Monthly Archives January 2019

This Voice in My Heart review

3-star rating

This Voice in My Heart cover

This is the first autobiography I’ve read, which makes it hard to evaluate. The book is the story of the life of Gilbert Tuhabonye, from the central African nation of Burundi, up to about 2005.

Like its neighbor Rwanda, Burundi has suffered from serious conflict between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes for decades. The genocidal spasm that afflicted Rwanda was well known at the time, but Burundi has had its own troubles as well, and Tuhabonye was nearly killed in one in October, 1993.

Tuhabonye presents his life growing up on a farm in southern Burundi as idyllic, and given that he knew little of the world beyond his local community, that’s not a surprise...

Read More

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

I’m ba-a-a-a-a-a-ack. Maybe I should paraphrase Paul McCartney: “Back in the B-L, back in the B-L, back in the B-L-O-G.” Doesn’t have quite the same ring, somehow.

The last couple of months have been weird and stressful in the web site world. In November, I asked my hosting company to update some software that’s important for running the web site. In the process, the tech support guy said, “We can save you some money by switching you from shared hosting to dedicated hosting.” (In other words, I’d have a web server computer all to myself.) “You interested?”

Saving money’s a good thing, right? So I said OK.

Humanoid image surrounded by question marks

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Next thing I know, we can’t get my “theme,” the software that gives the site its particular science-fiction-y look, to wo...

Read More

Critique Technique, part 14: Out-of-Character Behavior

Comedy has been defined as “ordinary people in extraordinary situations, or extraordinary people in ordinary situations.” But what if the piece you’re critiquing isn’t comedy—or isn’t meant to be comedy? When a character you’ve come to know suddenly acts in a way that makes you stop, scratch your head, and say “huh?”, maybe there’s a problem.

Maybe. That’s an important word. What does the story’s context tell you about this new behavior? If Alice suddenly starts screaming, which she’s never done before, but it’s because the car she’s riding in just went off a cliff, that’s reasonable...

Read More

The Tides of Time Review

[No rating]

I’m really not sure how to respond to this odd little novel by John Brunner. For the first three-quarters, it seems like a different take on the standard time travel story. Then it gets weird.

Rich white girl Stacy and her black boyfriend Gene are fleeing something. Prejudice because they’re a biracial couple? Maybe. It’s never made clear. In any case, they have signed up to travel through time and space, and are initially sent back to a Sphinx-shaped Greek island called Oragalia in their present day or close to it. But the next morning, they have magically jumped back in time to something like the 1980s. They spend the day exploring the island and its one small town. The next morning, they’ve jumped again, this time back to WWII.

The pattern continues: in each “Part,” ...

Read More