Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cremation and Boilerplate

Here are a couple of reviews of some very interesting books that I have just finished.

SO YOU’RE CREMATED…NOW WHAT, Jesse Kalfel, iUniverse, $15.95, 140 pages, ISBN: 9781440127755, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Even if you have not made up your mind on what is to happen to your mortal remains, this is a volume that will give you some serious and often hilarious methods for your relatives to dispose of your remains.

There are over one hundred ways for your ashes to be disposed. Besides the normal methods of being placed in an urn or being scattered over a favorite location, you can be launched into space, turned into a diamond, or perhaps a pink flamingo lawn ornament.

Meatloaf, the singer, wants to be scattered over Yankee Stadium. Others want to be scattered at various National Parks and Monuments. One idea is to put them in a suitcase and leave it on a plane or bus and let someone else deal with the final determination of where the remains end up.

I had already decided to be cremated as my parents were; but now I have a lot of new ideas for what happens afterward. There is also other information that you may find handy. There is also some trivia and interesting facts thrown in. Buy this for its useful content or just get it to leave on the coffee table to see what kind of conversations that might get started.

BOILERPLATE, History’s Mechanical Marvel, Paul Guinan & Anina Bennett, Abrams Image, $24,95, 168 pages, illustrated, ISBN: 9780810989504, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Unknown to most of the general public, Professor Archibald Campion built the first robot soldier in 1893 and he was involved in many of the events that took place in the world until his disappearance in 1918 fighting in World War I.

There are over 350 color illustrations showing Boilerplate with historical features ranging from Nikola Tesla, Teddy Roosevelt, T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia), and General John Pershing.

His adventures carried him from the World Exposition in Chicago, Antarctica, Egypt, Panama, Cuba, The Philippines, Hawaii, and China. Boilerplate and Professor Campion traveled the world and met many people; many of their names will be familiar to you.

This is a prime example of steampunk that tells a delightful and entertaining tale. It is also a fun way to revisit history that may not be as familiar today as it needs to be. This is a perfect gift for the history buff, robot and steampunk fans as well as those who love a look at an alternate history that reads as real.

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