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By aaron.axvig, 30 September, 2020

As I am a former employee of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, both summers during college and 4.5 years full time, this book told some stories I had heard already but also filled in a lot of very interesting history that I knew very little about.  I really should have read it while I still worked in Medora.  I would also recommend it--more mildly but still--to residents of Bismarck who are interested in history.  Relatedly, my occasional search queries about the book led me to stumble upon readnd.org which seems like a nice resource for finding books related to North Dakota.

The biography is well split in topics between personal and Gold Seal.  Likewise the balance in coverage of Harold's two marriages is good.  The almost entirely linear narration means that cuts to a backstory (a literary device that I find quite annoying) are graciously kept to a minimum, and I enjoyed the frequent foreshadowing at section and chapter ends.  Though there were a few that I couldn't figure out even with my substantial existing knowledge-base.

I'll say that my great rating does include that the topics covered are of great interest to me, and for the average person it would probably be ranked as a good biography.

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By aaron.axvig, 3 August, 2020

These stories and thoughts of the author's travels around the western US capture the experience of long-distance motorcycle riding in an incredibly great way.  I found myself nodding in agreement so often, having had many of the same thoughts, encounters, and feelings on my trips.

A lot of the writing is very good--so expressive, yet there are a few instances where some camp or amateurishness pokes through.  I guess many editors would fix that, but would it lose some authenticity in the process?  I think so, and I think overall the result is great.

There are philosophical sections, and the first thing that comes to mind when I heard motorcycles combined with philosophy is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  I recommend Freedom's Rush 100x more unless you are a philosophy major.  Long ramblings about Phaedrus are out and replaced with relatively simple wonderings and views inside the author's head.  That's all I need.  And the ratio of motorcycle to philosophy is much better too.

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By aaron.axvig, 27 July, 2020

A book of many very short chapters with positive messages.  Willie gives lots of uncontroversial advice, mostly along the lines of be kind, let others be, enjoy life, etc.  A chapter about biodiesel was a bit out of touch when it comes to practicality.

While this is not a full biography or anything, it does discuss a lot of his past.  So now I know at least a little history about Willie.

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By aaron.axvig, 26 July, 2020

A pretty interesting history of the early days of science fiction, centered around the magazine Astounding.  I would have rated it fairly boring but as I became more familiar with the characters it became more engaging.  Admittedly, some of the most interesting was when it got into the forming days of dianetics and Scientology.  I say "admittedly" because I regard these as trash topics and don't really think that it is worthwhile to spend time learning about them, but it seems that I the same inner urges as most do to rubber-neck that wreck.

Reading this did make me want to go back and read some of the discussed works.  I have already read the main three parts of Asimov's Foundation stuff, and Heinlein's Starship Troopers.  I should probably go for a couple of the latter's other Hugo winners.  Also it made me want to see what the old pulp magazines were like.  The Internet Archive does have some that I might read through, but I think I am almost as interested in the physical details as in the contents.  So I may pick up a year of them sometime for $50 or so on eBay.  It would also just be interesting to have some old stuff like that.

 

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By aaron.axvig, 19 July, 2020

Pretty short as it only took me 20 minutes to read, but I guess worth signing up to the mailing list to get for free.  It is just a prologue to the Quantum series.

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By aaron.axvig, 18 July, 2020

Great for the price I paid, which is free since I signed up for the Kindle Unlimited free trial (and set a calendar reminder to cancel it).  Hey, there are a lot of books that I won't even read for free so this is still a compliment.

Good pacing and very nice mix of real quantum theory with some made up stuff, and an accompanying final "chapter" that tells you exactly what was real and not.  There were some hints at time things in the story which the third book Quantum Time will surely get deeper into.

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By aaron.axvig, 12 July, 2020

Excellent read, nice mix of psychology with sci-fi.  A lot of technical details of how they are able to survive in various ways underwater are ignored but I think that is the right choice as it lets the story stay focused.

I will be grabbing Michael Crichton books when I see them in the future.  I knew he was a very popular author but I don't think I had read any of his works prior to this one.

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By aaron.axvig, 11 July, 2020

An easy read for the easy price of free via Prime Reading.  Good enough that I will probably spend the $4 for each of the sequels in the next week or two.

The balance of real quantum theory and made up stuff was OK, and the puzzles of the communication devices were nice.  The analogy to explain how 3D space appears from a fourth dimension was very reminiscent of how it was described in The Three Body Problem.  In the afterword the author does cite The 4th Dimension by Rudy Rucker as "a fun book about dimensions" so maybe that is a prior work that both of them built on.

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By aaron.axvig, 14 April, 2020

This was a great end to the trilogy, featuring some of the grandest sci-fi themes I have encountered.

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