That’s right – Michael Crighton, famous for sci-fi novels about cloned dinosaurs and pschotic diamond-hording apes, is now publishing a pirate novel – “Pirate Latitudes.” Or rather, being as Crighton passed away last month, I suppose his estate is publishing it. Regardless – new pirate novel on the horizon, and thanks to Red Beard for bringing it to my attention!
Nick of Time: an Adventure Through Time, by Ted Bell, is an aptly named book. Not only because its story involves time travel, but because the book itself seems like something from decades past. This is a proper boys’ adventure, full of ships, daring, submarines and heroes. Its very nature hails from an earlier time, making it a thrill and a delight to read.
The majority of the story takes place in England, in the years just prior to the full breakout of World War 2. Nick and his younger sister, Kate, reside with their parents on Greybeard Island – a quaint, sleepy sort of community that’s also full of history, reefs, and shipwrecks – and also happens to be strategically useful to the growing Nazi threat. It’s troubling times, made all the more so by the political bickering in Parliament regarding what to do about the impending danger, or if such danger even exists at all. Continue reading
In the Time of Worms
by Kenelm Winslow Harris
This will be a difficult book to review. This is because most book reviews have roughly two primary elements – the first where you talk about what the book is about, and the second where you say whether it’s any good or not. It’s the first element – effectively summarizing what the book is about – that proves problematic.
If I summarize In the Time of Worms, it will sound like a simplistic fairy tale. You’ll probably roll your eyes as I talk about this story of a psychiatrist who learns there’s a band of pirates living in his closet. See? It sounds silly. But that’s only because within this review I lack the space or the talent to recreate this tale with the same compelling artistry of Ken Harris, the book’s author. But I’ll give it a shot, just the same. Continue reading
The Adventures of Short Stubbly Brownbeard begins brilliantly odd and piratey, and ends the same. And in the middle – it’s still wonderfully odd, although the piratey elements tend to waver a bit. The reason is simple – while the tale begins in the Caribbean, and smack in the middle of the golden age of piracy, the adventure soon carries us to the far reaches of the galaxy, where cats talk and baseball players (or the galactic equivelant) are worshipped as demigods and duly appointed to public office.
Brownbeard is the cousin of the famous pirate Blackbeard. He sets off from his accounting job to be a pirate of his own, and soon finds himself meeting with gremlins and aliens, and eating all sorts of weird things. Author Alan J. Levine has a strange sense of humor, reveling in the dryly ridiculous, while also enjoying a good pun or two. Sometimes it’s hilarious, sometimes it’s just weird. But it’s always unexpected, and generally quite entertaining. The book is at its best when Blackbeard makes his Continue reading
I have a rule – I review pirate books, and ONLY pirate books. There are loads of nautical, naval, and otherwise maritime books out there. Many of them are very, very good. But this is a pirate site, and I review pirate books.
And so now I’m breaking this rule by reviewing The Two-Space War. Why? A couple of reasons. First off, it’s a wonderful book that you might well never hear about otherwise, so I consider it my duty to help spread the word. And secondly, it has monkeys in it. Lots and lots of space monkeys.
The Two-Space War is a combination of things that should generally never be combined – Napoleonic naval warfare, space exploration, and Tolkein-inspired races (elves, dwarves, etc.) But in the hands of authors Dave Grossman and Leo Frankowski, these varied elements begin to feel surprisingly natural. The basic premise is that mankind has begun to travel the galaxy by accessing the second demension, or Two-Space. Far from being Star Trek gobbledeegook, the concept of removing the Z-axis from our ordinarily XYZ, three demensional, existence would necessarily have the effect of bringing things closer together – a planet might be a thousand lightyears “above you” while being only a few miles to your right – crushing the galaxy flat would certainly bring you much closer to such a destination. Continue reading