Network Effect

“Now we’re here, ready for the next major disaster. (Spoiler warning.)” – Murderbot, page 37, Network Effect

Murderbot is back!  If you are not familiar with Murderbot and the four previous books that comprise the Murderbot Diaries, you can become acquainted with these delightful books clicking on the following links and checking out my reviews :  All Systems RedArtificial ConditionRogue Protocol; and Exit Strategy.

The Murderbot Diaries were created by author Martha Wells.  Martha is an excellent writer.  I have enjoyed her creative writing skills in developing characters and the plot.  I also enjoy Martha’s descriptions of the places and people that Murderbot interacts with.  In some cases her descriptions are so well done, I feel like I could sketch the person or draw a diagram or schematic of the place.

The overarching theme of these novels, to me, is what really makes us human.  This theme doesn’t just pertain to Murderbot and other AI that it meets but to the people as well.

I enjoy how all of these books tie in together but can also be read on their own.  I am not the only human who enjoys these books immensely.  Titles in the Murderbot Diaries series have won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus and Alex Awards.

Murderbot is paranoid, anxious, doesn’t like to be touched and enjoys the human media program “Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon.” He has moments were he has feelings.  What Murderbot calls having an emotion.  He cares very much for the clients who have become his friends and recognizes why he considers them friends.

“Thiago had said he felt like he should apologize and talk to me more about it.  Ratthi had said, ‘I think you should let it go for a while, at least until we get ourselves out of this situation.  SecUnit is a very private person, it doesn’t like to discuss its feelings.’ This is why Ratthi is my friend.” -page 230-231, Network Effect

Things have a way of going sideways very quickly on strange planets and that’s why the humans need protection.  Providing security for humans is a monumental task.  Murderbot is quick to point the irony of its job with its quick wit and hint of sarcasm.

“I’ve had clients who thought they needed an absurd level of security.  (And I’m talking absurd by my standards, and my code was developed by a bond company known for intense xenophobic paranoia, tempered only by desperate greed.)  I’ve also had clients who thought they didn’t need any security at all, right up until something ate them.  (That’s mostly a metaphor.  My uneaten client stat is high.)”         Murderbot – page 9, Network Effect

Network Effect will keep you guessing until the very end.  And for those who have read the previous four novels, an old friend returns and desperately needs Murderbots help.  The description on the book cover reads as follows:

“I’m usually alone in my head, and that’s where 90-plus percent of my problems are.

The bestselling Murderbot series exploded onto the scene with ‘one of the most humane portraits of a non-human I’ve ever read’ (Annalee Newitz).  Now one of the most relatable AIs in science fiction returns in its first stand alone novel.

It calls itself Murderbot, but only when no one can hear.

It worries about the fragile human crew who’ve grown to trust it, but only where no one can see.

It tells itself that they’re only a professional obligation, but when they’re captured and an old friend from the past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.

Drastic Action it is, then.”  – Book cover, Network Effect

Network Effect by Martha Wells is a stellar read.  But don’t take my word for it, go find a copy of your own to read.

At the Mountains of Madness

I finished the novel At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft a little over a week ago.  I would love to discuss this book.  No one that I know has read it.  I’ve asked friends, students in my art classes, and family members.  Because I can find no one to talk to about it, I feel compelled to write a post about it hoping that someone will comment or contact me and want to talk about At the Mountains of Madness.

I did not have much to go on when I ordered this book.  I think there was a sentence or two about explorers on the continent of Antarctica unearth an unspeakable evil.  That could mean anything in the horror, science fiction genre.

When reading a review about the movie “Color Out of Space” based on another work by H.P. Lovecraft, the author of the review had stated that the director Guillermo del Toro loves the book At the Mountains of Madness so much that he wants to make it into a movie.  I do not have such strong feelings about the book.  In fact, there are a couple of things that really bother me.

Some of my less than enthusiastic response may have to do with this being my first introduction to the writing of H.P. Lovecraft.  On occasion I found his writing to be archaic, even for the period of time he was writing in.  There were allusions to other books Lovecraft had written.  I think that if I had read the book about the Cthulhu or the Necronomicon, I may have had better appreciation for the horrors that the protagonist experienced.

At the time this novel was published, 1936, we did not have as accurate maps of large parts of the planet.  Antarctica was one of these areas of the world.  So the expedition to explore and track the geology and geography of Antarctica would be a very real expedition for that time.  However, knowing what is known of the geography of the continent today, I was simply unable to suspend my system of disbelief and accept the authors premise of a mountain range higher than the Himalayas on the continent of Antarctica.  This is a small thing but it bothered me.

I have never been a fan of technique of telling a story from the point of view that the protagonist has already survived and is now recounting what he experienced.  To me it is much scarier, if as the reader, I am participating in events as they are happening to the protagonist.  Not as an after the fact recounting.  It takes the edge off knowing that the individual survived.  The horror doesn’t get him because he is telling the story in past tense.

I acknowledge that there is a lot of mystery surrounding the continent of Antarctica.  There is so much about that place of ice and cold that we do not know.  There are theories about tunnels and pockets of life that were trapped and developed independently under the ice.  Scientists are learning new things about our planet all the time, why should the continent of Antarctica be any different.

Although I did not find At the Mountains of Madness to be scary, it was dense with dread.  I imagine a movie version of the book could be very intense and scary.  I would be very excited to see a film version of At the Mountains of Madness directed by Guillermo del Toro.

Permanent Record

There are moments in ones life that cause an individual to change.  Some of those moments have a catalyst in the way of an experience, event, etc.  It’s kinda like when someone asks you where were you when you heard about the twin towers in New York City?  Really big events not only change one person but have the power to change everything.  There was before September 11 and there is after September 11.  This particular event also affected Edward Snowden the author of Permanent Record,

I remember when I watched the documentary “Citizenfour,” directed by Laura Poitras, having a serious shock and awe moment when I realized how much, how serious and how scary the amount of surveillance that my government was perpetrating on its own citizens, as well as every human being on this planet.  This isn’t a clever science fiction plot.  It is real life and it is terrifying.

documentary Citizenfour


So of course, when I heard that Edward Snowden had written a book, I had to read it.  I was not disappointed.  The following is the description from the jacket cover:

As I proceeded down the Tunnel, it struck me: this, in front of me, was my future.  I’m not saying that I made any decisions at that instant.  The most important decisions in life are never made that way.  They’re made subconsciously and only express themselves once fully formed – once you’re finally strong enough to admit to yourself that this is the course your beliefs have decreed.  That was my twenty-ninth birthday present to myself: the awareness that I had entered a tunnel that would narrow my life down toward a single, still indistinct act.”  – (Page 214) from Permanent Record

“In 2013, twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden shocked the world when he broke with the American Intelligence establishment and revealed that the United States government was secretly pursuing the means to collect every single phone call, text message and email.  The result would be an unprecedented system of mass surveillance with the ability to pry into the private lives of every person on earth.  Six years later, Snowden reveals for the first time how he helped to build this system and why he was moved to expose it.

Spanning the bucolic Beltway suburbs of his childhood and the clandestine CIA and NSA postings of his adulthood, Permanent Record is the extraordinary account of a bright young man who grew up online – a man who became a spy, a whistle blower, and in exile, the Internet’s conscience.  Written with wit, grace, passion, and unflinching candor, Permanet Record is a crucial memoir of our digital age and destined to be a classic.”  – Book cover of Permanent Record by Edward Snowden

Written in a way that even the less than technical savoy can understand, I felt that I was given a view into the government’s development of its spying programs.  I also felt like Edward shared his struggle and motivation.  The words flow logically and Edward leads you through the story.  I appreciated his candor, humility and humor.

At one point in the chapter on encryption Edward makes the following comment.

“Breaking a 128-bit key would take 2 [to the 64th] times longer than a day, or fifty million billion years.  By that time, I might even be pardoned.”  – page 217 Permanent Record

I my humble opinion, Edward Snowden should be pardoned.  He is a hero.  He pointed out something that should be a concern to every human being on this planet.

I highly recommend the book Permanent Record.  It puts the record straight.  If you have read it, please post a comment.  Or if you would like to discuss the book with me, please contact me through my contact page.


Recently, I had the great good fortune to pick up a book at a thrift store in Whitefish, Montana for a dollar.  A hardcover science fiction book by an author that I had not heard of before in mint condition, Polaris written by Jack McDevitt.  I was intrigued by the cover art.  (I know that you are not supposed to judge a book by the cover, see previous blog post on that subject here: Judging a Book by it’s Cover)  Once I read the description, I was hooked.

The description of the book from the inside of the jacket cover is as follows:

“The luxury space yacht Polaris carried an elite group of the wealthy and curious thousands of light-years from Earth to witness a spectacular stellar phenomenon.  It never returned.  The search party sent to investigate found the Polaris empty and adrift in space, the fate of its pilot and passengers a mystery.

Sixty years later, the question of what happened aboard the Polaris continues to capture the popular imagination, especially as the anniversary of the event approaches.  A major new book is planned, as is an auction of the things found on the ship – including personal effects of the missing.

Prominent antiquities dealer Alex Benedict manages to secure some of the artifacts before the auction.  But then an explosion destroys most of the collection, and an attempt is made on his life.  Convinced that someone is taking drastic measures to hide the truth about the Polaris, Alex is determined to uncover the truth – no matter how far he must travel across the stars, no matter the risk….”  – Polaris book cover

Jack McDevitt wields an interesting tale.  In this future time of space exploration and colonization, why does the captain and crew come up missing from the space ship Polaris?  This tale could have been told a variety of ways.  McDevitt’s writing is clever in balancing clues to they mystery, building relate-able characters, describing fictional places and keeping the reader intrigued.

All of the characters are interesting.  To me, the ship itself feels like a character as much as the passengers who disappeared.  And in the end part of the ship provides a very important clue that helps solve the case.  There is the story of Alex Benedict who secures and sells artifacts along with Chase Kolpath, Benedict’s employee, pilot and I would also say friend.  Chase’s voice narrates the story and I think that it is a creative choice that makes sense.  It becomes very important in sequences involving flight and space travel.  Because Chase is a pilot, she can describe the events in a way that is plausible and believable.

McDevitt has a talent for weaving humor into his descriptions of fictional creatures.  The following is a description of an evening on a planet that Alex and Chase were visiting and their experience with a yoho.

“It became an interesting evening.  The snowstorm renewed itself and turned into a howling blizzard, there was an earthquake warning at about the time we were going to bed, and a few hours later they evacuated the hotel because a yoho got into the building.

The yohos, it turned out, were arthropodic creatures with a taste for people.  Fortunately, they only showed up five days out of the year, which coincided with there breeding season, and on those occasions they rarely left the beach.  After an hour of standing in the snow, we were informed by management that the yoho had gone, everything was okay, and we could go back in.  When we got to our suite, we inspected it carefully and locked the doors.”  –Polaris, page 265.

The following is the description of a planet that Chase and Alex fly by during their investigation of the disappearances of the captain and crew of the Polaris.

“Markop III was hardly worth a visit.  But we went anyhow, because Alex insisted on being thorough.

It was an attractive world, lots of blue water, fleecy white clouds, herds of big shaggy creatures that made great targets if you were into hunting.  The weather through the temperate zones was almost balmy.

If it was inviting, however, it was also potentially lethal.  Unlike the vast majority of living worlds, its viruses and disease germs loved homo sapiens.” –Polaris, page 317.

My overall take on the book is that it is an interesting story that has a satisfying ending.  It was fun to read from beginning to end, with the mystery keeping me guessing throughout the novel.  If you enjoy a good mystery with your science fiction, I would highly recommend this novel.  If you have read the novel and would like to talk about it, please leave a comment or write to me through my contact me page.

Exit Strategy

The fourth and final installment of the Murderbot diaries, Exit Strategy, is a wonderful conclusion to this delightful series.  Martha Wells, the author of this series, keeps the readers attention from the first sentence of the first paragraph till the final word of the last sentence.

The description of the story from the book cover is as follows:

“Murderbot wasn’t programmed to care.  So its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right?

Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murdbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah – its former owner (protector? friend?) – submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit.

But who’s going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue?

And what will become of it when it’s caught?”  – Bookcover of Exit Strategy

Favorite characters from the first book, All Systems Red, return in book four.  A majority of the action takes place on the space station that is home to the corporate headquarters for the GrayCris Corporation.  Unfortunately to say anything about the story of this book would give away valuable information necessary to the story.  I just hope that you will take the time to read it for yourself.

Described by science fiction writer Annalee Newitz as “One of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman I’ve ever read.”  This book is a fantastic ending to the series.  I cannot recommend this book or the entire series enough.

Rogue Protocol

Don’t expect anything less than brilliant writing and story development in Rogue Protocol the third in the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells.  This story pulls you in and takes you for a wild ride.

The following is the description of the story from the book cover:

“Who knew being a heartless killing machine would present so many moral dilemmas?

Sci-fi’s favorite antisocial AI is back on a mission.  The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is.

And Murderbot would rather those questions went away.  For good.”

Book cover of Rogue Protocol

The third book in the Murderbot Diaries series, Rogue Protocol, is as excellently written as the first two.  Martha Wells, the author of the series, has a gift for story telling, describing unique environments and character building.

There are so many good things about this book.  Martha Wells creates fantastic new places.  New space ships and navigation bots ferry Murderbot from place to place.  The description of the almost empty space station and the abandoned terra-forming facility at the planet of Milu are excellent.    The creepy atmosphere of the abandoned terra-forming facility is a perfect setting for the events that happen there.

Another interesting aspect to this story is the introduction of Miki, the human-form bot, who is a friend and assistant to the human scientists trying to reclaim the abandoned terra-forming station.  Murderbot is surprised by the ways the humans treat Miki.  These interactions between the scientists, Miki and Murderbot add to Murderbot’s complicated feelings about humans.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Rogue Protocol and highly recommend it.  It is an amazing addition to the Murderbot series.

Artificial Condition

I just finished reading the book Artificial Condition by Martha Wells.  It is the second book in the Murderbot Diaries.  The following is the description of the book from the book cover:

“‘As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure.’

It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed.  A past that caused it to christen itself Murderbot.  But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a research transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the A stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…..”

-Book cover of Artificial Condition

Artificial Condition picks up at almost the exact spot that All Systems Red, the first book in the Murderbot Diaries series, ended.  Instantly you are pulled into the quick wit and brilliant running commentary of Murderbot.

One can’t help but relate to Murderbot even though he is a machine.  For example: how many times has a news program come on and you quit watching or listening, turned it off or changed the channel because you just can’t listen to one more word.  It appears that Murderbot has similar “feelings.”  In the first paragraph of the book Murderbot explains why security units don’t care about the news.

“Secunits don’t care about the news. ….. [It] was boring and I didn’t care what humans were doing to each other as long as I didn’t have to a) stop it or b) clean it up.” -Murderbot

More interested in avoiding people and watching his pirated media collection, Murderbot hitches a ride on a research transport vessel that eventually ends up becoming his friend.  The addition of ART added a new level of sarcasm and comedic bite to Murderbot’s running commentary.  An excellent character addition to the story.

There were more than a couple times that I laughed out loud while reading this book.  Again, like the first book, the story grips you from the very beginning and doesn’t let you go until the very end.  Suspenseful but not horrifying.

Martha Wells is an excellent author.  She crafts conversations and descriptions of places with the same exquisite attention to detail.  A lot of thought and creativity went into this book as well as the entire series.

I cannot recommend Artificial Condition enough.  It is an excellent continuation of the story and what I have read of the series.  I can’t wait to read the next book Rogue Protocol.

The Burning Dark

Has this ever happened to you? You read a review of book.  It sounds really interesting, so you find said book.  The description on the book cover or jacket is clever and draws you in.  The first chapter is enjoyable and you think, this is going to be a really good book.  Only it turns out to be an okay book.  That is what happened with the book, The Burning Dark.  There was every indication of greatness, it just didn’t quite get there.

Here is the description from the back of the book:

“Back in the day, Captain Abraham Idaho Cleveland had led the fleet into battle against a machine intelligence capable of devouring entire worlds.  After saving a planet, and getting a bum robot knee in the process, he finds himself relegated to one of the most remote backwaters in Fleet space, overseeing the decommissioning of a semi-deserted space station.

Persistent malfunctions plague the station’s systems while interference from a toxic purple star makes even ordinary communications problematic.  Alien shadows and whispers seem to haunt the lonely corridors and airlocks, fraying the nerves of everyone aboard.

Isolated and friendless, Cleveland reaches out to the universe via an old-fashioned space radio, only to tune in to a strange, enigmatic signal: a woman’s voice that echoes across a thousand light-years of space.  But is the transmission just a random bit of static from the past — or a warning of an undying menace?  – Book Cover of The Burning Dark

As you can tell from the description on book jacket, it has the makings of a really interesting story.  I will confess, that this book although not my favorite was not awful either.  There were a couple things that I really didn’t like about this book.

One thing was the harsh break on page 19 of the book.  The story jumps from a battle to a group of people drinking together telling stories.  The actual drinking get together doesn’t really happen until much later in the book, chapter twenty-eight, to be exact.  It was confusing and introduced characters in such a way that I didn’t put together who some of these characters were until much later.

Authors will often skip from character story to character story to move along the plot.  It was used in this novel.  However, instead of moving the plot along, it was choppy and sometimes confusing.

But as I said before there was some really good things about this novel.  The back stories of the characters, even the villain were very interesting and well written.  Even if their inclusions were at odd times and places.

The authors descriptions of space and the anomaly that the space station was orbiting were very well written and researched.  Also the descriptions for setting up scenes and places on the space station, and Zia Hollywood’s ship were well done.  I could really visualize these places.  Adam Christopher has a gift for describing a place.

My final thoughts about this novel is that it is an okay novel.  If you have read it and have different thoughts or opinions, please comment.  I would invite discussion about the novel The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher.

All Systems Red

There is something about winter storms that allow one to catch up on their reading list.  And when one has a delightful book to read, it makes the snow and bitter cold feel very far away.  That being said, I should warn my dear readers that during this last plunge of the temperature into the negative numbers, I read four books.  Not sure if I am going to write reviews for all of them, but this one,  All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, was to good to not share.

“As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure.”  -Murderbot

All Systems Red is the first of four novels in the Murderbot Diaries Series written by Martha Wells.  Exploring the theme of what it means to be human, this book introduces us to Murderbot and the futuristic time that it lives in.

“In a corporate dominated space-faring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company.  Exploratory Teams are accompanied by Company supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company supplied ‘droid – a self aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as ‘Murderbot.’  Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.”  – All Systems Red book cover

The novel is narrated by Murderbot, who is made of half organic material and half machine.  Murderbot is also extremely uncomfortable with the humans it is tasked to protect.

“So, I’m awkward with actual humans.  It’s not paranoia about my hacked governor module, and it’s not them; it’s me.  I know that I am a horrifying murderbot, and they know it, and it makes us both nervous, which makes me even more nervous.”  -Murderbot

I found the premise of this book intriguing.  And because I am always looking for a good book to read, upon reading the description of All Systems Red, I had to have it and find out what it was all about.

All Systems Red is a fascinating story.  I literally read this book in one sitting.  It is an amazing introduction to the series.  What makes this book such a delightful read is Murderbot and the internal dialogue of the character.  The series of events that are happening to the characters can’t help but pull the reader in.  I highly recommend this book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the Murderbot Diaries Series.

Dead Mountain – Non-Fiction Book Review

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar

Over a year ago while watching television late at night, I came across a B movie that was inspired by the Dyatlov Pass Incident.  Immediately, after the movie was finished, I did a little research on the incident to find out if it was true and what were the facts in regards to this incident.  There was a ton of stuff out there about what happened.  (Pod casts, web sites, movies, documentaries, blogs, books, etc.)  Some of it interesting and some of it conspiracy theorist fantasies.  Because of the mystery, experience of the hikers versus their behavior on the pass and the all around abundance of intriguing evidence, there are a lot of theories of what happened.  Just so you are aware, if you google images for the Dyatlov Pass Incident, be prepared for some disturbing photos.  After my initial foray into researching the incident, what I found was that something happened out there that was disturbing and caused people to die.

Dyatlov Pass is located in the Ural Mountains of Russia and named after Igor Dyatlov, the leader of the hiking group that perished there.  The briefest of description of the Dyatlov Pass Incident is that in February 1959 a group of nine experienced hikers died under mysterious circumstances while trying to summit Otorten Mountain.  Upon completion of an investigation, the official cause of death from the authorities being listed as an “unknown compelling force.”

skiers in snow

One of the last photographs taken by the Dyatlov Hiking Group.

Like Donnie Eichar, the author of Dead Mountain, I too wanted to know what happened.  I think when you truly enjoy being out in wild places, these kinds of mysteries stick in your mind.  If something mysterious could happen to these experienced hikers, could something like this happen to me in the back country?

What really happened to those hikers so long ago in the Ural Mountains?  Mr. Eichar became fascinated with that question.  I think in some ways because of his own experiences with surfing and his respect for nature, he couldn’t let this question go.  He had to know more.  That led Mr. Eichar to develop a theory based on his research and this is his book laying it out.

“In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain.  Eerie aspects of the incident – unexplained injuries, signs that the hikers cut open and fled their tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of them, and radiation readings on some of their clothes have led to decades of speculation over what really happened.

This gripping work of literary non-fiction delves into the mystery through unprecedented access to the hikers’ own journals and photographs (many translated and reproduced here), rarely seen government records, dozens of interviews, and author Donnie Eichar’s own retracing of the hikers’ fateful journey in the Russian winter.

A fascinating portrait of the young hikers in the Soviet era, and a skillful interweaving of their story, the investigators’ efforts, and Eichar’s contemporary examination, here for the first time is the real story of what happened that night on Dead Mountain.”  – Book cover of Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident

I really enjoy non-fiction books about hiking and adventure.  (There is a book about the early expeditions to Mount Everest that I have read at least a dozen times.)  This book, Dead Mountain, has everything – hiking, adventure, conspiracy and mystery.

I enjoyed the author’s writing style. The way Mr. Eichar wove together the hikers story, the investigation, and his experiences researching the event, was fluid and piqued ones interest.  Reading this book, I got the feeling that the author truly knew the material he was researching.  Having done just a little research myself by searching the internet and reading some blog posts on the area, I felt that Mr. Eichar’s familiarity of the subject matter and his own personal research, helped me to find his theory of what happened to the hikers to be credible and the most logical.  I was also very impressed with how respectful the author was to all he interviewed and in his writings regarding all of the different parties involved.

Monument to hikers

Monument in Yekaterinburg, Russia dedicated to the memory of the nine hikers: Yuri Doroshenko, Lyudmila (Lyuda) Dubinina, Igor Dyatlov (leader), Alexander (Sasha) Zolotaryov, Zinaida (Zina) Kolmogorova, Alexander Kolevatov, Yuri (Georgy) Krivonishchenko, Rustem (Rustik) Slobodin, and Nikolay (Kolya) Thibault-Brignoles.

I highly recommend this book.  Whether or not you are familiar with the Dyatlov Incident, you will be able to understand and enjoy the book.  It is well researched and written.  The book also provides a respectful accounting of the investigation, hikers route and experiences and a logical, natural explanation of a tragic event.