A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Revisiting a classic


It was a lot of fun to re-read, after many years, Isaac Asimov's Foundation, the first book of the classic Foundation trilogy (prequels and sequels to the trilogy, some already reviewed on this site, were added in subsequent years). Once again, it was cool to read about a planet of scientists secretly working to alter events around the galaxy to avert, or at least substantially reduce, the 30,000 years of universal barbarism that their "psychohistorical" equations have predicted will occur if nothing is done.

What's also fun about the book is that we soon see that the scientists really aren't up to the task, so it falls to the Foundation planet's politicians and traders- with their earthier political skills- to interpret and implement the scientific data and act accordingly.  The bulk of the book then consists of a series of episodes where moves, counter moves, and Machiavellian undercurrents all work together to minimize galactic warfare and chaos, and to keep the generally defenseless Foundation planet safe and independent so its work can continue.

More than half a century old, Foundation remains thoughtful, smart, and entertaining, making it not surprising that HBO is currently developing a weekly drama based on the books.

"Foundation" is available in print, Kindle, and audio editions.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Quarry is back


If there's such a thing as a likable hitman, it's Quarry, and he has a good working relationship (in this story, anyway) with his boss, known only as the Broker.  When the Broker survives an attempt on his life (thanks to Quarry's quick action), he dispatches Quarry in the general direction he believes the hit order originated, wanting Quarry to smoke out whoever ordered the hit.  And thus, Max Allan Collins' terrific Quarry's Choice gets underway.

Quarry is soon enmeshed in the world of sleazy and semi-legal casinos, pretending to be a criminal/gunman looking for work, all the while secretly looking into who ordered the Broker hit.  While Quarry is doing this, the reader is treated to lots of gangster action and sex, all set among the neon glitz of the post-Vietnam era southern Bayou.

Quarry's Choice, the latest in a long series of Quarry novels (you can read them in any order) is- like the other installments- a gritty, down-and-dirty page turner, but not without a sense of humor.  I get the sense that Max Allan Collins has a lot of fun writing these books, as I certainly have a lot of fun reading them.

Oh, yes- the cable network Cinemax is now producing a weekly series based on the Quarry novels.  I bet it'll be good.  But do yourself a favor and read one or two of the original novels before watching the show, as it's always good to familiarize yourself with an author's original vision before seeing what others do with it.  In fact, Quarry's Choice, which is set near the beginning of Quarry's career just like the TV show will be, might be the perfect place to start.

"Quarry's Choice" is available in print, Kindle, and audio editions.