Monday, June 21, 2021

Book review: MILITARY INTELLIGENCE BLUNDERS AND COVER-UPS by Col. John Hughes-Wilson

 

Book review:
MILITARY INTELLIGENCE BLUNDERS AND COVER-UPS (2004) by Col. John Hughes-Wilson

I'm fascinated by spectacular failures - the whys and hows of them. This book covers great failures to know, understand, communicate and analyze in war - and before war breaks out.

It's enlightening, and humbling, reading. People are not perfect, and the path to defeat is lined with faulty assumptions: "We have already won", "My opponent's reluctance to fight is a sign of weakness", "We know all we need to know", "Surely the enemy understands how we think", etc.

Even if you are not into military matters, this book will make you think about the problems with information flow that we are dealing with in all parts of society (even your day job!).

(FOOTNOTE: UFOs / UAPs have been in the news recently. Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned there about failures to communicate information that is deemed ”impossible”...?)

#war #history #failure #bookstagram #gulfwar #911 #fiasco  #bookstagram #bokstagram #books #bookreview #bookreviews #bookcover #bookcovers #military #espionage


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Jag blir intervjuad av Fantasykammaren

Fantasykammaren har intervjuat mig om bokserien "Darc Ages" / "De mörka tidevarven" som snart kommer ut på förlaget Saga Egmont.

Den kan du läsa HÄR.

#boktips #lästips #böcker #förlag #sagaegmont #litteratur #författare #kultur #fantastik #dystopi

Friday, June 18, 2021

GET STRANGE

 If you know readers who like "The X-Files" and paranormal stories, tell them about...

PRECINCT 20: DEAD STRANGE Crime stories from an urban twilight zone amazon.com/dp/B07D32K8GQ

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Tips: Bok som kommer...

En liten "hint" om en kommande bok... som jag har skrivit.... som ska ges ut av ett större förlag. Mer information kommer snart...

Friday, June 11, 2021

Saga Egmont ger ut mina barnböcker SAGOPYJAMASEN, HUNDRA TUSEN PIRATER och MONSTER I MASSOR


I år ger förlaget Saga Egmont ut mina illustrerade barnböcker SAGOPYJAMASEN, HUNDRA TUSEN PIRATER och MONSTER I MASSOR. 

(Böckerna gavs tidigare ut på det mindre förlaget Wela.)

De här böckerna finns nu på Amazon.

#barnbok #barnböcker #boktips #lästips #böcker #förlag #sagaegmont

Book review: THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL ANGRY PLANET by Becky Chambers

Book review:
THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL ANGRY PLANET (2015) by Becky Chambers


I read this novel and as I soon grew bored with it, I kind of asked myself: Am I the jerk here? The one who’s just small-minded and petty and can’t appreciate the positive vibes in a story where so many different characters can get along and be themselves and validate each other? Surely that’s a message I could get behind...?

But you see, in order to make a story engaging it’s not enough to be right or good or decent. The Hallmark Channel is decent, but I don’t want to watch it. It's not enough to have a single message, even if I basically agree with it.

At the point when the characters went into yet another heart-to-heart talk about their feelings and how much they understood and supported each other, I started to understand that these talks were really what the novel is ”about.” The story didn't have to take place on a spaceship, and the ”alien” characters wouldn't have to be aliens.

Because all the main characters are really just there to assist the principal protagonist – a rich girl who ”goes slumming” among the ”charming and authentic” working class to ”find herself.”

(She is supposed to be from Mars, but she is so obviously a white American upper middle-class woman.)

Someone who had also read the book pointed out the telling detail: This reads like fanfiction. Dead on target!

The lack of plot, the overreliance on borrowed genre tropes, the all-too-human ”alien” characters, the myopic focus on relationships (in the most watered-down sense), the anxious avoidance of genuine conflict and tension between characters, the sex scenes... it all fits into the cliches of fanfiction.

It's not that this novel ”challenges” me – I find it not nearly challenging enough. It wouldn't even have to be violent! Just one outspoken conflict between the characters would have been an improvement.

Just as an example: The ”working-class” characters could have cornered the upper-class protagonist with the tension and resentment that real people can express:

”Hey, rich girl! Why don't you ask your parents for help?”

Judging by the glowing reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, this novel has a fan base. There may be many young readers who need to feel encouraged and validated through fiction. They love this novel, and good for them.

If you're into this sort of ”cosy” space opera aimed at teenagers, or if you like TV shows like FIREFLY and STAR TREK, then I guess you could try it.

I'd prefer something a lot more original and a lot less saccarine.


#bookstagram #bookstagrammers #bookreviews #bookreview #books #literature #sciencefiction #scifi #firefly #lgbtq #spaceopera #yabooks #youngadult

Cartoon

 

#UFO #UAP #humor #satire #aliens

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Book review: STARSHIP TROOPERS by Robert A. Heinlein

 

(This text was previously posted on my Instagram account in January 2019.)

Book review:
STARSHIP TROOPERS (1959) by Robert A. Heinlein


There's exactly one segment in this novel that I think is genuinely good.

It's the passage where Heinlein describes in detail a "combat drop" - where the protagonist, a soldier in a future war against aliens called "bugs", fights in mechanized armor. The description of the armor and its user interface was so far ahead of its time, it seems advanced even today.

The rest of the novel is a tedious, dishonest bore.

I could go into the tedious political sermons, that feel like enduring the reactionary rants from a cranky relative during a family Christmas dinner. (Shut up, Uncle Ezra, nobody wants to hear what you think about bringing back spanking!)

I could go into the dishonest depiction of military life... the euphemisms and double-talk that obviously are intended to lull the reader into thinking war is a simplistic, bloodless boys' adventure.

But I want to emphasize how boring this book is. There's very little actual combat in it. Mostly it's about the antiseptic, unbelievably conflict-free military life between missions - and the sermons. Those idiotic sermons.

Heinlein could write good, even great SF stories. This just isn't one of them. Unfortunately, STARSHIP TROOPERS was a monster hit that spawned a whole militaristic sub-genre of SF... and the less said about it, the better.

(For your information: I did military service. My fellow recruits used foul language and did things that would make Heinlein's protagonist faint on a couch.)

If you want to read a good "Military SF" novel, try Haldeman's THE FOREVER WAR.

NOTE: The 1997 movie is like a send-up or satire of the novel. Heinlein would've hated it.

#robertaheinlein #heinlein #starshiptroopers #bookstagram #bokstagram #bookstagrammer #bookreview #bookreviews #bookcover #bookcovers #sciencefiction #scifi #novel #spacewar #classics #literature #reviews #books #paulverhoeven #movies #starshiptroopersmovie



Monday, May 31, 2021

Book review: THE LIGHT BRIGADE by Kameron Hurley

Book review:
THE LIGHT BRIGADE (2019) by Kameron Hurley

I have met Kameron Hurley in person, when she visited Sweden for a convention; she seems sympathetic and has a healthy sense of humor. She has diabetes and her work pays for the expensive medication, probably overpriced in the U.S.; she literally writes to live.

I only wish her well.

So when I realized that this review wouldn't exactly be glowing, I had a crisis of conscience. Should I lie and say I loved the book, out of sympathy (and to help pay for that overpriced medication)? That would be condescension, which I'm sure the author would've disliked anyway.

In any case, one should not confuse the artist with the work. So with a guilty feeling in the back of my head, here's my (more or less spoiler-free) review of THE LIGHT BRIGADE...

This novel can be seen as part of several ongoing ”conversations” between American science fiction writers, an interplay of ideas, which have been going for quite some time.


One such ”conversation” is about time travel – a theme that lends itself to paradoxes, mind games and questions about free will versus predestination.

Another such conversation, which Robert A. Heinlein set off in the 1950s with his novel STARSHIP TROOPERS, deals with militarism and war. What is the role of the military in society and in the future? Will there always be war?

”Military SF” is a very popular SF subgenre that lends itself to political themes as well as... questionable ideas and violent adventure stories.
The combining of future war and time travel began with the novel THE LEGION OF TIME by Jack Williamson (originally a serial in the magazine ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION).

The ”time war” theme has since been used again and again – notably in Joe Haldeman's THE FOREVER WAR and Fritz Leiber's THE BIG TIME – and with recent books like THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR and THE LIGHT BRIGADE.


Full disclosure: I hate STARSHIP TROOPERS.
I find it intellectually juvenile, dishonest, and wrote a damning review of it long ago. THE LIGHT BRIGADE seems partly to be a criticism of the political message and militarism of STARSHIP TROOPERS, which I don't mind one bit...

... but THE LIGHT BRIGADE also borrows some of the worst traits of Heinlein's famous novel: political sermons and ideas that don't really hold up to scrutiny.

I had to read THE LIGHT BRIGADE twice to fully make sense of it, since the time travel was treated in a very confusing way.

(That the narrative kept the time-traveling protagonist from knowing something as basic as ”What year is it?” made me suspicious – was this really a necessary plot device? Would a simple method to learn the date ruin the story?)
A second reading ultimately cemented my first impression: This novel has seriously mixed messages. It tries to say it is about human agency and ”empowerment,” while at the same time it tells the opposite story.

THE LIGHT BRIGADE is a time travel story of the kind where history cannot be changed. Therefore the characters are trapped by events... and yet the novel tries to pull off an ending where the protagonist puts on a narrative posture of ”taking control” of her own fate and becoming a force for change.

This didn't work for me; I felt cheated. (Did the publisher pressure the writer to make the ending more ”optimistic”?) I won't argue with a bleak artistic vision, that's fine – but you should own your vision, not try to present it as something else.


I've also read the novel THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR (2019) by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, and I enjoyed it much more – interestingly, since its ”plot” also revolves around a war mixed with time travel.

So why did THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR work so well for me, while THE LIGHT BRIGADE didn't?

I think it's because THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR deliberately focuses on the characters and the relationship between them, and makes a point that the ”time war” is too confusing to fully understand.

Therefore the ”time war” isn't allowed to dominate the plot too much. Thus I cared for the characters; they were allowed space to develop an actual relationship. Their struggle to become agents of their own fate felt meaningful and moving.

THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR is beautifully written and has two highly intelligent, witty narrators. THE LIGHT BRIGADE has one first-person narrator; her ”voice” is monotonous, depressing and not very bright. She repeatedly fails to communicate with other characters or develop meaningful relationships with them.

As a consequence, I couldn't ”buy” that this person was capable of eventually saving the day.

And yet... there is a good reason to read THE LIGHT BRIGADE. For between the lines, it hides something more incendiary than what I've mentioned above.

The subtext, if you look for it, contains several current themes about politics, gender issues and society... and quite clearly suggests that despite the successful future eradication of racism and sexism, humanity is riding an atom bomb to certain doom while yelling ”Free markets, yee-haw!”

That subtext seems to represent the part of the ”ongoing conversation” where the author throws her drink in the face of another author – or perhaps in the faces of a Democrat and a Republican simultaneously – and screams: ”You're all screwed!”

I admire such valor.

Read the book and make up your own mind.

(A shorter version of this review can be found on my Instagram account.)


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Saturday, May 22, 2021

Book review: MADE IN AMERICA by Bill Bryson

 

Book review:

MADE IN AMERICA: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States  (1994) by Bill Bryson


This is a very enjoyable nonfiction book that I keep coming back to.
Bryson delves into the history of uniquely American language and culture, and the facts he uncovers are both funny and fascinating.

For example: where does the word "hamburger" really come from? What's the origin of slang terms like "hepcat"?

You'll love this book. I promise it.

__

#bookstagram #nonfiction #billbryson #madeinamerica #culture #bookreview #bookreviews #books #language 


Thursday, May 13, 2021

EBOOK GIVEAWAY DAYS - May 13-17, 2020

EBOOK GIVEAWAY DAYS

May 13-17, 2020:
Download my "paranormal crime" story
SNIPER, VIPER...
for free. Follow this link:

For lovers of "The X-Files" and weird fiction...

#books #horror #crime #sciencefiction #literature #giveaway #giveaways #freebooks #freebook #TheXFiles #paranormal #crimefiction #weirdfiction

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Book review: DEFINITELY MAYBE by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky

Book review:
DEFINITELY MAYBE (1974) by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky

The Strugatsky Brothers' novel ROADSIDE PICNIC was the basis for the Tarkovsky movie STALKER (though the book was very different from the movie).

This novel has a very odd and humorous premise: Some unknown force is trying to sabotage and distract scientists from making a grand breakthrough. These distractions grow increasingly absurd... until a revelation occurs.

The scientist protagonists live in 1970s Russia, a dreary place, and the strange distractions they suffer might be interpreted as a metaphor (i.e. being harassed and obstructed by the secret police).

Even if you ignore the satirical possibilities, the setting feels very real. The realism makes the strange events all the more interesting.

I really liked it, but then I'm a sucker for oddball books.

DEFINITELY MAYBE is ”comical highbrow” science fiction, and very surreal.
Highly recommended for readers who enjoy the fiction of Jorge Luis Borges and ”weird” fiction.

__
#aryngve #bookstagram #bokstagram #bokomslag #böcker #sciencefiction #novel #book #books #russianliterature #strugatskij #bookreview #bookreviews #bookcover #bookcovers #boktips #lästips #fantastik #böcker

 

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Köp mina böcker på Amazon Sverige

Hallå alla bokälskare! Mina böcker finns att köpa på Amazon Sverige (och de är billiga!):

Du finner dem HÄR.

Detta gäller pocketböcker. Ebok-versionerna finns för närvarande enbart att köpa via den internationella Amazon-sajten.

#böcker #boktips #lästips #sciencefiction #litteratur #fantastik #skräck #deckare #kultur #amazon #författare #sverige #skriva #författarliv #boktips #lästips