I picked this little guy up in the bargain section of B&N. I expected this to just be a silly read for a few laughs.
I was genuinely surprised by hI picked this little guy up in the bargain section of B&N. I expected this to just be a silly read for a few laughs.
I was genuinely surprised by how much fun it was. It did indeed have iambic pentameter throughout, and every moment a soliloquy could have been given, it was. Plenty of Shakespeare lines were stolen ("What light through yonder flashing sensor breaks?") and other stylings used.
Overall, the story doesn't lend any surprises (spoiler alert: they destroy the Death Star), but there's plenty here for a fan to enjoy. Highlights were the many soliloquies that give better character development than the movie, R2's asides written in English expressing his annoyance with everyone around him, and Han vs. Greedo.
I enjoyed reading one this way, but I can't imagine picking up the other five....more
It was interesting to read half of this book before I saw Tomorrowland and finish it after I watched it.
On the one hand, I think I enjoyed the movie mIt was interesting to read half of this book before I saw Tomorrowland and finish it after I watched it.
On the one hand, I think I enjoyed the movie more for having started the book and understood what it was setting up. On the other, watching the movie made me curious to know how far the team managed to get by the end of the book.
The book is set in 1939, amidst the first WorldCon, the New York World's Fair, and Lou Gehrig's final baseball game, all which historically did happen simultaneously and all work into the plot quite nicely. Throw in the Nazis and you've got quite the perfect storm of catalysts to balance. The entity of focus is Plus Ultra, a group of like-minded thinkers looking to build a better tomorrow, and deciding to recruit and share their ideas with the world.
The novel has a few central characters. Mother/son duo Clara and Lee - Clara is a sci-fi nut dying of cancer and Lee worries about his mom but would much rather watch baseball. Boy-turned-automaton Henry, who has just escaped from the Nazis and wants revenge of anyone that had something to do with taking away his humanity. Crazy scientist Rotwang, who is working with the Nazis for personal gain after being kicked out of Plus Ultra. And Amelia Earhart, who is not dead and one of the only females in the Plus Ultra world. It's a whole lot going on and a lot to set up. Some other reviewers thought the setup was too slow, but we get enough interesting historical glimpses and surprises (like Einstein's first appearance), that I didn't find it that slow.
What makes this book especially interesting to me is the what-if factor. What if the greatest thinkers and inventors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries found a way to work together and build an actual Utopia? Among the Plus Ultra players in the book are Einstein, Tesla, Wells, Hughes, and Earhart. It's entertaining to watch them converse and take their varied backgrounds into a conversation about how best to build a better tomorrow, and how to deal with the crises that come their way in the process.
I really like the book as a world-building experiment that has enough plot to stand on its own. But it is definitely a world-building experiment....more
Okay, so Lois Lane is one of my favorite characters ever anyway. Even if the book was bad I was going to enjoy it.
But the book isn't bad. What a greatOkay, so Lois Lane is one of my favorite characters ever anyway. Even if the book was bad I was going to enjoy it.
But the book isn't bad. What a great read.
The Lanes have just moved to Metropolis, a permanent post for The General, and Lois has promised her parents that she's turning over a new leaf and not going to get into trouble in Metropolis. The problem is, her first day of school she picks a fight with the principal, and a certain Daily Planet editor is on hand to witness the exchange. He recruits Lois into his East Metropolis High project called The Daily Scoop, a school newspaper affiliated with the Planet.
Her first big mystery to tackle is a virtual reality simulator that is causing a mind meld, and assimilating her friends into their fold and destroying their personalities and ability to think independently. Virtual reality is old hat in Superman lore. It makes for an amusingly outdated Lois & Clark episode, and a fairly odd Smallville episode. This is much better than either of those.
Lois is surrounded by a cast of fun characters that don't fit your typical high school stereotypes. We get the fun of early interactions with Perry, too. And then there's SmallvilleGuy, who refuses to tell her his real name yet she still talks to him online every night. He proves surprisingly useful for a high schooler stuck on a farm in Kansas.
One of the quotes on the back of the book says, "Lois Lane is your new YA fiction hero." Yeah, I'm on board....more
I've been listening to this book during all of my driving the past few weekends. It's a good follow-up to the first one. I still find this dystopian fI've been listening to this book during all of my driving the past few weekends. It's a good follow-up to the first one. I still find this dystopian future interesting. The wild and overgrown Manhattan is just as interesting as it was in the first book, and here we get a glimpse of an underwater Chicago and wasteland Denver, which were also interesting. As was the technologically advanced White Plains.
But I didn't find it quite as enjoyable as the first, partially because I missed Kira playing off of Marcus and the others. Without the dynamic of the East Meadow friends all being together, some of the fun of the first book was gone. Kira and Samm's relationship take a good chunk of the book to become interesting, and Heron is a difficult companion. Their dynamic just creates a conversation that mostly goes in circles and gets revisited every few chapters.
Even amid the circular arguments and Kira's circular internal turmoil, the book leaves them with a difficult choice to make: do we save the humans or do we save the Partials? Which is right, which is wrong? While some of the racial symbolism gets a little heavy handed at times, the tension has built to a point that the resolution should be genuinely interesting.
But, did we really need another YA love triangle? Sigh....more
I finally finished it! So infuriating. I never seemed to read more than ten pages at a time, which even for me in my usual multiple-book reading-nessI finally finished it! So infuriating. I never seemed to read more than ten pages at a time, which even for me in my usual multiple-book reading-ness was difficult to keep straight at times.
This was a book I knew nothing about, and never heard of, and I found simply by doing a search for 'books like Amelia Peabody.' For the record, it's nothing like Amelia Peabody, and then I add it to goodreads only to discover a good handful of my friends had read and loved this book. Slow to the party.
This book is weird, but delightfully weird. It's an alternate 1980s, in which time travel is commonplace and time rifts are a normal problem. Thursday Next, our heroine, is a Literatec, an operative in charge of ensuring the preservation of literature. She's a rule breaker with a soft heart, has a fugitive father running through time, and has a dodo for a pet. She's great.
I was concerned that since I got through two English degrees without reading Jane Eyre I might get lost, but I didn't. The plot lost me a few times, mostly because I couldn't keep everyone straight, but this alternate is a fun world, and Thursday's efforts to protect Jane Eyre are wonderful fun. This isn't my last Thursday Next novel....more
Okay, so this is a book about red shirts, who figure out they're red shirts and that they're going to die. So they set off to make sure they don't dieOkay, so this is a book about red shirts, who figure out they're red shirts and that they're going to die. So they set off to make sure they don't die in what becomes a meta inside a meta that ends with three codas of meta. You'd think Scalzi understood fandom culture or something, ha.
What I love about this book is he could've let it let wander into fan fiction, but he didn't. He kept it his own, let the reader's knowledge of Star Trek and other scifi shows drive the humor, and told his story.
This book was kept from five stars for a number of reasons. The language was crude enough in the first third of the book to distract from what was going on. That got much better after things became action driven instead of dialogue driven. I haven't decided if I like the codas or not; while fun little experimental pieces, they could've been just as good released as an ebook novella. Finally, making space for the codas meant certain parts of the plot were glanced over very quickly and felt rushed. The main body of the book could've benefitted from about 20-30 pages.
That said, I loved this, as I think would most people who are Trek fans....more
The human race is an endangered species. All that's left live on Long Island. The RM virus is killing every newborn within hours, but medic Kira isn'tThe human race is an endangered species. All that's left live on Long Island. The RM virus is killing every newborn within hours, but medic Kira isn't about to give up, and intends to find a cure for RM before her adoptive sister gives birth to her baby. She dares to take a group of friends into Manhattan searching for a Partial—cyborgs created as fighters in a previous war, now the declared enemy of humans—to see if they hold the key to curing RM. And then the whole thing falls into chaos.
I really, really liked this book. I've been wanting to read a Dan Wells book for a while—he's great on Writing Excuses and fun to listen to at LTUE—but I was waiting for one of his books to really capture me. This one sure did. There is nothing earth-shattering or new to the genre, but unlike most dystopians it's not a complete downer. Hunger Games and Divergent give you a sense of dread and gloom at the end of the first books. This one leaves you with hope and adventure, although plenty still boils beneath the surface. What makes it work is being framed around solid characters and a vivid image of New York a decade after nearly everyone was killed off.
I'm giving this three stars because I think half of this book is worth five stars.
The first half of this book is very intriguing. It's a discussion ofI'm giving this three stars because I think half of this book is worth five stars.
The first half of this book is very intriguing. It's a discussion of the gold and silver age of comics and how they reflected the changes in American culture. It's a brilliant cultural theory reading of the comics and their heroes and I loved it.
And then, about halfway through, it becomes a memoir/autobiography. When the book should have approached the 80s and 90s comics, shows like Lois & Clark, Smallville, Birds of Prey, the slew of animated series, and the need to reboot theatrical comic book franchises, it turned into Morrison's personal story. That would be great for him to tell in his own memoir, but was a strange/awkward shift in a book that had been a very interesting cultural theory. As it was not the reason I'd picked up the book in the first place, I never finished it....more
I used to hate dystopian novels, but I think that's because in high school we read all the wrong ones. This one, however, I think belongs on a high scI used to hate dystopian novels, but I think that's because in high school we read all the wrong ones. This one, however, I think belongs on a high school reading lists. It's relatable, it's pertinent, and the characters are familiar. I think a book like this has a lot more to offer a high school classroom than Brave New World or 1984. To a high schooler looking for a dystopian read, I would recommend this above The Hunger Games, honestly.
What I liked most about this book was the characterization of Tris. She's not a perfect character. In fact, she is rather flawed, and recognizes it. There are moments when she makes a good decision and feels guilty about it, or makes a bad one with no remorse acknowledged. That's interesting, and is a great use of the first person without the author being too intrusive.
I wish the ending could have been a little more original, though. We have yet another dystopian that is part of a series and a cliffhanger in which the world has descended into chaos. Although there's nothing outlandishly original about the book, it was very good about twisting it just enough that it felt fresh. The ending was not fresh. Not at all....more