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Customer Comments

Jeffrey Bluhm has commented on (36) products.

Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy #1) by Jeff VanderMeer
Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy #1)

Jeffrey Bluhm, February 22, 2015

This review is for the entire series, as I read, and cautiously enjoyed, the first two books, in great part with anticipation for revelations and a conclusion(s) in the final novel. Unfortunately, that never occurs. Characterizations are, at best, impersonal, and the writing sporadically clear, then muddled. The intent of the author seems to be to describe humanity's encounter with another culture so alien that we can't communicate with it or understand its intent/purpose, and while that prospect is intellectually plausible, given the myriad ways in which life could evolve in another time/place, the lack of meaningful interaction between the characters and whatever that Other is, deprives the story of interest and prevents it from coming to any comprehensible conclusion. Of all the questions that are posed or develop over the course of the three books few, if any, are answered coherently. The concepts are not without merit, and much promise is hinted at but, ultimately, the series fails to deliver.
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Southern Reach Trilogy #3: Acceptance by Jeff Vandermeer
Southern Reach Trilogy #3: Acceptance

Jeffrey Bluhm, February 22, 2015

This review is for the entire series, as I read, and cautiously enjoyed, the first two books, in great part with anticipation for revelations and a conclusion(s) in the final novel. Unfortunately, that never occurs. Characterizations are, at best, impersonal, and the writing sporadically clear, then muddled. The intent of the author seems to be to describe humanity's encounter with another culture so alien that we can't communicate with it or understand its intent/purpose, and while that prospect is intellectually plausible, given the myriad ways in which life could evolve in another time/place, the lack of meaningful interaction between the characters and whatever that Other is, deprives the story of interest and prevents it from coming to any comprehensible conclusion. Of all the questions that are posed or develop over the course of the three books few, if any, are answered coherently. The concepts are not without merit, and much promise is hinted at but, ultimately, the series fails to deliver.
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Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy #2) by Jeff VanderMeer
Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy #2)

Jeffrey Bluhm, February 22, 2015

This review is for the entire series, as I read, and cautiously enjoyed, the first two books, in great part with anticipation for revelations and a conclusion(s) in the final novel. Unfortunately, that never occurs. Characterizations are, at best, impersonal, and the writing sporadically clear, then muddled. The intent of the author seems to be to describe humanity's encounter with another culture so alien that we can't communicate with it or understand its intent/purpose, and while that prospect is intellectually plausible, given the myriad ways in which life could evolve in another time/place, the lack of meaningful interaction between the characters and whatever that Other is, deprives the story of interest and prevents it from coming to any comprehensible conclusion. Of all the questions that are posed or develop over the course of the three books few, if any, are answered coherently. The concepts are not without merit, and much promise is hinted at but, ultimately, the series fails to deliver.
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Thunderstruck by Erik Larson
Thunderstruck

Jeffrey Bluhm, February 15, 2015

The confluence of Marconi's development of wireless telegraphy and an obscure murder case from early 1900s London as a thrilling, entertaining, enthralling novel? Right - even I didn't believe the book jacket hype when I picked this up while browsing at the PDX Powell's, but this is one of the most memorable books I've read in the past twelve months. Sharing only a common time period for the majority of the book, the evolution of each of the two plots alone proves thoroughly enjoyable; when they come together for the last act of the novel, the denouement is everything for which an author strives and a reader hopes. Enjoy!
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The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

Jeffrey Bluhm, February 3, 2015

A description of the evolution of the periodic table, including how atoms and matter come into being. While the scientific explanations lack clarity at times, the book overall does a good job of explaining the organization of the periodic table and the races to discover/describe new elements. Later chapters focus on specific groups of elements, by location on the table or by shared traits, to provide further insight into the chemistry and physics underlying the periodic table as we know it today. Much of the information is described in vignettes about the scientists themselves, as well as their rivalries, which adds an element of entertainment.
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