04/07 On the Bookshelf . . .

Warriors

Gladly received this tome of an anthology today — Warriors — edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, and featuring brand-spanking new stories from the likes of James Rollins, Diana Gabaldon, Robin Hobb, Peter S. Beagle, Naomi Novik, Carrie Vaughn, George R. R. Martin, and many more.  It’ll be fun reading a lot of favorite authors, as well as trying out some authors I’d never really planned on reading before.

“The History of the Invitation: New and Selected Poems, 1963-2000” by Tony Towle (Hanging Loose Press, 2001)

History of the Invitationstarstarstar

This is Tony Towle’s tenth book of poems: a collective history spanning from the beginning of his career to the present.  A New Yorker, Towle was born in Manhattan in 1939 where he spent most of his life and currently resides in Tribeca.  The collection is divided into eras: 1963-65, 1965-69, 1970-79, and 1980-2000.  If you’re a fan of Towle or you want to find out what his poetry is like, then this is the book.  It encompasses a complete range of Towle’s abilities as a writer and poet, delving into his experimental styles and imagery.

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Originally published on December 3rd 2001.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

“Borrowed Coats” by Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel (Hanging Loose Press, 2001)

Having published three other collections of poetry, Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel returns with new talents and new insights into the world of poetry.  Of German, Irish and Cherokee extraction, and having crossed over from the Dustbowl of the 30’s in Oklahoma to the “Pastures of Plenty” in California; McDaniel has a world of knowledge to draw from, in which she can never repeat a story or retell an old one.  Each thought she draws from is as fresh as a spring flower, taking to  you levels and dimensions you didn’t know existed.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally published on December 3rd 2001.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

“Dark Inheritance” by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear (Warner, 2001)

The Missing Link is Revealed

Dark Inheritancestarstarstar

The latest novel from husband-and-wife authors, W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear, features essentially man’s creation of the missing link between apes and humans.  Dark Inheritance transcends the realms of the current genome project and genetic engineering to bring the first ape of the endangered Bonobo species, to contain the larger and more intelligent human brain.

Some of you may remember Lucy, the ape who could communicate through sign language.  Dark Inheritance’s main character, Umber the Bonobo, can do this and more: she has a little keyboard with a voice synthesizer by which she can communicate with people, albeit with a monotone, robotic voice.  Umber can also read and write, though only at a child’s level.

Umber has been a part of the family, Bret’s sister and Jim Dutton’s daughter, for many years now.  Even though she is considered a member of the Dutton family, she is the property of the pharmaceutical giant SAC.  SAC is the company which has bred these super-intelligent apes.  There are many scattered over the globe, each part of the a different family.

Then there is the clandestine facility in northwest Africa, where SAC’s full program is slowly but surely coming to term.  The genius scientist who se brainchild this is, Geoffrey Smyth-Archer, has one aim: to return this “altered” ape to the wild, with the hope that their small numbers will grow and multiple, while their survival skills drastically improves.  Sadly, there are other members of the team who have ambitions ranging from power to monetary gain.

Though the characters are strong and multitudinous, they serve more to trip each other up at times that help the story along.  At some points their actions seem forced and artificial, and even though Dark Inheritance is professed to be similar to Michael Crichton’s work (according to Douglas Preston), but Crichton would never create such complicated characters, nor would he let any sense of synthetic characterization take place.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally published on December 3rd 2001.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.