Category: Apology
Posted by: cyborgelf
So, I haven't been posting much lately. I've been very busy with several projects and just can't seem to find the time. Unfortunately, since I've been so inattentive, the site was invaded by evil alien spammers from China. Some of your witty, incisive comments may have become casualties in the battle. If that's the case, then I apologize and invite you to come back. In any case, my web guy, Rich has gotten the Death Star on station so we're finally protected from them. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back to posting more often and the Elf won't have to worry about his security.
Category: Reading List
Posted by: cyborgelf
I have a rather long list of things that I haven't read, but am always on the lookout for. Recently I ran across a battered collection of the first four Necroscopes. I picked them up for a song, and got ready to cross a few good reads off my list. The Necroscope series, by Brian Lumley has a large "cult" following. Necroscope fans are rabid, almost as bad as Ringworld geeks. For whatever reason, I just never had the chance to read any of the stories, even though they've been recommended to me many times. The Necroscope is Harry Keogh, a young Englishman who has a rather peculiar talent. He can speak to the dead. And I don't mean using a crystal ball and a silly gown. He can carry on a conversation with anyone who has ever died. In fact, that's one of the major metaphysical conjectures of the novel, that nothing happens after you die, you just sort of go on but without a body. Leaving that aside, Harry is able to learn from the dead, and he uses their expertise to teach himself self defense, languages, mathematics, etc... So, OK, a good concept, enough to draw me in for a good read. The problem is, it just isn't that good.

» Read More

Category: Philosophy
Posted by: cyborgelf
OK, 2 points to anyone who knows where the title quote comes from. Any Sci-Fi commando worth his waldoes should know that one. In any case, I'm right in the middle of a re-read of David Weber & Steve White's "The Stars at War", and it's a rocking good read. An omnibus edition containing two great novels, "Insurrection" and "In Death Ground", "The Stars at War" follows an ensemble cast through two Interstellar wars. Weber is a master of space combat, as those of you who've read the Honor Harrington series know, and Steve White knows what he's doing as well.
Without going into a complete synopsis of the two stories, suffice it to say that they're both about virtually unstoppable alien warmonger's who invade human space. After suffering initial setbacks, mainly caused by self serving politicians and liberal fascists, the honor, courage & commitment of the human armed forces saves the day.

» Read More

Category: Reading List
Posted by: cyborgelf
I just started re-reading one of my all time favorite novels. Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae
by Steven Pressfield, is an amazing novelization of the battle of Thermopylae. Definitely not Science Fiction or Fantasy, Gates is one of those rare books that pulls you in, makes you fall in love with the characters, and you'll read it over and over again just to spend more time with them. Told from the viewpoint of a survivor of the battle, Gates of Fire explores the lives, loves and passions of some of the 300 Spartan Knights who resisted Xerxes March on Greece in 480 BC. The same battle that inspired the movie 'The 300', it was quite possibly a turning point in the history of Western Civilization. Some might even say it was the beginning of the division between Western & Eastern Civilization. In any case, I leave it to you to do further research on the Battle itself, but for an amazing, emotional, inspiring read, I highly recommend Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae
.
Category: General
Posted by: cyborgelf
Hi all. As everyone who reads this bit of dreck knows, I'm not very disciplined when it comes to posting. Heck, sometimes weeks can go by without a new post from the Cyborgelf (and I know you loyal readers out there are champing at the bit to get a new piece of Sci-Fi wisdom from me). So, for the foreseeable future, one of my good friends & sponsors will be doing some guest posting here at the home of Science Fiction & Fantasy. TFAW, or Things From Another World is a great Sci-Fi/Comic Book shop that really has a great take on pop culture, Science Fiction, Fantasy, etc... In addition to having some really great merchandise, they tend to really know us, their customers and they ahve a knack for giving us what we want. So keep an eye out for future guest posts from them, and visit Things From Another World for a massive selection of Star Wars, Hellboy, Manga, Superheroes and other pop culture favorites.
Category: Reading List
Posted by: cyborgelf
I know, I know I haven't posted in, like, a month. Sorry, but I've been reading a lot. Plus Kindle: Amazon's 6" Wireless Reading Device came out recently, so I'm excited about that. Anyway, I recently picked up Darkness of the Light (The Hidden Earth Chronicles) by Peter David. And it Rocks! Peter David is a big name comic book writer, so he really knows how to toss around some heroic action, and in Darkness he really delivers.
The basic premise is that humanity is virtually extinct, having been wiped out by a group of aliens. The twist here is that the aliens are the monsters and legends from humanity's past, Minotaurs, Cyclops, Dragons, Mer-people, etc... Apparently they have all visited Earth in the deep past as scouts, and become part of human legend. They are actually exiled from their own planets and refer to the Earth as "The Damned World".
Now the thing that pisses me off is that Darkness was released as a Mass Market Paperback in 2007, that's over two years ago people. It's supposed to be part of a larger series called "The Hidden Earth", but I haven't been able to find the second installment. I can't believe that Tor (the publisher) would just kill a project that has this much merit, but I cannot find any information about it anywhere. Does anyone out there know anything about this? In any case, I'm looking forward to reading the next installment, if it ever happens.

Category: Musings
Posted by: cyborgelf
Now there's a proposition for you. What does a 19th century English novelist have to do with late 20th century Science Fiction? He made it possible, that's what. Inspired by the recent PBS airing of "Tess of the D'Urbervilles", I've been thinking a lot about how some of the classic works of literature have influenced Science Fiction. Specifically, in Hardy's case, some of his works prompted some of the most successful anti-censorship activity in history.For those of you who've never read "Tess", you should take a look. The story of a young woman coerced by her poor family into seeking out wealthy relatives, Tess is one of the most tragic characters in all of literature. Raped by her cousin, she is denied love, abused, downtrodden and finally ends as a murderess (You go, girl!). Needless to say, 19th century England was scandalized.

» Read More

Category: Musings
Posted by: cyborgelf
I just had to post something on Friday the 13th.  I tend to stay away from the horror stuff, although I do enjoy reading about Myth & Mystery.  Also, I'm a bit of a history buff and I've always thought that the whole Friday the 13th myth arose from Phillip the Fair's persecution of the Knights Templar, which began on Friday, October 13th, 1307.  Lately, however, I've read some work that suggests that the belief in an unlucky day goes (how do you spell goes?) back much farther.

» Read More

Category: Philosophy
Posted by: cyborgelf
I read almost everything in ebook format.  I've never been one of those people who loves books for their physical presence.  To me, the story inside the book is what's important.  Ebooks let me take multiple books wherever I go and I just find the format more practical.  That being said, there is a lot of controversy surrounding ebooks.  For the same reasons that the RIAA is suing little old ladies for downloading music, many authors and publishers frown on the (illegal) downloading of ebooks.  On a basic level, downloading media that you haven't paid for is illegal, but here's my take on things. 
I recently posted about discovering David Gemmell's Drenai series.  I downloaded "Legend" from a P2P site.  I wasn't sure whether I would like it, I'd never read any of his work before, and I couldn't justify the money. 

» Read More

Category: Reading List
Posted by: cyborgelf
I haven't been posting as often as I should be.  It's just that I've been on a rampage of reading lately.  After being introduced to David Gemmell's "Legend", I pretty much went Drenai crazy.  I read basically the whole saga, and man does it rock.  One of the very interesting things about the Drenai series in general, is the way Gemmell treats many of his protagonists.  A lot of them are older warriors, past their prime but still with plenty of drive.  And as any student of kung fu movies knows, old men have the skills and experience to whip the snot out of any young whippersnappers.  Still, in a few places, Gemmell almost manages to create something new in literature, a reverse bildungsroman.  If a bildungsroman is a youth's journey into manhood, then I guess a reverse bildungsroman would be a man's journey into innocence.  That's what happens often in Gemmell's universe, a hardened warrior sees how his actions have affected the world, and moves from cynicism back into innocence.  In any case, Gemmell's work, at least with the Drenai saga, is powerful and moving.  If you aren't reading it, you should be.