Thursday, April 27, 2017

Battle for the AbyssBattle for the Abyss by Ben Counter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was one of the grittier books in the series, a total bloodbath. Starting with the secret hidden weapon of the Mechanicum being used to wipe out the enemies of Horus before hostilities really begin... it follows the hunt for this new mega ship.

while it depicts some of the goriest space battle scenes I have ever read, its pretty damn 2 dimensional in characters and motivations. As a warhammer 40k book it fits in well in the universe. As a novel, its nothing special.

Just dont get beetween a worldeater on the verge of close quarters combat!

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

Review: Legion

Legion Legion by Dan Abnett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of the best stories from the Horus Heresy series so far and it was not even related to any of the main characters or central plot. It concerns the mysterious alpha legion and their weird and in my opinion weak plot deviced turn to chaos.

However, where this story really shines is with its description of the imperial army and the new addition of a secret cabal of ancient alien races. Honestly I just would like to read a story about them and if they have additional back story after the incidents in this book.

it's written in a really exciting arching crescendo... but im not sure if I buy their turn, particularly after the events of the heresy when their original reasons for "betrayal" are over.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: Frantz Fanon: A Critical Study

Frantz Fanon: A Critical Study Frantz Fanon: A Critical Study by Irene L. Gendzier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am fortunate to have had Irene Gendzier as a graduate student advisor at Boston University and to be gifted this book by her when she retired. In an interesting twist of fate, I ended up finished it on a flight home from 2 weeks in Cuba.

While many people have read Wretched of the Earth and some Black Skin, White Masks, I think this book has interesting perspectives on both the strengths and influence on Fanon (particularly on Algeria) as well as his weaknesses and where he falls short. While the man has been deified for decades, its interesting to remember that he himself had distinct changes in thought and was heavily influenced by a range of struggles going on...some for which he didn't understand the full political situation. This is not to reduce the brilliance of his work, but to place him realistically in the situation in which he lived.

The particular questions on his critiques of the FLN are heavily covered in this as the revolution he so supported began to unravel in autocratic dictatorship. I recommend this book for anyone searching for the real Fanon and to examine questions of his thought that were not covered in his books. Filled with analysis and commentary from revolutionaries, and militants who knew him.... a very good read!

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review: Descent of Angels

Descent of Angels Descent of Angels by Mitchel Scanlon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A meh book not connected in time to the main line of the Horus heresy story. It has some minor tidbits on the history of Caliban and the planets entrance into the imperium. A coming of age story written in a really 2 dimensional trite way. I haven't read past it yet, but you can probably skip this book in the series.

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Review: Cuban Anarchism: The History of a Movement

Cuban Anarchism: The History of a Movement Cuban Anarchism: The History of a Movement by Frank Fernández
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have long known that Anarchists were the major factor in the Cuban labor movement for decades, but this book really filled in the long history of struggle in that country. I was both taken aback by the scale and strength of the movement, its relationship with Marti, as well as its participation well into the 1959 Cuban revolution. It also helped me further develop my analysis on the Cuban revolution and the absolute destructive role it played on silencing devoted anarchist organizations and militants.

Lastly it makes me further respect the role of anarchists in the Cuban diaspora as they are really between a rock and a hard place when it comes to being both libertarian and communist. A must read for anyone who wants an external narrative to the Cuban Communist Party and to the right wing Cuban population in the US. It is a brutal exposition of the way many anarchists in the world turned their backs on their comrades and ignored their own structural critiques in a romanticized version of events.

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Critical Reading of Purim

Since today is Purim, here is my critical reading of the story:



There were Jews in Parthia (Persia, Babylon) and an advisor to the king wants to exterminate them. The kings new queen is Jewish and convinces the king to kill the advisor, all his sons and 500 supporters at Shushan castle. Ok...legit self defense.

But then in an act that will seem familiar to a modern audience, Esther, the queen, petitions the king for several days of slaughter of thousands of other "enemies". And this is considered a wonderful and celebratory event. I have never been comfortable with this part of the story:


"And the other Jews that were in the king's provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of them that hated them seventy and five thousand--but on the spoil they laid not their hand--
on the thirteenth day of the month Adar, and on the fourteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness."
טז וּשְׁאָר הַיְּהוּדִים אֲשֶׁר בִּמְדִינוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ נִקְהֲלוּ וְעָמֹד עַל-נַפְשָׁם, וְנוֹחַ מֵאֹיְבֵיהֶם, וְהָרוֹג בְּשֹׂנְאֵיהֶם, חֲמִשָּׁה וְשִׁבְעִים אָלֶף; וּבַבִּזָּה--לֹא שָׁלְחוּ, אֶת-יָדָם.
יז בְּיוֹם-שְׁלוֹשָׁה עָשָׂר, לְחֹדֶשׁ אֲדָר; וְנוֹחַ, בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר בּוֹ, וְעָשֹׂה אֹתוֹ, יוֹם מִשְׁתֶּה וְשִׂמְחָה.