Book Review: Arkad’s World by James L. Cambias

Cover of the book Arkad's World by James L. Cambias
Arkad’s World
by James L. Cambias
Baen, 2019

This review was first published by Booklist on December 15, 2018.

Arkad is the only human on a world populated by aliens, his past a mystery. When other humans arrive, he seeks them out, determined to find a way off the planet to rejoin his own kind. Cambias (A Darkling Sea, 2014) has achieved a feat of world building: an expansive, believable setting with fascinating aliens, compelling mysteries, and a rich sense of history. The novel is a classic quest story, a well-paced series of encounters with different folk along the way, building momentum toward a final confrontation with Arkad’s past. Though the book is not without flaws, it does boast a rare instance of a deus ex machina that actually works, adding a delicious twist to the end.

This title has been recommended for young adult readers:

YA/Mature Readers: With a young adult protagonist, this will appeal to older teen readers who can handle the explicit references to sexual anatomy.

What We Really Talk about When We Talk about Library Neutrality

The traditional definition of library neutrality holds that the library is a space where everyone is welcome, where all views are represented, and where everyone has the freedom to explore ideas and make their voices heard.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: This definition doesn’t describe a neutral space. It describes a space where everyone is equal.

Equality is a direct concern of libraries—especially public libraries. We pledge to serve all members of our community equally, without bias or judgement. We commit to making space for all voices, perspectives, and cultural traditions of the communities we serve. Equality is built into our professional values.

Let’s say you have two lines that are unequal in length:

Two lines of unequal length Continue reading “What We Really Talk about When We Talk about Library Neutrality”

Book Review: Spacecraft: 100 Iconic Rockets, Shuttles, and Satellites That Put Us in Space by Michael H. Gorn

Cover of the book Spacecraft: 100 Iconic Rockets, Shuttles, and Satellites That Put Us in Space by Michael H. Gorn
Spacecraft: 100 Iconic Rockets, Shuttles, and Satellites That Put Us in Space
by Michael H. Gorn
Quarto/Voyageur, 2018

This review was first published by Booklist on December 1, 2018.

Spacecraft profiles 100 craft that are significant in the history of space exploration: rockets, orbiters, spaceplanes, landers, space stations, satellites, and exploratory craft from the U.S., Russia, Europe, China, and more recent private, corporate ventures into space flight. The articles offer thorough physical and technical descriptions of each craft, along with a history of its development and use. The book is organized into 3 main sections, each covering a 20-year span from 1957 through 2017. Articles are further organized by the type of craft, with each country’s being grouped together. It’s not a strictly chronological narrative, but it provides an overall understanding of the history of the development and deployment of spacecraft. Readers can also use the table of contents to flip to any specific article that interests them. The articles are accompanied by numerous full-color drawings by illustrator Giuseppe De Chiara that show the details even better than the photographs do. This work is high quality; an effective hybrid of reference volume and coffee-table book. A solid choice for any public library.