One leading to another to another, I find I am wading through decades of old novels. I have been shoveling them into my gaping brain maw and chewing t One leading to another to another, I find I am wading through decades of old novels. I have been shoveling them into my gaping brain maw and chewing them up, enjoying every bite.
One stands out a little from the others. It is having it's 30th birthday this year and holds sway in my view as under appreciated and overly influential to how my think meats process the world.
My perspective post reread of Robert McCammon's Swan Song? As expected, it was every bit as good as the first time, with the exception of spoiled surprises.
I was introduced to Swan Song in 2002(3/?) by a karaoke singing dirty old man (RIP: Dr Lou). He traded me for a Stephen King novel (Black House, sequel to The Talisman). King is important here because at the time, I was of the impression The Stand was an infallible masterwork of apocalypse. Two days after receiving Swan Song and 800 pages later, King was knocked to his knees and deposed of his throne. All hail the new king, McCammon.
Swan Song opens with the introduction of various characters, including Sister Creep. Sister is crazy, drunk, and homeless. Not long after looking the devil in the eye at a screening of 'faces of Death' she finds herself boiled alive and dropped into a post nuclear wasteland. Following instinct, her remaining shreds of humanity, and faith, Sister begins a journey hide from the ultimate evil and save the survivors of our race.
I will spare the internet a blow by blow of plot and characters on a 30 year old book. If you want that, head out to google and I am sure you can find other options.
This novel is not simply a good read, I find that it influenced how I view large cities and even foot travel. Trigger statements might follow for some east coasters.
Positive influence- At one point in the book, there was mention of the need for a good pair shoes. Through conversation it was stated "[...] take it one step at a time. One step and then the next gets you where you’re going." This stuck with me and I have since refused to wear unreasonable or uncomfortable shoes. This was even a restriction at my wedding, that I would only get hitched wearing comfortable shoes.
Negative influence is worse. When I look at large buildings or cities, I cannot help but imagine the sheer volume of corpses mixed with rubble that I would have to climb over to escape a city post nuclear collapse.
My reaction to this mind bendingly good book: * This tainted my view of the world. The taint itself is unusual, however. This novel left me with a strange feeling of hope, astonishment that the human race is so foolish, and a blatant desire not to be locked into a fate where my only choice is death. As there will always be a choice, I will walk and fight till my bones and sinews can no longer remain connected.
King, you still hold a position next to the throne, but McCammon Frankenstein wrestled you to the mat and kicked your butt. While you were writing fever dreams of corn fields and rats, McCammon's corn fields were burning in the wake of Minuteman flames.
Several years ago, I had downloaded a Kindle copy of the first Wool installment, but just never found time for it.
When I finally returned to it, I wasSeveral years ago, I had downloaded a Kindle copy of the first Wool installment, but just never found time for it.
When I finally returned to it, I was overjoyed to be thrust into the masterful universe of the Silo trilogy, already completely written. While a series of books is nice because of the extended plot and time in a fleshed out world, I also commonly find myself losing interest as an author takes the time to produce follow ups and release new stories.
I wanted to horde the story as it unfolded, but relenquished self control to the book demon of addiction. When I completed book one, I was able to immediately move to the second, then the third. With minimal pauses, I could loosely control my consumption. I was a book glutton, gorging myself and fattening on the succulent verbose descriptions.
In the silo series, several hundred years, and generations after the uprising, a man is put out to clean. Cleaning is the action of leaving the safety of the Silo to die. Folding oneself into an environmental suit and step outside onto the skin of planet earth's corpse. With you, you take scrubbing wool, and spend precious moments of your remaining life cleaning the camera lenses that allow insiders to see the external world. You scrape off the grime and grit, leaving a clear image of the apocalypse, a visual reminder to others that the outside is uninhabitable.
Everyone cleans, but noone understands why. Even the most desperate, depressed, and suicidal spend precious moments before death scrubbing the external camera lenses. After completion, they are dead and littering the viewscreens with their still suited body. The world is so poisoned, even a human in a can will only last minutes.
Two years after his wife was sent to clean, Sheriff Holston follows her. His body lay next to hers on the hillside. Juliette from Mechanical has a knack for making complex machines function. She has been, questionably, promoted to fill Holston's shoes. She moves from the lower 144th floor range, where mechanical, water treatment and mining occur, to the upper five. She is an outsider digging into the lives of outsiders.
The Silo trilogy is about these people, living breathing and creating within the confines if a 144 floor reality. New life is restricted to lottery, food/air/water/electricity require the expertise of others, and one dangerous thought can kill everyone. Existence within a snowglobe, buried within a landfill.
The risk of spoilers is high on this novel, so let's leave it here:
This is the best scifi I have read since Dan Simmon's Hyperion Cantos. Get it. Read it. Thank me later.
The flow of the story was a bit off kilter since each character in the book is strictly rationed. Paper is scarce, and books are relatively inaccessible, air water and food. In the world of the Silo, Howey is careful to portion out characters (both loved and hated) in a well defined balance. Much like a generator out of alignment, Howey was able to take all the parts, mishmash, refurbished elements, and turn it into an engine that purrs like a satisfied kitten. It warms your lap and lowers your heart rate until the little bastard pulls it's claws out as cats will do at whim.
The series was released via ebook in serialized format, so ebookers make sure that you purchase the Omnibus formats rather than the individual serial issues.
Howey was picked up for print distribution so dead tree copies are also available.
While I am no stranger to a good romance novel, I must admit that Passananti's Hazards of Hunting while Heartbroken threw me for a loop. The thing is,While I am no stranger to a good romance novel, I must admit that Passananti's Hazards of Hunting while Heartbroken threw me for a loop. The thing is, I misread the blurb or misunderstood it at the time I came across the novel. The book blurb references a New York City headhunter and a loose reference to the plotline. When I finally started reading it two weeks later all hope was lost for me. Too much time had passed for me to have any chance at detail oriented factual remembering.. In rereading the blurb after the fact I have NO IDEA WHAT I WAS THINKING.. I am laughing at myself, not with myself ;)
My brain instantly made the misguided leaps as follow:
1) I remember this book was about a Female Headhunter.. That is super strange for a protagonist profession. I wonder how many references to Dog the bounty hunter will be slopped into this.
2) love story with a head hunter? Wtf? This will be just strange enough to justify the reading.
3) What a strange cover. I suppose a NYC female head hunter would try to be very well dressed, especially if she is Manhatten based.
As you can see, I made my first wrong turn immediately and was oblivious to all reality.
This is a novel about a Corporate Headhunter, helping place highly skilled people with primo jobs in a rough market... She falls in love while still trying to get over her recently torpedoed engagement after she learned her fiance is gay. The man she starts dating seems too good to be true, and as we have learned in post year 2000 Disney America, it is ok for prince charming to have flaws.
Imagine my surprise when I found myself embroiled not with an action filled seedy detective style plotline, but instead a white collar office environment filled with angry bosses and trips to the opera.
Sigh, I did it to myself. Good thing I really loved the book.
Cover to cover read found this book to be well written and highly enjoyable. The twists were not terribly surprising, but it is a love story, so it is appropriate. I could have done with fewer angsty teenage emotional responses from the 30+ age group characters, but besides that, this was a damn fine novel.
I know i know. What the hell kind of review is this. Why should others pick this up..
Simple answer? Because I was dead wrong.. It is a very good book that does not need a justification for reading as, no surprise to other readers, it is not about Dog the Bounty Hunter. Except for main character Zoe, As far as I can tell the other characters are too 'well to do' even to reference Dog at a drunken socialite party. Zoe however, I am sure she has binge watched a few episodes while drips of Ben and Jerry's congeal on her rumpled sweat pants.
The movie Wrath of Khan has been ruined forever. All hail the Wrath of Khan (book)! Let me explain, because Vonda McIntyre owned this.
For father's dayThe movie Wrath of Khan has been ruined forever. All hail the Wrath of Khan (book)! Let me explain, because Vonda McIntyre owned this.
For father's day, I do not require much. Give me a hot meal, a warm cuddle, and a chilly blanket covered viewing of StarTrek: The Wrath of Khan. Family time at it's best. Unfortunately, this year my children are of an age where this movie would cause undue stress. Earworms, explosions, blind revenge and blood really dont jive too well with toddlers, so it is on pause for a couple years. We watched The Voyage Home instead, yes, the awesome time travel whale movie.
Why are you reading this?
The Lack of Khan meant my wonderful wife felt concern that my father's day would be lackluster. She searched out and located me a copy of the 1982 paperback edition Wrath of Khan. Giddy and sweaty palmed, I jigged in my seat when I opened my gift from her. Also included was a hardback copy of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but I can discuss that at a later date.
This geeky film will never be the same. The story of Wrath of Khan is no secret. Dumbed down- On Federation/Civilian research mission to a dead planet, Khan Noonien Singh is found, crazed and vengeful. He plots to find and punish James T Kirk, who he blames for the death of his wife and followers. In the process, he captures a starship and a device which can reorganize the structure of matter, destroying whatever previously existed and rebuilding habitable worlds from the blocks.
Kirk is in a fight to save his inexperienced trainee crew, while protecting innocent lives from the damage a deranged madman can wreck.
It has been thirty years since this movie and it's novelization were released. The geek in me picked out several elements requiring highlight.
First and most verbosely- In reading this, the Wrath if Khan has NOTHING to do with Khan or Kirk. Some aspects of this are displayed on the movie, but nowhere to the depth the novelization took it. This novel is about Savvik.
Savvik's backstory in the movies is rediculously thin. She is 'just' a Vulcan cadet on the path to becoming an officer. She 'just' questions human behavior and is 'just' under the tutelage of Spock. In the novelization, 'just' is a description which can never be.
Separate yourself from what you know from the film. The Wrath of Khan easily becomes Savvik's story. Born of a forbidden and potentially disturbing relationship between a Vulcan and a Romulan, she was orphaned and abandoned on a planet with all the other halflings. Spock, on a research mission, finds her feral and removed. He brings her back to society and treats her as an equal, almost like a daughter. She has warring genetics and culture, she has a desire for logic and an emotional flame that wants to burn the entire universe. It is Spock's assistance and training which allow her to control herself.
The story revolves entirely around her actions and reactions to her environment, people she meets, internal warring, and ultimately grief.
Having read this, Khan becomes irrelevant. He is a tool to harness a greater storyline. It is disappointing that Savvik in film is relegateted to the role of trainee and nothing more. In the follow up film, she takes on the role of mother and lover. Nothing literally nothing to the level of required character definition that she deserves based on this novelization. In film she exists as a plot tool to move action or set Kirk up for his lines.
Though not all perspectives were hers, hers were the most relevant and genuine feeling. STARTREK REBOOTers: pay attention to Savvik! She is more than she was allowed to be!
Second point- Wonderful backstory and characters fleshed out for scientists on the Genesis research station. Who are they? How did their roles lead them to being tortured to death in the name of Genesis.
Third- Through the same scientists, it is introduced that the building blocks of all matter are five subcomponents of quarks. In the novel they are named after the five elements of a Lewis Carrol poem. The timing of this reading could not be more properly timed. Only ten days before I began reading this, the Large Hadron Collider was able to prove PentaQuarks.. I was reading poetic references to the very same elements that we now are proud to have proven.
Fourth and lastly- Apparently a 50MB hard drive must be stored in a liquid nitrogen based cooling system in order to handle the data loads that Genesis algorythms require. Likewise reproggramming something would require OCR feeds of raw paper printouts, which would need mass QA to remove optical character recognition errors. To quote Sulu, "Oh, My!".
This book was amazing. Go find it nerds. It is worth shelling some bucks out for it....more