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17-Nov-2018
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The following are mini-reviews of books I read in 2018.
Also see the full index of books I've read.


  [Book cover]

The Mummy MEGAPACK™

by Wildside Press

...

The Mummy MEGAPACK™

  [Book cover]

The Allingham Case-Book

by Margery Allingham (1904-1966) (Wikipedia) (pub. 1969)

...

Also see The Margery Allingham Society.

  [Book cover]

The Survivors of the Chancellor

by Jules Verne (1828-1905) (Wikipedia) (pub. 1875, original French)

...

Project Gutenberg eBook: The Survivors of the Chancellor

  [Book cover]

Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon

by Jules Verne (1828-1905) (Wikipedia) (pub. 1881, original French, La Jangada: Huit Cents lieues sur l'Amazone)

... "jangada" in the French title is a traditional fishing boat in Brazil ...

Project Gutenberg eBook: Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon

  [Book cover]

"The Minority Report"

by Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) (Wikipedia) (pub. 1956)

...

  [Book cover]

"I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land"

by Connie Willis (Wikipedia) (pub. 2017)

...

Also see The Connie Willis . Net Blog.

  [Book cover]

A Number for Your Thoughts: Facts and Speculations about Numbers from Euclid to the Latest Computers

by Stephen P. Richards (pub. 1982)

...

  [Book cover]

All Rights Reserved

by Gregory Scott Katsoulis (pub. 2017)

...

Also see "#interview: Gregory Scott Katsoulis, Author of All Rights Reserved".

  [Book cover]

Final Frontier: The Pioneering Science and Technology of Exploring the Universe

by Brian Clegg (Wikipedia) (pub. 2014)

...

  [Book cover]

Logan's Run

by William F. Nolan (1928- ) (Wikipedia) and George Clayton Johnson (1929-2015) (Wikipedia) (pub. 1967)

...

  [Book cover]

Caesar's Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us

by Sam Kean (Wikipedia)

...

Word of the book: billennia refers to units of a billion years, much the way millennia refers to units of a milli—a thousand years.

Although magma today is far less fizzy than it used to be, this billennia-old cycle of pressure building up underground and then exploding upward continues today.

Word of the book: refulgent - "shine brightly".

Within ten milliseconds, the center of the lagoon lit up like a diamond, refulgent with light, and three million cubic feet of water vaporized into steam. (James Watt would have been agog.)

  [Book cover]

The Pioneer Detectives: Did a Distant Spacecraft Prove Einstein and Newton Wrong?

by Konstantin Kakaes (pub. 2013)

...

Word of the book: acceleration - is, in physics, any change in an object's velocity (which itself is a combination of speed and direction). Kakaes uses the term correctly, but it leads to some awkward sentences that are counterintuitive to a layperson's understanding of the word as "go faster". I'm familiar with the physics usage of the word, but sometimes I felt like I was trying to decipher double-negatives. For example, "the anomalous sunward acceleration of the Pioneers" means the spacecraft are slowing down as they fly out of the solar system; i.e., forces aimed back at the sun are causing the spacecraft to "decelerate".

  [Book cover]

How I Killed Pluto (and Why It Had It Coming)

by Mike Brown (Wikipedia) (pub. 2010)

...

  [Book cover]

The Tyranny of Metrics

by Jerry Z. Muller

...

  [Book cover]

Amazon Extreme: Three Ordinary Guys, One Rubber Raft and the Most Dangerous River on Earth

by Colin Angus (Wikipedia) with Ian Mulgrew (pub. 2001)

...

  [Book cover]

Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Cave on Earth

by James M. Tabor (pub. 2010)

...

Also see:

  [Book cover]

Rat Island: Predators in Paradise and the World's Greatest Wildlife Rescue

by William Stolzenburg (pub. 2011)

... Hawadax Island (formerly "Rat Island", renamed in 2012) is an island in the Rat Islands archipelago, one of the groups of islands in the far west of the Aleutian Islands ...

[Rat Island location]

Word of the book: insessorial - "adapted for perching, as a bird's foot or claw: also said of birds that frequently perch". Quoting from ornithologist Walter Buller's 1872-1873 book, A History of the Birds of New Zealand (page 93, second paragraph):

"[The introduced rat] is very abundant in all our woods, and the wonder rather is that any of our insessorial birds are able to bear their broods in safety."
(The word is still in current use!)

  [Book cover]

Big World, Small Planet: Abundance within Planetary Boundaries

by Johan Rockström (Wikipedia) and Mattias Klum (Wikipedia)

...

Another big question: comma or no comma? The book, the English version at least, says Big World Small Planet in the text as well as on the cover. The book's single-page website, Big World Small Planet also has no comma. However, the book's original, Swedish publisher, Max Ström, lists the book as:

Big World, Small Planet: Välfärd inom planetens gränser
A comma. And the Stockholm Resilience Center, where author Johan Rockström is a professor, also uses a comma on its publication page for the book:
Full reference: Rockström, J., M. Klum. 2015. Big World, Small Planet: Abundance within Planetary Boundaries. Bokförlaget Max Ström, Stockholm.


Alex Measday  /  E-mail