Worst Trek episode ever? We report, you decide.
An excellent companion to Reza Aslan’s Zealot. Where Aslan is more general in the presentation of textual evidence, Ehrman delves into the details. He spends an appropriate amount of time educating the reader on how textual evidence is weighed and investigated by biblical scholarship, which is fundamental for the reader to grasp the evidence he later presents. After this introduction to textual exegesis, Ehrman spends time presenting the various personalities of the “Mythicist” position and their major arguments. He then proceeds to discuss the evidence for the historical Jesus. In the next section he dismantles the Mythicist position systematically.
While many readers will find Did Jesus Exist much drier reading than Aslan, those with a more academic bent, and those wanting a more detailed examination of the evidence for the historical Jesus will find it here. I was suitably impressed with Ehrman’s detailed analysis and his willingness to approach the Mythicist position, if not with sympathy, evenhandedly. The introductory material where he discusses how textual criticism is used by biblical scholars was, for me, not necessary, however those with little familiarity with these techniques will find it invaluable.
I recommend reading both Did Jesus Exist and Zealot together as companion pieces. They compliment each other very well.
Like most Reynolds novels, Terminal World is not what you think it is, nor does it go where you think it will. These two facts make Terminal World one of Reynolds most enjoyable stand alone novels. Its one fatal flaw is the end, which more or less simply stops rather than ends. While it is possible that Reynolds was setting up for a sequel (which I would gladly read, Terminal World raises many interesting questions about the world it portrays that I would like answered), but the ending as it is leaves the reader wishing for more.
Following the story of an exiled “Angel”, in a city built on a structure so tall that pierces the atmosphere, the action quickly moves to the world outside the remarkable tower. Along the way Quillon meets with horrors, heroes and strange people only Reynolds could create. Large amounts of the novel are given over to info dumps, but these are welcomed and fit nicely within the narrative. The action is thrilling, the characters interesting and the world magnificent.
Reynolds melds far future science fiction with literature of the weird with aplomb and skill. While this novel didn’t strike me with as much force and sense of wonder as his other standalone novel Pushing Ice, Terminal World is a wonderful diversion and well worth the time needed to read. All I can say is that I want a sequel or at least some thing that answers the questions about the history of the world he created.
While not the most exciting of the Laundry novels, The Rhesus Chart is certainly the most expansive. Continuing the story of Bob Howard, computational demonologist, is taken to the next level. More information about his position within the Laundry is revealed, more about his relationship with his wife Mo is presented and a greater understanding of the Laundry provided. Stross has also invented a great new vampire that fits almost seamlessly into his Laundry universe. Some wonderful characters are introduced, others re-visited and Bob gets a cat.
I would love to say more about this book, but any serious discussion of it will be full of spoilers and I do not want to ruin any part of the experience for fans of Stross’s Laundry stories. Suffice it to say, this is one of the best of the novels; a nice slow burn leading to an explosive finish. I hope—pray—that Mr. Stross continues to write in the Laundry universe. It is one of the finest Lovecraftian fantasies available.
Fans will be sure to enjoy this. If you are new to the Laundry, you can read it without the previous novels, but a certain amount of the action and characterization relies on the earlier books. Do yourself a favour if you haven’t already read and pick up The Atrocity Archive and start the saga of Bob Howard.
I don’t much care for Doctorow’s fiction, but his non-fiction is spot-on. If we want books, especially e-books, to remain DRM free, Amazon, and Hachette as well, must be the first casualties in the DRM wars.
Inspired by a comment in a thread at Tor.com.
Embiggen for reading of the billing block.
School bans Cory Doctorow’s novel for lauding “hacker culture” | Ars Technica: “this is a totally inappropriate way to address ‘controversial’ material in schools”.
Damn straight, Cory.