Review of Heartland by John Holland

I purchased John Holland’s poetry book Dry Bones as a gift for my librarian sister-in-law.  I won’t comment on the book because poetry is personal.  I did read it before I gave it to her.  The only regret is that I didn’t buy the book directly from John and ask him to sign it.  After reading Dry Bones I wanted to read more of his work so I purchased Heartland.  

Listening to Johnny Cash sing Nine Inch Nail’s “Hurt” and to Mazzy Star’s “Into Dust” made sense while I started reading John Holland’s Heartland: Four Novellas set in the Australian Outback.  But as I continued to read I think listening to David Bowie or Peter Gabriel singing Heroes made even  more sense.

The environment and animals are uniquely Australian but the human essence of the stories could take place anywhere.

Each story drew me in as though I was a character sharing the same experiences as the main characters.

All the stories could easily be made into a movie or mini series.  And considering John’s background there is a great deal of sage advice mixed into the telling of “Left of the Rising Sun”.  Knowledge that could save someone’s life.

The ebook and paperback are available for Kindle and Amazon Books.

Enjoy!  And Keep Safe!




Review of History Channel’s “Curse of Oak Island”

I haven’t watched much TV over the last twenty years.  Just little snippets of shows on YouTube.  However, in isolation I started watching History Channel’s “Curse of Oak Island”.

Oak Island is part of Nova Scotia and believed to have a buried treasure.  The brothers Rick and Marty Lagina, and Craig Tester along with their crew have been searching for the treasure for several seasons.  I talked to a friend who has watched the reality show for a number of years and said they never find the treasure and that the show just goes on and on.  However, from an archaeological and historical view this is a very important show whether they find the treasure or not.

The treasure they have found, such as a cross, show evidence that that Oak Island has been visited by Europeans for centuries.

They have worked with experts from around the world to date and geographically place the origin of objects they have found.  From this viewers learn about ancient tools, weapons, and jewellery.

The search so far has used a drone do an overhead scan of Oak Island.  Underground mapping using explosives, and drills to dig down in specific areas to look for the “money” pit.  Copper walls have been used so a specific area could be drained of water and an inflatable wall used to drain a swamp.  All of this is done with permits and when necessary a professional geologist and archaeologist.

There is one aspect to the show that is disturbing.  If the treasure was brought there by Freemasons the crew looking for it should walk gingerly.  The Freemason organisation still exists and they may decide what is theirs is theirs.  Very smart of Rick, Marty, and Craig to build a museum for people to see and discovered artifacts.

Personally I enjoy seeing the respect they show towards the others who have searched for the treasure and their inclusiveness of the people on and around Oak Island.


Review of Cixin Liu’s “The Dark Forest”

I reviewed Cixin Liu’s “The Three Body Problem” awhile ago.  For someone who is not from the East and did not grow up in China I found Cixin Liu’s book refreshing.  His technical knowledge is far beyond mine, he is a computer engineer and more, but he explains the theories in a way most people can grasp.

In his second book of the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy he deals more with philosophy.  The Dark Forest is technical but it suggests philosophies we as Earthlings really need to consider as we go to other planets and try to communicate with the rest of the galaxy.  The major philosophical discovery made by the main character, Lou Ji, is terrifying!

This is a link to a short Interview about and with Cixin Liu (Liu Cixin in Chinese).