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I can count every meaningful conversation we ever had on my digits. What I can't count is the number of times they told me how important you were. Government scientist. I vaguely remember I have them as I keep climbing with my arms. I wouldn't be able to go on if not for him. So, what's your name? A beautiful day, yes. I was there when a man ripped through five steel doors and tore men in half with his bare hands.

Last month it was an empty lot, with MCF operatives handing out food and clean water and offering medical services. The bacteria were dying. They knew it and they hated it. Bacteria had to live to be bacteria. They were being brutalized by the fatness of the air and sought refuge in the living…. It was still there, of course. Dodger had a foot out, ready to take another step, but held put as the order came to halt. What I expected was a bumbling mass of men, noise and frenzy, cowed by the glint of steel.

At worst, some would die…. It gave her little time to sit and reflect on what had happened. It's an incredible high. I just recognize the world we live in and I adapt accordingly. Priss thought that a bit much. Locke sat in the 'waiting room', reading through the report that had been filed by her. The school had been closed down as a crime scene. Sharpe gripped her fingers on her thigh, clearly more affected by it than Priscilla Locke was, "That's…. She does it in front of other people? Priscilla Locke waited all night for her sister to return.

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It helped relax her, easing her breathing. Let me tell you about my life, just a short while ago. There's a point in time in everyone's life where they are not free. Priss winced. Silently, the creature swum over the calm, peaceful surface of the reservoir. That at least was a blessing. She hadn't known Rhiannon to be a peaceful drunk, and it had been two days since Priss had punched her out. Qian said coldly, "No money to be had there. Otherwise, no one knows or does shit.

Guy likes stuff. At this rate, Dodger was learning to sleep during flights…. Why couldn't the woman just be normal for once? Vangen was a mess as they sat him down. His eyes red and puffy, snot dribbling from his nose. Just a few authorization codes he nabbed the last time he got out and…. Blinding, red, fiery light.

At first it was amazing, the sun rising to greet his vision, warming his bones. When you drive home from work, or walk home from the store, or do just about anything you've done a thousand times in your life. He had a name, but it had long since been forgotten. He was certain he hadn't moved, yet the surroundings were clearly different. It slowly, agonizingly marched forward with a constant rhythm that only served to accentuate the emptiness of the room.

One usually discounts them as a subconscious effect of the mind, and various psychologists have several valid explanations for where they come from. Certainly, my eyesight hasn't been strong enough for a long time to distinguish those loathsome features. Gerald's spine for the last 20 minutes as he waited outside Dr. Bright's office. The steam coming off the coffee gives her face a wavering, ephemeral look.

It's genuine. This was written as a joke. You shouldn't take this as something to emulate. He could even pinpoint the exact moment he figured it out. Her thin, bladelike face radiated wonder, wide eyes dulling soft edges. It was always nice to meet the next person with the Talent. Apollo had made clear Cygnus was not able to be appeased. Yet Mr. Lifeson was no more. In his place, a Director Lifeson. They eat, kill, and drive people crazy.

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Ax walked out of the break room with some coffee and his new assignment. He dreaded it. The sun hugged the ground and overpowered the roof of a little house. Daylight come, and me wan' go home. Day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day-ay-o. I miss them so much. I miss Janey and Jake and David and Roxanne. These people are alright, I suppose. They're not the kids, but I like them anyways. There was certainly peace and happiness for a while; yet, as the people know, evil is unavoidable.

He held his hand over his mouth, stifling his panting and…. Amanda Richards walked across her little secluded section of the beach, allowing her feet to feel every inch of the sand, letting it seep in between her toes. Waiting for package. Cold out here. Where are they? Saw the following UFOs: Black sphere with long tail. Old one was full, and I never liked it much anyway. This one is much better honestly. Bigger too. Anyway, I'm at a parking lot. Going to have breakfast. I'm often told not to but I do. I have been fascinated with them for a long time. They are odd things.

The flickering ceiling lights illuminated its small keyhole. Nine little soldiers, reading books at late, One got too tired, and then there were eight. It clearly belonged to someone who had too much time on their hands. Every piece of paper on the desk was stacked neatly into three vertical piles, each the same height. Larry placed a large crate in the snow in front of them. The three pairs of eyes pierced into me. I had been here for twenty one years; nothing had changed since then. Fucking condescending arsehole.

He was certain of it. It was no foul beast, it did not prey on him in bloodlust nor hunger. It simply hung from him like a heavy chain on his form, a miasma. Several weeks after that he hung himself on a pipe in the maintenance. They are cold and seem to be made of light. Everyone who used to work with Dr.

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You may call me Mr. Dreams line up to play with her. A new game every hour. There's a fun old game of Hide and Seek in a room that's bare as sin. Sorry about the tight squeeze. At least the place is abandoned. It wasn't impressed by what it saw. The field was… just a field. Not even just a field.

The fruit of his labour, that which all of his tireless effort had been focused to produce, lay before him. The child sat in the middle amid it all, doing something for some…. It made sense to him that there had to be something up there that he couldn't see. The sound of metal pealed like church bells throughout the small town of Vulture Gulch.

This wasn't terribly unusual. No more fucking around. The squad clanked behind him, battle suits shimmering in the desert heat. Arrested, tried, and convicted of multiple counts of child abduction, rape, and first degree murder, was on track for death row.

D leaned heavily on the stark steel table, staring at the black rotary phone before her. Deserts spanned the Earth, and in one there was a cavern, and at the mouth was a pillar of stone. It's time. In ten minutes I'll no longer be a researcher at the Foundation. Is what Dr. Menard thought to himself as he walked toward his monthly status meeting with his boss.

All the paperwork was in order. It had all the right signatures except for his. Emily Young sat in her office in the back of Site, and quietly deleted files while the world screamed outside. Don't get malice or violence. Evil won't be part of their vocabulary for another two years or so. They just see what's around them, and they take it in…. Like, really bad. The director's voice was shaking when he called. He said something about "emergency medical extraction" before he hung up. I was told about it at 11AM that same day. Came through the usual channel of the inter-site emergency response system.

On the 22nd of every month, at hours on the dot, the door would open to 's cell. The heartbeat monitor beeped in time with the song she listened to through her headphones. Curfew is pm. You cannot use your real name. Of the three rules D was told before her induction as D-Class, the last one stuck with her the most.

But that's where Armando ended up…. You ready for some practice? You need to believe in yourself. Except for today. After he felt the buzz, Four took his phone out to set it to "Do Not Disturb". I've been trying for days and it just won't come out. I haven't really told anyone because umm… well you don't tell people these sorts of things.

Hana had been invited to the ocean god's palace. Not the half-converted bodies, not the sweet stench of honey, but the buzzing. He liked his tub. Its hot water comforted him, as it had since he was a boy. I can't tell why, but I continue to rub its belly. The little T-Rex still won't shut up, and then it hits me.

My alarm clock is blaring. Old Ms. Scott, but they knew the same things I did once. Founded in in southeast Three Portlands, Deer College is a coeducational liberal arts and sciences college. Passing folk herald new day. Shall they honorable customers become? Day is bright with promise…. How long had it been? Yellow and weak though the sun was, it gazed up at the star with pleasure, letting the light fill its eyes. Only one actually saw, of course. I don't know what will happen, but I'll make sure to tell you.

I hardly understand how they work…. Bridge and Dr. Muse by order of O The following is a record of their attempts. Foster was explaining factoring polynomials to us, and I was exhausted. I wanted desperately to go back to bed and sleep. I would sleep a little, and wake up whenever someone tried opening the door. Cyrus threw open the little kitchen window and pushed me into the cupboard below the sink. I turned around, my heart racing, but it was just Cyrus messing with the radio. War never changes. The bright glare of lights shone into his face.

There was a smile on her face as pale and insubstantial as the moon itself. Before I entered the room where I was to meet Death, I took out my phone. A crow that had been roosting atop the Dispensary took flight with an indignant cry of its own. The crow was fat. His mouth was slick with a thin film that tasted like peppermint and batteries. His sinuses felt greasy and his eyes felt cold and small. He had been escorted to a small room furnished with only a table. I could barely stand the sound. Jack was my best friend.

It's nice that I can feed myself and use the toilet on my own, for what I hope are obvious reasons. Carson: Now, why did you kill those farmers? Carson pauses Dr. Carson: If you don't talk now, we will remove you from this attempt and place you back into- Dr. Um, today is August 3rd, , and it's the sixteenth anniversary of the… what're we calling it?

I can do my job without a babysitter. She found out, the day her First came tearing, screaming and mewling out from her womb, tiny unformed fingers clawing at her insides. The prison doors slammed closed behind me. The Doctor was busy writing away at a pad, so engrossed in his work he was hardly noticing what he was actually eating. Why is there a statue in our house? It's looking at me funny. Carl: Whatever do you mean? Paul: The statue. Right there. It's in the middle of our living room.

Carl: Oh, that! He was tired of running and he could recognize a metaphorical dead end when he smacked his metaphorical head into it. Minutes from now, they'd catch up with him. Daniel Aeslinger envied his peers outside of the Foundation. Behind him something burned. It was screaming, but it sounded hollow, like he was listening at the end of a long tunnel…. I'd born it, gritting my by now thoroughly yellow-brown teeth. Outside all was quiet and dark, mostly dark. Right around the corner from where he crouched sat a 6 year-old, playing with her dolls. Daniel Horatio Aeslinger, Psy.

Each individual strand within that tapestry represents a concept within this reality construct. What is this picture and why is it by itself without any information? Expert chef Jean-Pierre grimaced at the wretched sight. The demon kills quickly enough that I don't think there was much pain, and I am glad at least he did not have to endure the isolation I have suffered.

It never changes size. It never changes. I always liked the little pockets of forest left over between cities, the places where it wasn't worth anyone's time to level the ground or log the trees. He groans and sits upright, looking ahead. Only a small fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum is visible, but that does not mean that the rest of it is nonexistent…. Quiet d-" Officer Rance Roberts is interrupted mid-sentence by his coworker.

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Are the clocks off again? The following statement is available for public viewing and commentary. I'm 31 years old. I've been a Foundation employee for thirteen of those. I'd like to make it at least to 36 years old. Please use discretion in proceeding. What really went on? Recently his dreams took him back to his old neighborhood. Shaken and nervous, terribly so. The past few nights I had awoken to the sounds of helicopters, and I thought I imagined there to be voices reverberating through the space.

Heheh, we, uh… there was a call, and I thought I'd surprise everyone — we'd surprise everyone, with the big reveal, heh. So… Here's Pepper! This month's were sure to be amazing. I'd budgeted time in case they were asleep, but 3T barely slept. Even on Snoozedays. It just wouldn't happen. I had never dealt with that much blood, and I couldn't really move my foot. I was crumpled on the couch, and the two kids were playing with the huge tubs of legos behind me…. Hmmm, hmm hmmm. Hmmm… Hmm hmm hmm.

Hmm hm hm hmmmmm. Hm hm hm hmmmmm. Hm hm hm hmmmmm hmm hm hmmmmm hm hm hmmmmmmm. Today, the Circus would be quiet and contemplative. What happens in real time? Our brains collapse into black holes. Pen to paper. Pen on paper. Pen tapped on paper. Polly tapped the pen on the paper. Polly tapped the pen. On the paper. Polly tapped. The pen. The dark brown and red were very artfully done. It felt great, because it went very well.

Like it always does. Tell us everything that happened, in order. Starting from the dispatch. The halls of Site were quiet, thanks to the elaborate network of layered soundproofing and noise-cancelling magnetic grids established for Cell He stood perfectly still. He did not like to stay perfectly still, but he had no choice…. I was the site director of Base A cold evening on a battlefield soaked in viscera and Greek fire. Gigantic metal statues walk toward a temple of flesh.

It did its very best to make Its realm devoid of light — But no one cared, because back then, There was no wrong or right. Spanko hadn't been given a single gummy worm since the Ganymede Protocol was enacted. There had been a great deal of screaming among the humans. Who am I contacting?

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Obviously, this is necessary to prepare the initial financial projections. In the first package, you will propose the terms that you want, but ultimately this will be a point that will be negotiated with the bank. If we lost by a point or won by a point, we vowed we would come off that field exhausted. So, instead of going up to a lady and moronically chatting away, you instead decide to just lean coolly on the bar and smile at the ladies.

That way, in their own time, one of them can come over to you and the flirting can commence. Except that none of the ladies you are so very obviously acting interested in ever approach you. Oh, and did I mention that both of the teens come from families with roots going back to the founding of the colony?

And, while this could be just another entry in the overburdened genre, author Gwenda Bond seems to be one of those rare writers for teens who actually likes and understands teens; it gives the book a less predictable and far more entertaining tone. For teens who like Twilight, I suggest this as a much more well-written alternative.

For adults who like supernaturals, this will be a tasty treat. The investigation takes a few turns, and suddenly Andy finds himself on leave as the DA indicts his son, Jacob, for the murder. His grandfather and great-grandfather were also violent criminals. Throughout the novel, Andy is desperate to prove his son innocent and keep his family together—which we know, from the early, included testimony Andy gives to a grand jury, will be a Herculean struggle.

This was very well done; it was also a quick and satisfying read. Enraged by the loss of his entire community, he goes in search of them, and picks up another trail. In addition to a great read that spans three centuries, this is also a very deft examination of race and gender, as well as an interrogation of what it means to be human.

The conflict between Doro and Anyanwu is both a philosophical disagreement and a rift over how we live our emotional lives. The narrative is shot through with various ways of looking at the outsider and the loneliness that accompanies that position. And, speaking of classics , J. Ballard 's wonderful—and prescient—view of a future in which climate change has melted the ice caps and left London a rain-forest-like jungle is available in a 50th anniversary hardcover edition.

With giant lizards and humongo insects—not to mention a scientist-turned-action-hero— The Drowned World remains a pulp delight, as well as a not-so-subtle reminder that things are going to change a lot , if not precisely in this way, as a result of climate change. Aboard the Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union, Andrew Dahl has just joined the xenobiology lab.

And all the carnage seems to happen near the captain and a handful of the bridge crew. Oh, and did I mention that Andrew is both curious and ticked off about the curse of the red shirt? Kunstler runs down the list—warming planet, peak oil, overpopulation, tanking economies—and makes connections most of us are afraid or unwilling to make.

Of course, that will go a way toward reducing the population, but only the pre-ghost visitation Scrooge would suggest such a thing is a good outcome. At least the apocalypse will get them out of debt and provide meaningful work. I was promised flying cars in the future. The sentiment is pure American; technology will solve all our problems. However, as Kunstler points out, the tech that was always going to save us has never dones so.

In fact, it tends to make things worse. Have you been out there lately? Hot, paved, and empty during the day. Consider, for a moment, the recent murder of a Chinese manager at a coal mine in Zambia. Employees were upset and protesting poor working conditions and low pay; the manager was killed accidentally.

While Kunstler gives a lot of credit to the New Urbanism —a move toward sustainable, walkable cities that rely less on cars—he also notes that the ideas have been co-opted, resulting in a lot of unsustainable development that only looks like New Urbanism. If anything, Kunstler makes an argument for function over form.

The basic human needs, unchanged for millennia, for food, water and shelter are going to become increasingly difficult to meet. Cross-posted on The United States of Armageddon. The story opens by introducing us to year-old Herr Waldemar Leverkuhn, a retired brewery worker who just discovered that he and his three closest friends have won the lottery—not an exorbitant sum by any means but enough to cause a celebration. After a sumptuous soiree with his fellow lottery winners, Herr Leverkuhn is murdered in his bed. Cause of death? The investigation, though, quickly hits a dead end; the widow, her neighbors and family and friends are incapable of supplying any kind of motive or suspect.

The disappointing but most likely lead is a hypothetical drug addict who wandered in off the streets and murdered Herr Leverkuhn under a chemical-induced frenzy. But this lead, too, pans out to nothing. And, as a good mystery is wont to do, a final twist at the end is revealed to the reader and the reader alone.

The main draw of this novel, and presumably of the series, is the cast of characters. Breaking away from the Holmesian days of one man solving baffling puzzles solo aside from auxillary performances from Watson and Inspector Lestrade , detective novels today are just as likely to have teams instead of individuals working to solve the mystery. Much like Scandivanian cinema, Scandivanian literature does not seem to pull punches. Still, it should also be noted that this novel offers many moments of levity one including the rumor of a red-headed dwarf murderer , and is overall a very satisfying mystery.

That makes him a rare bird these days; it also means that he has more in common with former presidents Nixon and Reagan than you might think. The problem is that—erudite, scholarly fellow that he is— Dionne misses the real issue with the right or at least its base and history: To most of the far right in the Republican Party, history is whatever they think God has to say on the matter.

Barton has made a career of doing precisely that, and providing faux history on command for the true believers who are at the core of our current American divisive politics. I disagreed with that thesis from the get-go, and Dionne never managed to persuade me otherwise. He fails to see that the right only cloaks their politics in individualism; in fact, the politics of the right is shot through with community. None of the so-called adherents of individualism are actually practicing or seeking anything even close to it.

He misses what the far right fully understands: The difference between left and right is not a difference of mere interpretation, but of world views. Where liberals, moderates and traditional conservatives see a secular government serving a diverse citizenry, the far right is divided between a base that sees a Christian nation and an elite that sees a corporate oligarchy and is willing to use the base to insure that oligarchy gets what it wants. And that, I think, is their fundamental mistake, and the reason that the most democratic nation in history may find itself turning into a corporate-run, balkanized country of very little influence.

Tom Wilber is an accidental geology and energy reporter. In Under the Surface , Wilber first looks at the process by which mineral rights were acquired in an area where industry and jobs have disappeared over the last few decades. Some people grabbed at the chance to get a little extra cash by leasing their extraction rights, while others were a little more hesitant. That said, Wilber is remarkably even-handed in his reporting, as one would expect from an experienced journalist. He makes clear that the decision to drill for shale gas only came when technology, demand, and prices all reached a level to make it profitable.

We do need energy, and he understands that. Wilber provides a great deal of information—about geology, drilling, the economic and historical state of the states that sit atop the Marcellus Shale—but he does it in the best way possible: by showing readers the people who live there and letting them tell their own stories.

In short, this book is really good reporting. Ben Winters first landed on my radar as the author of Bedbugs , an incredibly creepy psychological thriller that had me double-checking every itch and twitch for weeks. In The Last Policeman , Winters has gone for a double-whammy: a murder mystery set in an immediately pre-apocalyptic Concord, New Hampshire.

An orphan raised, along with his younger sister, by grandparents, Henry is determined to be a good detective. The mystery itself is interesting, with plenty of twists and engaging characters. Everything we see in wartime, multiplied a thousandfold, shows up in little Concord, and Henry notes it. The result is that The Last Policeman succeeds both as a mystery, with a quirky detective and an intriguing whodunit , and as a piece of apocalyptic speculative fiction.

And that is something we can anticipate with a good feeling. Cross-posted at The United States of Armageddon. Like Soft Apocalypse, the narrator of Hitchers is a sensitive young man who seems to be in his late twenties. Gramps is none too happy that Finn has taken over—and reinvigorated—his old comic strip. This novel deals with grief, loss, and moving on—but with an added supernatural twist, given that, following a terrorist attack in Atlanta Hitchers is set in either a near-future or alternate timeline that, unfortunately, is terrorized in ways that have so far only been seen in war zones.

By that I mean that the story moves quickly and deftly through a well-defined narrative arc, but at each point along the way, it is the well-defined nature of the characters in the story that make it work. In Triggers, we have a near-future U. In this case, a president who has a plan to strike back at the terrorists in a big, top-secret way is shot in an assassination attempt.

A burst of electromagnetic energy results in the president waking up with the ability to remember the life of the PTSD-stricken vet who was being treated next door. In fact, there are a boatload of people who were on that floor or nearby who can now access the memories of others. Because some of them are top-secret. Here are a couple of recent and really interesting literary novels that have gotten me thinking about what it means to write a historical novel.

All this, and yet people still insist on getting their history from novels and on telling historical stories—often c. The self-conscious narrator, in this case, is the author himself—or perhaps a fictionalized version of the author, since that remains even less clear than how much of the tale is fiction. The narrator is a literary scholar living in Canada named Frances Gumm. If you know your way around Hollywood history, you recognize immediately the birth name of Judy Garland.

Set in a near-future in which outrageously long lifespans become the norm and aging is even more repulsive than it is in our youth-obsessed culture, Gilbert quite skillfully uses this one-sided correspondence to flesh out a character that, if not actually Garland, is certainly believable—especially when she takes hilarious digs at the late June Allyson or waxes rhapsodic on the art of the blow job or the equally fascinating art of celebrity.

With elements of post-modernism and queer theory—as well as much attention to the Oxfordian theory of Shakespearean authority—this might seem too cerebral as described. It is, most assuredly, not a purely intellectual pursuit; instead, it wonders about history as the product of messy humans, with all our frailties and bodily fluids. This story began as a daily serial on the website for The Telegraph London in and is still archived there for those interested in web-based reading. In physical book form, A Conspiracy of Friends gives readers a portable, nonelectric version of the playful and fun serial.

However, as a mystery novel, it offers plenty of intrigue—but not a lot of genuine mystery. Corduroy Mansions, a fictional housing unit in London, serves as the hub that connects a myriad of characters. Those with bad memories may want to take notes while reading. The characters are written with an absurd sincerity or maybe a sincere absurdity much like the characters in Wes Anderson films: understated, emotionally reserved, and quirky are excellent descriptors.

In the vein of a Sherlock Holmes story, an efficient mystery introduces the cast, gives us the problem, and then takes us along with the main characters to solve the problem. This is a very economic setup and can be quite filling, like a bowl of red beans and rice. A Conspiracy of Friends lacks that quality. Still, if you enjoy stories with quirky ensemble casts, this read is worth it.

Her lover Jake is no longer with her—due to events that took place in the last book—and the fetal werewolf inside her womb is constantly gnashing and clawing at her from within. Pregnancy never seemed more undesirable. After Talulla gives birth, the plot speeds up and darts through kidnapping, world travel, gruesome deaths and sex.

Dirty—literally—werewolf sex. Suffice it to say this book is for mature readers only. Shock value aside, these details seem to have purpose. Because of that, the memories of what Talulla did in wolf form are carried with her even when in human form. The moral ambiguities and internal dilemmas that result help keep the story fresh most of the time, but seem a little forced at other points. The climax of the story features some decent twists, and the pacing of the book made it an easy read, even without reading the preceding entry. I presume fans of The Last Werewolf would be happy with this book.

New readers may not be happy with their time investment, though. I was never scared while reading it. It was a fun ride, but the characters could have easily been replaced with Angelina Jolie and Jason Statham for equal effect. He came back with her and became a detective. And for the record, my favorite character is Sgt. I spend my weekends on the stuff that stretches my mind while also entertaining it: what most people still call science fiction, although the range is exceptionally wide, from sword-and-dragon fantasy to more science than fiction, in some cases.

She can touch someone and see how they die. What makes this time any different? Well, for openers, she really likes Louis. Wendig has combined what might seem a predictable supernatural element with some excellent story-driven writing and a handful of plot-twists that cannot be seen from a mile away probably because his pacing is so fast that the reader is on them before we can recognize it. This is another good one; my only caveat is for people who have a hard time with violence, because Wendig writes it graphically and well.

The other recent top-notch read in the brain-candy category has been David Brin 's latest novel, Existence. But at least one other—much older—artifact exists. Are there traps— built-in bottlenecks , say, in the development process—that keeps life from reaching the point of communication across stellar distances? As always, Brin is full of thought-provoking possibilities, while also bearing in mind that our state as humans is probably the largest threat of all to our existence. Follow me on Twitter: KelMunger Share. It has to do with who has access to money in the first place—in other words, how well you pick your parents—and with how tax dollars are spent.

But, hey, he includes footnotes; not only that, his narrative makes clear the disconnect between our belief in hard work as the key to success. I did the math. My Ph. Borrow money from your parents to start a business, as presidential candidate Mitt Romney suggested? The rest of us are trying to figure out how to take care of our dads, now that the investment-capitalist buyout of their old companies has dumped their pension obligations and left the folks with nothing but Social Security. Or even better, the Eisenhower rates. The current move to reduce government workers puts additional strain on an already weak economy.

More government workers means more money spent, which improves the economy in the private sector see the Krugman book below if you have trouble grasping that idea. Noah also suggests more regulation of Wall Street—surprise! In fact, he proposes to strengthen labor unions, which is exactly the opposite of what the big business class wants to do.

But a healthy labor movement has been an indicator of a healthy and growing middle class since the last century. Labor unions mean everybody is paid better and gets better benefits. On top of that, reducing the cost of higher education may seem like a no-brainer, at least to people who actually want to see an expansion of the middle class. There are only two ways to do that: with a four-year degree that catapults one into the white-collar, upper end of the working class, or with technical training in a trade, which makes for a short jump to the slightly more-stable solid middle of the working class.

And burdening working- and middle-class youth with exorbitant student loans? As mentioned above, Paul Krugman has had a great deal to say about the state of the economy, both as a columnist and blogger for the New York Times and in his most recent book, End This Depression Now! Ur doin it wrong. And it might as well be a depression, considering the way it feels and how it is affecting the people who do most of the work in this country.

So we need to treat it with the only medicine that works: Government spending. Infrastructure spending—and seriously, you know how much construction jobs help the economy, because construction workers spend their pay. This is the former Clinton economic hot-shot and current UC Berkeley prof in high dudgeon, and he pulls no punches. Want to start a book club? Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.

Once you read this, follow it speedily with The Year of the Flood , which is a sort of sequel. Make Room! This is just as salient a point as ever; the planet simply cannot support humans at the level of consumption we seem determined to maintain. I like both options very well. Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Greed, destruction, religious mania and a heroine with super-empathy. Vonnegut always knew how to make hell really, really cold. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank I loved this book as an eighth grader. When I re-read it now, I recognize its dangers: The idea that we can survive nuclear war makes it inevitable that we will have nuclear war.

The Children of Men by P. The War of the Worlds by H. In a metaphorical, literary way. Seriously, if almost everyone went blind, what do you think would happen? Always Coming Home by Ursula K. A very touchy-feely book with an anthropological take on the differences between the Kesh, who live in a near-utopian society, and the disease of our society.

Vaughan and Pia Guerra A graphic novel now available as a complete volume in which all but one human male have died from a terrible disease. Whatever will the women do? Well, a lot more than you think. This is one of the best from Vertigo, the adult imprint of DC Comics. Excellent feminist speculative fiction. Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon This has elements of science fiction and of horror, which makes it doubly good. Depressing and literary, Auster never disappoints. McCarthy is never for the weak of heart or stomach. Whitehead writes a literary zombie novel that has all the important elements, as well as some details that will really turn your stomach.

When ordering, make sure you get a translation—my first copy was in the original French and hence unreadable to moi! Also available as a graphic novel and a fairly good miniseries. The novel is just as dark and defeatist; turns out, we do go kinda quietly into that good night.

The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney This novel is the source for four movie adaptations, all of which have their merits. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? This one has a plague that wiped out much of America, with asylum available in England. But does that mean we should leave the sick to die alone? That said, it treats WWII as the apocalypse it was, and it is very well written.

I read it in one white-knuckled sitting. Dies the Fire by S. A feudal world—with heroes and villains—quickly emerges. I was hooked immediately. First in a series. The novella is better than any of the movies; I like The Omega Man a lot, even though it takes many liberties with the story. High tech and military, the first one, Plague Year, includes apocalypse in East Sac.

From the guy who gave us Dune. Resurrection Day by Brendan Dubois An alternate universe novel about a post-apocalyptic world in which the Cuban Missile Crisis devolved into an all-out nuclear war. Clarke Those alien overlords who brought peace and prosperity to the human race?

Uh, yeah. Malevil by Robert Merle Nuclear war destroys the world, but a small village and adjacent villa in France are spared to re-civilize the world. Earth by David Brin Environmental disasters, overpopulation, scientific hubris and terrorism: Yeah, the planet may not last long unless we straighten up. Mother of Storms by John Barnes This one is even more terrifying now than it was when it was first published in Barnes describes, in very technical meteorology terms, how oceanic warming can lead to hurricanes that make Katrina look like a spring shower.

Flood by Stephen Baxter Along with its sequel, Ark , Flood is the story of trying to find a technical solution to an improbable problem: undersea seismic activity unleashes subterranean water reservoirs, flooding the planet. First book is apocalypse; second is post-apocalyptic and has some interesting stuff about human adaptation to both life on an ocean planet and life in space. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi Awesome bio-punk novel about a near future in which global warming has flooded a big chunk of the Earth and the calorie has become the most important measure of energy, with genetic manipulation the norm.

Seriously fun. The Hunger Games is surprisingly good, though, despite the hype. Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer A pretty good apocalyptic young adult novel, told in diary entries of a teenage girl, about a meteor that knocks the moon closer to the Earth, thus setting off a series of consequences.

Dayworld by Philip Jose Farmer A solution for dealing with an overpopulated world—letting everyone live only one day out of seven, and spend the rest of their time in suspended animation—has some real drawbacks. Z for Zachariah by Robert C. Directive 51 by John Barnes This book and its sequel, Daybreak Zero , are about a successful plot to destroy technology via a nanotech plague.

Directive 51 refers to the order by which the U. Crossposted on The United States of Armageddon. In spite of the attitude, Vulture Peak carries the reader relentlessly along. With sex tourism, drugs, and institutionalized corruption, Bangkok is a confusing place. Sonchai struggles to do the right thing according to his Buddhist beliefs, an effort that is hampered by the fact that his boss Colonel Vikorn not only runs the Thai police, but also directs smuggling and other enterprises as well.

The victims are missing their eyes and several vital organs. Going undercover as an organ smuggler to find those responsible for harvesting organs, Sonchai learns that donors are often unwilling—and extremely difficult to trace. His characters are subjected to the worst injuries and indignities. But they do not flinch, and if redemption is rarely an option, resilience often is. She then writes about Vietnam, and the terrible mess of war-making that both LBJ and Nixon made of things.

She also writes about the rise in privatization of the military, a big way to send the country to war without the public being aware of it. Maddow also indicts former Vice President Dick Cheney for being the brains behind the privatization of the military—all the while ending up making money off it, via his investments in Halliburton. Then he went to Halliburton and helped them get those contracts. She writes of the U. Privatization made it all easy, and quiet. The bottom line is this:. Their great advice was that we should structure ourselves as a country in a way that deliberately raised the price of admission to any way.

It never stops. Of course, being Rachel Maddow, she ends the book with her personal obsession: the nuclear arsenals still intact throughout the U. Frankly, I think she should have left this chapter out altogether—just saved it for the next book—because Drift is certainly full enough on its own, and we must hope only the first of many such works of reporting and analysis. A full book-length version of the graphic novel Backderf did about going to high school with serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Great new graphic novel of twin girls growing up in earlyth Century New York.

Look for a print review in Coolhunting. Once again we discover that adoption is never as simple as some would have us believe. The reality was much worse. She offers some real insight into what drives people to wish for apocalypse even if it means they will die. The Clowes is another beautifully-illustrated graphic novel about a misfit, unloved and abandoned boy who does bad things as a young man—in this case, involving the death ray.

I love it when they make graphic versions of books about ideas. It makes complex things accessible, and this is particularly true where media theory is concerned. This book is a must-read for all students of media and news, but especially for younger people who may not yet be as media-savvy as they need to be to get by in our branded, spun, viral and manipulated culture. Complications ensue, as well as the typical red-state small-town crap, but it all works out in the end. His interest in the lives of the survivors comes across as much less voyeuristic, too, and much more like compassion.

I think hanging out with homeless people in Sacramento has been good for his writing as well as for his personality. At least, he does after he finds out that a number of these terrorists have said the same thing, and that people as diverse as UAS Senator Osama bin Ladin and underworld smuggling thug Saddam Hussein are trying to keep it quiet. I love smart, sassy heroines who save the world Buffy, much? The bottom line is that he makes a very convincing and direct argument for relaxing housing restrictions on density and ending the financial subsidies to suburban and exurban builders.

His history of higher education, though by necessity brief, is worth remembering, if only because it reminds us of why Rick Santorum would be so convinced it is evil—after all, a liberal education does tend to have a liberalizing effect. Education should produce public servants, in the broadest possible sense; not people who are interested in making the best living they can for themselves, but in making the best society possible for all of us. We really need to re-examine higher education as a money-making enterprise or an individual investment.

Look for this in an upcoming Coolhunting. See above. Very good dystopian novel. They hit and kill a year-old girl though what she was doing out at 3 a. The novel examines their lives over the course of three decades, up to the present day. It is, unfortunately, very emotionally distant—and so, ultimately, unsatisfying. I was particularly taken by the very clear and direct sense of purpose. The future looks pretty bleak for Arizona, no matter how you slice and dice it. If blanket, he kills them and covers their bodies with a blanket. And Yocum has an interesting structure which makes the flashbacks—to the inundation of San Diego and the nuking of Las Vegas, for instance—work as integral parts of character development.

The Tea Party? Not much different from the opposition to the New Deal, with the exception of the tea bags on their heads. Ultimately, it made me despair of the mental health of so many of my fellow Americans. Maddow has written a book with the sourcing of a scholar and the wit of a pundit. Look for a slightly longer review in print. That drags him into a series of close calls, misunderstandings and exciting adventures that involve everything from a cannibal cult to a nunnery run by a psychotic drag queen who performed her own sex change operation. When the old institutions—government, church, academy—disappear, what will rise in their place?

Well, a strip club is as good as any other, unless you happen to be female. Grant issued an order that expelled Jews from the territory he commanded. No kidding. He targeted Jews because he blamed them for extensive black-marketeering in his sector. Mind you, President Abraham Lincoln rescinded the order almost immediately, and it caused a furor. But it does strike me as really troubling that an incident of anti-Semitism which was a big deal at the time is almost forgotten now. This is a pretty good little graphic novel about an attempt by a neo-con Homeland Security administrator to run a false-flag operation that will take cash out of the economy by putting a nasty and often-deadly virus on currency.

It has both elements of a nasty plague used as a biological weapon and a right-wing paranoid conspiracy to take away our civil liberties. This is a wickedly irreverent novel set in a near future in which YouTube-like networks have taken over TV. So what does he do? Turn Martian exploration and colonization into a reality competition. When they talk about Survivor - like television, they mean some people may die. In space. Where no one can hear you scream. This book was particularly resonant, given the way the murder of Trayvon Martin has been unfolding in the news cycle.

His ghost is a main character here, as is the once-young woman who loved him, now a middle-aged widow looking for resolution. This is a very dreamy and sentimental book, but it has a strong pull in light of current events. The novel by noted playwright David Mamet is an older one, but it was brought to my attention recently in a Facebook discussion about the Leo Frank case a horrifying case of anti-Semitism, paranoia and lynching in Georgia in Mamet is incredibly good with language, but then most playwrights are. The novel uses a lot of doubling to examine these two outsiders and their relationship to colonial and post-colonial Africa.

Bonner examines the case of Edward Lee Elmore, who was convicted of murdering an elderly woman in Black and mildly retarded, Elmore was defended after his conviction by Diane Holt, and in many ways, this is her story. It is not, but it does have some interesting descriptions of death-related rituals. Think of it as Eat, Pray, Die. Selected by Carl Phillips yes, one of my favorite poets , these are poems about pushing boundaries: as a Latino man, as a gay man, as a young man.

Fantastic work. Christle has a delightful sense of play in her language—it matches her sense of humor—and an affinity for the absurd. Definitely a keeper. Awesome, awesome, awesome book. Arthur Opp, a former professor, has become an agoraphobic plus pound semi-hoarder. His life is a wreck, but he clings to the memory of Charlene, a former student with whom he shared a friendship that had the potential for more and with whom he still exchanges letters.

In a moment of honesty, he tells her what his life has become—and then begins to change it. Arthur begins to open up just a little. Narrated alternately by Arthur and Kel, this is an emotionally honest and surprisingly hopeful novel about people who are trying not to give up, and who find that not giving up counts for something. Another interesting Armageddon book. Look for a longer post on this. Good News Clubs are evangelizing missions that operate in thousands of public schools across the country—thanks to a Supreme Court ruling — including two in the Sacramento Unified School District, and several in neighboring suburbs.

But the problem goes deeper. That means Catholics, Episcopalians, some Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists, Unitarians—any variety of Christian that does not follow the strict and literal interpretation of the Bible put forward by CEF. Any way you look at it, kids in public schools?

Rushkoff is a media theorist and this graphic novel explores the lives of a group of teens who are raise to do nothing but test multi-player video games. Amir and Khalil using first names only, to protect relatives who are still in Iran tell the story of a family searching for the younger son, who disappeared during the protests. It provides an entry to the convoluted and depressing state of Iranian political and theological often the same thing matters.

This was moving and well done, with the missing Mehdi as a stand-in for all the youth of Iran. It also included some excellent appendices to explain and contextualize the story. House of Mystery was a good horror graphic novel; nothing more, nothing less. Willis is one of my favorite sci-fi authors her series about time travel, Doomsday Book , Blackout and All Clear , is fantastic. This short novel addresses artificial intelligence, and takes as its organizing principle the old—and wonderful—film, All About Eve. This encyclopedic story of the alternative presses and media—radio stations and television shows are also part of the story that arose because of racism, racial segregation and racial discrimination in America is fascinating.

Oh, this is awesome. It gets its own post this week. I discovered this NorCal writer because I got a bad case of the flu and my wife has a sense of humor. What did it feel like to destroy the world? I was one of those little boys who grew up reading a lot of Stephen King and end-of-the-world novels. How far would you go to survive? You get to be the good guys and the bad guys, both. I had a friend just send me another link about engineered DNA—not nanotech, but the biological equivalent—being used to cure cancer. They had to be, just to live. The Toba supervolcano was about 70, years ago, and they think that caused a decade of volcanic winter, plus another thousand years of global cooling, and the only people who would have made it through that would have been incredibly strong and resourceful.

And the epic flooding around the Nile probably led to the legend of Gilgamesh. So there are these traumatic experiences that stay in our stories about how the world ended. We have these bottlenecks—places where the world seemed to end, and certainly the civilization did—where the people who are more wary, more paranoid, and more willing to wander—the ones who leave when the ground starts rumbling—are the ones who survive.

So I take a little slice of that and then make my characters and march them around the chess board.. I want both the heroes and the villains to be complicated and interesting. What made you choose Sacramento for ground zero? So as I was playing with scenarios—it was that chessboard first. What if nobody—nobody all over the world—could go home again? And a lot of very interesting stuff about nanotech was being published, which gave me the idea for a plague that would have limits.

Since I new Sacramento very well, and since my heroes were going to be trapped in the Sierra, it seemed like the best choice.



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