February 24th, 2006

20111112, Marilee

The Trigger by Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Kube-McDowell

I actually read this a couple of weeks ago but have been trying to figure out how to talk about it. I know K-Mac online and I had kind of assumed that Clarke gave the outline and K-Mac filled it in. However, there's Britishisms in some places without using regular British words (nappie for diaper, etc.) -- suddenly the US has a National Health Service, as well as other Brit organizations. Part of it is set in/near DC and there are lots of things wrong -- from how we casually refer to long-named roads to setting the CIA HQ in Langley, Maryland.

A physics lab accidently finds a way to explode guns, ammo, and explosives at a distance. The final machine is called "The Trigger." As soon as the President lets people know it exists, opposition pours in from all sides -- the military doesn't want to give up guns & explosives, people don't trust the Trigger, and their NRA (NAR) is full of drooling fanatics. There's a lot of this kind of group stereotype.

The scientists have partial stories here and there, but this is really about how politics and people deal with big changes. The last couple of chapters are tense. I think the book should have been about half the size, tightened up, and more accurately researched. I don't think I'll read it again.
20111112, Marilee

Marilee by Mary Francis Shura

I don't normally read YA Romance, but my friend Cally found this and gave it to me because, well, it's a book about a girl with my name (I'm reasonably sure there were no women named "Marilee" in the 1620s). This is part of Scholastic's Sunfire series which was published in the mid-1980s where each book is named after the female protagonist. Their blurb says they put young women in the middle of every important event in US history; this one is about a wealthy English orphan who emigrates to Jamestown, Virginia, to be with her brother and his vicious wife.

Yes, she has heartache, she has oppression, but she always does the right thing.

There are a lot of planters who want to marry her for her money and land, but she wants to marry someone she loves. There are three possibles -- she has a deep friendship with one but no romance, another is handsome and well-dressed but also malicious and self-centered, and the third porridge was just right, er, the third loves her for herself.

As is the nature of this type of book, she finds her true love and ends up fairly happy. The big event is when the Indians attacked the fort and there is death and disaster.

I googled for the author and that led me to a website that is written by someone who really likes all the Sunfire books. Apparently they're quite collectible now. I'm keeping this one, after all, it does have my name on it.