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Original Essays | September 17, 2014

Merritt Tierce: IMG Has My Husband Read It?

My first novel, Love Me Back, was published on September 16. Writing the book took seven years, and along the way three chapters were published in... Continue »


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Nancy McClure has commented on (8) products.

The Bones of Paris: A Novel of Suspense by Laurie R. King
The Bones of Paris: A Novel of Suspense

Nancy McClure, November 24, 2013

King gets her groove back! A new lead character and terrific atmosphere in a very well-written book are enough to make me forget the disappointment of her recent books (the Mary Russell stories, which had turned into bad Indiana Jones adventures).

Time and place are a major character here: 1929 Paris was crammed with hectic partying by Americans who were Johnny-come-lately to the arts and literature scene. And there were plenty of Europeans who would never recover from the wounds of the Great War and more recent anarchist unrest.

Surrealist artists, willing to use horror effects, confuse the trail of a killer. Our damaged hero, a tough guy who still has streaks of romanticism, stubbornly fights to get answers. Probably the first tough guy detective I've every cared so much about!

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Redshirts 1st Edition by John Scalzi
Redshirts 1st Edition

Nancy McClure, January 15, 2013

Delightful to read. It has both characters to care about and meta-commentary on the world of creating speculative fiction. Not just for Star Trek fans (I never liked its statism) but it helps if you've experienced some SF stories in some media.
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Reamde by Neal Stephenson

Nancy McClure, February 25, 2012

This book is a very conventional thriller, and really disappointing for those of us who liked some of Stephenson's recent and highly original books. Those books had a new idea on every page, where this one has an old cliche on every page.

Like an 80s cold war thriller by Alistair MacLean, "Reamde" has British Intelligence, people from the KGB, trained assassins, survivalists, millionaires in armed retreats, planes and boats and lots of guns. It does have a few plot devices that depend on terrorism, the net, and lots of kinds of data storage (but no new ways of thinking about those things). And it's a slow read, taking about twice as many pages to tell its story than are needed.

"Reamde" has one good idea: exploiting gold farming in a MMPRPG. Maddeningly, the idea completely disappears after being used to launch the central hostage taking. There are NO consequences (legal, practical, moral) for the character Reamde, who blackmails thousands for real money via the online game. He simply joins all the others running around, chased by baddies. I hate to see an imaginative writer wasting his time on this crap.

If you want to read a ripping good yarn with gold farming, better developed characters characters, and a much better sense of the global village right now, go read "For the Win" by Cory Doctorow.
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The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics by John Pollack
The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics

Nancy McClure, January 18, 2012

This is not another collection of puns, but a discussion of wordplay's history and philosophy. "The Pun Also Rises" goes down easy, with light yet thoughtful writing. The author defines "pun" more broadly than I would, which is all to the good in this case. Touching on cognitive psychology, rhetoric, competition, hip-hop and more, this book makes a great read for any thoughtful lover of wordplay.
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The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Nancy McClure, July 4, 2011

Have the people who praise this book been reading anything else about neuroscience in the last several years? The book is a complete rehash of material that has been described better in other non-academic work.

I never need to read another chapter about the evolution of reading, Plato, Gutenberg, yada, yada... I've certainly read ones with livelier writing.

When he finally gets to his thesis about half-way through the book, he talks as though everyone who spends time online has lost the ability for deep reading. I've been a web designer for 15 years, and I still read several books -- cover-to-cover -- every week. And let's hope that he's not right about common behaviors with his anecdotal evidence of scholars who cherry-pick search results and never read the context.

On the other hand, all the kudos for this book are perhaps support for his notion of shallows!
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

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