Monday, January 14, 2013

The Cater Street Hangman

In an upper class salon on Cater Street several women discuss, in oblique terms, the death of a local girl. Even though Susannah has recently been out of town and is unaware of the murder, it is bad form for proper women to talk about such matters and so they are careful not to say anything too direct about the way the daughter of a friend was garroted and cut open. Finally, tiring of the game, Charlotte comes out and tells her aunt what she has heard about the murder. Although the victim was of the upper class she quickly gains a reputation as having been a bad seed. A second death occurs, this time a servant. Again the idea that these women did something to deserve this end is easier to accept than the knowledge that it could happen to anyone else. Only when the third murder happens to a member of the Ellison household do they believe that these crimes might not be a simple case of robbery or jealousy. A young police inspector, Thomas Pitt, has been investigating these crimes and soon arrives to question the Ellison household.... (wikipedia

 I've known of this series for a long time, and never got around to reading it - partly I wanted to get the first book (this one) and just never got around to it.... finally I spotted it (via Overdrive) on my library e-books.

Nice book, interesting story, once it started moving. I felt the painting of the mannered Victorian setting slowed things down, though I enjoyed the details she painted of the  era and I look forward to reading more in the series.

Cold Equations: The Body Electric

Star Trek: The Next Generation:
Cold Equations: The Body Electric: Book Three 
by David Mack

 Believe it or not - I read NYTimes best sellers! Well, not in the top ten, but this book made it to #32 on 1/6/2013! I started reading this specific trilogy because of a price cut on volumes 1 and 2... then scooped up the 3rd volume from my public library almost as soon as it was released (and I'd finished #2).

Data's adventures continue - seeking "the Immortal" (why he was hanging out on Orion in the last book) for tips on how to recover his lost daughter Lal, he gets to tangle with an association of artificial beings, immortals of a sort who want the Immortal's help as well.

Add a threat to life - all life - in the galaxy, a giant machine intelligence and Wesley-the-Traveler, and you have a story that is huge, an example of why the Trek books go where not movie or television program could ever go.

The title of this trilogy refers, I believe to a classic SF story of the same name.  Though that story is never addressed explicitly, in this concluding volume Data faces "the cold equations" and must make a decision in a no-win/cold equations situation.

What I like about Trek, and why (like right now) I can go on a Trek-jag is that, along with the familiar settings and characters (or maybe because of them) Trek provides an environment that is a kind of  "alphabet of science fiction" - most ideas/tropes/concepts from SF can be found in Trek.   From androids to time travel - the movies and the television programs can present examples of all sorts of SF. The books are even more free to engage in ideas - cyberpunk and more have been added to Trek - the canvas the books open up is ever wider.

In that idea soup Trek - like all of fiction -  gives a forum to think about just about anything.  In Trek, life, death and the rearing of small children take place alongside threats to the entire universe.  Just like real life.