A helter skelter romp through a world of moral absolutes, secret societies who enforce them, madcap secret agent super tech, and a narrator rendered uA helter skelter romp through a world of moral absolutes, secret societies who enforce them, madcap secret agent super tech, and a narrator rendered unreliable in equal parts due to being a drugged out miscreant and simply being an intentional asshole. Bad Monkeys is a lightning fast read and enjoyable the whole way through, even if the third act and onward gets a little too over-the-top and ridiculous to maintain suspension of disbelief easily....more
A fun, fluffy military action novel which mashes Avatar (the blue cat people movie, not the Nickelodeon elemental kung fu cartoon) into Starship TroopA fun, fluffy military action novel which mashes Avatar (the blue cat people movie, not the Nickelodeon elemental kung fu cartoon) into Starship Troopers to create a hot violent mess of a read. In the near future, humanity is allowed at age 75 to sign up for the Colonial Defense Force, trading in their miserable golden years for a second chance at youth and vibrancy. In exchange, all they have to do is help defend humanity from the terrors what haunt the galaxy. This blossoms out into a pleasant but oddly-subdued guts-and-glory tale of heroism and freaky space monsters. It's not about to significantly change your worldview, it fails to introduce any particularly novel sci-fi gimmicks or conceits, and it honestly seems to forget that its cast is made up of mature human beings very quickly, but it's still a fun read all the same....more
The exposition and dialogue may be a little clumsy and confusing at times, and the scientific MacGuffins occasionally left me wincing, but The DescentThe exposition and dialogue may be a little clumsy and confusing at times, and the scientific MacGuffins occasionally left me wincing, but The Descent still accomplishes what it set out to do admirably: that being to be the best darn anthropological horror novel about cannibalistic underground demonoids ever. It's fast and fun and predictable and cheesy; if you find yourself in need of a silly weekend body horror fix, you can't do much better....more
A short story with a name so bizarre I couldn't pass it up, Hellhounds of the Cosmos is a fun little unpolished mish-mash of Lovecraftian weirdness anA short story with a name so bizarre I couldn't pass it up, Hellhounds of the Cosmos is a fun little unpolished mish-mash of Lovecraftian weirdness and kaiju monster beat-'em-up. It's unlikely I'll remember it a year from now, but as something to fill a bored afternoon with, it did quite nicely....more
As much as I enjoyed the first volume of Fletcher Hanks' work, I feel like they already used up most of the wild, out-there material by the time theyAs much as I enjoyed the first volume of Fletcher Hanks' work, I feel like they already used up most of the wild, out-there material by the time they decided to make a second. While there are still some extremely uncomfortable, Axe Cop-style insanities thrown at you (particularly in the second half of the collection), you'll see the same napkin-thin plot used again and again, the same phoned-in artwork, and after the first book I'd already gotten over the shock factor of it all. More interesting, I found, was the tragic biography of Hanks provided in the foreword; as I read along I couldn't help but wonder what kind of life this abusive comic jockey was leading as he scrawled out the adventures of "Space" Smith and Big "Red" McClane, and the epilogue just concluded the whole Fletcher Hanks experience perfectly....more
A more substantial summary: One of the best alternative history novels I've ever had the pleasure to read, The Handmaid'In short: The feminist "1984."
A more substantial summary: One of the best alternative history novels I've ever had the pleasure to read, The Handmaid's Tale is the agonizing, fascinating story of a woman who has spent three years dissolving in the militant, ultra-zealous theocracy the USA devolved into late in the twentieth century. Like all good dystopias, it skirts the border of plausability, and although it was published in 1985, the issues covered within are still alive and well and horrifying today. I absolutely recommend this book, so long as you can enjoy something that leaves you hurting after the fact....more
I don't think I like Katniss anymore, which is a real shame since she was a pretty nifty protagonist in The Hunger Games. She was believably naive aboI don't think I like Katniss anymore, which is a real shame since she was a pretty nifty protagonist in The Hunger Games. She was believably naive about life and love in spite of her tough-as-nails survivalist upbringing, and by basing the book almost entirely in the Games, we got to see her be bad-ass and sensitive in a perfect ratio that made the book work well enough as popcorn fiction.
No such luck in the sequel. Instead, we're treated to half a book's worth of confused political canoodling and human interest stories in a world where Katniss is no longer just some girl from the slums of the Seam. Instead, due to her bold defiance in book 1, she's now an admired revolutionary, adored by the oppressed and feared by those in power, and all the boys love her and she gets EVEN MORE pretty dresses and the president has determined that she is his ultimate nemesis. The sense of restraint and scale in the first book is long gone, and instead we are given an unpleasantly dense teen girl hero facing off against illogical, irrational, cartoon super-villainy. As much as I like books espousing standing tall in defiance of "the man", Catching Fire's presentation of "the man" as an old albino gentleman named Mr. Snow with blood on his breath and a passion for needlessly starving millions is probably causing more harm than good.
Katniss' passion has somehow turned into incoherent, hysterical whining, but when she finally shuts her dramatic monologue-hole in the second half of the book, at least we're presented with another round of the Hunger Games. A new Dungeons & Dragons arena has been devised, filled with more traps and terrors than ever before, but we've already seen this play and the twists and turns aren't all that unpredictable. There's not enough time to grow attached to the new cast of characters, and the old crew has long since worn out their welcome by this point. I'm certain that I'm not the target audience for this book, but I really hope this isn't the height of young adult fiction today....more
A world where gargantuan warships soar via the magnificent force of the 8TH SPECTRUM OF PROPULSION!
A world where NUDE SWORDSMEN engage in the MOST INTA world where gargantuan warships soar via the magnificent force of the 8TH SPECTRUM OF PROPULSION!
A world where NUDE SWORDSMEN engage in the MOST INTIMATE OF DANCES with countless armed combatants!
A world where ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE through the modern miracle of RADIUM TECHNOLOGY!
I came across this book by accident, finding it in a random plastic bag on my kitchen table and picking it up more for a good laugh than expecting anything substantial. About a page in, I discovered two immutable facts:
1) I was actually reading a book about the heroic adventures of John Carter, a southerner Civil War vet who somehow found his way to the savage, dying planet of Mars.
2) I would like to know more of this instantly-charming gentleman/poet/champion of the civilized world.
My low expectations were immediately corrected once I fell into the rhythm of the narrator's incredible and ridiculous antics. While the century-old story sounds like something you'd find in a junion high D&D session, the author gets your inner child all riled up and rarin' to go on impossible adventures, free of the tedium of politics or sexy-shenanigans. Beyond that though, you'll find the seeds of so many future science fiction greats here, from the sober Dune to the stupidly drunk Flash Gordon.
It's a short read that captures you up and flies by in an instant, an excellent classic popcorn piece for between headier fare. Find it, read it, love it, and look forward(?) to the upcoming movie....more
A rockier read than The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands gets bogged down in exposition and LOST-style weirdness on occasion, but still holds upA rockier read than The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands gets bogged down in exposition and LOST-style weirdness on occasion, but still holds up strong as we follow Roland's band of cripples in their investigation of the necropolis of Lud. Respect for the author came and went, but enthusiasm to find out what was on the next page never flagged once I got into the thick of things. Once you've muscled through the first quarter and the flimsy characters, you're in for a treat....more