Jun 13, 2019

Billy's Books 20: Electric Forest

Electric Forest by Tanith Lee

This seems to be a variation on Frankenstein set in a Brave New World. I say Tabitha Lee instead of Tanith Lee. Please forgive me. I was recovering from a cold.


I'm now convinced that this is feminist literature. I wouldn't dare to draw any conclusions as to the meanings or lessons, but the content and imagery are substantive and rewarding nonetheless.

An ugly woman (her nickname is "Ugly") is given a new, attractive body by a rich, condescending mad scientist named Claudio. She must still carry her old haggard body around with her for survival. It's a burden she must never forget. She is named Magdala, as in "Mary of Magdala, a thoroughbred whore," as he constantly reminds her. An example of a supporting character is a woman named Nada. That should be enough right there, for 1979.

So many great quotes in this book! Church memories on planet Indigo, where they "pray to the letter T":
"While they sang, the little children had inflicted surreptitious hurts on Magdala, and she had never been able to concentrate. Christ took no notice, which was not surprising, for he too, apparently, was a good-looking man."

May 10, 2019

Billy's Books 19: The Hate U Give, Master & Apprentice

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray

These two books just barely relate to each other, but I found a way, dangit. Both feature teenagers as prime characters, both of whom are tenuously associated with sometimes wearing hoodies and Jedi robes (with hoods). Like I said, it's pretty tenuous.


I forgot to mention in the review that The Hate U Give is not just murder and racism, but also has a sense of humor. It's written for teens, after all. At a certain point, they are discussing names ("normal" vs black). One of the characters' names is Seven, and his friend mocks him, asking, "What is your middle name? Eight?"

Master & Apprentice is staged mostly the planet Pijal and its moon. They have an interesting culture that favors modesty, or at least one that shuns showiness. The princess and other rich people wear bland fabrics that reveal just a bit of fancy peeking through. The idea is that inner beauty must be sought out. In one scene a nobleman's garments are torn, revealing too much gold linen. He curses that they are ruined, such a display would be gauch!

Apr 10, 2019

Billy's Books 18: In the Garden of Beasts

I've got another history book to review: In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson. Just another book about Nazis, once again a little too timely.



Toward the end, I mention Operation Hummingbird a.k.a. the Röhm Putsch, The Blood Purge, and Nacht der langen Messer (Night of the Long Knives).

This is a follow-up to my previous blog entry, Nazis Are Bad, which includes a sing-along.

Mar 28, 2019

Nazis Are Bad

Here's a little ditty for the Republicans. Anyone can enjoy it, really. Sadly, it bears repeating.




Nazis Are Bad by Billy Dechand, 2019

We seem to be at the time when Nazis seem alright. 
They're not.
Nazis are bad.
Nazis are bad.
Nazis are bad.
Nazis are bad.
Nazis are bad.

Feb 14, 2019

Billy's Books 17: Fire & Blood

Billy's Books 17 explores George R. R. Martin's latest Westerosi history, Fire & Blood.



Fire & Blood is a history of the Targaryen dynasty by a maester three centuries after the events have transpired. He mostly draws from three sources, often noting discrepancies. The author describes the many sides of a story and usually picks the most plausible, but often leaves it up to the reader to decide. There are a lot of dragons.

Jan 28, 2019