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Old 01-14-2011, 05:08 PM   #7855
ATDrake
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Finished the non-fiction semi-biographical history George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I, by Miranda Carter.

The thesis seems to be that the breakdown of the close familial relationship between European royals of the Victorian Era is kind of paralleled by the breakdown of general European relations over the same period, expressed via the case study of three of Queen Victoria's grandsons, who just happened to be the heads of their respective empires.

It's one of those "the personal is political" things as two out of three basically insecure neurotics who were coddled in their youth and never experienced real adversity or were properly trained to handle real power and a nasty habit of firing all the actually competent people nevertheless got their hands on just enough of it to do real damage. The other was King George of England and his portions of the book might as well have been assigned to his father King Edward, who had far greater influence on the actual events that the author is trying to tie together.

But it was interesting enough for some of the personal glimpses into the characters of the three rulers and the people surrounding them. Bit of a slog in the middle, as they mostly led really amazingly boring personal lives until they suddenly got more exciting towards the end.

Mild recommend for people interested in that era or late European royalty or family feuds conducted at the distance of several countries over a number of decades.

Now as part of a concerted effort to finish library books I've had lying around way too long, on John Zakour and Lawrence Ganem's Ballistic Babes, an omnibus collection of two comic near-future sf novels starring a beset PI with a snarky AI assistant who in the first novel has to protect a retiring teen-pop starlet from death threats received from PATA (People Against Talentless Acts), all as part of a reality show.

Took me a few chapters to get into, as the setting uses a lot of faux-futuristic pop culture slang (nano for second, sharks for lawyers, etc.) and it seems to have been based on Hollywood media gone mad, but I think I'm liking it and might go have a look at the other books (these are 3rd and 4th in a series) after I'm done.
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