The Little Book of Mornington Crescent

By Graeme Garden

Rating: 3 stars

Although NF Stovold’s classic Mornington Crescent: Rules and Origins is currently out of print, this little book is a good introduction to the Great Game, covering origins, variations and famous players.

Book details

ISBN: 9780752818641
Publisher: Orion
Year of publication: 2000

Sargasso of Space (Solar Queen, #1)

By Andre Norton

Rating: 3 stars

This was a fun little space opera adventure about the crew of the Solar Queen, a trading ship that won exclusive trading rights to the ominously named planet Limbo. When it gets there, her crew find much more than meets the eye. Feeling very much like a book of its era (it was written in the 1950s), there’s not a great depth to the characters and the book is entirely plot-driven. But since I quite like that sort of stuff, it didn’t bother me in the slightest.

Book details

ISBN: 9780441062799
Publisher: Ace
Year of publication: 1955

The Early Asimov: Volume 3

By Isaac Asimov

Rating: 4 stars

Exactly what it say on the tin. This is the third and final volume collecting Asimov’s early short stories. Each story has commentary about the stories and the author’s life and what was happening at that time. I like Asimov’s work anyway and this was a good collection, showing that he was good at his art from very early in his career.

Book details

ISBN: 9780586039373
Publisher: Panther / Granada
Year of publication: 1974


By Neal Stephenson

Rating: 4 stars

This is a geek’s book. Obviously written by a geek for geeks, it took me a while to decide whether I liked it or not. It’s a very rambling book and in the end, I decided that it was worth it for the journey, not the destination. Split into two time periods, it follows the work of cryptographers during WW2 and then a bunch of hackers trying to set up a data haven in south east Asia in the present day.

The book goes so far as to include snippets of Perl code, lots of equations and graphs (including some devoted to describing the relationship between the amount of work that one of the protagonists can do related to the last time he had an orgasm) and an appendix written by Bruce Schneier containing a real cryptographic algorithm that is used in the book. Oh, and there’s liberal sprinklings and explanations of Unix commands used by some of the present day geeks (who use a Unix variant called “Finux”, guess what that’s a reference to). Think of it as the antidote to that silly Dan Brown book allegedly about cryptography.

As I say, the book rambled an awful lot, and by the time it got to its destination I had pretty much forgotten why I was going there. It was enough to just enjoy the scenery en route.

Book details

ISBN: 9780434008834
Publisher: William Heinemann
Year of publication: 1999

The Shadow Over Innsmouth And Other Stories Of Horror

By H.P. Lovecraft

Rating: 3 stars

This is a collection of short stories by Lovecraft ending with the titular novella. The stories are interesting but they have, however, lost their terror over the years as they have been copied and parodied. I very much enjoyed the collection though, especially The Colour out of Space and the titular The Shadow over Innsmouth.

Book details

ISBN: 9780590045438
Publisher: Scholastic Book Services
Year of publication: 1944

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