Two-Mile Time Machine

Two-Mile Time Machine – Richard Alley

One of the best sources of historical climate data for the past 100,000 years is the ice covering Greenland. Alley describes the process of digging into the ice and what they have discovered so far. Dramatic climate shifts in the past were driven by much smaller changes in atmospheric energy than we have experienced over the past 60 years. Abrupt world-wide climate change in the past has taken place over three to five years, and is likely to do so again. Fascinating facts from Alley and his team.

The Helliconia Trilogy

Helliconia Trilogy – Brian Aldiss

A climate-based fantasy that was written decades before climate change became a news topic. Aldiss imagines a planet that cycles through seasons of extreme warm and cold over thousands of years. Some species do best in the cold, others in the heat. A rich cast of characters living in constant discovery as their world changes from generation to generation.

The Dead Zone

The Dead Zone – Stephen King

After five years in a coma Johnny Smith sees visions when he touches people. At first no one believes him, but his talent becomes a curse when the visions come true. King is able to tell several stories within the context of this novel, including a murder mystery and a political thriller. An excellent read, a page-turner from start to finish.

American Tabloid

American Tabloid – James Ellroy

A gritty noir take on the circumstances surrounding the JFK assassination. All the bloody guts and gore of a page-turning Ellroy novel, set against the backdrop of November 22, 1963. Ellroy illustrates the depths of Federal law enforcement corruption and how much the Cuban exile community hated JFK.

The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff – Tom Wolfe

The second landmark work by Tom Wolfe tells the stories of the first Americans to fly beyond the atmosphere: test pilot Chuck Yeager and the astronauts of Project Mercury. It’s all here: fast cars, astro-groupies, wives, propaganda campaigns, a hovering vice president, and the feeling of sitting on top of a big can full of barely-contained explosives. Wolfe’s work is masterful.

Marina and Lee

Marina and Lee – Priscilla Johnson McMillan

This book is fascinating for the amount of detail Marina shared, but flawed by her lack of credibility. A classic piece of novelistic reportage which told the story the world had for the most part accepted: a miserable lone maniac killed JFK. Based in large part on information elicited from Marina Oswald, it can be no more or less credible as history than Marina was at that time. To put it simply, Marina was intent on staying in the US and telling the story that the FBI and the Warren Commission wanted her to tell to support the Warren Report. This is the long version.

A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

Does anyone ever wonder what the ‘R. R.’ stands for? Probably not. The pages of his novels want to be turned too quickly to get lost in meaningless side-issues. But it sounds cool and looks cool on the cover. The books in some sense mediate the violence and insanity seen on the screen, it’s all there but without the visual reinforcement of splatter and gore. This first novel is the best of his work so far. If you like medieval fantasies with dragons, dig in!