Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Last Theorem by Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl

This past weekend I finished reading this long awaited (by me) novel. Clarke had been working on it for a few years but was unable to complete it before his death due to ill health. He passed it on to another one of my favourite authors, Frederik Pohl, to complete.

I won't go into a full review because doing so would spoil the novel. I'll just say it was a very good read and has all the usual Clarkian elements. Much of it is set in Clarke's adopted home country of Sri Lanka.

My impression was that it was an Arthur C. Clarke story but was written in the style of Frederik Pohl's novels. The characters were perhaps more developed than in most of Clarke's books; that may have also been Pohl's doing.

Happily, Clarke was at least able to see the final manuscript before he passed away earlier this year.

All in all, highly recommended.

It is currently selling for about $20 on amazon.ca so order it now before the Canadian price goes up, or better yet borrow it from you local library like I did.

CD Review: Roy Orbison - The Soul of Rock and Roll

I'm a big fan of Roy Orbison. He had an amazing singing voice, was a talented song writer, and was a pretty good guitar player. And with his jet black hair and trademark sunglasses, he was cool. If you took the best of Elvis Buddy Holly and combined them, you'd have something close to Roy Orbison.

So when a new Roy Orbison CD compilation came out, I had to get it. The Soul of Rock and Roll is a set of four CDs containing 108 tracks. It covers his entire career, from his first hit Ooby Dooby recorded by his band The Teen Kings (when he was still in his teens) to a recording made two days before his death.

The CDs are roughly in chronological order. You can follow his career from the early rockabilly tunes to Rock and Roll songs to the ballads he became most famous for, and rebirth with the Traveling Wilbury's in the eighties.

The compilation includes most of his major hits spanning from the 1950s to 1980s. It also includes some demo recording and other rarities, some of which were not previously unreleased.

I particularly hearing some of the demos that feature just Roy and his guitar.

On the pros side, the compilation includes almost everything Roy Orbison recorded in one set. There is a generous number of tracks per disc. The tracks are of good quality. It includes a book of almost 100 pages about his life, pictures, and info about each of the tracks.

My only complaint is with the packaging. While it looks nice, it is too big to conveniently carry with you, so you will need some jewel cases or other holder (assuming you don't just rip the tracks to you MP3 player).

It is available from Amazon.