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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Finder, Joseph: Paranoia | Main | Vowell, Sarah: Assassination Vacation »

Rayner, Mark A.: The Amadeus Net

  

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ENC Press © 2005, 238 pages [amazon]
4 stars

The premise of Mark Rayner's The Amadeus Net is an odd one. In 2028 Mozart--Wolfgang Amadeus, that is, the composer--is alive and well and 272 years old, blessed or cursed with immortality for reasons beyond his ken. Having faked his own death in 1791 he lives pseudonymously, currently as William Armstrong (note the initials), and has been supporting himself by selling new compositions as his own "lost" works. Eighteen years before the narrative begins a massive asteroid had hit the Earth's Antarctic pole, causing cataclysmic geographic changes, but in this ugly post-apocalyptic world Mozart and a few other visionaries founded a utopia, Ipolis, on an island that had only recently pushed its way above the surface of the Pacific Ocean. By design, Ipolis attracts artists and scientists from around the world, who work for the improvement of humanity in a highly computerized, networked society. The experiment might not have worked at all, except that Ipolis itself became--unbeknownst to its creators and inhabitants--a sentient being. As a benevolent near-god Ipolis looks after its residents, and the rest of the world to the extent that it can, keeping an eye in particular on its favorite son, Mozart.

As a benevolent near-god Ipolis looks after its residents, and the rest of the world to the extent that it can, keeping an eye in particular on its favorite son, Mozart.During the week covered by Rayner's narrative the world outside Ipolis stands poised on the brink of nuclear war. And even in utopia things aren't perfect. An unscrupulous reporter suspects the truth about Will Armstrong and is bent on exposing him. With her posse of helpmates--a love-sick diplomat and an aging soldier of fortune--she pursues Mozart while he chases a pseudo-lesbian nurse, who herself has eyes for the reporter, who rebuffs the  advances of the diplomat, who hooks up with the sadistic painter, who creates a high-tech piece of art based on Mozart's memories.... In short, the book's six principals repel and attract one another in a sort of comic dance during what may be civilization's last seven days.

The Amadeus Net has a few problems. Rayner signals that one character's speech is uncultivated by having her drop the g's from her present participles, an effect which is very annoying to read. And it is odd that the hot-shot reporter stalking Will Armstrong has such difficulty discovering his home address: Ipolis evidently could use a good white pages. More importantly, the book's action is slow to get going. Readers may not have the patience to persevere while the various characters introduce themselves and the setting of the story is explained.

That said, the book is well-written, and once one gets into the meat of the story its principals are interesting enough to keep readers' attention. Perhaps most likeable is the character of Ipolis itself, whose benevolent governance of its residents includes shielding them from incoming missiles, controlling the weather, and spiking the water supply of intimate couples with birth-control drugs unless they're actively trying to reproduce. The Amadeus Net is not the sort of book that you won't be able to put down, but you'll definitely want to pick it up again once you do.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.