Archive for the ‘C. Umpulsion’ Category

The robots are coming!: Sci-Fi for the new year

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

What are we waiting for in 2011 in the sci-fi and fantasy section at the ABC? Well, there are a couple of biggies coming our way. One of the big new titles is the third book in The Genteleman Bastard Sequence: The Republic of Thieves by fantasy writer Scott Lynch, will hit our stores in the second half of February. Another big one, with a whopping 932 pages (that is aproximately half a tree!), is A Wise Man’s Fear, the second installment of The Kingkiller Chronicle, by one of our favorite authors – Patrick Rothfuss.

Typically for the sci-fi and fantasy department, these two big titles are parts of a series. But probably the biggest new title of them all is a book you can read without having to read another book in the series, and that is Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson. This one will be released on July 11th. This is a major epic thriller which has already been optioned by Steven Spielberg and slated to be in the cinemas in 2013. What is it about, you might ask? Robots of course!

Twenty years from now, an unprecedented high-level artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and kills its creator. This first act of betrayal leads Archos to gain control over the global network of computers, machines and technology that regulate everything from transportation, utilities, defense, and communication. In the early months, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans, but most of them are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is far too late. In the span of fifteen minutes, at a moment known later in history as Zero Hour, every mechanical device in the world rebels against humanity, setting off the ‘Robot War’ that both decimates and unites humankind…

If you don’t want to wait until July and are looking for a good book right now, try I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (written with a bit of help from Jobie Hughes and the infamous James Frey). Nine children have left the war-ravaged planet Lorien and taken refuge on Earth with their adult teachers. Here, each child develops powers called Legacies, which help them fight the evil Mogadarians, who want them dead and must kill the children in order. They just got Number Three. Now they are after Number Four.  The movie will be out next year.

Or what about the first book in The Hunger Games series? You’ve probably heard the buzz about these juvenile dystopian fiction stories, in which children must fight to the death to prove the power of the government in a televised game show.  Stephen King is a fan. Obviously there’s going to be a movie. And what about the horrormeister himself, who just published four brilliant novellas/long stories under the name Full Dark, No Stars. Chills and thrills aplenty.

Which sci-fi and fantasy books are you looking forward to in 2011?

The cure for the winter blues?

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Dear lord I’m depressed. Now I know this doesn’t seem like a nice article to read during the holiday season, but let me assure you that it is, and I have good news!

I am prone to depression, winter depression, otherwise fittingly known as SAD to be precise, but no longer. Halleluja! If you suffer too, I have the solution for you, but it is not so easy to get. I don’t mean content wise. I am not some sage who is talking in riddles and koans to impress you with some wisdom that will dispell winter depression. No, I am talking about pills. Pills and the Dutch law. Oh yes, that too.

The solution for your seasonal misery is simply vitamin D3. Normally this is something our bodies make when we are exposed to enough sunlight. But the winters here are so grey and lightless, that we just don’t get enough of the stuff, which then has an influence on our hormone system, leading to winter depression. So if D3 is the solution, than what is the problem? The Dutch law. Under Dutch law the maximum amount of D3 that can be sold over the counter is 25 ug, so low  that it doesn’t work al all and you have to take a generous handful of pills for this magic little potion to do its trick.  The law is based on research showing that vitamin D in high doses can be toxic. It’s a hotly debated subject and there’s not yet any agreement on how true this is and how high a dose you can safely take.

In the UK and the US they don’t have this restriction and D3 can be sold in the dose recommended for curing the winter blahs, a whopping 5000 ug. So we just order ourselves some online, right? Wrong. The companies who sell it online are not allowed to export it to the the Netherlands. What does this leave us with? Many depressed people in the winter season, which here is about six months out of the year. So if you have a friend who lives in the US or UK, or you’re planning a trip there, you now know what to beg or buy to make yourself and other people happy!

Of course I didn’t figure this out all by myself. For more information about this and other health-related problems and solutions, check out the book The Paleo Solution by Robert Wolff. If you’ve read my 2010 top 5 you know I am hooked on this book. Have a happy winter season!

ABC’s Favorite Books of the Year, Part the Fourth

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Here you are, another part of the ABC Staff’s Favorite Reads of the past year.  We hope you enjoy reading about what we enjoyed reading the past 12 months, and hopefully we’ll give you some ideas to boot!

The lists this time were sent in by Nyjolene, Barry, and long lost (but happily now returned to the fold) colleague C. Umpulsion.

This year we would again love to hear from you what your favorite reads were.  Please send us your top 5 (they don’t have to be books published in 2010, just read in 2010).  You can mail them to, and be sure to include your mailing address so we can send you an ABC gift voucher as a thank you.  We’ll publish your lists at the beginning of 2011 so you have all month to mail them in.  Thanks to those of you who have already sent in lists!