Archive for February, 2013

Albert of Adelaide, by Howard Anderson

February 16, 2013

[Veronique]

Let Albert the orphaned platypus guide you through the Australian bush on a search for a promised land, and meet all those characters which you’ll soon forget are wombats, wallabies, dingos and Tasmanian devil! I felt like I was in a good western, except for it being set in the Australian outback and all the characters being animals from down under! A very sweet tale of friendship, even though there are guns and murders too!

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The lifeboat, by Charlotte Rogan

February 16, 2013

[Veronique]

2 years after the Titanic sank, Grace, a young newlywed, survives an ocean liner accident, only to spend 14 days in a lifeboat. The main characters have to constantly struggle between  humanity, empathy but moreover a sense of self preservation. The end of their ordeal will only be the beginning of a murder trial for three of them. This is a superb first novel, mixing a tale of love, strength and survival. It brings up the question “What would I do in this situation?”, for which I don’t think we will ever be prepared until….

The Poacher’s Son by Paul Doiron

February 13, 2013

[Cindy]

Have you read the mysteries by Steve Hamilton that are set in Michigan’s Upper Pennisula? If you  have and like them then Paul Doirons The Poacher’s Son is for you.  Mike Bowditch is a Warden in Maine.  His father has been accused of killing a police officer and a mystery ensues.  A good series for me has characters that you care about and interesting stories.  Some writers can do action, some can do characters and some can do description. Not many can do all three and still maintain a gripping pace. Mr. Doiron can. He also avoided easy and predictable solutions to his “mystery” while avoiding gimmicks and keeping it believeable.  This is book one of this authors series and I could not put it down.  Follow up and also read his other two in the series – Trespasser and Bad Little Falls – all three are fantastic!

Book Review: U.S.S. Albacore: forerunner of the future

February 4, 2013

[Bill L.]

Book Review: U.S.S. Albacore: forerunner of the future

Date of publication: 1999

Publisher: P. E. Randall for the Portsmouth Marine Society.

At what point does science fiction become science fact? There has been no shortage of imagination in the last 150 or so years. Jules Verne comes readily to mind as a great writer of forethought. So does Douglas Adams and the television and film sagas of Star Trek and Star Wars to mention only a few are worldwide hits for millions. We live everyday now with miracles, electricity, the internet and mobile phones. Who knows what other wonders—or terrors await the inhabitants of the 22nd century?

Very fine. But, ummm, did you know that there is a submarine in a ditch just off the Route 1 Sarah Mildred Long Bridge?  Yes, a submarine in a ditch. Oh, yes, that submarine! It is a tribute to Yankee stoicism that we don’t even comment on it. But it is there. It is the USS Albacore, built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in the early 1950’s and now a museum ship for all to enjoy and learn from.

And that is the fascinating science fiction which becomes science fact is the unlikely story of our very own, and by our I do mean ours, that is to say the Seacoast New Hampshire and Maine people who designed, and built and perhaps more importantly, saved the USS Albacore, AGSS 569 from a fate worse than death, that of scrap and oblivion. That is what this little blue paperback book is all about.

Authors Robert P. Largess and James L. Mandelblatt, tell a true, yet almost stranger than fiction tale. It is a true sea story that will fascinate and delight, again because it is true. The book is very well illustrated and gives just enough technical info for the layperson and the Navy and Shipyard veteran as well to enjoy. Because when the design of this whale like diesel powered sub is combined with the almost inexhaustible nuclear power plant one has the design of the ultimate weapon for good or for evil.

This book is highly recommended by me and every single person that I know who has read it does too. For not only can you read this book and drive by Albacore Park, for a nominal fee you can actually tour the inside of the Albacore every month of the year except February, hey, it is winter, this is New Hampshire, it is a real US Navy submarine made of steel! It is not a Swiss chalet for après-ski.

The USS Albacore is an utterly remarkable thing, even more so, it is unique, even singular. But you and your family and friends can visit and for a while become as a child, to lose yourself in a science fiction that has indeed become a science fact. This excellent little book is the story, the introduction to the world’s fastest submarine, built right here in Portsmouth-Kittery and how it got to be where it is now. I am really pretty proud of that fact. I am hoping that you will be too.

www.ussalbacore.org

bill Littlefield

1 February, 2013