Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories by Terry Bisson

Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories by Terry BissonBears Discover Fire and Other Stories
Author: Terry Bisson
Format: Softcover

Bears Discover Fire is the first short story collection by the most acclaimed science fiction author of the decade, author of such brilliant novels as Talking Man and Voyage to the Red Planet. It brings together nineteen of Bisson's finest works for the first time in one volume, among them the darkly comic title story, which garnered the field's highest honors, including the Hugo, Nebula, Theodore Sturgeon, and Locus awards.

Extract from the Book
They're Made out of Meat

"They're made out of meat."


"Meat. They're made out of meat."


"There's no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

"That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?"

"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."

"So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."

"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

"That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in that sector and they're made out of meat."

"Maybe they're like the orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."

"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take long. Do you have any idea what's the life span of meat?"

"Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."

"Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads, like the weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."

"No brain?"

"Oh, there's a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat! That's what I've been trying to tell you."

"So ... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? You're refusing to deal with what I'm telling you. The brain does the thinking. The meat."

"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you beginning to get the picture or do I have to start all over?"

"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."

"Thank you. Finally. Yes. They are indeed made out of meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."

"Omigod. So what does this meat have in mind?"

"First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the Universe, contact other sentiences, swap ideas and information. The usual."

"We're supposed to talk to meat."

"That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there. Anybody home.' That sort of thing."

"They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"

"Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."

"I thought you just told me they used radio."

"They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat, it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

"Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"

"Officially or unofficially?"


"Officially, we are required to contact, welcome and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in this quadrant of the Universe, without prejudice, fear or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."

"I was hoping you would say that."

"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"

"I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say? 'Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"

"Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they can only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."

"So we just pretend there's no one home in the Universe."

"That's it."

"Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you probed? You're sure they won't remember?"

"They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."

"A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."

"And we marked the entire sector unoccupied."

"Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?"

"Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotations ago, wants to be friendly again."

"They always come around."

"And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the Universe would be if one were all alone ..."

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Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Duma Key by Stephen King

Duma Key by Stephen KingDuma Key
Author: Stephen King
Format: Hardcover

DUMA KEY is the engaging, fascinating story of a man who discovers an incredible talent for painting after a freak accident in which he loses an arm. He moves to a 'new life' in Duma Key, off Florida's West Coast; a deserted strip, part beach, part weed-tangled, owned by a patroness of the arts whose twin sisters went missing in the 1920s.

Duma Key is where out-of-season hurricanes tears lives apart and a powerful undertow lures lost and tormented souls. Here Freemantle is inspired to paint the amazing sunsets. But soon the paintings become predictive, even dangerous. Freemantle knows the only way forward is to discover what happened to the twin sisters -- and what is the secret of the strange old lady who holds the key?

The story is about friendship, about the bond between a father and his daughter. And about memory, truth and art. It is also is a metaphor for the life and inspiration of a writer, and an exploration of the nature, power and influence of fiction.

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The Appeal by John Grisham

The Appeal by John GrishamThe Appeal
Author: John Grisham
Format: Hardcover

In a crowded courtroom in Mississippi, a jury returns a shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town's water supply, causing the worst cancer cluster in history. The company appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court, whose nine justices will one day either approve the verdict or reverse it. Who are the nine? How will they vote? Can one be replaced before the case is ultimately decided?

The chemical company is owned by a Wall Street predator named Carl Trudeau, and Mr. Trudeau is convinced the Court is not friendly enough. With judicial elections looming, he decides to try to purchase himself a seat on the Court.

The cost is a few million dollars, a drop in the bucket for a billionaire like Mr. Trudeau.Through an intricate web of conspiracy and deceit, his political operatives recruit a young, unsuspecting candidate. They finance him, manipulate him, market him, and mould him into a potential Supreme Court justice. Their Supreme Court justice.

The Appeal is a powerful, timely, and shocking story of political and legal intrigue, a story that will leave readers unable to think about the electoral process or judicial system in quite the same way ever again.

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My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler

My Horizontal Life by Chelsea HandlerMy Horizontal Life
Author: Chelsea Handler
Format: Softcover

'Many people feel like a one-night stand is something to be ashamed or embarrassed of. I disagree...' We've all (well not quite all, perhaps) had at least one: a one-night stand. Often embarrassing and uncomfortable, occasionally outlandish, but most times just a necessary and irresistible evil, the one-night-stand is a social rite as old as sex itself and as common as a bar stool. Enter Chelsea Handler.

Gorgeous, sharp, and anything but shy, Chelsea loves men...Lots of them.

My Horizontal Life chronicles Chelsea's romps through the bedrooms of a host of potential suitors, uncovering what can happen in one night of passion between a man and a sometimes very intoxicated woman. From her short fling with a Vegas stripper named Thunder to her even shorter fling with a very short man, she recalls her myriad one-night stands with hilarious honesty. My Horizontal Life is a sensationally frank and funny memoir of sexual life, and a gloriously quirky take on why we do the things we do. Whether you have been there yourself or not, its one guilty pleasure you won't be ashamed to talk about in the morning...

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Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GilbertEat, Pray, Love
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Format: Softcover

It's 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She's in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they're trying for a baby - and she doesn't want any of it.

A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance.

So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds, an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile. And slowly happiness begins to creep up on her.

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General Principles of Commercial Law by Kathleen van der Linde

General Principles of Commercial Law by Kathleen van der LindeGeneral Principles of Commercial Law
Author: Kathleen van der Linde
Format: Softcover

General principles of commercial law has been written by experienced lecturers in commercial law in the Department of Mercantile Law at the University of South Africa. It provides non-law students with a succinct exposition of the general principles of commercial law. The selection of topics was influenced by the syllabus of the Independent regulatory board for auditors for the law service course, as well as the syllabus for basic law courses of the Institute of Bankers.

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The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Pillars of the Earth
Author: Ken Follett
Format: Softcover

The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known; of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul; of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame; and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.

A spellbinding epic tale of ambition, anarchy, and absolute power set against the sprawling medieval canvas of twelfth-century England, this is Ken Follett's historical masterpiece.

'Enormous and brilliant ...this mammoth tale seems to touch all human emotion - love and hate, loyalty and treachery, hope and despair. This is truly a novel to get lost in' - Cosmopolitan .

'A historical saga of such breadth and density ...Follett succeeds brilliantly in combining hugeness and detail to create a novel imbued with the rawness, violence and blind faith of the era' - Sunday Express .

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Cyril Ramaphosa by Anthony Butler

Cyril Ramaphosa by Anthony ButlerCyril Ramaphosa
Author: Anthony Butler
Format: Softcover

Cyril Ramaphosa is one of South Africa's most celebrated political leaders. He first came to prominence in the 1980s as general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers and as a major force in the domestic struggle for political freedom. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in February 1990, Ramaphosa was at the head of the reception committee that greeted him.

As secretary-general of the ANC after its unbanning, he re-established the liberation movement as a mass political party. He is widely credited with playing a major role in the negotiations that led to the democratic settlement in South Africa, and in devising the country's new and internationally renowned constitution. Soon after this triumph, Ramaphosa left politics and became a successful businessman.

This commanding biography by Anthony Butler tells the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's life for the first time. It is based on rich interviews with many of the subject's friends and contemporaries, and it situates Ramaphosa's achievements and his shortcomings in the context of the often tumultuous historical events that surrounded him.

The title begins with Ramaphosa's childhood close to Sophiatown in the turbulent Johannesburg of the 1950s, the influence of his schooling in Soweto, and the enduring imprint of his religious upbringing on his political beliefs. It charts his career as a student political activist, his two devastating periods of detention without trial in solitary confinement, the extraordinary rise of his mineworkers' union, and the role he played in the transition to a democratic South Africa.

The book offers a frank appraisal of the achievements and limitations of one of South Africa's most enigmatic political figures.

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Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica SeinfeldDeceptively Delicious
Author: Jessica Seinfeld
Format: Hardcover

It has become common knowledge that childhood obesity rates are increasing every year. But the rates continue to rise. And between busy work schedules and the inconvenient truth that kids simply refuse to eat vegetables and other healthy foods, how can average parents ensure their kids are getting the proper nutrition and avoiding bad eating habits?

A mother of three, Jessica Seinfeld wages a personal war against sugars, packaged foods, and other nutritional saboteurs, she offers appetising alternatives for parents who find themselves succumbing to the fastest and easiest (and least healthy) choices available to them.

With the help of a nutritionist and a professional chef, Seinfeld has developed a month's worth of meals for kids of all ages that includes, for example, pureed cauliflower in macaroni cheese, and cabbage in spaghetti and meatballs.

She also provides revealing and humorous personal anecdotes, tear-out shopping guides to help parents zoom through the supermarket, and tips on how to deal with the kid that must have the latest sugar bomb cereal.

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