LEAVE NO TRACE (Based on MY ABANDONMENT By Peter Rock)



It’s 1999 and a father and his teenage daughter live off the grid in the Forest Park, a beautiful nature reserve near Portland, Oregon. Why are they living in such a primitive fashion? Like Captain Fantastic (2016) where a father raises his children away from civilization, My Abandonment (2009)–the book Leave No Trace is based on–critiques American society by contrasting the stripped-down Life this father and young daughter live while surrounded by a materialistic society.

Director Debra Granik made the surprising Winter’s Bone eight years ago which was based on Daniel Woodrell’s 2006 novel of the same name. Winter’s Bone launched the career of Jennifer Lawrence and Leave No Trace will supercharge the careers of Ben Foster and Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie.

Ben Foster plays his role of Will, a veteran with “problems,” in a quiet, understated fashion with intensity. Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, the New Zealand phenom who plays Tom, adores her father and wants to protect him. Debra Granik and her co-screenwriter Anne Rosellini follow the plotline of My Abandonment for about two-thirds of the movie. Then, they make a strategic decision to change the ending. The novel’s ending is darker while the movie’s ending is more hopeful. Both work. Michael McDonough’s cinematography is stunning. GRADE: A-

BAD BLOOD: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup By John Carreyrou



Elizabeth Holmes, a 19-year-old Stanford University drop-out, formed a Silicon Valley company called Theranos. Elizabeth Holmes sold investors on the idea that she and her company could produce devices that with a few drops of blood could run hundreds of tests on that blood. Essentially, it would put traditional blood testing companies like Quest Diagnostics out of business. Millions of dollars rolled in. Holmes was able to attract investors like Rupert Murdock, Bob Kraft (owner of the New England Patriots), Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, John Elkann (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), and Cox Enterprises. Even more impressive was the star power of the Board of Directors Holmes was able to recruit: Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Sam Nunn, and Trump Secretary of Defense “Mad Dog” Mattis. How Holmes mesmerized these high-powered people into supporting her dream is a mystery. For years, the Theranos devices failed. Turnover within the firm increased. Holmes would fire anyone who doubted her vision. She fired staff that raised questions about the technology she claimed worked just fine.

John Carreyrou of the Wall Street Journal started to investigate Theranos. Holmes refused to be interviewed by him. Carreyrou was followed. Theranos’s legal team threatened to sue the Wall Street Journal and Carryrou if they published articles critical of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos. Despite all the intimidation, the truth finally came out. Theranos was a billion dollar scam. Elizabeth Holmes is under indictment. Her devices were bogus. Bad Blood reads like a thriller. Suspense and breath-taking events show up on practically every page. How could so many smart people get fooled? Why did this scheme succeed so long? Bad Blood points the way to some answers to these questions. This is the best non-fiction book I’ve read in 2018 so far! Highly recommended! GRADE: A

I want to send out a Special Thanks to my son, Patrick, who not only recommended Bad Blood but also provided me with a copy to read!
Table of Contents
Author’s Note ix
Prologue 3
1 A Purposeful Life 9
2 The Gluebot 18
3 Apple Envy 30
4 Goodbye East Paly 41
5 The Childhood Neighbor 54
6 Sunny 67
7 Dr. J 81
8 The miniLab 95
9 The Wellness Play 109
10 “Who Is LTC Shoemaker?” 120
11 Lighting a Fuisz 132
12 Ian Gibbons 141
13 Chiat\Day 150
14 Going Live 161
15 Unicorn 174
16 The Grandson 184
17 Fame 201
18 The Hippocratic Oath 213
19 The Tip 223
20 The Ambush 240
21 Trade Secrets 250
22 La Mattanza 259
23 Damage Control 268
24 The Empress Has No Clothes 281
Epilogue 294
Acknowledgments 301
Notes 305
Index 325

FULL DARK, NO STARS By Stephen King


“I have tried my best in Full Dark, No Stars to record what people might do, and how they might behave, under certain dire circumstances,” writes Stephen King on pages 529-530 of his “AFTERWORD.” Full Dark, No Stars, a collection of psychological suspense stories from 2010, has been sitting on my stack of Read Real Soon books for years.

“1922” features a greedy farmer who decides to murder his wife. But, after the killing, events unravel his Life. “Big Driver” shows what can happen if you take that “short cut” into the TWILIGHT ZONE. “Fair Extension” asked the question: “If you could rid yourself of all your problems, would you put them on a friend?” “A Good Marriage” centers around a wife discovering her husband’s Secret Life. Stephen King talks about how these stories came about in his “AFTERWORD.” And a bonus short story, “Under the Weather,” is frosting on the cake. Although Full Dark, No Stars is a 560-page book, the pages turned quickly. Perfect Summer reading! GRADE: B+

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1922 1
Big driver 193
Fair extension 357
A good marriage 405
AFTERWORD 527
Under the Weather 535

THE INVESTMENT ANSWER: LEARN TO MANAGE YOUR MONEY & PROTECT YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE By Daniel Goldie and Gordon Murray


This slim 88-page book provides clear and concise information on money management and investment strategy. It’s never too late to invest. Although I hated the Republican “Tax Reform” bill, I knew that dumping a trillion dollars into the U.S. Economy would send the Stock Market up, up, up. We still have another year of growth as all that money works its way through our financial system…before the Economy crashes in 2019. There’s money to be made and The Investment Answer tells you how to do it. With Social Security on shaky ground, all retirees are going to need additional income to supplement their budgets. Investments provide dividends and capital increases to boost your income. The Investment Answer answers a lot of questions about money and how to get more. GRADE: A-
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Why We Wrote this Book p. 1
Introduction p. 5
The Decisions
Chapter 1 The Do-It-Yourself Decision p. 11
Do-It-Yourself p. 11
Retail Brokers p. 16
Independent, Fee-Only Advisors p. 18
How to Select an Independent, Fee-Only Advisor p. 20
Chapter 2 The Asset Allocation Decision p. 23
The Impact of Volatility on Returns p. 23
Risk and Return are Related p. 27
The Asset Allocation Decision p. 31
Chapter 3 The Diversification Decision p. 35
Chapter 4 The Active versus Passive Decision p. 41
Active Investing p. 41
Passive Investing p. 45
Chapter 5 The Rebalancing Decision p. 51
Conclusions
Chapter 6 Compared to What? p. 57
Chapter 7 What About Alternatives? p. 59
Hedge Funds p. 60
Private Equity (Including Venture Capital) p. 62
Commodities (Gold, Oil & Gas, Etc.) p. 63
Chapter 8 Everyone Can Succeed p. 65
A Personal Note from the Authors p. 67
About the Authors p. 71
Appendix p. 75
Sources and Descriptions of Data p. 79
Index p. 87

FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #485: YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES: 1954 Edited by Everette F. Bleiler & T. E. Dikty


My favorite story in the Year’s Best Science Fiction Stories: 1954 is Jack Vance’s “DP!” which directly addresses our current immigrant crisis. Richard Matheson writes about the end of the world in “The Last Day.” Bleiler and Dikty continue their practice of assessing the year’s science fiction in their informative introductory essay. There’s also a useful index to the Year’s Best Science Fiction Stories from 1949 to 1954. All in all, another solid 1950s SF anthology full of stories about World War III, mutant children, and time travel. GRADE: B+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
• 9 • Editors’ Preface (The Best Science-Fiction Stories: 1954) • (1954) • essay by Everett F. Bleiler and T. E. Dikty
• 13 • Icon of the Imagination • (1954) • essay by Fritz Leiber
• 19 • DP! • (1953) • short story by Jack Vance (Avon Science Fiction and Fantasy Reader)
• 41 • The Big Holiday • (1953) • short story by Fritz Leiber (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 1953)
• 50 • The Collectors • (1953) • short story by G. Gordon Dewey and Peter Grainger [as by G. Gordon Dewey and Max Dancey] (Amazing Stories, June-July 1953)
• 65 • One in Three Hundred • [One] • (1953) • novelette by J. T. McIntosh (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1953)
• 108 • Wonder Child • (1953) • novelette by Joseph Shallit (Fantastic, January-February 1953)
• 136 • Crucifixus Etiam • (1953) • short story by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (Astounding Science Fiction, February 1953)
• 159 • The Model of a Judge • (1953) • short story by William Morrison (Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1953)
• 172 • The Last Day • (1953) • short story by Richard Matheson (Amazing Stories, April-May 1953)
• 190 • Time Is the Traitor • (1953) • novelette by Alfred Bester (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September 1953)
• 217 • Lot • [David Jimmon] • (1953) • novelette by Ward Moore (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 1953)
• 249 • Yankee Exodus • (1953) • short story by Ruth M. Goldsmith (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1953)
• 262 • What Thin Partitions • [Ralph Kennedy] • (1953) • novelette by Mark Clifton and Alex Apostolides (Astounding Science Fiction, July 1953)
• 298 • A Bad Day for Sales • (1953) • short story by Fritz Leiber (Galaxy Science Fiction, July 1953)
• 309 • About the Authors (The Best Science-Fiction Stories: 1954) • (1954) • essay by uncredited
• 313 • Index, the Best Science-Fiction Stories: 1949-1954 • (1954) • essay by uncredited

THE COMPLETE PSYCHOTECHNIC LEAGUE: VOLUME 3 By Poul Anderson


BAEN BOOKS deserves praise for reprinting Poul Anderson’s tales of the Psychotechnic League. Several science fiction writers have developed Future Histories. Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov clearly influenced Poul Anderson in his construction of his Future History in these Psychotechnic League stories. Anderson projects a Third World War that sends humanity into the Second Dark Ages. Out of the ashes, the Psychotechnic Institute tries to protect civilization with its advanced social science. Volume 3 of The Complete Psychotechnic League collects four short stories never included in previous collections. My review of Volume 1 can be found here and my review of Volume 2 can be found here. If you’re a fan of classic SF, I highly recommend The Complete Psychotechnic League. GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Forward by Sandra Miesel 1
The Acolytes (WORLDS BEYOND, 1951) 3
The Green Thumb (SCIENCE FICTION QUARTERLY, 1953) 21
Virgin Planet (VENTURE, 1957) 43
Teucan (COSMOS SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, 1954) 115
The Pirate (ANALOG, 1968) 137
Entity (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, 1949) 167
Symmetry (aka, “The Stranger Was Himself,” FANTASTIC UNIVERSE, 1954) 183
The Chapter Ends (DYNAMIC SCIENCE FICTION, 1953) 195
Chronology of Future 217

THE YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION: 35TH ANNUAL COLLECTION Edited By Gardner Dozois


Gardner Dozois died of an infection on May 27, 2018. Dozois edited the Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine from 1984-2004 winning the Best Editor Award four times. Dozois also won two Nebula Awards for Best Short Story twice. But I suspect Gardner Dozois’s legacy will center around his 35 year series of The Year’s Best Science Fiction volumes. As the years went on, the volumes grew in size. Dozois also included an essay in each volume where he assessed the year and its trends. Anyone interested in the history of Science Fiction will refer to these books.

This last volume includes a variety of stories. I enjoyed Alastair Reynolds’s “Night Passage,” Aliette de Bodard’s “The Dragon that Flew Out of the Sun,” Tobias Buckell’s “Zen and the Art of Spaceship Maintenance,” and Robert Reed’s “The Residue in Fire.” This is the end of an era. GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
THE MOON IS NOT A BATTLEFIELD, Indrapramit Das
MY ENGLISH NAME, R.S. Benedict
AN EVENING WITH SEVERYN GRIMES, Rich Larson
VANGUARD 2.0, Carter Scholz
STARLIGHT EXPRESS, Michael Swanwick
THE MARTIAN OBELISK, Linda Nagata
WE WHO LIVE IN THE HEART, Kelly Robson
WINTER TIMESHARE, Ray Nayler
DEAR SARAH, Nancy Kress
NIGHT PASSAGE, Alastair Reynolds
THE DRAGON THAT FLEW OUT OF THE SUN, Aliette de Bodard
WAITING OUT THE END OF THE WORLD IN PATTY’S PLACE CAFE, Naomi Krtizer
THE HUNGER AFTER YOU’RE FED, James S.A. Corey
ASSASSINS, Jack Skillingstead and Burt Courtier
THE MARTIAN JOB, Jaine Fenn
THE ROAD TO THE SEA, Lavie Tidhar
UNCANNY VALLEY, Greg Egan
THE WORDLESS, Indrapramit Das
PAN HUMANISM: HOPE AND PRAGMATICS, Jessica Barber and Sara Saab
ZIGEUNER, Harry Turtledove
THE PROVING GROUND, Alec Nevala-Lee
ZEN AND THE ART OF SPACESHIP MAINTENANCE, Tobias Buckell
THE INFLUENCE MACHINE, Sean McMullen
CANOE, Nancy Kress
THE HISTORY OF THE INVASION TOLD IN FIVE DOGS, Kelly Jennings
PRIME MEREDIAN, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
TRICERATOPS, Ian McHugh
MINES, Eleanor Arnason
THERE USED TO BE OLIVE TREES, Rich Larson
WHENDING MY WAY BACK HOME, Bill Johnson
DEATH ON MARS, Madeline Ashby
ELEPHANT ON TABLE, Bruce Sterling
NUMBER 39 SKINK, Suzanne Palmer
A SERIES OF STEAKS, Vina Jie-Min Prased
THE LAST BOAT-BUILDER IN BALLYVOLOON, Finbarr O’Reilley
THE RESIDUE OF FIRE, Robert Reed
SIDEWALKS, Maureen F. McHugh
NEXUS, Michael F. Flynn

WHITNEY


Whitney Houston died in a hotel bathtub on February 11, 2012. She was 48. Whitney Houston set records during her too brief career. She sold over 200 million records. Whitney Houston released seven studio albums and two soundtrack albums, all of which have been certified diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Whitney Houston is the only artist to have seven consecutive number one Billboard Hot 100 songs.

Despite Houston’s wonderful voice, she made several Bad Decisions. One of the members of her entourage interviewed for this documentary says, “People around Whitney considered her an ATM.” Her career rocketed into the stratosphere after her role in The Bodyguard became iconic. But Whitney’s success grated on her husband, Bobby Brown. He abused her verbally and physically. He may have contributed to her drug addictions. Director Kevin Macdonald doesn’t grill some of the principal characters in Whitney’s destruction; Macdonald takes a more subtle approach by letting these characters reveal their parts in the calamity of Whitney Houston’s life. For example, the President of Arista Records L. A. Reid looks into the camera and says he never knew Whitney used drugs. The audience laughed at this blatant lie. One of Whitney’s brothers says there were no drugs used by the Houston family while he’s obviously addled by drugs on screen.

Great music weaves its way through this film from Whitney’s debut television appearance on THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW to her electrifying rendition of “The Star Bangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV in 1991. The highs are impressive, but Whitney’s lows are heartbreaking. Do you have a favorite Whitney Houston song? GRADE: A

SPRINGFIELD CONFIDENTIAL: JOKES, SECRETS, AND OUTRIGHT LIES FROM A LIFETIME WRITING FOR THE SIMPSONS By Mike Reiss with Mathew Klickstein


Mike Reiss worked on The Simpsons for 30 years. He was head writer during the period when The Simpsons won four Emmy Awards. Springfield Confidential is a mashup of memoir and “How To Write a Great Comedy Script.” Reiss shows how the episodes were put together: it takes 23 steps to produce a finished episode–about nine months. He shares a lot of writing tips. Reiss provides a personal history of The Simpsons with insider information–like why the Simpsons are yellow. Mike Reiss also wrote children’s books: How Murray Saved Christmas, Santa Claustrophobia, and The Boy That Looked Like Lincoln.. If you’re a fan of The Simpsons you’ll love this book! If you’re a casual watcher of the program, there’s enough humor and information here to keep you interested. Do you have a favorite episode of The Simpsons? GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
FORWARD by Judd Apatow xiii
Opening credits.
Burning question: Where is Springfield? — 5
Act one.
It begins … ; 9
A brief history of me ; 23
Funny for money — 37
Act two.
Meet the writers ; 51
Simpsons songs : who writes them, how are they written, and why are there so goddamn many? ; 89
Meet the showrunners ; 91
Meet the characters ; 99
Meet the cast ; 111
Burning question: Do you read what fans post on websites? ; 139
Four episodes that changed the world (kinda) ; 141
Burning question: What do you think of Family Guy? ; 161
Meet the fans ; 163
Burning question: What do you say to people who say the show has gone downhill? ; 175
Seeing the world with The Simpsons ; 177
Burning question: Why has the show lasted so long? — 191
Act three.
On comedy ; 197
How Krusty became The Critic ; 209
Burning question: What’s the biggest reason The Critic failed? ; 221
A development deal with the devil ; 223
Burning question: What is the secret of The Simpsons’ success? ; 229
Doing animated films for cash (not credit) ; 233
The sleazy, nasty world of children’s books ; 241
Gay for pay ; 247
Writing for humans again! ; 255
Back to the old tire fire — 261
The tag.
It never ends … ; 275
The final burning question: Why are the Simpsons yellow? 279
CLOSING CREDITS
Glossary 283
Answers to NPR Puzzles 289
Acknowledgements 291
Image Credits 295
About the Authors 297

STRANGE GIFTS Edited by Robert Silverberg


Robert Silverberg is known for his prolific career writing science fiction. Silverberg was also a masterful editor of science fiction collections. One of these SF collections from 1975 is Strange Gifts. In this themed anthology, each story presents a “gifted” character that disrupts the status quo. For example, in Philip K. Dick’s “The Golden Man,” mutants are hunted down by a Government agency. But some humans try to help the mutants survive. The Golden Man presents a huge problem for the Government because of his powers. Alfred Bester’s “Oddy and Id” follows the pattern with children with awesome powers. Silverberg’s own “To Be Continued” explores what it would be like to be able to live thousands of years. What problems would a vastly increased life-span present? The most surreal story in Strange Gifts is “Humpty Dumpty Had A Great Fall” where a child is able to tap into alternate dimensions. Kris Neville’s “Bettyann” explores what it would be like for an alien child to be raised as a human. All in all, I enjoyed these stories of strangeness. Perfect Summer reading material! GRADE: B+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Robert Silverberg. Introduction 11
Dick, Philip K. The golden man. (IF, April 1954) 13
Dickson, Gordon R. Danger-human! (Astounding Science Fiction, December 1957) 49
Lafferty, R. A. All the people. ( Galaxy Magazine, April 1961) 71
Bester, Alfred. Oddy and Id. (Astounding Science Fiction, August 1950) 84
Gold, H. L. The man with English (STAR SCIENCE FICTION STORIES, 1953) 102
Silverberg, Robert. To be continued. (Astounding Science Fiction, May 1956) 113
Long, Frank Belknap. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. (Startling Stories, November 1948) 128
Neville, Kris. Bettyann. ( New Tales of Space and Time, 1951) 158