John Bokma MexIT
freelance Perl programmer

Five books arrived today

Thursday, March 10, 2011 | 0 comments

In the afternoon, when the doorbell rang, I was sure that this time it really was the postman bringing books ordered via Amazon; more sure than the other times the past days, so I took my Stanley knife up to open the box, or boxes.

Five books, ordered via Amazon.
Five books, ordered via Amazon.

And this time, finally, I was right: 2 boxes from Amazon. One box contained two books ordered the 10th of February in return for the Perl programming help I had given.

The first book was "Nine Black Doves: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny", the fifth in a six-volume series and contains Zelazny's short works from the 1980s. I have the other four volumes as well, and the sixth and final is on its way. And as soon as it has arrived and I have time I will start in volume 1: Threshold.

Ugly type in "The Elements of Style" by BN Publishing.
Ugly type in "The Elements of Style" by BN Publishing.

The second book was a bit of a disappointment; "The Elements of Style - the original edition" looks like a photo copy of the original was scanned page for page, converted to black and white, and then printed. In the above photo I made of a page from the book you can see clearly how horrible the type is, e.g. the o and e in "to each" and the j in subject.

In short: stay away from the edition by BN Publishing. The price looks very attractive but it might be considered even too much for the print quality one gets.

The other box contained three books. At first I was confused, since the packing slip inside mentioned someone I'd never heard about. But then I noticed it was a slip for a completely different order.

Since my brother ordered several books for my birthday, which was the 15th of February, I next assumed that this was part of his order. Last week he already complained to me that it took Amazon too long to deliver the books; he had ordered the books 6-7 weeks ago.

So what did I got from my brother Marco? "Shock Totem" issue 2 and 3, and "Prayers to Broken Stones" by Dan Simmons.

Some time ago I finally, finally read the Hyperion Cantos. Back in the 90's as a student at Utrecht University I had seen the first book in the cantos, the Hugo Award winning novel "Hyperion", in a small book store located in "Hoog Catharijne", on my way back to the train station. I recall to have picked up the book several times on following visits, but each time it couldn't convince me that I should buy and read it. I can't recall why, and looking back it was very stupid since "Hyperion", and the three following books are in one word fantastic! And since "Prayers to Broken Stones" contains "Remembering Siri" and "The Death of the Centaur", two stories that also play in the same universe, the book was high on my wish list.

Besides the Hyperion Cantos I've also read "Songs of Kali", the World Fantasy Award winner of 1986, by the same author, and really enjoyed the book.

So now you know why "Prayers to Broken Stones" by Dan Simmons ended up on my wish list. And I am very happy that my brother selected it as a part of my birthday present.

Last but not least: Shock Totem. I've known the publisher / editor of Shock Totem, Ken Wood, online since 2003. And when he told us about Shock Totem on a message board I am the administrator of I couldn't resist to order the first issue shortly after it came available on Amazon. But... I still haven't read it, sorry Ken! And now I have two more issues to read...


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