Monday, December 23, 2013

Five Go Off In A Caravan - Enid Blyton

This is the Hundred-and-eleventh in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

The premise is far fetched. Parents allowing children to go off on a holiday in two horse drawn caravans. Sending postcards each day to say all is well. Nothing to keep them safe except moral decency and a very loyal Timmy. Engrossing!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Five Go To Smuggler's Top - Enid Blyton

This is the Hundred-and-tenth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

One of the curiosities of memory is that I recognise the cover of this particular edition from my childhood. It has a familiarity that invokes a sense of the book and the long ago time when I first read it. Checking the publication date confirms my memory. Paperbacks were such a great invention!

While secret passages are to be expected this book takes them to a new, inspirational level! There is also a darker side to the villains in this book that moves it a notch beyond the previous books in the series.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Five Run Away Together - Enid Blyton

This is the Hundred-and-ninth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

I like the way the characters have developed over the first three books, not dramatically but they are not static or one dimensional either. Which is just as well as all is not smooth sailing in the household and drastic action is required.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Five Go Adventuring Again - Enid Blyton

This is the Hundred-and-eighth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

All good children's books involve a school and this adventure starts at a school, but soon the story returns to the Cornish home of Georgina George and involves secret ways and spies and I can't really give away any more of the story. Needless to say there is adventuring and heroics by one particular member of the famous five, a hairy hero!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Five on a Treasure Island - Enid Blyton

This is the Hundred-and-seventh in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

I've started reading the Famous Five again and the first thing that struck me was how easily Enid Blyton creates characters, builds tension and draws the reader along - even for an adult reader such as myself. I do have a remnant memory of the story, as this series was one of my favourites as a child but I hadn't expected the story to work so well for me as an adult.

I am also struck by some of the underlying cultural themes that are really strong but oblivious to me when I read them many years ago. For instance the prickly character of Georgina and her desire to do boy things.  I wonder how she resonated with head strong girls at the time of writing? The role her mother plays in the family dominated by the scientist husband. Their attitude towards the domestic staff. Interesting.

And of course the descriptions of the Cornish coast and countryside, intrinsic to the story and which informed my view of England. When I visited Cornwall a couple of years ago I was not disappointed.

There are so many elements that go into what appears on the surface to be just another book about children having adventures. I can't imaging not having this and the rest of the series on my bookshelf.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Long shelf life - by popular acclaim

There are over 50 books on my bookshelf by a single author - Enid Blyton.

What surprises me about this vast collection is that none of them are remnants from my own childhood or from my latter collection of children's books - though I read them all in the day. They are all the product of my own children, voracious and early readers, discovering them and being addicted to them and wanting to have them on the shelf ready for another read. Many are accessible from a young age while some still appeal to the older reader. However they all have something in common, they are gripping and reward multiple readings.

I know Enid Blyton is sometimes out of favour with critics and educators, but she had a gift for writing and the evidence is on my shelf. Her books persist in publication because they are popular and that popularity hasn't waned, at least in my house.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Ring of Solomon - Jonathan Stroud

This is the Hundred-and-sixth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

As with all good characters the author gets attached and can't let go. In this case a late addition to the Bartimaeus 'trilogy' is a prequel. Worthy effort and finds a place on the shelf.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Ptolemy's Gate - Jonathan Stroud

This is the Hundred-and-fifth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

This conclusion to the trilogy (but not the end of the sequence) draws the main protagonists towards an inevitable but ultimately surprising climax. These books have a real sense of movement over the life of the series as the characters grow and develop. Nice.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Golem's Eye - Jonathan Stroud

This is the Hundred-and-fourth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

When I started reading this book for the first time I found a point, early on, where I was losing interest. You might know that feeling - the story has promised enough to get you into it but then seems to flag and you know if you put it down somewhere you might never come back to it. I got that feeling but persisted another chapter and suddenly it took off! I think this is a good example of the decline of editorship, that expert guidance that demands an author go back and rewrite until the novel meets the exacting standard of the editor. However that takes time as well as expertise and time is money. In any case this is an excellent second novel in the sequence.

Monday, December 02, 2013

The Amulet of Samarkand - Jonathan Stroud

This is the Hundred-and-third in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

It must be difficult to craft an original story using the makings of ancient literature and mythology. Often attempted and in this case with some success. One of the measures of success for such writings is the degree to which the reader finds the treatment 'fresh' despite the familiar making. Rather like cooking a stew that is notable despite being restricted to much the same ingredients as any other stew. Perhaps a new spice or a different texture or some variation in the cooking method. Familiar to the palette but not bland.

However it is achieved, this is rather good stew.

Rushing towards the cliff

I find that the year at work, like the seasons, has a certain rhythm.

At this time of the year I am looking back and looking forward. This is the time of the year when the current planning cycle is heading into its endgame, but not yet concluded, while planning for the coming year is going full steam ahead. I can be so preoccupied in looking forward that I raise my eyes from the 2014 calendar and realise with some surprise and a little relief that it is still December of 2013.

It is also a time of the year where external deadlines - financial, holiday and planning - tend to create a narrowing of the funnel, a pinch point in the garden hose of life. You know intellectually that at some point the pressure will lift as the deadlines pass. In some ways this time of the year has the sense of rushing towards a cliff over which we will all fall and we just need to be as prepared as we can before the final inevitable unavoidable exhilarating descent. A bit like life, except that we pick ourselves up at the foot of the cliff and slowly gather speed towards the next cliff and do it all again.

Gosh I look forward to the Christmas break at this time of the year.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Reflections on Canberra

I was in Canberra for a few days in late November. I was interested to see the city for the first time and visit some of the political and cultural institutions.

In a couple of days we visited the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, The National Library of Australia's Mapping our World exhibit, Questacon, Parliament House, Museum of Australian Democracy (Old Parliament House), National Archives, National Museum and the inside of the 100 bus. Rather busy. I am not going to chronicle all of that but I do have a few reflections and photos.

The Australian War Memorial was well worth the visit and we spent a couple of hours but it needs repeated visits over many days and seasons - as do all worthwhile cultural places. The view shown above is looking out from the resonating and movingly simple Hall of Memory (resting place of the unknown soldier) across the breadth of the city to Parliament. It is a striking use of landscape in the design.

The red poppies on the Roll of Honour are visually striking; red on slate grey. We found the name of my uncle who had perished in the second world war near Singapore with the intention of placing a poppy. As it turns out the poppies are forced into a gap between the panels, not a feature of the original design! and there was no gap near his name. I took a photo and kept the poppy.

The National Gallery was excellent. I had recently watched Edmond Capon's The Art of Australia series and was well prepared to appreciate the collection. I eavesdropped (as you do) on a tour guide talking about Blue Poles and that was an added bonus. If I lived in Canberra I would visit often. However the unexpected bonus was a Skyspace construction by James Turrell called Within without, 2010. I can't even begin to describe it except to say it used walls and water and light in the most remarkable way. The photo above doesn't even begin to do it justice. This short ABC Art Nation video about it and James Turrell is worth a look. This is a must see if you are Canberra.

The architecture of the National Museum was striking and the photo above shows The Garden of Australian Dreams a visual, tactile interpretation of the Australian landscape.

Parliament House was very interesting, though not surprisingly Old Parliament House is more accessible and has a stronger sense of history. The portraits of past Prime Minsters was as you might expect, except for the Clifton Pugh portrait of Gough Whitlam which was strikingly less traditional but somehow appropriate.

Unlike Old Parliament House the blood of democratic contest still runs through new Parliament House even when the house is not sitting and I captured this Christine Milne press conference happening below on the lawns. I think education funding was the main topic.

My overall impression of Canberra is one of art and culture, buses and bikes and striking public installations. Perhaps another hundred years will see a little more texture and less sense of artificial construction.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Conrad's Fate - Diana Wynne Jones

This is the Hundred-and-second in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

One of the characteristics of Jones' writing is that her villains have a certain beguiling, almost attractive quality but as you dig deeper and deeper you realise that they are really rather unpleasant and despicable persons. Not super villains but normal unpleasant persons whose bad qualities are amplified by circumstance.

Jones always has some naive and gormless characters who grow on you over time and may even turn out to be heroic in the end. Will Conrad be one of those?

And as always there is magic!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mixed Magics - Diana Wynne Jones

This is the Hundred-and-first in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

Humph. Not a big fan of short stories. Will make exception here :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Pinhoe Egg - Diana Wynne Jones

This is the Hundredth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

What a great title for the hundredth book in my one book at a time bookshelf. Enigmatic and puzzling, giving no meaningful clue to the story, enticing cover images on which the imagination can run wild. This is Jones on top form.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Magicians of Caprona - Diana Wynne Jones

This is the Ninety-ninth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

Foreign setting for this delightful tale of tradition, magic and ancient mischief - and the ever resourceful Christopher Chant (and friends) whose appearance is always welcome when bad has gone to worse.

One of my favourite Diana Wynne Jones books.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Witch Week - Diana Wynne Jones

This is the Ninety-eighth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

The bizarre happenings depicted on the covers of Diana Wynne Jones books are, fortunately, accurate depictions of elements of the story contained within.

There were witches at schools before Hogwarts. True fact. And flying broomsticks.

The renown Chrestomanci does appear in this book, fortunately for everyone concerned.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Lives of Christopher Chant - Diana Wynne Jones

This is the Ninety-seventh in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

The published order of Jones' Chrestomanci novels is clear but the reading order isn't so clear cut. In my opinion it doesn't matter. They are sufficiently well crafted that it doesn't really matter, especially as one doesn't know what is going on a lot of the time anyway. Read them in whatever order you like and re-read them in whatever order you wish.

This book tells the story of the early years of Christopher Chant and has delightful characters that appear many times. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Charmed Life - Diana Wynne Jones

This is the Ninety-sixth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

I grow weary of adult tales, full of meaning and the sorrow of life. Time to indulge in my real passion, tales for children - uncomfortable but ultimately safe (or largely safe or mostly safe).

I overlooked Diana Wynne Jones for many years and I owe my children for discovering her and growing  my bookshelf with many of her works - though I have become chief financier in recent times as I have become attached to her particular charms.

There is an inherent logic to Jones imagined worlds, including the rather cluttered worlds of the Chrestomanci, but that doesn't mean all is revealed to the reader. In many ways she is reminiscent of Cherryh in that regard though her touch is lighter and accessible to the younger reader.

This is the first of her Chrestomanci books and she writes as if you should know all about what is going on - delightful. Beware of misdirection and expect a cracking finish.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Goblin Mirror - C.J. Cherryh

This is the Ninety-fifth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

Cherryh is a bit unusual in that she writes in science fiction and fantasy. In my own mind these are mutually exclusive genre and she treats them that way. However she has an even spread of works across both realms. This is fantasy.

In some novels the protagonist is kept in the dark about what is really going on but in typical Cherryh style we are also kept in the dark! After a few readings one might glimpse the underlying reality of the plot, or not. Cherryh never patronises the reader by spelling out the detail but it might be nice if she dropped a few breadcrumbs - hard work but overall worth while. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Bone Forest - Robert Holdstock

This is the Ninety-fourth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

The last in the collection of Robert Holdstock on my bookshelf. This novella and collection of short stories backgrounds the first book in the cycle.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Lavondyss - Robert Holdstock

This is the Ninety-third in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

Robert Holdstock provides, not so much a sequel, but another story set in his ancient English forest. Quality fantasy writing and while not pitched at the masses will reward the discerning reader.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Mythago Wood - Robert Holdstock

This is the Ninety-second in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

Robert Holdstock is the second fantasy author on my bookshelf to whom I was introduced by my better half. This novel could be awful - a pastiche of fantasy characters and themes clumsily thrown together in the hope of creating something interesting - but it isn't awful. It is beautifully written, enchanting and moving. Well worth a leisurely read.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The Darkest Road - Guy Gavriel Key

This is the Ninety-first in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

The final volume in The Fionavar Tapestry draws the complex threads to a satisfactory climax.

Lots to like in these books and as I have added them to the blog I realise that, unlike many other favoured books, I don't know them inside out. That leaves me itching to read them again - soon.

Monday, November 04, 2013

The Wandering Fire - Guy Gavriel Kay

This is the Ninetieth  in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

The second in the richly imagined The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy. The series is a bit dark in parts but uplifting overall, which is what I look for in a fantasy novel. If I wanted a depressing story I'd turn on the news!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

The Summer Tree - Guy Gavriel Kay

This is the Eighty-ninth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

I am continuing my run of fantasy with two authors to whom I was introduced by my better half. These may not have been my purchased copies and I have come late to the party but I would certainly include them on my bookshelf.

The first author is Guy Gavriel Kay, famous for having worked with Christopher Tolkien on the preparation of his late father's manuscripts for publication into what became The Silmarillion. This was not a trivial task and Kay was deeply influenced by Tolkien. However it would be disrespectful to both Kay and the Tolkiens not to acknowledge the quality of The Fionavar Tapestry.

If you've not explored this world then I would recommend you start here.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Learning - a state of mind

Life is not a constant thing. Change is actually the normal, inevitable and unavoidable nature of the universe. Stability and predictability, while nice to have, are illusions easily shattered when life intrudes. You can fill in your own examples to illustrate my point [birth, death, illness, accident, new iPhone].

One aspect of living in a changing universe that I have been thinking about recently is on which side of the training/learning coin do I sit. Do I look at  every new thing as something to be learned or do I expect life to come with a manual and a trainer?

My own view is that I prefer to look at every new thing as something to be learned, something to pull apart, press all the buttons - a new toy to occupy my mind. Not just because I don't want to read the manual but because I learn more that way and it is more fun - though sometimes I read the manual as well! In fact reading the manual or asking someone for help is just another way of learning - it just depends on how you look at it.

I'd encourage you to consider your perspective on new things. Do you learn or want to be trained?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Claw of the Conciliator - Gene Wolfe

This is the Eighty-eighth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

I could post this book just for the eye-catching cover art and as a Halloween tribute, but in fact it is a 'new' addition to my bookshelf and the second book in the Gene Wolfe Book of the New Sun series.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Valentine Pontifex - Robert Silverberg

This is the Eighty-seventh in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

It is funny how one thing leads to another. I was 'recycling' some no longer wanted books at a local second hand bookshop and wanted to use the credit straightaway. Browsing the shelves I found three books which would complement books already on my shelf. This book in the Majipoor cycle is one of them, and another fine work from Silverberg.

You may know that the term 'pontifex' has become better know in recent times as the twitter handle of the current Pope and which is a correct use of the ancient term but nicely appropriated by Silverberg for this series.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula Le Guin

This is the Eighty-sixth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

Once I realised that I didn't have this on my bookshelf I kept an eye out and purchased a copy. As the cover rightly says, it is a classic of (science) fiction, and one cannot have too many Le Guin books on the shelf in case one gets snowed in for a week.

Tehanu - Ursula Le Guin

This is the Eighty-fifth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

There are nearly twenty years between the last in the original Earthsea trilogy and this work. Often this is a recipe for disaster and one might chose to discard the late comer, product of an author revisiting an earlier very successful work (perhaps at the nudging of a publisher?). This is certainly true for a number of books and series that I've added to the bookshelf where I've declined to include the latter-works (Herbert and Brin come to mind) which are worthy enough but do not reach the same heights. 

However this is still a quality work from Le Guin, though the subject matter is probably too sombre for the younger audience that could enjoy her first three Earthsea books. This work also reflects the author pondering the structures of her imagined society as her perspective on society has matured over the years. So there, read this if you wish or stop at the end of The Farthest Shore.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Farthest Shore - Ursula Le Guin

This is the Eighty-fourth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

It was Tolkien who said, in the Hobbit, that good times go quickly for the people involved and make dull telling. Unfortunately this is true and good times don't make compelling stories. The' lived happily ever after' is usually the end and not the beginning!

This last of the original trilogy of Earthsea books nicely demonstrates the truth that trouble makes for a good tale, and things are troubled in the Archipelago. There is also a darkness to this book that reflects the darkness in the heart of the author and shows that a writer will reveal themselves when they write, and so they should. I always very much enjoy this book but it isn't so comfortable reading as the author also holds up a mirror to our own heart.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Tombs of Atuan - Ursula Le Guin

This is the Eighty-third in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

For many years this second tale from Earthsea was my least favourite of the trilogy. Yet as I grew older I found that it had become the one I preferred. How did that happen? Not sure, but perhaps it reflects that a book stays the same but the reader changes! Perhaps there is more underlying darkness in this book and that was less palatable to my younger self, or perhaps I developed a taste for a slower moving, slow burning plot - gathering pace until the tension is at breaking point. Good book this one.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula Le Guin

This is the Eighty-second in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

The books in the Earthsea canon are my favourite Le Guin books.

She weaves so many elements of fantasy and morality into this first story that it verges on being a fable but never becomes cliched or gratuitous. As with her science fiction universe the imagined fabric of Earthsea is a rich tapestry against which she explores her characters and yet the plot drives the reader to turn page after page.

As well as being a benchmark for writers of fantasy, this book is an exemplar of the children's book - a book that is accessible to a child but doesn't disappoint an adult.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Dispossessed - Ursula Le Guin

This is the Eighty-first in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

Ursula Le Guin creates a compelling alternative universe in which to set her story, an achievement in itself, but she is mostly interested in the moral and ethical challenges that face her characters. I think this statement is true for all of her works. She does both brilliantly.

I don't believe that I need to say any more.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Shadow of the Torturer - Gene Wolfe

This is the Eightieth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

I feel almost literary with my next couple of posts. Works of science fiction fiction that are beautifully written, engrossing and confronting. Not usually my taste and while I've read the other three volumes in The Book of the New Sun I don't have them on my bookshelf, but I do have this one. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Nightfall - Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg

This is the Seventy-ninth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

As any science fiction reader worth their salt will know already, Nightfall (the original short story by Asimov) is a seminal work in the canon of the genre. This is an adaptation of the original story into a novel.

I am not a fan of works with more than one author (though I have already included a couple, just to show that there are always exceptions in life to any rule) and especially works in later life by a luminary of the genre with a younger co-author (or worse a progeny of the author). These are usually to be avoided.

However in this case Silverberg is a luminary in his own right and the end product is a worthy addition to my bookshelf.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Songs of Stars and Shadows - George R.R. Martin

This is the Seventy-eighth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

I discovered Martin's science fiction many years ago and particularly enjoyed his short stories. I'm not a great fan of short story collections as a rule but I am a great fan of Martin's writing. This collection is the one that I have on my shelf, but I would commend Tuf Voyaging for those wanting a great read in a connected set of stories.

I would also note that I found the Game of Thrones books too bloody and dark for my taste, sorry George, and will certainly not be watching the very popular series. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Glory Season - David Brin

This is the Seventy-seventh in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

This is a departure from David Brin's Uplift series, telling a road trip narrative on an imagined world, but similarly using a science fiction setting to place his characters and explore their reactions. Worth a look and I still have my copy on the bookshelf after many years.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Uplift War - David Brin

This is the Seventy-sixth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

This story follows close on the heels of Startide Rising and maintains the tension and pace (and mind bending alien and uplifted earthling names). Not for the fainthearted, this is for the science fiction fan.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Startide Rising - David Brin

This is the Seventy-fifth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

The Uplift story continues, some time down the track from the original novel, and it is this second book that is the stand out of the series in my opinion. It is gripping, has a great, slow build climax and keeps you turning the page.

Also has a great title - Startide Rising. Not sure what it means but it is evocative!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sundiver - David Brin

This is the Seventy-fourth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

I continue my run of science fiction with this first novel in what became the very well regarded Uplift series by David Brin. Written in 1980 it isn't the high point of the series - and a first book often isn't - but it is a fine example of creating a universe in which the author can set his characters (human and otherwise) and explore the way in which they navigate the realities of that time and place, with some drama and science thrown in for good measure. I particularly like the concept of the 'library' as repository of ALL knowledge (how can that be a bad thing) and the effect that it has on innovation and creativity.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lord Valentine's Castle - Robert Silverberg

This is the Seventy-third in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

I am surprised that this Robert Silverberg novel and other books set on the extraordinary planet Majipoor are not better known. They are well crafted, complex and thought provoking - and very good science fiction. Perhaps they lack a certain popularism, but I suspect they will endure over the years.This one stands up well after more than 30 years.

I wonder how many readers have been inspired to take up juggling?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cyteen - C.J. Cherryh

This is the Seventy-second in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

Dense, difficult to follow, engrossing and intellectual. You often feel - when reading Cherryh - that you have come late to the party and have missed out on the introductions and entree - or that you have joined a guided tour but didn't get the handout and don't know if it is the right tour. However that is just her style and if you can live with it, read and enjoy.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Downbelow Station - C.J. Cherryh

This is the Seventy-first in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

Cherryh is an author that passed me by for many years. I think that the cheap, garish covers on her books may have influenced my avoidance, as I had seen them on the shelves but had never opened one or explored the interior. One of my cousins is a serious reader and has been collecting Cherryh's books for years. She introduced me to this amazing author and I have been a big fan ever since. Unfortunately I don't have many on my bookshelf, having borrowed from my cousin's private collection, but I am on the lookout for some titles that I must have. Unfortunately Cherryh is not a supporter of the ebook format otherwise I would be adding them to my Kindle instead of being disappointed in their availability in new and secondhand bookshops. Some of her earlier works are only in print as omnibus and I don't like that. However I will add to my bookshelf in the fullness of time.

This particular title is an excellent example of what makes Cherryh's science fiction so good. I don't claim that she is always an easy read or that her books don't occasionally have flat patches and can be a little dark and uncomfortable but she captures the reader's sense of perspective in a manner I've not encountered before and then turns you on your head. Traveling and living in space, being a human amongst aliens or being an alien - she is a genius. Seriously. Iconic. Must-read for the serious science fiction fan.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Time for the Stars - Robert Heinlein

This is the Seventieth in my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.

The last in my current sequence of Heinlein books but not my last!

The picture on the cover of this version describes something that happened in the story and which stuck with me since I first read the book as a youth. There are primal fears in that image!

I think that one of the enduring attractions of Heinlein is his ability to capture the imagination of the reader and to influence how the reader thinks about things - the renown Heinlein philosophy of life. There is a great deal to like about this book and I recommend it to you.