Archive for the ‘Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction’ Category

The Coming Hard Times

Monday, September 29th, 2008

dow As I write this the DOW is up a little from its 700 point loss. My stocks are down around 5% and I expect they’ll keep sliding about 20%, 40% or more. I wanted to sell, but we didn’t see the edge of the precipice until it was too late. I still want to sell. I had a few thousand dollars worth of an insurance company stock that I sold a few months ago, thank goodness.

The price of oil and the lack of oversight in the financial industry has resulted in synchronicity that will force things down and down. Banks all over the world are failing and I just read that congress has voted against the bail out. I have no doubt the bailout would have not have done anything but line the pockets of financial executives, though.

My own losses might be about $300k in stock and $300k in the value of my house, before this is over. I would say that I would get off easy except that the county government is going to have to do some cost cutting and that usually means getting rid of contractors. One way or the other, I may be retired in the coming year.

But, in spite of the bad news, I am a little happy that the economic policies of the Republicans has failed so dramatically. Bush will be remembered as the president, like Coolidge and Hoover 80 years ago, who presided over the conditions that led to this crash. The republicans were kept out of the white house for 20 years as a result of the 1929 crash. The fault was not entirely with the republicans, but the blame certainly fell on them, as it will this time. I once said that the only good thing about Bush was that after he left office few would vote for a republican president for a long time. It looks like this may be true.

The republican policies of regulation and less government oversight have resulted in their logical conclusion. We are in for a world wide monetary collapse. I expect to stand in line to get free bread as my grandfather would have done. I imagine that soon my neighbors and I will not be able to pay our property taxes and local governments will go bankrupt.

If it gets too much worse, I may have to cut back on cats. If Ollie throws up on the rug one more time… Watch out cats!

Sterling E. Lanier – The Unforsaken Hiero

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008


Sterling E. Lanier is a Good writer, but did not write all that many books, and the ones he wrote seem to be out of print. I guess that his day job took up much of his time. He produced two of these Hiero books and several other SF titles. I picked up this at the same garage sale where I bought the Andre Norton book (reviewed last week).

In the History of Science Fiction he will be remember as being the person at Chilton Books who agreed to publish Frank Herbert’s Dune. Chilton, as everyone knows who ever worked on a car, published technical automotive books. I have had a Chilton Guide for every car I’ve owned going back to my 1958 Volkswagen convertible bug (I wonder where it is now?). Lanier bought the most popular book ever offered by Chilton’s, but since sales started out slowly, he lost his job over the decision.

The remarkable thing about The Unforsaken Hiero and it’s predecessor, Hiero’s Journey, is the cryptozoology aspects of the books. He has lots of fun describing a post-apocalyptic world where mutations caused by a nuclear event or by human tinkering produce many strange creatures.

The best parts of The Unforsaken Hiero are the full characters, very evil villains, and wonderfully bizarre creatures in a world 5,000 years in the future. The writing is clear and musical and the descriptions are very rich.

The down side of The Unforsaken Hiero is that the plot literally wanders all over the place, giving us plenty of opportunities to discover strange life, but not really moving forward very fast. I was disappointed to discover about 50 pages through that I had read this more than 20 years ago. As I remember, the first book was better, and I looked for a non-existent third book in the series for a while. I have not quite finished it (about 30 pages to go), but my recollection is that Lanier leaves the plot open for the next book. Lanier must have worked on another Hiero book. If I ever meet any of his family, I will surely ask if there is a chance that I could read anything he has written on it.

Lanier’s Hiero books are imaginative and well written. If you see one, snatch it up.

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