. But then I found Arthur Clarke and Frank Herbert in the nick of time!

Three Miles Down (2022, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

From New York Times bestselling author Harry Turtledove, the modern master of alternate history, a …

Review of 'Three Miles Down' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I wasn’t that interested in Harry Turtledove’s earlier alternate Civil War and World War II histories. This story was sharp and fun though. Set in the mid 70s, it resurfaces some good memories for me. Nixon is bogged down in the Watergate scandal - will he or Gerald Ford become the first world leader to welcome alien visitors to earth? This story, believe it or not, is based on the true story of the Hughes Glomar Explorer and the secret CIA project Azorian to recover a sunken Soviet nuclear-armed submarine, which unfolded during the Nixon presidency. Except in this telling, the CIA and the Soviets get more that they bargain for when they head to the sea bottom to raise the “object” of interest. It’s a light and humorous story. There’s a couple of good Watergate jokes Iurking within for those in the know, and an interesting cameo appearance from …