Thursday, March 24, 2016

Late March 2016 reading....

I have a huge surplus of both Ebooks and hard copies to read.  I'm reading at least two books per week.  Today, I read 74 pages in Mekong First Light by Lt. Joseph Callaway, Jr.  It's been an interesting read so far.  Callaway talks about his family time growing up in Alabama and New Caanan, CT.  He also talks about him joining the US Army and becoming a 2nd Lieutenant.

Callaway goes into the background of America and Vietnam during the 1960s  He also introduces the area where his platoon patrolled, the Mekong delta.  Some it was brown water navy patrols.  Some of it was airmobile flights.  I like the way Callaway writes.  I was sucked in from the moment I started reading.  I need to catch up my nonfiction reading.  I should have this book done by the end of April 2016.  I have ten more books to read on Vietnam and Indochina.  I'll space them out with other books on WWII, WWI, and ancient Rome...


Monday, March 21, 2016

Trying to get 30mm Warmachine Steelhead Company Mercs primed

The contractors have struck in the basement.  I don't have anywhere to paint.  This isn't good.  However, I'm going to begin priming my 30mm Warmachine Steelhead Company Mercs tomorrow.  I'm doing the ones in armor Army Painter Plate Mail Primer.  The rest shall be done in Army Painter Leather Primer later this week. 

Hopefully, I can start painting on them.  I have about 120 points of Warmachine Mercs to paint this year.  I need to start now to finish them by autumn.  Assuming nothing else comes my way, ugh...


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Analog Magazine, April 2016 Review

I started subscribing to Analog:  Science Fact and Fiction again this spring.  Last year, I let my subscription lapse.  I didn't have time to read the short stories each month.  Magazines piled up unread as my father died.  I'd make a conscious effort to read each issue, this time.  I read April 2016 issue of the magazine.  The first half had some interesting stories.  The rest were fairly blaise.  I noticed a near lack of military sci-fi.  I'm hoping for more interesting stories with next month's issue.

The problem is there's such a limited market for sci-fi short stories.  I've written my share.  I've also written novellas.  Finding a paying market for your work is a challenge in this economy.  That's part of the reason I've looked to oversea's markets.  I should submit to Analog Magazine sometime, I know I can do better than some of the writers they've featured in their previous issues...


Friday, March 11, 2016

Mid-March 2016 reading....

I finished Twilight of the Hellenistic World and posted a review online.  I'm also reading Titan by Stephen Baxter.  I'm 100 pages into the novel.  It feels like future history from the past.  It's interesting.  And it has me thinking.  America has given up on manned space exploration.  Our government institutions don't want it.  It's up to other nations to surpass our role in space flight.

That troubles me.  Given the collective stupidity of the American population concerning science and technology, we pride ourselves on reality television and sporting events with little regard for the future.  The Romans had their bread and circuses until the Empire collapsed due to the barbarians.  Maybe climate change will force the same thing to happen to us.

Just a thought...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Review of the Twilight of the Hellenistic World

Authors:  Bob Bennett & Mike Roberts.
Title:  Twilight of the Hellenistic World.
Publisher:  Sword and Pen Books.
Copyright:  2012.
Pages:  284.

Overview and Impressions:
This covered the last century of Greek rule before the coming of the Romans in the 2nd century BCE.  The authors looked at the different city states on mainland Greece, Macedonia, the Seleucid empire, and Ptolemy Egypt.

Macedonia played a major part in the history of mainland Greece.  I was surprised how active the various Greek polises were when it came to regional politics and alliances.  Philip V's reign was filled with ever-changing alliances as he sought to dominant the Balkans.

The Seleucid empire waxed and waned depending on her ruler.  Antiochus III crippled the Ptolemies in Egypt.  The Seleucids were able to dominant the eastern Near East while lashing out he regional rival.

However, the Ptolemy state stagnated under the tutelage of various regents  Egypt managed to lose many of her Levant positions to the Seleucids.  The Romans were still messing around the Carthaginians during this time.  She took a more active part in the Easter Mediterranean after the battle of Zama in 202 BCE.

Overall, an interesting book of neglected history.  I wish there was more on the Greek Successors available in English than what is currently offered.  Though the era could have been renamed, "Age of the Mercenary."  Recommended.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Early March 2016 reading: part II

I read 35 pages of the current issue of Analog Magazine Sunday.  The stories have been hit and miss.  Some are good.  Others aren't memorable.  I have kept up with it.  I'm not sure if I'm getting my money's worth.  Only time will tell...

I also read another 25 pages in Titan by Stephen Baxter today.  There was a scene with the Columbia shuttle crashing in 2004.  Problem is the book was written in 1998!  I don't know how he got that right.

Part of Titan is the dismantling of America's space program, which has already happened.  Technically, the book is excellent.  I've enjoyed it so far.  But I feel like I'm reading things that have already happened...  

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Early March 2016 reading...

This week, I'm reading Titan by Stephen Baxter, a UK engineer, about a manned mission to Titan in search of possible organic life.  I'm also read another 75 pages in Twilight of the Hellenistic World.  This week I read about the Seleucid Empire and its wars with Ptolemy's Egypt.  Much of the fighting happened in the Middle East and Iran.  I'll write a formal review when I'm done with the Ebook...