Monthly Archives: December 2011

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #149: KANE OF OLD MARS SERIES By Michael Moorcock (aka, Edward P. Bradbury)

Back in the 1960s, Lancer Books brought out a series of books that I instantly recognized were homages to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars novels. Blades of Mars, Warriors of Mars, and Barbarians of Mars (published under the Edward P. Bradbury pseudonym) told the adventures of Michael Kane, gifted swordsman and physicist, who finds himself transported to Mars in time and in space when an experiment in matter transmission goes awry. Kane finds himself on Mars, but a Mars thousands of years in the past. Of course, there’s plenty of action as Kane battles the invading Blue Giants and falls in love with the beautiful Princess Shizala. In all three books, Kane confronts man-sized spiders, ancient mutant races, and a genetically engineered plague. If you’re a fan of the Burroughs Mars books, you’ll enjoy these worthy pastiches. The Planet Stories editions of these entertaining books with Moorcock’s more colorful titles are still available.


My sister Paula, a huge Tim Tebow fan, sent me Through My Eyes last summer. I was supposed to read it while convalescing from my knee replacement surgery. But, as things around here are wont to happen, Tim Tebow’s book fell to the middle of the Real Real Soon stack of books. Now, with the incredible exploits of the Denver Broncos and their QB, Tim Tebow, I felt motivated to read Tebow’s book. Yes, it’s full of religious quotes. But I was impressed with Tebow’s work ethic and his earnestness. He is a born leader. Reading his words, especially after a loss, shows you how determined Tebow is to overcome problems and win. The hapless Buffalo Bills finish their last home game of the season today against Tebow and the Broncos. My money is on Tebow. GRADE: B+

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #148: MURDER FOR CHRISTMAS Edited by Thomas Godfrey, Illustrated by Gahan Wilson

In the spirit of the season I’m offering up this classic Christmas mystery collection: Murder for Christmas with some great Gahan Wilson illustrations. The variety in this collection should appeal to the most jaded mystery reader. It’s a nice mix of the familiar and not-so-familiar. Plenty of copies are available for a pittance on the Internet. Happy Holidays!
Back for Christmas / John Collier
Mr. Big / Woody Allen
The adventure of the blue carbuncle / Arthur Conan Doyle
The adventure of the Christmas pudding / Agatha Christie
Dancing Dan’s Christmas / Damon Runyon
Cambric tea / Marjorie Bowen
Death on Christmas eve / Stanley Ellin
A Christmas tragedy / Baroness Orczy
Silent night / Baynard Kendrick
The stolen Christmas box / Lillian de la Torre
A chaparral Christmas gift / O. Henry
Dealth on the air / Ngaio Marsh
Inspector Ghote and the miracle baby / H.R.F. Keating
Maigret’s Christmas / Georges Simenon
To be taken with a grain of salt / Charles Dickens
The adventure of the Dauphin’s doll / Ellery Queen
Markheim / Robert Louis Stevenson
The necklace of pearls / Dorothy L. Sayers
Blind man’s hood / Carter Dickson
Christmas is for cops / Edward D. Hoch
The thieves who couldn’t help sneezing / Thomas Hardy
The case is altered / Margery Allingham
Christmas party / Rex Stout
The flying stars / G.K. Chesterton
Mother’s milk / James Mines
Ring out, wild bells / D.B. Wyndham Lewis


I decided to read The Invention of Hugo Cabret before I saw the Martin Scorsese movie based on it. This is partly a graphic novel and although the book looks as thick as a brick, you can read it in an hour. Hugo is a 12-year-old who lives in a small room in a train station in Paris in the 1930s with his drunken Uncle. Hugo’s father, a clockmaker, was trying to fix an automaton when he dies unexpectedly. Then Hugo’s Uncle disappears. Hugo starts stealing food to stay alive. When Hugo tries to steal a toy, the man who owns the toy booth takes Hugo’s father’s notebook. The man threatens to burn the notebook unless Hugo works in his booth. Hugo needs the notebook to complete the automaton his father was working on when he died. There are plenty of twists to this story. The book morphs into an appreciation of early French films. The Invention of Hugo Cabret won a Caldecott Medal as Best Children’s Book of 2008. GRADE: A-