I love Warren Ellis' writing, but he occasionally dips into what I call his "lazy, declarative style". This, unfortunately for me, is an example of th...moreI love Warren Ellis' writing, but he occasionally dips into what I call his "lazy, declarative style". This, unfortunately for me, is an example of that.
That said, many people love it when he does that, so if you do, then this one is for you. You are a book reading person!(less)
If you want to understand how the world of marketing and sales have changed in the internet age this is the book that will give you the information yo...moreIf you want to understand how the world of marketing and sales have changed in the internet age this is the book that will give you the information you need.
Godin's style is always clear and complete, and he makes sure to build a solid structure out of his ideas. I found myself struggling to wrap my head around some of his concepts in the middle of the book, and definitely got what he was going for by the end.(less)
Sterling isn't just an amazing Sci-Fi writer, he's also a futurist, and this is the pure stuff; pontifications on where we're headed based on where we...moreSterling isn't just an amazing Sci-Fi writer, he's also a futurist, and this is the pure stuff; pontifications on where we're headed based on where we've been and where we are.
If you want to take peek at the coming "Internet of Things" then give this book a read.(less)
I'll go ahead and admit that I love Richard Morgan's work. Even Market Forces, probably his weakest novel, has something that can make me happy. So wh...moreI'll go ahead and admit that I love Richard Morgan's work. Even Market Forces, probably his weakest novel, has something that can make me happy. So when I was up in Canada last month I took the opportunity to grab his latest book that has yet to be released in the USA.
And, as usual, I'm glad I did. I think Steel Remains is one of his best. There's been a lot of hype over the fact that this is a "genre busting" fantasy novel. And if you go into it (like I did) expecting to find the usual tropes being totally cast aside you're going to be disappointed-- at first. There's no doubt this is a Fantasy novel. At the same time the main characters are very well developed, and while it's easy enough to follow what's going on, you won't really understand what the novel is all about until you reach the end of it.
It's a fully self-contained story, but it's also clearly the beginning of something. I can't wait.(less)
Morrison is a great comic book writer, but he has a few obvious flaws that can make his work difficult to digest, and have always kept him from reachi...moreMorrison is a great comic book writer, but he has a few obvious flaws that can make his work difficult to digest, and have always kept him from reaching the same heights as Alan Moore.
All-Star Superman, while using the same deconstructed narrative and mind-blowingly bizarre gift of invention that are his trademarks, manages to overcome those limitations and essentially create the platonic ideal of what a Superman story should be.
In twelve issues this series manages to truly show how an epic story can be told about a man who cannot be hurt by normal means. It throws us into a universe that is already deep and rich, and where this hero has been that planet's protector for many years. It unflinchingly goes from silly to hardcore sci-fi, all with a strong emotional undercurrent that drives everything forward.
It's not perfect, and I still found myself wondering what the hell he was talking about from time to time, but the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. And with his background in the occult and kabbalistic magick, Morrison manages to take Superman beyond just being a simple Christ figure.
I read someone describe this as is the "only Superman story you'll ever need" and they're probably right.
Note that you'll need to read both volumes to get the full story.(less)
I love Elmore Leonard, so I'm a bit bummed that this book wasn't better.
Not that it doesn't contain his usual mix of conniving (but dense) criminals,...moreI love Elmore Leonard, so I'm a bit bummed that this book wasn't better.
Not that it doesn't contain his usual mix of conniving (but dense) criminals, and steely lawmen with a soft-heart for a damsel in distress, but this time it never really comes together to be anything but exactly the sum of its parts.
The book takes place in Detroit at the end of WWII, with a mix of (non-evil) Nazis, would be Nazis, and just plain criminals that are ripe for the kind of selfish shenanigans that are at the heart of every good Leonard story. There's plotting, planning, and double-crosses, all presented in the usual slightly laid-back and lyrical way that's the author's hallmark. And when it comes to historical detail, this is the best kind. The characters are living in the world, not just ticking off points for historical accuracy. Even if everything in here wasn't quite right, you'd never know it. This is a world that they live in.
That said, having read and watched a lot of noir fiction of the period, I feel like it doesn't really have the kick you want out of a tale from that period. With the world at war, and men being forced to make terrible choices, you'd hope for something that at least has the pull of a Gilda, if not a Casablanca. But for all the consternation the emotional and financial stakes always seem to be simmering instead of boiling over.
It's a decent read, but nothing to get excited about.(less)
We live in a world where we are besieged by corporate imagery and rules, whether we are working for one, with one, or through one. These financial ins...moreWe live in a world where we are besieged by corporate imagery and rules, whether we are working for one, with one, or through one. These financial institutions don't exist, but they are given the same rights as a living, breathing person. Everything we own is "branded" with logos, and every transaction we make is intermediated by a company taking a small fraction for a service that is, according to the ads at least, supposed to make our lives better, but is ultimately the result of a series of decisions made by people who think of us only as a bottom line on a balance sheet.
Whether that's a good or a bad thing, it is,/b>. In this book Doug Rushkoff examines how we got here, and what it means to be here, explaining a chain of events that begins at the end of he middle ages, and travels all the way to the financial meltdown that happened a year ago. Along the way he unravels some of the biases inherent in the corporate DNA, and the currency that we use to interact with it.
This is a dense book, filled with ideas that can change the way you look at the world. It is not a screed, or even a rant, but it will challenge you to pay attention to the imaginary creatures that work very hard to try and remain unseen in our lives.(less)
Having just finished this book with the next two volumes sitting on the shelf, I'm not quite sure what to think.
Wright has no end of imagination, and...moreHaving just finished this book with the next two volumes sitting on the shelf, I'm not quite sure what to think.
Wright has no end of imagination, and every new character is spelled out in loving detail, expanding a fantasy cosmology that covers everything from the true origins of Jesus Christ to multidimensional hyperspatial beings. While that sounds promising, the actual book itself doesn't really go anywhere, with the main character at the end of the book ending up pretty much exactly where she was at the start, although with quite a bit more understanding of how and why she got there.
Meanwhile we are told a lot, but shown very little, which is a shame I think, because the world outside of the tableau shown in the book sounds incredibly interesting, and the glimpses we get are really some of the best moments n the story. I wish we could have had more.
It's also one of those titles that clearly knows it's part of a trilogy from the start, and ends on what could generously called a "cliffhanger", but is really just a chapter break.
There's also a fascination with bondage and domination that can be a little odd at it times. To Wright's credit, he does manage to roll that into the context of the story, and even give us a reason why it's so, but there's no doubt that it's also a clear theme for the book. He also manages to make it about underage girls without having to actually make them underage, which is a neat trick, but a little creepy. (less)
This is a big book. In fact, I'd say "sprawling" might be a better term for it.
Lots of interesting characters and ideas, many of them spelled out in a...moreThis is a big book. In fact, I'd say "sprawling" might be a better term for it.
Lots of interesting characters and ideas, many of them spelled out in almost obsessive detail. Certainly Harkaway is the master of the lingering aside, heading into descriptive overtures that were, I think, often interesting but ultimately unnecessary.
I liked it quite a bit, for all its lumps.
Certainly there were some touches of Vonnegut in there, or at least Tim Robbins. There's some interesting Sci-Fi type plotting, but he doesn't have Vonnegut's knack of letting the ironic metaphorical fantasy sometimes be just that, which might have helped. By the end I felt things were getting a little too action oriented and spelled out. That's kind of ironic, because at the beginning of the book I was looking for a more straightforward story, and once it dropped away I had accepted the funky rhythm of the storytelling, only to get a big Hollywood ending.
But I said I liked the book, and I meant it. Harkaway definitely sews things up, and tells a tale worth the journey. There's a fierce talent there. I'll definitely read whatever he does next.(less)
It's hard giving a book as timeless and important as A Canticle for Leibowitz only four stars. It certainly has all the pieces that it needs to be a f...moreIt's hard giving a book as timeless and important as A Canticle for Leibowitz only four stars. It certainly has all the pieces that it needs to be a five star story, but it somehow lacks that gripping prose that it would take to make this book one of my all time favorites.
A post-apocalyptic tale told in three sections over a thousand years, Leibowitz starts strong. It asks hard questions of both its protagonists and the reader, ruminating on the nature of humanity in a world where mankind has already managed to utterly destroy itself.
But by the final section it seems to lose its way a bit. Not that there aren't some haunting moments, but Miller's light touch seems to become a heavy hand.
That said, you'll be shocked at how modern this book feels for something written half a century ago. Even the anachronisms work in the book's favor. While reading it I was continually struck on how many genre worlds have obviously borrowed heavily from Miller's vision—from the Fallout series to Warhammer 40K's vision of a dark religious future.(less)