I stopped following new monthlies from the Big Two several years ago, but I had to come back for Grant Morrison's take on the DC Multiverse which hadI stopped following new monthlies from the Big Two several years ago, but I had to come back for Grant Morrison's take on the DC Multiverse which had been in the works forever. Not disappointing at all, and I think a lot of the individual issues hold up really well as a collection of standalone titles. As a linked, epic series I think it falls apart in the end under the weight of its own incomprehensibility (and the fact that there's no through-character for the reader to latch on to and care about). The overall non-ending is kind of a mess and I'd honestly have given the series 3 stars instead of 4 but for one thing:
The return of Captain Carrot! My god, I can't tell you how much I geeked out to see CC on the cover of a comic by Grant Morrison of all people. I only wished he'd devoted a whole issue to an adventure on Captain Carrot's Earth, but I doubt even whacked-out Morrison could make a "funny animal" comic work in the 21st Century. (In a way he already did with We3, but that was more like "funny animals by way of Full Metal Jacket.")...more
Another fantastic graphic novel from O'Malley, proving that he's got more in him than Scott Pilgrim. In it, he once again mixes the honest emotionalitAnother fantastic graphic novel from O'Malley, proving that he's got more in him than Scott Pilgrim. In it, he once again mixes the honest emotionality of growing up and facing the world with magic and whimsy (in this case, with house spirits and reality-rewriting mushrooms). You can tell O'Malley himself is getting older, since the early-20-somethings who were the cast of Scott Pilgrim are now presented as almost children compared to the more mature, 30-ish main characters who still haven't figured out their place in the world yet. So it goes....more
Definitely recommended for fans of Remender's Fear Agent comics, or just lovers of pulpy, twisty SF in general. Black Science is basically a take on tDefinitely recommended for fans of Remender's Fear Agent comics, or just lovers of pulpy, twisty SF in general. Black Science is basically a take on the same idea as that old TV show Sliders, but with Remender's trademark black humor, cruelty to his characters, and all-around bloody-mindedness....more
This was a hard one to rate. For the first half it was a solid 2.5, but midway through it picked up and by the end I was glad I finished it. The LongThis was a hard one to rate. For the first half it was a solid 2.5, but midway through it picked up and by the end I was glad I finished it. The Long Earth is a fascinating, well-constructed world and the rules that make travel between parallel realities both ridiculously easy while practically difficult are original and well-crafted. In exploring this universe, there should be ample fodder for many, many novels in this series.
The problem, at least for this first volume, is one of narrative flow. The first half of the book is spent on world-building, introducing the characters and the rules, and exploring the effect of easy dimension-hopping on the original, "Datum" universe's economy from the point of view of dozens of characters. However, there is nothing in all this half of the book to drive the story forward.
It's only when a loner with a special connection to the Long Earth and a quirky A.I. start an odyssey deep into distant parallel realities that the book picks up steam. And even then, there isn't an apparent point to their journey until late in the book. I'm not sure that the resolution was good enough to justify the long slog to get there, but it and the story world are intriguing enough to justify a dip into book 2....more
City Without End concluded on an unusual cliffhanger for the penultimate book in a series: “The hero beats his enemies, saves the Earth, and conquerCity Without End concluded on an unusual cliffhanger for the penultimate book in a series: “The hero beats his enemies, saves the Earth, and conquers the universe! Now what?” Prince of Storms picks up with Titus Quinn trying to fill the void left by the exiled Tarig Lords and dealing the problems that arise. Because of that, a lot of this book left me feeling like the final season of Babylon 5, in which the hero had also 1) defeated the Shadows, 2) saved the Earth, and 3) become President of the Galaxy, or something to that effect. If you’ll remember, that season was a pretty big let-down.
Prince of Storms does have a couple of things going for it to pull you along until it gets to the true meat. For one, it’s a much better paced novel than any of the others in the series. And two, the Jinda ceb Horat. For the first three books, the Entire was supposedly threatened by a race of alien bogeymen called the Paion who were trying to invade from outside the universe. Now that we actually get to meet and spend time with them in their true form, the Jinda ceb turn out to be a much more interesting alien species than any of the others in the series, with the possible exception of the Inyx. Unfortunately, the book followed the same path as Babylon 5, replacing its charismatic villains with one substantially less compelling, namely a mad human navigator who wants to destroy the world.
At least, that’s until you find out what the book’s actually about, and who the true antagonist is: Titus Quinn, the hero of the whole series – or at least, the monster he’ll become if he holds onto the universe-spanning power he achieved at the end of Book 3. The “villain”, while providing an honestly existential threat, turns out not to be as relevant as a century of action movies would have us believe. Quinn’s true adversary, really for the whole series, turns out to be his own potential to be corrupted just as deeply as all his outward enemies unless he can resist the urge to hold on to the same power that corrupted them.
One thing’s always bugged me structurally about this series, and that’s that it seemed to skip Book 1. The first book, Bright of the Sky, seemed to itself be a sequel to a novel never written, one that would have detailed how Quinn lost his family in the Entire in the first place. I bring this up because I’ve always had a problem with the character of Quinn’s estranged daughter Sidney, who is so important to the emotional journey of the series. To put it in ASoIaF terms, would we really be as invested in Arya Stark as a vengeful, death-worshipping serial killer if we had never met the spunky, tomboyish Arya of A Game of Thrones?
That’s why it’s always felt to me that this series was missing its true introductory volume. I’d be curious to ask Kay Kenyon if she had, in fact, wrote that first book then discarded it, deciding that the story worked better to pick up with book 2. Still, no matter. It’s the author’s prerogative to start and end a story wherever she pleases. The Entire and the Rose, for all its ups and downs, ends very well. ...more
This series continues to interest me and frustrate me at the same time. Book 2 overcame the meandering slowness of Book 1 by giving its hero, Titus QuThis series continues to interest me and frustrate me at the same time. Book 2 overcame the meandering slowness of Book 1 by giving its hero, Titus Quinn, and honest-to-god quest to keep the momentum going. Book 3, for the first two thirds, falls back into Book 1 mode, with lots of scheming, plotting, and aimless wandering, with the only driving force being that Quinn wants to arrange some quality time with his daughter. I notice that a lot of the character development isn't accomplished by people interacting with each other, but by characters thinking internally and at great length about other characters who aren't even in the room.
Anyway, with a third of the book to go the plot really picks up as a lot of the spinning gears click into place. The stakes are incredibly high: a group of savants from Earth plan to help the Tarig overlords of the Entire destroy our universe as an entry fee to let the savants migrate to safety. The central tension - that for one universe to survive the other must go extinct, is a great hook to drag me into the final volume. I do feel, however, that I'm being dragged at this point, but I care enough that I want to find out how all this ends....more
A year later, and I'm back to The Entire and the Rose for round two. Unlike most epic series, it was surprisingly easy to pick up where I'd left off aA year later, and I'm back to The Entire and the Rose for round two. Unlike most epic series, it was surprisingly easy to pick up where I'd left off and remember who everyone was and what they were after. Credit goes to Kenyon's unforgettable world building and her memorable (if not likable) characters.
A World Too near, though, has two crucial elements that Bright of the Sky did not: a serious threat propelling the story, and an actual mission to give the hero a sense of purpose. The Entire, you see, is an artificial universe, and its creators have built an engine to annihilate our own universe (the Rose) and use it as fuel for the Entire. That's a pretty big darn SF idea, and the hero's mission (should he choose to accept it) is to destroy the engine before it goes into high gear.
The problem, once again, is that the main character, Titus Quinn, is too much of a cipher. Other characters talk about him, and are impressed by him, but the man himself is something of a no-personality blank - which is too bad, because it wouldn't have been hard at all to make him a cross between Flash Gordon and Thomas Covenant by pushing him a little more in the directions of "hero" and "asshole." Maybe Kenyon just has a problem with male characters; her women are much better drawn....more
Ever since I saw the original press release announcing that Michael Moorcock was writing a Doctor Who novel, this has been my most anticipated read ofEver since I saw the original press release announcing that Michael Moorcock was writing a Doctor Who novel, this has been my most anticipated read of the year. While the book contains numerous "WTF" and "I don't get it" moments, the end result is extremely satisfying and well worth the expectations. Having said that, I can see where the casual Dr. Who fan looking for just another safe little Time Lord adventure would be put off. Getting Michael Moorcock to write a media tie-in novel of any kind would be like getting Tolkien to write a Forgotten Realms novel where a bunch of Dark Elves sit around for 300 pages reciting poetry.
While Terraphiles comes across as a stylistic mash-up of P.G. Wodehouse's "Jeeves and Wooster" and Moorcock's own multiverse stories, what it reminded me of the most was John M. Ford's brilliant Star Trek novel, How Much for Just the Planet? Moorcock's love for Dr. Who is obvious, as is his understanding that the Doctor's adventures need not be taken too seriously. If anything, the book's initial weakness is that the characters - a band of "Earth reenacters" cast in the mold of effete, inbred, brain-dead British aristocrats - are hard to relate to or care about. What shocked me later in the book was the realization that I did care after all, especially when the doofiest of them makes an unexpected and poignant sacrifice.
I guess what the hardcore Whovian needs to understand is that this isn't a novel about the TV Dr. Who. It's the Moorcock Multiverse Dr. Who, and he's a glorious, mind-twisting thing to behold. Good show, what!...more