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Remon Van Vliet "remonvv" (Amsterdam, Holland)

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by Iain M. Banks
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Anti Climax, 17 Aug 2008
This review is from: Matter (Hardcover)
I can keep this review fairly short. Matter is 450-ish pages of very good story telling in Bank's magnificent Culture universe let down by a 50 page rushed, anti climactic and sometimes downright bad conclusion. If you're interested in the Culture books, try one of the earlier ones.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwin and Intelligent Design (Politically Incorrect Guides)
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwin and Intelligent Design (Politically Incorrect Guides)
by Jonathan Wells
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.51

7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming, 29 April 2008
I've bought this book primarily because I was looking for a relatively objective book on darwinism versus ID. In short, this book wasn't it. I'd like to point out I'm not a fanatic on either side of the fence, it's just an interest of mine.

To begin with, this book is far from objective. That in and by itself is fine as it's certainly not the only book that takes either side of the debate. What I object to however is that I cant escape the feeling that this book does little more than bash darwinism in a way that's not at all convincing. The author certainly makes a few valid points but even those seem to get somewhat distorted by the author's almost religious devotion to ID, this at the cost of some credibility. I eventually managed to read through the entire book but it took some effort. Another small pet peeve is that the book is extremely repetitive. Some points are repeated (I counted) 7 times. There's only so many times a bad analogy involving pig intestines hits home.

Look further.

Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0
Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0
by Richard Monson-Haefel
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Best EJB 3.0 book out there, 24 April 2008
I have a couple of EJB3.0 books but this one is pretty much the one that's permanently on my desk. It's a perfect reference for me now and was a great source of information while I was familiarizing myself with EJB3.0.

The workbooks are relatively informative as well even for readers that do not use JBoss (me being one of those people). The only minor issue I can think of is the limited Web Service coverage and the JPA sections are a little limited. That said the book's main focus is EJB3.0 and it covers extremely well.

I cannot recommend it enough.

Building Java Enterprise Applications: Architecture Vol 1
Building Java Enterprise Applications: Architecture Vol 1
by Brett McLaughlin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 25.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Outdated and barely scratches the surface, 24 April 2008
I recently received this book and read it in one go. This is possible mostly because it's relatively short and covers a few things that are either so basic (what is a relational database) or outdated (EJB 2.0) that the only relevant sections are those covering architecture.

The title implies that does should be the grunt of the material but alas, it's little more than a basic overview of enterprise application architecture. Most of this book's content seemed a bit too basic and obvious to be of much use.

In short, there are better books out there.

Olympos (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
Olympos (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
by Dan Simmons
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.63

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, yet strangely dissapointing, 28 Sep 2005
Having read the Hyperion cantos and being hugely impressed by Illium i couldnt wait to read this Illium sequel. When the book finally arrived (after a 1 month pre-order) i pretty much read it in one go.
One can only admire the scope of the story told through Illium and Olympos. However, Olympos as a book is simply not as good as Illium. Some storylines in Olympos either do not add (enough) to the story as a whole, or simply are a bit of a drag to read through, to the point where i even caught myself flipping through a few pages here and there.
Another issue i have with Olympos is the last 50-70 pages. I couldnt get around the fact that the ending felt a bit rushed and cramped. Where Illium's ending was obviously a setup for a sequel the ending we're presented with in Olympos feels too much like Simmons is done with the world of Illium. He fails to answer some big questions (properly) or discuss some important characters more extensively, but he doesnt leave enough open ends to justify a sequel. Also, the references to judaism and islam felt a bit forced, as if it reflected personal views of the author.
Olympos is not to Illium what the Fall of Hyperion was to Hyperion, but do not let that keep you from reading this excellent book. Apart from anything else, it is an great read, hugely engaging, and i would recommend this book to anyone with even a vague interest in SF.
When i flipped the final page, i felt dissapointed. A bit because of the aforementioned problems, but mostly because i reached the end of it. Olympos, together with Illium, is one of the best SF stories ever printed on paper, or at least the best i read so far. These books deserve a place next to, if not above the Hyperion books.
So in the end i cannot get rid of the "it could've been better" feeling, as Olympos is not the perfect sequal to Illium. But it's close, very close...

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