Book 189: The Haunted Observatory by Richard Baum

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The Haunted Observatory by Richard Baum

Finished reading some time last week before going to a new college.

Rating: 7.5/10

This book is one of several that I’ve had in my wishlist on several bookstore websites for years (probably three years), but because it seems more as if it just fun tales and anecdotes, then it isn’t really a highly needed reading, or is it?

Do you learn something new? Yes. Is it something new that you can put into a random chat with a stranger at an observatory? Unlikely – it’s rather specific in it’s scope by dealing with observations that at the time seemed like difficult to explain with physics (or in some cases – biology), but turned out to have quite decent explanations.

If you’re thinking that you’ll find aliens in this book – you won’t. However you’d see that there are observations that’ll take lots of time to find an explanation, and that sometimes you can observe something that should be there, but isn’t physically possible to see with your equipment. Or how you can observe locusts or seeds and be very confused because that’s not normally what you’d expect to see.

I did find the book very interesting, and very well researched, and I hadn’t read or heard any of these curious stories beforehand, so it was quite fun – you do meet quite a few of famous astronomers (if you know your history of astronomy, if not, well the astronomers in the book were mostly famous).

I think you have to have a specific interest in curious observations to fully appreciate this book, or at least a firm footing in astronomy because otherwise it’d take a lot of time to get the point why something or other doesn’t make sense.

Lovely book. I’m glad I read it.

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Book 188: The Explorer by James Smythe

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The Explorer by James Smythe

Rating: 5/10

This is the first part of a series of which I read the second book “The Echo” first. I hoped that maybe there’d be some explanation to some things that bugged me in the second book and that’s why I read it.

In this book there’s a spacecraft that is travelling at warp speed (something I don’t remember being actually said out loud in the second book, but that’s one worrying aspect less), apparently just so that it could go as far as it can with about half the fuel and then turn around and go back. However, it’s more just a psychological thriller set in space – the crew and what happens to them, and mainly about what happens to the journalist Cormac Easton.

It is interesting in some ways for sure, the whole premise is quite nice, but I can’t tell more about it to avoid spoilers.

As a slight explanation for the second book in the series it’s fine. I doubt I would have wanted to read the second book if I’d had started from the first one. I think that “The Echo” really is the superior book and hope the following part/s will be as well.

The book surprised me by actually being surprising – you get used to what’s going on, and something happens to turn everything upside down.

It was a very quick read though, and I’m sure some people would enjoy it, I just didn’t really like any of the characters – maybe they’re not likable, or just too strange for me…  🙂