This book unapologetically throws cyberpunk into a sweaty ménage à trios with AI madness and Cthulhu-cum-tech-zombie foul-mouthed insanity. The resultThis book unapologetically throws cyberpunk into a sweaty ménage à trios with AI madness and Cthulhu-cum-tech-zombie foul-mouthed insanity. The resultant gun-slinging, two-fisted, ass-kicking action is non-stop, as is the main character's incredibly, incredibly self-sabotaging bad attitude.
NECROTECH is so full of four-letter jabber it makes PULP FICTION sound like a church sermon. Seriously, if you're even remotely offended by Tourette's-level cursing, this one isn't for you.
We start out with a familiar amnesia trope, and truth be told by the end of the book we don't really get the answers. Want to know more? You'll need to get the second book in the SINless series. I don't think there's a release date at this time, so be warned.
But don't let that corrupt your software so much that you avoid this tale. The main character, Riko, is a walking disaster of overconfidence and simultaneous self-doubt. The tension between her two sides usually results in her using her bionic arm to punch some poor fucker in the mouth. Sometimes this results in said poor fucker's head exploding. Short answer: be very, very careful about what you say when you're talking to Riko.
Alexander's prose is solid. She's got some very poetic work in there, as part and parcel of the non-stop blood and gore. She plays with established grammar structure a bit, with the end result being a unique style — I think I'd now recognize her writing anywhere.
First off, the writing. Holy crap can Algren write. The language is lush and gorgeous. His ability toI'm not entirely sure how I feel about this book.
First off, the writing. Holy crap can Algren write. The language is lush and gorgeous. His ability to paint vivid character portraits is among the best I've ever read. Analogy and metaphor are this cat's playground. While I'm not much for the world of literature, it's easy to see why this won the National Book Award in 1950.
On the other hand, though, is the story itself. Goddamn depressing. Wait, I should use all-caps: IT IS GODDAMNED DEPRESSING. All of the characters a miserable, trapped in the tenements with no future, no hope, and steadily destroyed their lives with booze and drugs. There is no plot. I repeat, there is no plot. Like a lot of literature (which may be the reason I don't gravitate toward it), this is simply a slice of life from a rough part of Chicago. Aside from the drinking, cavorting, complaining and succumbing to base instincts, the characters don't do anything.
So combine amazing writing, and a story without a plot, and you get my four stars. If you are a writer, read it. Period. If you are not a writer and you like stories with a plot, it's not for you. ...more
November 23, 2016 I'm thrilled to bring you this book, the fourth novella in the GFL series. Of course, it didn't turn out to be a "novella" at all, itNovember 23, 2016 I'm thrilled to bring you this book, the fourth novella in the GFL series. Of course, it didn't turn out to be a "novella" at all, it's 270 pages in eBook, 9 hours, 6 minutes as an audiobook. Full-length tale, y'all. That's because Paul Cooley and I found the character of Poughkeepsie Pete to be so captivating, his teammates lively and riveting, and his situation so rich and fraught with lethal danger that what was supposed to be 40,000 words easily went over 80,000.
And how about this cover? Ray Dillon did the original art, the font and layout was designed by Scott E. Pond (who also did the cover for Title Fight, GFL Novella #3). I'm attaching the cover below in larger form so you can see it in all its glory.
I often struggle with the classics and classic authors. This book is delightful in that it's a slice of another time, but it's "literature" in the senI often struggle with the classics and classic authors. This book is delightful in that it's a slice of another time, but it's "literature" in the sense that nothing fantastical happens. Nothing much happens at all, really.
We have characters in an tropical locale, a small town in the Malay Archipelago. Axel Heyst is a loner who seems to have a stereotypical heart of gold — he's willing to help anyone that asks, even though he largely prefers to keep to himself in an abandoned coal mining compound. His innocence and general good nature are interpreted as devious, even evil actions by the innkeeper Schomberg, who focuses all of his frustration at life upon Heyst. Both characters are horribly thin and one-dimensional. They are stereotypes, but this is where I struggle with classics — were they stereotypes when Conrad wrote them, or stereotypes because writers like Conrad were so influential in their time that their styles were mimicked endlessly?
Halfway through the story, we get the classic/cliché plot point of the New Girl Comes to Town and Falls Hopelessly In Love With Our Protagonist. From there, jealousy and misunderstanding drive the plot to a strange and moderately violent end.
The story exudes the era, though, and reads like a perfect novelization of a Humphrey Bogart movie. If you liked CASABLANCA, for example, I think you'd dig this book. ...more
If you're ... A) A history buff and a Michigander B) A fan of Motown and that era of music (Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, Four Tops, etc) C) Interested in cIf you're ... A) A history buff and a Michigander B) A fan of Motown and that era of music (Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, Four Tops, etc) C) Interested in civil rights history D) Thinking "my city could never end up like Detroit"
... then you will enjoy this book. Unless you only chose "D," then it might freak you out a little bit.
Maraniss covers the heyday of the Motor City, when automakers were setting records for new car sales, the Mustang was on the way, Barry Gordy Jr. was founding Motown and turning it into a global music phenomenon, and city leaders were finally tackling critical civil rights issues.
The author brings a loose, flowing narrative style to this historical work. His research seems exhaustive, as much of the tome comes from interviews with the particulars, and/or transcripts of actual recordings, letters, speeches and newspaper articles.
If you've driven down Woodward Ave and seen the utterly depressing urban decay of D-Town, and that's all you know about the city, this book will blow your doors off. ...more
Set in 1948, this is a tale of racism and perseverance that is close enough to modern day to disturb you when you learn,DARKTOWN is a powerful novel.
Set in 1948, this is a tale of racism and perseverance that is close enough to modern day to disturb you when you learn, through the eyes of the characters, what American life was like. "Close enough to modern day" meaning your grandparents were probably in their 30s or 40s at that time, decision-makers in an American society coming to grips with the need for equality.
As you read this review, or as you read the book, think about that — you grandfather could have been in this book. Not some dusty old archaic 1800s character you can't relate to, but your own flesh and blood just two generations separated.
That's why this book felt so alien to me. It is the American culture, historically documented ad nauseous, yet it feels like a completely different world. As a nation we have come so far, and in what seems like a relatively short time.
DARKTOWN is set in the time the first black police officers joined the Atlanta PD. Yes, the first ever, not even seventy years ago. The story focuses on four cops — two white, two black — and the murder of a black girl at the hands of a white man.
What makes the story so alien is that, at the time, black policemen weren't allowed to arrest white people. They weren't allowed to drive a police car. They weren't even allowed to set foot in police headquarters, the home of law enforcement in Atlanta. The eight black cops were meant to patrol "Darktown," the primarily African American part of the city. When our protagonists do interact with white cops, the scenes are cringeworthy because they are true to life.
Mullen doesn't make this a simple black-vs.-white novel. Not only do the black cops have to deal with disrespect at a level that's hard to imagine, they have to deal with elements of their own community that discover black cops arrest criminals just like white cops do. A community that is excited to have some of their own on the force quickly turn against these young men — the distrust of the police is stronger than any group allegiance based on the color of one's skin. It puts the main characters in an awful situation. They feel alone and unsupported, tilting against windmills that will forever stand tall against their efforts.
The murder mystery is well done, and the characterization is excellent. The setting, though is the star of this novel. Mullen excels at letting reality speak for itself instead of preaching about what's right and wrong, what should and should not be.
DARKTOWN is disturbing, riveting, and I highly recommend it....more
This is a post-apocalyptic novel in name only. We spend about 75% of the book in pre-apocalypse flashbacks, and about 75% of that focused on a charactThis is a post-apocalyptic novel in name only. We spend about 75% of the book in pre-apocalypse flashbacks, and about 75% of that focused on a character that dies in the first 15 pages of the book (so that's not really a spoiler). The book is mostly a character study about Arthur Leander, an actor (the man who died) and the people that orbit around his life.
Keep in mind: none of the characters in this book have anything to do with said “apocalypse.” In that regard, it’s got hints of THE WALKING DEAD in that the actual mechanism that ends the world is unimportant to the story. Unlike TWD, however, we spend little time seeing how these characters interact with their new world.
This is definitely a “literary” work. Wonderful writing with no plot, at least that I could discern (there is a bad guy who does a bad thing, but it's such a tiny sliver of the story I can't consider it a plot that drives anything other than a few character reactions). We dive deep into the modern-day lives of several characters, which gives us a sense of who they are after the shit hits the fans. But, as I mentioned earlier, the main character doesn’t make it to the post-shit-hitting-fan world, because he dies a few days before the end first starts to set in.
Character studies really aren’t my cup of tea. I prefer a plot that carries me through the story. That being said, I still listened to the entire book, because the writing itself is just that strong.
If you mainly like plot-driven books, avoid. If you like books with action, avoid. If you like sprawling tales of humanity surviving after the collapse of civilization, avoid (this post-apocalypse feels like a mostly peaceful little small town with one bad seed that mucks things up a tiny bit).
However, if your cup of tea is extensive character development, spending many pages with people going through their day-to-day modern lives, and you like effortless, smooth writing, snag it....more
This book is a beast. Seven hundred pages of tiny, tiny type, it's like a SONG OF FIRE AND ICE novel on steroids.
WARNING: Do not approach this book uThis book is a beast. Seven hundred pages of tiny, tiny type, it's like a SONG OF FIRE AND ICE novel on steroids.
WARNING: Do not approach this book unless you are a fan of Star Trek: The Original Series.
If you are a fan, though, or are an aspiring TV writer, I think this book is a wonderful read because it shows multiple examples of how TV scripts become short stories, and how the story part is what matters, not the format.
As a writer, it is also an exceptional example of two key things: 1) It shows you how to dive into the meat of the story very quickly, within two to three paragraphs — no muss, no fuss, no long-winded build up, just get in there and introduce your Big Concept then have at it. 2) How streamlined your storytelling can be when you have well-established characters and a well-defined setting. You can do #1, above, because you don't have to spend 100s of pages introducing main characters. In this way, this book is the opposite of a GAME OF THRONES novel.
Now of course, if you wrote a short story this thin and streamlined, this free of character development, I doubt it would even get published. This book can "cheat," in a way, because fans of the series know who Kirk is, know Spock's raised eyebrow, McCoy's growl, Uhura's questioning glance, etc. These stories are coated with the strong work of the actors who made the roles famous — you can't separate the two. That said, though, it is an exceptional example of minimalism and getting straight to the Big Concept.
It took me five million years to read this book. In the time it took me to read it, entire empires rose and fell. If had forsworn bathing while reading this book, I would look like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown, leaving a trail of filthy pollution in my wake everywhere I went. ...more
Quite a fun book with an interesting take on parallel dimensions. Heroes do heroic things, irredeemable figures find redemption, and there's a bit ofQuite a fun book with an interesting take on parallel dimensions. Heroes do heroic things, irredeemable figures find redemption, and there's a bit of blood to grease the wheels ...more
This read to me like a unique take on underworld immigrant crime families. It's the Godfather with werewolf Corleones, but our main characters are theThis read to me like a unique take on underworld immigrant crime families. It's the Godfather with werewolf Corleones, but our main characters are the "dog catchers"who are simultaneously trying to keep the peace and let the people of this subculture enjoy their lives as constructive citizens. Some heart-wrenching stuff in the first issue. ...more
Such a tragic story Matheson paints. I loved this adaptation, but it's a hard read. You don't need an explanation why he's shrinking, that's not the pSuch a tragic story Matheson paints. I loved this adaptation, but it's a hard read. You don't need an explanation why he's shrinking, that's not the point of this tale — it's watching a man's life disintegrate, watching his family collapse, his marriage fade away and his morals change as he tries to come to grips with what is happening. Sad, sad and more sad. Ted Adams did a great job adapting the story to visual form. ...more
Badger was my favorite comic back in the day. I flipped when I saw Mike Baron was penning a new version of Norbert Sykes, Ham and the rest of the crewBadger was my favorite comic back in the day. I flipped when I saw Mike Baron was penning a new version of Norbert Sykes, Ham and the rest of the crew. I bought the first four issues in one fell swoop.
The story has been updated: Instead of Norbert being a Viet Nam vet, he's a vet of Desert Storm. The rest of the story is roughly the same, with the exception that we get to see Badger in fisticuffs with Vladimir Putin. Fun, awesome stuff.
The art, though, lost me a bit. Maybe I'm nostalgic for the old Badger art of Bill Reinhold, but it didn't seem to carry the story as well as it should have. Still, four stars, am going through the other issues and am excited to have my favorite superhero back in action. ...more
A nice slice of Joe Ledger's story, which takes place between a couple of novels. If you've read about the character Ghost and wonder how that pup camA nice slice of Joe Ledger's story, which takes place between a couple of novels. If you've read about the character Ghost and wonder how that pup came to be, you need this story. ...more
I'm a big fan of Maberry as both an author and a person. An absolute first-rate guy. I was honored to write the intro for this collection. If you likeI'm a big fan of Maberry as both an author and a person. An absolute first-rate guy. I was honored to write the intro for this collection. If you like his work, it is a must-read. ...more