There have been many times when I’ve made a point to read a novel before watching a film adaptation, but this may be the first time I’ve seen a movieThere have been many times when I’ve made a point to read a novel before watching a film adaptation, but this may be the first time I’ve seen a movie and then immediately ran out to buy the book it was based on. As such, there’s no way to know how this book would have struck me if I’d come to it “cold” but the novel and the film both blew my mind, so I’m pretty happy.
There are serious differences, of course, the first being structure: the book takes a nested-dolls approach to the six stories whereas the movie kept all its plates spinning at once. The film also made significant changes to how one or two of the stories ended in order to make the overall tone more uplifting. Taking the original novel in chronological order would lead to a pretty bleak experience, and yet Mitchell still manages to end the whole piece on a note of hope.
And yes, you can play the “find the connections” game if you want but I chose not to, since that’s not really the point. They’re nice little Easter eggs when you come across them, but as long as you pick up on the theme that everything we do has consequences, positive and negative, that we could never realize or imagine, then the book has done its job. (Yes, it’s a story with a moral, but the way Mitchell gets there is so original and entertaining that I never really felt preached at.)...more
Don't skip the introduction. George Martin's "Tales from the Spinner Rack" sets the perfect mindset from which to approach this (a little over-large)Don't skip the introduction. George Martin's "Tales from the Spinner Rack" sets the perfect mindset from which to approach this (a little over-large) collection of short stories and novellas by recalling the disordered paperback racks of drug stores and supermarkets, where you never knew what you were going to get. In a sense, Warriors is a lot like Gaiman & Sarrantonio's Stories in its grab-bag approach to fiction, but the mandate in Warriors's title steered its contributors heavily toward genre, and not so much literary.
The stories divide pretty evenly between fantasy, science fiction, and historical, though quite a few of them surprise by seeming to be one genre and then switching to another. I didn't even read these in order (I usually do) and it took me so long to piece my way through the collection that it's a little hard to think back and pick out my favorites. Cecelia Holland's Viking opener "The King of Norway" is pretty strong, as are Joe Lansdale's "Soldierin'", David Weber's "Out of the Dark," and Carrie Vaughn's "The Girls from Avenger."...more
It's probably sacrilegious to read a comic book adaptation of a novel without reading the novel first, but there you are. I've got enough GRR Martin oIt's probably sacrilegious to read a comic book adaptation of a novel without reading the novel first, but there you are. I've got enough GRR Martin on my to-read shelf right now without adding another one.
Fevre Dream doesn't exactly have an original take on vampires, but it does have an original setting. Though the book drifts in and out of Anne Rice country, it spends most of its time on the Mississippi River among the culture of steamboat life. Also refreshing is that the book treats its vampire and human characters with equal importance without having them fall in love with each other (which, given this book's characters, would have been gross).
A big plus to this graphic novel is that it doesn't feel like an adaptation. Usually, novels transferred to comics end up compressed and rushed. Daniel Abraham, an up-and-coming novelist himself, did an excellent job with the script....more
Short version: A big-name high-falutin' literary author writes piece of "Fahfrd & Gray Mouser" fanfic and gets away with it.
Ah, if only all swordsShort version: A big-name high-falutin' literary author writes piece of "Fahfrd & Gray Mouser" fanfic and gets away with it.
Ah, if only all swords n' sandals epics were this beautifully written. I begin to see what the big deal is about the fine attention to language you get from literary writers, but make no mistake - this is flat out pulp adventure in which things happen and there's an actual plot. Fritz Leiber's ghostly fingerprints are all over this tale of two wanderers - a giant barbarian and a slight, sneaky fellow of learning - who set off for adventure on the open road. It finds them in the form of an exiled Khazar prince trying to reclaim his lost crown from a usurper. The only thing that keeps Gentlemen of the Road out of Conan territory is the real-world setting and the lack of magic. Aside from that, all sword & sorcery fans should line up.
Two quibbles that almost made me knock a star off the rating:
1) Part of the plot hinges on a "shocking reveal" that isn't really shocking at all - in fact, you can probably guess what it is just from reading the plot synopsis. I think an author with stronger pulp sensibilities would have been able to hide the "mystery" a little more effectively.
2) The edition I read had an afterword by the author that made it seem as if he was apologizing for writing a book that might not be lit'ry enough for the New Yorker. Maybe that's just how I took it, but it reminded me of a science museum I went to that had a sign apologizing for the evolution exhibit. Writing this good never needs to be explained - it should be left to stand on its own legs.
And that's the thing: this book is wonderfully well written, the characters are marvelously drawn (if more than a little stolen from Leiber), and it has more than enough excitement and laugh-out-loud moments to make me want to read it again.
P.S. Mad props to Andre Braugher, who read the audio version. I've never heard him on an audiobook before, but he was outstanding and a perfect choice for this subject....more