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Characters that seem important at one point become unimportant, and vice versa. In the end, it all bogs down in its own confusion and cliches.

I've read a lot of books either authored or co-authored by Larry Niven. Some were very good and among my favorites in the scifi genre.

It is, in my opinion, mediocre. Does that mean it went over my head, as someone has suggested? Under my head, perhaps, but I think it's possible to "get" this book and still be underwhelmed by it.

For me, it went briskly but I had had more than enough by the time I finished it. Ultimately, I don't read scifi to get other people's thoughts on the human condition.

I read scifi for entertainment. Read more 4. It began well - an experiment in techniques to teach high-risk children - poor, minority, children - the life-strategies that will allow them to succeed in life.

And not just succeed, but overcome the odds and become wildly successful. They chose as their model a man who had done it all - Alexander Marcus;a black man who raised himself up from poverty to become one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in America.

The imprinting is effective. The children are focused, driven. They are inventive, intelligent, and love learning.

But there is a mysterious darkness to them - a ruthlessness that is surprising. Renny Sand first met the children as a journalist covering the sensational trial of a preschool operator.

There were terrible charges of sex abuse, but the thing that stayed with Renny was the strange poise and power of a group of eight year old children.

That, and the face of the mother of one of them, Vivian Emory. Now the children are thirteen years old, and one of them has been killed in a mysterious hit-and-run accident.

Renny Sands sees the possibility of big story, a human interest story, a story that might jump-start his flagging career.

He'll do a follow-up on the preschool scandal; and he might get a chance to restart his love life as well - Vivian Emory has divorced her husband in the five years since he met her.

Read more Customer Reviews 12 A Different Steven Barnes Sometimes a book is truly scary due to it's plausibility rather than it's intent to be frightening.

Barnes did an excellent job in portraying a situation that could arise. He set up characters that were believable and portrayed them with wide emotional brushes.

You really dislike the bad guys but are somewhat confused by your emotions for the "good" guys. Kids are involved and if even fictional harm to kids is hard for you, this may not be your cup of tea.

I have a tendency to get emotionally overwrought if kids are threatened so you may want to have a calming glass of wine at your side as you read.

I found the book an excellent read and frankly quite different from the rest of Barnes' stuff I have read. Intelligently Scary This tale made me shiver.

I'm not paranoid but Barnes spun a yarn that makes you think, "Do we really know what the powers that be are up to? Do we even want to know?

Like Reading a Movie The kind I'd want to see. First off, I did enjoy this book. The story was interesting and engaging. The main characters are pretty well developed and you do find yourself rooting for them.

It was a relatively fast-paced read and I found myself sprinting to get to the end and see how it all came together.

This is a story worth reading. Such as villains pretending to be good or harmless and then eyes going "dead" when no longer being watched.

You can see this same "effect" performed by almost any TV show or movie villain at some point while they are on-screen. It works perfectly in that medium, but seemed out of place in a novel.

When I was finished and read the short bio of Steven Barnes on the back flap it made sense, as Barnes actually has a screen-writing past.

The story itself, as I said earlier, was very interesting. It was fascinating to think of the possibilities of what could be accomplished with the proper training when it comes to our children.

Is it really possible to produce strong vision and focus in children who come from broken down families and lives?

I like to think it is,but hopefully without using the methods tried by the characters within this book.

Happy reading. Sort of slow I feel that Mr. Barnes is an excellent writer and a good story teller. However, I had a few problems with the story.

One, I am not sure who pen this story as a sci-fi. It is not, though I am not a fan of the genre. Secondly, for me it took too long for me as reader to have any understanding of what was going on.

I think it was around the two hundreth page that I began to have an inkling of what had happened to the children.

Thirdly, the implied event under the bridge with the motor cycle crew and the guys from the gay bar did not give me any idea of what happened, though I suspected.

Barnes characters kept alluding to the incident. However, it was about the th page before he specifically spelled out what happened.

The story took too long to unfold. He did not give enough imformation for me to follow the story until I have read over half of the book.

The story unfolded towards the end. But before than, I was annoyed as a reader at the pace and the amount of vital information to understanding the story took ages.

Since the fifties psychology books have said extroversion is related to sadism. Without Freudian necromancy--the more outgoing you are, the more your kindness and cruelty affects people.

Self-help books claim to make you more outgoing. Suppose there was a self-help technique that worked?

Larry Niven hasn't extrapolated this tightly this close to the present since a couple of his early short stories.

It's a Hell of a ride. It's also a betrayal of Barnes' life's work. I've bought his 'Five Minute Miracle'. I've even DONE some of the exercises.

What if I turn into Charles Manson? In that case, blame it all on Steven Barnes Read more 5. His ex-slave and friend, the Irishman Aidan O'Dere, is on the Ouachita frontier, helping other ex-slaves build a settlement for themselves.

But ex-slaves are always at risk, and an angry mob threatens Aidan, his family, and his entire village with slaughter or re-enslavement.

Meanwhile, Kai is entangled in intrigues among not only his fellow senators, but the lords of Egypt and Abyssinia, who have sinister plans for the New World colonies.

Pharaoh takes Kai's sister hostage to manipulate Kai, even as Aidan discovers his twin sister, lost since childhood, is the property of a powerful foe of New Djibouti.

Aidan has a slight possibility of rescuing his beloved sister, and of helping Kai thwart his enemies, but the only chance of achieving these near-impossible goals requires that Aidan go undercover--a slave once more.

So I am very familiar with Mr. Barnes writing style. Once I picked the book up, I could not put it down. It is an excellent read.

The amount of research that went into putting this book together is astounding. This isn't some off the cuff writing.

The story telling, character development and writing is simply superior. Barnes works deserve to be read. He is a worthy author.

I would highly recommend that you begin with that novel first. A note -- Barnes deals with slavery in a realistic manner, so this is not for the faint of heart, and indeed, he has toned it down somewhat.

What he describes is well documented by dozens of historians. Slavery means death, torture, and rape of the enslaved, and families shattered.

This is alternate history series, though at this point, there is only two books available. The basis of the change is two events -- Socrates, instead of taking poison, flees to Egypt.

A second, perhaps more important event was the survival of Alexander, who lives past 33 and becomes Pharoah of Egypt. Much of the book's events take place in the s and s.

The Greek-African powers worked with Carthage to destroy Rome, and several African empires adopt Islam and become world powers.

Without Rome to spread technology and literacy, Europe becomes a backwater, pillaged by Norsemen and Africans for slaves. One presumes, since the word is used, that the Slavs are also fodder for the trade, though the novel focuses on western Europe -- Germans, Franks, and Irish.

Barnes does a really good job of character development, and is able to sustain the premise of alternate history rather well.

America is a collection of balkanized states -- New Djibouti, New Alexandria, Azania, and Whichita, all of which comprise the Mid-Atlantic region and the lands south of the Mason-Dixon line as far west as Texas.

To the north, along the great lakes, is Vinland, a Norse settled region; to the southwest is the fierce Aztec nation; while to the west are the various surviving tribes of Native Americans.

Curiously, there are lands that would have been part of the Iroquois Confederacy, but they are never mentioned or even alluded to.

Historically, attempts to colonize Canada by the Norse such as at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland were abandoned due to the mini-Ice Age, which forced them to give up most of their colonies on the intermediate stop in Greenland for several hundred years.

However, it is possible their American colony could have been re-settled, especially considering their access to the steam technology in use.

As you can tell, I found the stories entertaining, and interesting to me to see where the divergences were.

And because of the alternate history premise, Barnes is able to convey some of the hatred and deplorable conditions that slavery can impose with greater liberty because of the switch in roles, with whites as the enslaved and blacks in power.

Highly recommended. Impressive Zulu Heart is a stunning achievement demonstrating scholarship not often found in fiction.

However, despite the thickness of the volume, the story itself is rather thin. I have the feeling that Barnes needed to say all of this, not just to show off, but to set us up for future tales.

Its well worth the read regardless and along with Lions Blood constitute an alternative history that puts to shame anything Turtledove has written.

Also noteworthy is that Barnes is married to Tananarive Due. This has got to be SFs first family. Still original and ambitious, but drier than "Lion's Blood" In this sequel to the breathtakingly original "Lion's Blood," Steven Barnes returns to his alternate America, now an African colony named Bilalistan.

He also brings us back to his two main characters: Kai, a mystic Sufi and younger son who has now inherited the noble title of Wakil, and Aidan, his former Irish slave who now ekes out a frontier existence as a freedman.

Supposedly, the heart of this book is Aidan's attempt to find and reunite with his long-lost sister Nessa, who was sold away from him when they were first captured as slaves.

In reality, however, Aidan's search is merely a subplot, a result of Kai's political schemes rather than a driving force. This bummed me out a little, because instead of character-driven plot, angst and heroism and pointless self-sacrifice and all, we get Oh, they're interesting politics, but I just wasn't as interested in a possible war between Egypt and Abyssinia and the secession of southern New Djibouti from the rest of Bilalistan as I would have been in the personal lives of Aidan and Kai.

Barnes seems to be invoking both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars here; New Djibouti wants its independence both from its mother country and from the industrialized north.

Anyway, as part of all this double-dealing and war mongering and it's pretty confusing; it might take a second reading for me to really understand where all the lines are drawn Kai decides he absolutely must get his hand on some sort of code-breaking device.

To do that, he asks Aidan to re-enter slavery as a sort of gladiator, with the hope that he can then infiltrate the home of the governor and steal the device.

To entice him, Kai suggests to Aidan that he could free his sister, who is the paramour of an influential general, at the same time.

A huge part of the book, as I said, is taken up with politics. Another large chunk deals with Aidan's gladiatorial training, which incorporates some of the Sufi techniques that Kai learned back in "Lion's Blood.

There's a few interesting ones, particularly some of the female characters Barnes introduces this time around.

Yet the familiar triad from the last book - Kai, Aidan, and Aidan's wife Sophia - is conspicuously watered down. I just didn't care about these characters anymore, and that was disappointing.

It is, however, still one of the more ambitious and original alternate histories I've ever read, and I am anxious to continue with the series.

Outstanding Sequel I couldn't put this book down. It was well researched and written. A compelling and excellent sequel story.

I hope there's a 3rd to wrap some things up. This could definitely be a movie - better than Terminator. Read more 6. But this time it's a ragtag band of space colonists vs.

And the fate of the world hangs by a thread miles above the earth. FA has just produced 1, kilometers of the strongest cable everproduced-single-crystal iron suspended in an epoxy matrix,.

Stealing and launching a Soviet Prometheusground-to-orbit missile, they destroy the Gabriel and cripple the Anansiand cable re-entry pod, also killing an Anansi crewmember.

Their mission: retrieve thecable, and finish the job that the missile didn't complete. Destroythe Anansi and her crew. Readable I had a bit of trouble following some of what was going on.

The romance seemed a bit forced to make the story more interesting. Great read! Wonderful book! Pay no attention to other carping comments.

The book thatmade me understand about tides. It has believable characters, great plot,tension--this should be made into a movie.

I'm already casting theprincipal characters in my mind It has a large cast of characters with difficult names.

It reminds one of "Outland" more than any known space books. What the heck Not much substance but an entertaining airplane book.

Read more 7. Read more Customer Reviews 9 Return to Dream Park for those who want a little less This return to Dream Park the role-playing theme park of the future is workman-like enough and avoids the pitfalls of the earlier novel, but ultimately there isn't much real meat here.

This time through, the game is a "Fat-Ripper Special", which means that the players are paying their hard-earned dollars to lose weight, get plenty of exercise, and change the way they think about food.

This certainly makes sense from a Dream Park perspective - people always seem to have money for weight loss - and this at least makes it distinct from the original Dream Park novel, but it doesn't make for an especially interesting story.

Once again, the best part of the book is the Game itself, which this time is based on Inuit mythology.

And once again, the back-story a ruthless industrialist attempts to sabotage the visionary Barsoom Project is where most of the science fiction is, even though it gets very few pages, and isn't really all that interesting.

So like the original Dream Park novel, this book is recommended for gamers more than for sci-fi readers. Those uncertain if they really want to return to Dream Park would be better off skipping to the third installment, The California Voodoo Game, which is a substantially better book than this one.

Not Free SF Reader An odd choice for a name, as the Barsoom Project is nothing to do with the actual game that will be played, but a project that the Dream Park company inside the book wants to get involved with, actual exploration of Mars.

The game itself involves lots of cold, eskimo types and other such things, no John Carters or Dejah Thorises or any analogues of any of that to be seen.

Not as good as the original, but an entertaining read If you're already a fan, it's a decent buy. Although I resd it before the other books in the series.

I find that this book centered on the game which was a fat ripper special. That means that the game was to lose weight.

To make it stick way past when the game was over they used Induit ways of regarding food. This stuck with me so much that I still remember this book and it's been a good five years since I read the book.

If you're looking for good Sci Fi, keep looking I read and enjoyed the other two books in this series, Dream Park and California Voodoo Game before I even knew this book existed.

I was surprised and pleased to discover a third book that fell between the two. Unfortunately, The Barsoom Project was a huge let-down.

It reads as if Niven and Barnes wrote an OK outline for a novel but never bothered to put any effort into the actual writing.

For example, some information that is very important to the plot is revealed in a monolog by a character that is supposedly so drunk, he can't control what he's saying.

Yet he manages to express it all in complete, neatly constructed, coherent paragraphs. The characters are poorly constructed, uninteresting and unbelievable.

The dialog is unnatural. The plot is implausible. Plus, there's a romance that is so forced, it's painful. It's no wonder this book was released by a different publisher than Dream Park and California Voodoo Game.

It's an embarrassment. Read more 8. For as long as there have been mountain, sky, and savannah, there has been a home for the Ibandi.

Now, in the face of an enemy beyond anything spoken of even in legend, they must ask their god face-to-face: Do we remain or do we depart?

His mastery of story telling is phenomenal. Barnes has the noteworthy skill and the poise to write about a myriad of subject matters and plots, creating in them specific and believable worlds in which readers can throw themselves into.

Great Sky Woman is set in the heart of the African continent, at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, before recorded history.

There, the Ibandi live as hunters and gatherers unaware of the manmade and natural disasters approaching their way. T'Cori, gifted with superior abilities than the other dream dancers, searches desperately for acceptance from the one who raises her as well as her sister dream dancers.

Conversely, Frog, who isn't the strongest or fastest amongst his age, competes with his brothers to be a man amongst the Ibandi.

Their search for their own identity and place amongst the Ibandi ultimately brings them together in life and death struggles that eventually decide the fate of all the Ibandi.

Barnes builds a world full of African folklore, legend and mysticism in such vivid realistic detail that the reader is sucked in wanting more.

The characters are so strong and brilliant that they resonate in the readers mind long after completing the book.

The power of this story opens the door for a growing new type of fiction that beckons for more. I recommend Great Sky Woman as a must read.

I can not wait to read the follow on story Shadow Valley. Well Done I purchased this book when it first came out. I found it extremely difficult to get into.

However, because of an extremely long flight I picked it back up and dove in. After the first few chapters, it gets extremely interesting and you're then really drawn into the characters and their way of life which took considerable interpretation.

The struggles of Frog Hopping are based largely on his evolving level of awareness and thought. I am interested to see how the Ibandi overcome, if at all, the two groups of "man" that wish them harm.

An African Ayla I found this book to be an excellent Historical Fiction work, similar in context and experience to the general work of Jean Auel and her Earth's Children series.

The 'buy-in' of the first few chapters, creates a familiarity with the central characters and their value systems that carries the story to its logical conclusion, without artifice or undo diversion.

I hope that this story is the beginning of a wonderful series. Dee White Myths or Beliefs or Facts?

Excerpt: "Was it possible the only reward for a lifetime of work and risk was deterioration and disease?

The naked eye of death seemed to fix him, the terror that none of his fellows seemed to fear, because unlike him, they believed.

And if that was true, then who was really more alive in the mind? He who saw through the tricks and lived in constant fear?

Or one who succumbed to the mirage and lived his life in joy? And if there was nothing but the struggle of life, then what good was it all?

I can relate to the turmoil of Frog Hopping. When you see things as they really are, rather than living in a world of belief and fantasy, life can be quite interesting.

You don't have too many illusions, and facts, not belief, generally rule your existence. However, at the same time, you may feel envious of people who live in a world of illusions and fantasies and myths, because they seem to have joy from believing, than knowing.

As they say, "ignorance is bliss", and when you are no longer ignorant, the world can be quite painful. Is having knowledge freeing or imprisoning?

I think it is both - painful and freeing. I feel that the story ofT'Cori and Frog Hopping nem was a very interesting read, exciting, and fascinating.

The author has done some serious research to write such a book. The book is well written and takes one's mind to another place and time, which is the mark of an excellent writer.

The Ibandi are fictionalized and are the first humans to stand erect conjecture. They are most likely the ancestors of us all.

The Msk may be the Neanderthals, being partial ape and human, not having evolved to full human status. These half humans posed an enormous threat to the Ibandi.

They were bigger and stronger and vicious. We all known what actually happened to them. They died out..

Places that I never gave a second thought, now they are firmly etched in my memory. Kilimanjaro now has a permanent place in my head.

Kilimanjaro is situated in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on earth.

Kilimanjaro, which is known to the Ibandi as Great Sky. T'Cori, abandoned to wild animals by a father who thinks she is blind, is rescued by a mystic, Stillshadow, who teaches her to be a dream dancer.

Frog Hopping, an undersized teenager who is being raised by his Uncle Snake, is attempting to prove his worth as a great hunter.

Frog Hopping realizes he also has premonitions that let him know what is about to happen. After a brutal and hairy group attack the Ibandi people, the hunt chiefs who are left and the dream dancers must climb Mt.

Kilimanjaro to set things right. Steven Barnes has spun a wonderful tale of life during prehistoric times in Africa. He delves deeply into the religious beliefs, the customs and cultures of the Ibandi people and what they must do to survive in the harsh region on the slopes of Mt.

The suspense keeps you tense and wondering what is going to happen next. How can even extraordinary teenagers survive the many tribulations that beset them and their people?

The story has many twists and turns that confound you before a possible solution is discovered. Barnes is a wonderful writer well worth reading again and again.

Read more 9. Read more Customer Reviews 18 "Can't we all just get along? This book features a behind-the-scenes look at computer game programming, an angry super warrior, a terrific family unaware of its magical heritage, and evil, O so evil voodoo magic.

Derek Waites hasn't had an easy life, part of it being his fault. Back in the day a notorious computer hacker nicknamed Captain Africa, Derek paid for his crimes with a stint in prison.

Nowadays he's a legit computer game designer and plays doting dad to two beautiful children. He still tends to stick to childish things, living life like a frathouse party, and this bump of irresponsibility has cost him his marriage.

And, for Derek Waites, life is about to get horrifyingly worse, paranormally worse. The Waites family - even Derek's soon-to-be-divorced wife Rachel - are at the L.

Zoo celebrating young Dee's seventh birthday although Barnes soon after refers to her as an eight-year-old when Dee begins burning up and a grown woman's voice emerges from her lips, promptly followed by a foiled attempt to abduct year-old Troy Waites in broad daylight.

For the ex-con Derek, it's even more alarming to learn that the police may be in on it. Steven Barnes, who really gets into his characters and makes you feel for them, knows how to treat you to a white knuckle ride.

Things quickly escalate for the Waites family, until soon they're fleeing for their lives and panicking about Dee's condition. We soon learn that she's being possessed by her however-many-times great grandmother, Dahlia Childe, a black woman and a slave hundreds of years ago.

Dahlia has a warning. Dark magic, rooted from her past, still haunts the world and it's targeting her descendants.

Dahlia urges Derek to seek the Warrior Derek's search unearths Austin Tucker, a hulkish, white ex-Green Beret serving serious time for multiple murders.

Tucker's life was shattered more than a decade ago, a few evenings before Thanksgiving when a brutal home invasion cost him his family's lives.

Framed for their deaths, Tucker's only thought is on revenge. He gets a chance at this when Derek breaks him out of stir.

But even the Warrior won't be enough when faced against corrupt sorcerers hundreds of years old and bent on living for much longer, their core sustenance dependent on the perpetual murdering of Dahlia Childe's descendants.

I've liked Steven Barnes's stuff for a while now. Although, re-reading this recently, I've forgotten that the story early on takes place during the Rodney King scandal.

Austin Tucker makes for a powerful action hero, embittered and a racist and still mourning the loss of his fam. Tucker stands in for a particular protagonist Barnes seems to favor - that of a tough, nail-chewing, unstoppable man of action.

And, this time, his protagonist is gifted with uncanny reflexes, brought about by a supernatural heritage.

In the realm of martial arts-flavored sci-fi literature, Barnes is almost up there with Steve Perry. However, note that Tucker isn't really a martial artist as much as a freakily fast brawler.

Everything slows down for Tucker to the extent that he can predict his opponent's next move, kind of like the Batgirl, Cassandra Cain.

It's saying something then that Derek Waites turns out to be the more absorbing character. Derek, a nerdy black computer programmer, makes for a more thoughtful lead and it's gratifying that the poor guy takes his licks but keeps on ticking, even as he fusses and gets his fright on plenty of times.

BLOOD BROTHERS is one of those reads which keeps you flipping pages, racing to see how the bad guys, portrayed here as insanely powerful, get what's coming to them and, even more importantly, how it works out between Tucker and Derek, who as you can guess, don't start out as high-fiving chums.

Their evolution from hostile strangers to uneasy allies to fast friends is one of the book's strengths. Barnes doesn't make it an easy transition.

Steven Barnes introduces us to a captivating family. The Waites are folks whom you immediately relate to and pull for.

I like that Rachel, Derek's soon-to-be ex-wife genuinely loves her fiance and doesn't easily crawl back to Derek, even when dire straits fling them together.

It's also more realistic that Rachel's fiance is actually an okay dude who genuinely care for her kids, although it's a bit much that he's a famous actor.

Although, okay, the story does take place muchly in L. Dee, the seven or eight-year-old girl, is absolutely adorable, although I found it disturbing whenever she would get possessed.

Tucker takes the Waites to a "safe" place and this turns out to be - and this is funny in a sick way - a survivalist camp inhabited by well-armed white racists.

One of the best moments in the book happens when, scared to be in the camp but trying to make a statement, feisty teenager Troy plays Tucker in a one-on-one basketball game.

Tucker, remember, is blindingly fast. But, as we find out, so is Troy. I ate up the play by play. It would've been hard coming up with a finale slam-bang enough and gratifying enough to live up to the way the plot unfolded, of the extreme odds stacked up against the protagonists and given Austin's talents and the soul-sucking stakes.

Barnes does pretty good, and there's explosiveness and extreme peril and plenty kickassery. But, yes, ruefully I was expecting something even bigger.

Developing a jones for the blood and crunch and character development of this story, I've been waiting for some sort of sequel. But it's been over a decade now, so prospects look increasingly grim.

I've read one of Steven Barnes's latest books, Great Sky Woman, and it's fine pseudo-historical fiction. But that book doesn't boast angelic kids running around, impishly doling out check marks for bad behavior.

Or tough hombres who could stop your heartbeat with a strategic palm slammed to the chest. Ah, good times. Blood is Thicker Steven Barnes is better known for science fiction, but this novel from was an early example of his forays into other genres, in this case a Koontz-ish supernatural thriller.

The plotline here is very busy and ambitious, maybe too much so, with ancient African black magic unleashing an evil menace that was fueled by the horrors of slavery in America and continues to this day in a far-flung conspiracy of kidnapping and murder.

Barnes layers on an incredibly intricate series of plat elements and manages to tie up all or most of the loose ends, really making the reader appreciate the complexity of the story, even though some of that complexity can be exasperating.

But this novel's real strengths are on the thematic side. Having two protagonists who should and initially do hate each other a young black computer hacker and a violent white supremacist , who then have to resolve their differences and work together, is a pretty well-worn conceit but Barnes uses it brilliantly.

The main characters are robust and defy stereotypes, and Barnes constructs incredibly disturbing and thought-provoking insights on race relations and the evils that can arise from a long history of discrimination and oppression.

While this book's backdrop story of an evil conspiracy and the resulting chase can be unnecessarily dense, Barnes lays out his plotlines and sub-plotlines very well and his thematic insights are ultimately stirring and fascinating for the reader.

In a genre that's been done to death with formulaic plots and stereotypical characters, this one rises above the pack. Although this book has been released for quite some time I am just now reading it and I was initially excited to read this novel.

It is the first novel that I have read by this writer. The basic premise sounded interesting Well I felt that alot of the plotted storyline was forced in order to advance the story.

I hate to say it but it was like Barnes was too lazy to exercise his creativity and create a way that made more sense to connect some points in the story.

Some parts were just too tidily handled. He wasn't creative in the way that suspense in the story was resolved either.

You're on the edge of your seat trying to figure out how they are going to get out of the conflict this time and then something happens that is just too tidy and too convenient to really suspend disbelief.

Also, this is not necessarily Barnes's fault, probably more the editor s , but the book was full of typos.

And some words were overused in the story. It was hard to follow sometimes who was speaking during the dialog scenes as well.

Again, more the editor s fault? The character development was "okay. All in all, I know I will probably not read another Steven Barnes novel.

My time is limited to read though this is one of my favorite pasttimes. I hate finishing a novel that I am not really all that impressed with feeling like it was a colossal waste of time and that I could have been spending my time reading something more worthwhile.

The flow and style will grab you and you'll never see or guess what's coming on the next page. Two words sum up this book: "Read it!

As so many of Barnes' novels, Blood Brothers tackles a series of human issues. The story essentially centers around two men who could not be more different: A black former computer hacker; divorced and still dealing the the pain of his split family.

What makes this story so interesting is not how different these men are, but how truly similar they are. The two are forced to work together to unravel a mystery that is over a hundred years old.

As always Barnes does a masterful job of getting his reader to 'become' each of the characters. In my opinion, great writing is about people, not about deep storylines, and Barnes pulls the reader in from the first page, making them truly empathize and care about all the characters.

A great read with lots of twists and turns. Read more Twenty years ago, the colonists of Avalon waged a war against the grendels, reptilian creatures larger than alligators.

Now the younger members of the colony want to explore the mainland where the grendels still roam - and claim the entire planet for humankind.

Not the most technically accurate premis, but not so far off that I couldn't overlook the stretches of imagination.

The characterizations were well done, the individual characters fully fleshed and the plot s devious and interesting. With so many science fiction stories out there, it's hard to come up with something novel, but this story does it very nicely.

This is a familiar Earth-colonizes-a-living-world story, but the world is very cleverly constructed like non-other I've read before.

A whole eco-system is described that fits together to present the characters with mortal challenges on a stage of the author's imagination.

Well done and very entertaining! They have some knowledge of what goes on around the planet now, of course, but they still have to deal with it, and keep trying to forge ahead and create a civilisation.

Not as interesting as the first book. Released under different title in US This book was released under a different title in the United States.

If you are looking for the title in print, look under "Beowulf's Children. Set twenty years after the events of Legacy, we see the inhabitants of the planet Avalon, living their lives on the island they secured for themselves, following the events of the previous book.

However, the children of the survivors of the fight against the grendels wish to branch out onto the mainland.

Despite the reluctance of their elders, they set about how to do this. Led by the headstrong and ruthless Aaron Tragon, they then go ahead and set up an outpost which they call Shangri La.

However, this outpost turns out to be anything but the perfection that the name implies, and they discover to their cost that human nature remains as traitorous as ever.

Additionally, they also find out that there is a life form on the mainland that is even more lethal than the grendels themselves The book explores the interaction of its human characters well, and is particularly strong with the scenes involving Old Grendel, an intelligent grendel no less.

It also explores the impact of mankind on a new planet and its indigenous life forms. Indeed, Niven makes a strong case as to whether that most ugly creature - human nature, is the most dangerous thing of all on this new planet The story line is good and has its shares of shocks and surprises, and leads up to a powerful ending.

Overall this book is a very good read and I can recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first. Aubry Knight is now a powerful man with powerful friends.

And someone wants to kill him. Their opening shot is the death of one of Aubry's dearest friends. Their next attack is on Aubry's child.

Knight is drawn inexorably toward New Africa, toward the mysteries of his own past, and toward a future that may take him far from Los Angeles and the only life he's ever known.

To win this battle, and save his family, Aubry Knight must defeat himself. Read more Customer Reviews 5 Some of the best martial arts sci-fi out there.

Some of the best martial arts sci-fi out there. A great story with complex characters not the one or two dimensional characters so often seen in science fiction or action books..

One of the best books i've ever read Firedance is the last book in a trilogy the others being Streetlethal and then Gorgon Child , and boy does it go out with a bang!

The whole series is jam-packed with action and intrigue, which in itself is perceptive commentary on human nature.

This book completes the story of Aubry Knight, a born and bred warrior, who throughout the series reluctantly finds himself at the forefront of persecuted humanitarian organizations.

This particular book tells the story of Aubry Knight seeking revenge for someone assassinating his friend. The story takes him across continents where he finds himself as an assassin of a head-of-state, in a zero-gravity fighting championship and finally finding out the identity and whereabouts of his birth family he was orphaned at a young age.

Particularly, the martial-arts-fighter-hero main character really seemed typical. I was wrong.

This book is a deeply textured morality tale about power, politics and technology. The action, superb, is just part of the story.

This has all the trademarks of cyberpunk with a solid story. The fact that I read the third book in the trilogy was not a problem, in fact, it just made me determined to track down the other two.

This is one of his best. By far the best martial art's fiction I have read This is the third in the Aubry Knight trilogy and all three are excellent.

The fight scenes are so well described and choregraphed that you can practically see them Fighting alongside his beautiful mate, he takes on a corrupt television evangelist who schemes to enslave America.

The action-packed, near-future adventure sequel to Streetlethal. This book was completely awesome!!!!!!! The author developed the characters and plot wonderderfully!!!!!

Aubrey Knight has come a long way. It also manages to kick serious butt like Streetlethal. Anti Hero Aubry Knight is without a doubt the best anti hero I've ever read.

This was my introduction to Steven Barnes and so I didn't realize that the rest of the series wasn't as well crafted.

Gorgon's Child showed how to be a man, and how being a man could make a hero out of the most unlikely subject. I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

Here Zbigniew Herbert's poetry turns from the public--what we have come to expect from this poet--to the more personal. The title poem, "Elegy for the Departure of Pen Ink and Lamp , is a three-part farewell ode to the inanimate objects and memories of childhood.

Herbert reflects on the relationship between the living and the dead in "What Our Dead Do," the state of his homeland in "Country," and the power of language in "We fall asleep on words.

They have nice snouts, and small eyes Children who love Winnie-the-Pooh would give them anything, but a hunter walks in the forest and aims with his rifle between that pair of small eyes.

Elegy for the Departure and Other Poems confirms Zbigniew Herbert's place as one of the world's greatest and most influential poets.

Indeed, the dead are seldom absent from these poems. Herbert describes theobjects in a still life as "violently separated from life.

Milne's famous character becomes a potentialvictim : "Children who love Winnie-the-Pooh would give them anything, but ahunter walks in the forest and aims with his rifle between that pair ofsmall eyes.

Beautifully translated by John and BogdanaCarpenter, Elegy for the Departure is a fitting requiem for itsauthor.

Read more Customer Reviews 3 effortlessly intelligent lyric poetry Herbert's spare poems have the elemental force of haiku.

Those written in the context of Soviet Poland are also encoded--the multivalent language gives one the same thrill of Emily Dickinson-type riddles, with the additional excitement of secret messages passed to your hand through the Iron Curtain.

Makes for marvellous reading. He didn't, however, and, like Borges, he was denied the prize in favor of much lesser writers.

Thankfully he was honored by theIngersoll Foundation a few years before his death with The T.

Eliot Awardfor Creative Writing, an award conferred for merit, not idealogy. Herbert's poems have an elegant austerity born out of his own privationsand the loss he experienced and witnessed for most of his life, first atthe hands of the Nazis, then the Communists.

But he is not without hopeand humor. The book is divided into three sections: the first comprised ofearly poems, the second by a sequence of wry, lovely, surprising prosepoems, the last of latterday work.

Among the outstanding pieces here are"A Small Bird" and the title poem, a magnificent farewell to artand to life that could well serve as Herbert's epitaph.

Here's hopinghis name and work win the widespread attention they deserve. Herbert deserves the acclaim he is finally getting.

While I havent read this book, I have read much of his earlier work, and certainly his poems are the genuine article. The Rain, Apollo and Mauryas are two quite wonderful pieces that combine emotion and intellect in a seldom-encountered way.

Read him. Read more 4. Doubly blessed is the English-reader, for in this volume he gets Zbigniew Herbert's work rendered by Czeslaw Milosz: like the poor, or better yet like nature herself, Polish genius takes care of its own.

This collection is bound for a much longer haul than any of us can anticipate. For Zbigniew Herbert's poetry adds to the biography of civilization the sensibility of a man not defeated by the century that has been most thorough, most effective in dehumanization of the species.

Herbert's irony, his austere reserve and his compassion, the lucidity of his lyricism, the intensity of his sentiment toward classical antiquity, are not just trappings of a modern poet, but the necessary armor--in his case well-tempered and shining indeed--for man not to be crushed by the onslaught of reality.

By offering to his readers neither aesthetic norethical discount, this poet, in fact, saves them frorn that poverty which every form of human eviI finds so congenial.

Read more 6. Read more Customer Reviews 3 the mind of the poet Herbert possesses an intelligence and wisdom that allows him to write about worldly as well as literary matters in a wonderfully penetrating way.

His insights into landscape, history, people, places make this, as well as his other books of essays, a delight to read. I give this a 4 only because I like the other collections a little better.

Milosz and Szymborska were my main Polish "experience. This "little book," from its charming and self-deprecating titlea boomerang, a cross-cultural, linguistic pun--to its conclusion, a genuinely new look new to me, at least at old "places" and cultural presumptions.

He made me re-think oh so many things. He lost me a couple times he seems to know everything and read everything , but his sharp perceptions and love of all things human soon charmed me all over again.

This book gave me a glimpse into the person who became the poet Herbert. We all know how hard it is to find someone to go to museums with, to travel with, to talk over "what we did today.

Herbert is the ideal travel companion. And you get a glimpse into the mind and heart of a great poet.

A charming side kick to his searing, compassionate and monumental poetry. He's not only a poet equal to any of the 20th century, he's a charming person you wish you had gotten to know when he was alive.

A great read. This book of essays is a record of his journeys in France,Italy and the Netherlands: from the rock-paintings of Lascaux, through themedieval architecture of the great cathedrals, to the quiet consummateperfection of the Flemmish Masters.

The rich meditation on art and life isyour reward for joining the eccentric and humane poet with his 19th centuryBaedekker guide.

Read more 7. Kraszewski has undertaken the analysis of the dramatic currents in the writings of Zbigniew Herbert, something that critics have up until now busied themselves with but slightly in comparison to the other genres in which the poet worked.

There are relatively few works dealing with Herbert's dramas, while those touching upon his lyrics or essays are legion. Charles S.

Kraszewski, the author of this book, has undertaken the analysis of the dramatic currents in the writings of Zbigniew Herbert, something that critics have up until now busied themselves with but slightly in comparison to the other genres in which the poet worked.

Kraszewski has been fascinated with Herbert's writings for many years. The path he followed in order to embrace the literary output of this poet is industrious, moving, and worth our recognition.

He first came across Herbert's poetry in the English versions of Czeslaw Milosz, after which he moved on to the Polish originals.

Then, he himself began translating Herbert's poetry into his mother tongue, and finished by bringing over into English all of the plays mentioned in this book.

The book which we now put into the reader's hands is the fruit of this work. Its six chapters treat the dramatic and theatrical works of Zbigniew Herbert.

What differentiates this book from earlier treatments of the same topic is that Kraszewski understands that it is not only Herbert's works expressly written for the stage or the radio which possess dramatic elements and the possibility of realisation on stage.

In the first chapter of his work entitled "The Phenomenon of Herbert on Stage", he seeks to introduce the reader to the other, non-dramatic texts of Zbigniew Herbert which have been exploited theatrically.

Up until now, critics have passed over this characteristic element of Herbert's dramatic opus. Herbert was a poet, an essayist, and a playwright.

But it is actually quite difficult to separate and differentiate his lyrical poems, essays and plays from each other according to their problematics and the themes they explore.

For all of Herbert's writing constitutes one whole, and particular works differ amongst themselves only in a formal sense. Each lyric poem, essay, or play is one part of a larger whole.

In each particular work we find the author's guiding principle unchanged. Likewise, each lyric poem, each essay, contains some drama, some human suffering.

Hence arises their theatricality, their dramatic potential, which demands expression, demands transfer in a living contact with living people.

The strength of these works operates with special force when the transfer takes place between a living actor and an audience of living spectators.

A special type of theatre is created, which authenticates the theatricality of seemingly un-dramatic letters, in something like the realisation of T.

Eliot's words when he claims that the most ideal medium of expression for poetry, and its best means of social usefulness, is the theatre.

The very time in which the creator of Don Cogito was fated to live was dramatic. One had to choose a position and stand up for one's values.

Herbert remained a free man, independent malgre tout, as he himself put it when asked about his life's motto. Not only his poems, but his essays as well have their dramatic potential and these too were exploited for the stage.

I myself, in my long years as actor and director, have many times experimented with theatrical adaptations of Herbert's work not originally written for the stage, and from the "heap of broken images" dramatic works have arisen.

Lately I have had the occasion to add one more work to the list of adaptations given in chapter one of this book: a play staged at the Stary Teatr in Krakow made up of poems, interviews and sung musical compositions based on Herbert's work entitled Przyjaciele odchodzq My Friends are Passing Away.

This play has enjoyed great public interest as well as positive critical reviews. However, the present book, in the main, is made up of penetrating essays dealing with all of the theatrical works per se of Zbigniew Herbert, that is, those which were written expressly for stage or radio production.

These are five, and a separate chapter is dedicated to each. These essays constitute an overture to a fuller understanding of the problems contained in these dramas, from the author's critical point of view.

Kraszewski presents us with analyses of individual scenes, fragments, and entire dramas, engaging us as it were in a conversation, in which he expresses his understanding of the themes and associations found in Herbert's work.

He insightfully studies and analyses the characters of the protagonists, and searches for a connections to the overarching thought and envoi of the poet.

This book will be of value to all persons, casual readers and researchers, men and women of the theatre, all who hold dear and understand the value of the literary opus of Zbigniew Herbert, who is certainly one of the greatest names of XXth century literature, well deserving of a place beside T.

Eliot and R. This work also serves as an introduction to the content of the five dramas, and will certainly be welcome to a wide audience, especially those to whom Polish is a barrier to the original texts.

For the author includes in his essays many key fragments of the plays themselves, citing them in both the original Polish and in his own English translation.

This allows the reader a deeper entry into the structure of the plays, and should encourage him to approach the entire texts directly.

Herbert's dramas differ from typical plays written for stage performance. They differ not only in their poetics, or their inimitable semantics and allusions.

Herbert strives for maximum compactness; he is sparing, even severe. The plays are also short. Various "stage professionals" have complained that this makes their presentation in the normal two-hour theatrical timeframe impossible.

Herbert answered such criticism with the following words: "The author is under no obligation to write a lot, to write profusively, but there does exist the obligation of writing to the point.

I have met with stage professionals in Poland we have quite a few professionals: camera professionals, stage and film professionals, poetry professionals and they told me, "Well, you know, the things you write are Will you ever write a full-fledged production?

And besides that, you don't have to start from important, serious topics - you have the tendency to begin with a sermon So the first ten minutes, that's got to be about the weather, and then after that you can get the ball rolling It is also interesting to note the reasons behind Herbert's decision to speak of various topics in a dramatic form.

The plays often arose - as is the case with all of the poet's work, probably - as reactions to events, his own life, the lives of people close to him: Lalek was inspired by a very concrete event.

The mother felt that a "writer" from Warsaw should be able to do anything. From my feelings of injustice, unrighteousness and my own inability to help arose this little play, for which I was paid.

That's how it happens sometimes. I don't feel any moral absolution, but I couldn't do anything more The Other Room deals with problems of living space And I say to myself: what the hell do I care if they're going to go to Moscow or not?

Let 'em go, or let 'em stay home! It's none of my business, right? And then, suddenly, after about ten minutes or so, the fate of those three sisters becomes my business, frightfully so, and I do care, and in the process I forget about my own worries and cares.

This is the catharsis of art, which works by adding misery to misery And how does a work of art come to be created, according to Herbert?

Josef Brodski, standing in a filthy courtroom in Leningrad, testified quietly, that it comes from God.

Read more 8. This book is intended for admirers of Zbigniew Herbert; readers of poetry; libraries; universities. Cogito" recently, and I realized that, as all good poetry, it has not aged.

Cogito is an Everyman, and he offers companionship to readers regardless of their location in time andgeography. His self-restraint is an admirable and comforting response tothe bewildering abundance of contemporary culture, and his modesty andpenchant for contemplation reassure us that "looking out for numberone" is not the most important thing in life.

Truly a timeless book ofpoetry. Read more 9. Stanislaw Baranczak, himself a poet, critic, and translator, emigrated from Poland only in , and is therefore eminently qualified to supply a politico-cultural context for Herbert while describing and analyzing the texts and themes of his poems.

Herbert's poetry is based on permanent confrontation--the confrontation of Western tradition with the experience of a "barbarian" from Eastern Europe, of the classical past with the modern era, of cultural myth with a practical, empirical point of view.

Baranczak illustrates these oppositions by examining, first, the complex relations between "disinheritance" and "heritage" as they appear in Herbert's work on various structural levels, from symbolic key words to lyrical characters; second, the forms and functions of Herbert's "unmasking metaphor"; third, his uses of irony; fourth, his ethical system, which enables him to be both ironist and moralist.

Baranczak pays special attention to irony as the most conspicuous feature of Herbert's poetic method. A Fugitive from Utopia makes Herbert's poetic ideas fully accessible to the general reader, and will also be of interest to students of Polish literature, of East European culture and society, and of modern poetry.

Those who have already encountered Herbert's poetry in one of the several translations into English currently available will welcome this lucid explication of his work.

Essays on the Dramatic Works of 8. A Fugitive from Utopia: The Poetry Im Vaterland der Mythen Ein Barbar in einem Garten.

Stilleben mit Kandare. Der Tulpen bitterer Duft. Zwei Essays. Read more Customer Reviews 12 the collected at last Herbert may be less well-known in America than a hundred other lesser poets, though the Collected Poems makes such a convincing case for him as a major twentieth century poet that one can only welcome its appearance and hope that it provides the spark necessary to launch him into the general readership.

Describing the image of a dead Greek soldier, he writes: he has closed his eyes renouncing the world leaves droop in the silent air a branch trembles touched by a shadow of flying birds and only the cricket hidden in Memnon's still living hair proclaims a convincing praise of life Herbert's world-view was indelibly shaped by two events: the Naziinvasion of Poland when he was 15 and the subsequent Communisttakeover after the war.

His poems are filled with elegiac images of agentler past juxtaposed with the grim realities that replaced them. Cohen Leonard. Marcoux Alex.

Char Rene. Coetzee J M. Forester Cs. Robinson Edwin Arlington.

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