Saturday, August 14, 2021

Book Review: The Adventures of Arabella Ashby Trilogy

I originally became aware of this series when I read the short story, "The Wreck of the Mars Adventure" in Old Mars, an anthology of stories about Mars, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. This introduces the setting, where space is filled with breathable air. This means that ordinary sailing ships can be modified to sail between celestial bodies. The short story describes the first attempt to sail to Mars and was rather enjoyable. The Arabella trilogy is set later in the same world. The author's intent was to write a clockpunk [1] regency novel.[2] I was intrigued by the idea and thought that Leann might like that concept, so we started reading them together.[3] The books in the trilogy are: Arabella of Mars, Arabella and the Battle for Venus, and Arabella the Traitor of Mars.

Book Review: The Spiderwick Chronicles

There are quite a few children's books and young adult books that came out while I was in college and working on my doctorate that I never found the time to read. One such series was The Spiderwick Chronicles. In reality, I'd heard of the books, but I wasn't really aware of the series until the movie came out. Since moving back to Utah, I've been listening to books on CD when I travel to and from work. So, rather than read these books, I listened to audio recordings. The first five books were read by Mark Hamill. The three "beyond" books were read by Andrew McCarthy.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Book Review: The Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy

The Remembrance of Earth's Past is a trilogy written by the Chinese science fiction author, Liu Cixin.[1] It consists of three novels: The Three-Body Problem (2006), The Dark Forest (2008), and Death's End (2010). Ken Liu's English translation of The Three-Body Problem won the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel and Liu's translation of Death's End won the 2017 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. These two novels also won the Chinese Galaxy Award.[2] Some spoilers ahead.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Product Review: More Takis Flavors (and Imitators)

Takis are a brand of flavored corn chip that I originally discovered while serving a mission for my Church [1] in México. The original flavor (Crunchy Fajita [2]) are one of my favorite chips overall. Recently a bunch of new flavors, including some limited edition flavors, hit the shelves. So, naturally, I had to buy them all and try them. Read on to find out what I (and my family) thought of them.

Product Reviews: Southeast Asian Treats

In Roy, Utah there is an Ocean Mart. Ocean Mart is a Utah-based Asian supermarket.[1] I originally went in looking for nattō (which I found) so that I could have my Introductory Microbiology students try it. (Nattō is soybeans that have been fermented by the bacterium Bacillus subtilis var. natto.) Now I go there at least once per semester and I occasionally veer off course and buy something else that has caught my eye. Here are a few recent takes.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Invisible Mazes of Chagunitzu and Paganitzu

In the early 1990s my parents bought their a PC running MS-DOS. Over time we played several different games on that and subsequent PCs, including Monuments of Mars, Pharaoh's Tomb, Jumpman Lives!, Crystal Caves, and Paganitzu. These were all shareware games from Apogee, so we only had the first part of each one. Later, I got the chance to play all three levels of Paganitzu [1], as well as Chagunitzu [2], the first outing of protagonist Alabama Smith. Both of these games have rooms that feature invisible mazes. You know me: I drew maps![3]

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Product Review Blitz IV

This is the final installment (for now) of mass product reviews. Preview: Doritos Dinamita Mojo Criollo chips, Lays Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger chips, Kerrygold Skellig cheese, MontChevré Fresh Goat Cheese Peppadew, Woolwich Dairy Chevrai Sweet Pepper Heat, Carr Valley Creama Kasa, Underground Meats Saucisson Sec, and Underground Meats Finnochiona.