This short graphic novel is fun, sciency and awesome. Tesla is a "mad scientist" that creates a machine capable of destroying a great deal. Mark TwainThis short graphic novel is fun, sciency and awesome. Tesla is a "mad scientist" that creates a machine capable of destroying a great deal. Mark Twain markets it as a "peace machine". When there is a lack of buyers for this, Twain convinces Telsa to market it with stage showmanship. Hilarity ensues.
The plot thickens when some evil geniuses make a tower to summon black magic, and their leader is none other than Tomas Edison. Pod people, giant roots, and Leviathan tear up a bit of New York City.
All in all, this was a fun little story. I wish they could have made a whole series out of the concepts herein, but one short little story will have to suffice. ...more
Summary Johannes Cabal is an unimaginative necromancer. He's dedicated to science and defeating death, and he will let nothing stand in his way. Not evSummary Johannes Cabal is an unimaginative necromancer. He's dedicated to science and defeating death, and he will let nothing stand in his way. Not even Satan and Hell itself. So, when Johannes needs his soul back to finish an experiment successfully, he marches straight into Hell, past the demonic file clerk, and straight up to Satan himself to demand his soul back. A wager later, Johannes must collect 100 souls in a year, and he has a Satanic carnival to help him. Alas, Johannes knows nothing about fun -- or even normal people. So he enlists the help of his brother, Horst, who has been made into a vampire during an unfortunate series of events that Johannes is responsible for.
Story line This is one of those interesting stories that when you pick it up you don't know where it's going. Despite of not really knowing Johannes' motivation for wanting his soul back, you keep reading to find out if he can win the bet. And because it's full of dry wit and gallows humour that keeps you laughing.
My favourite part was Author Trubshaw -- a bank clerk that designed the heinous forms that would take the lost souls from Limbo and into Hell. It not only made me grin with understanding and commiserate, but also laugh at the unexpected detail. You'd think of lawyer jokes, but crazed bankers that are anal retentive?
Most of the book is filled with these fun little quirks that make utter sense, but aren't cliché. And that's most of the fun.
Characters I have to say, I wasn't expecting much in the way of character development from this book, but it's there. It's actually so subtle that it folds smoothly into the story and you don't even realise it's there. There aren't dramatic changes, just enough to make you realise that these characters are not one sided, and there is more that can come from them.
Thoughts Sardonic, yet delightfully touching, The Necromancer made my tough week of juggling business, school, clients, and family bearable. I may have to either hold it hostage from my friend a little longer or buy my own copy to read at a later date.
I don't often rate Reader's Digest's books so high, but then again, I rarely come across one worth reading. Eddie's Bastard was a simple story about aI don't often rate Reader's Digest's books so high, but then again, I rarely come across one worth reading. Eddie's Bastard was a simple story about a boy who is orphaned on his grandpa's steps as a baby. When he is found by his alcoholic grandfather, it changes their lives. The old man struggles to regain himself and his family, the boy struggles to find himself and his family. Together, they fail and succeed.
What struck me most about this story is that it didn't end on necessarily a happy note. It ended on a hopeful one, but it wasn't all rainbows and sunshine. Billy, Eddie's bastard, didn't win the love of his life, his grandpa died, and he still didn't have all the answers. Grandpa, on the other hand, managed to redeem himself before dying peacefully and gracefully.
I actually want to buy this book some day. ...more
OK, first off, it isn't normal that I give a math book 5 stars. I often find them dull, boring, and difficult to read. However, How to lie with statisOK, first off, it isn't normal that I give a math book 5 stars. I often find them dull, boring, and difficult to read. However, How to lie with statistics was as funny as it was informative. Duff does a good job of not only explaining what tricks people use on statistics to twist the facts, but he gives poignant examples that were just as relevant when he wrote this book as they are today. What I found most interesting is how he dissected the "logic" that uses these techniques to explain how they did it, what they trick your brain into seeing, and how you can question it effectively.
Duff talked about sample biases, which we can see in every day research. While his example was that of Yale graduates pay grades is a bit outdated, he shows how this sample represents a small number of people, and how it is most certainly a false representation based on logic, common sense, and science.
He then went on to dissect the differences between mean, median and mode, followed by inadequate samples (think sales pitch where you only ask 3 people versus more), tests that mislead and reveal nothing (like IQ tests), manipulation of graphs and scales, semi-attached figures, post hoc representations, and statistical manipulations. He did the same thing with each topic to show how you start with facts, manipulate it, and present it. Then he shows you how it's wool covering your eyes.
The last chapter was my favourite. It tells you how to pull the wool from your eyes and argue back against it by pointing out their chicanery. Essentially it was a recap of the previous chapters, then telling you not to be afraid to call out the BS you see in the media, advertising, or politics.
Duff does all this in a tongue-in-cheek way. He pulls no punches, nor does he sugar coat things. When I read this I could easily pick out several examples of every single thing he talked about from my own environment. Lies the media tells me to say so it's "politically correct", lies on the magazine back advert, graph manipulation in my precious National Geographic or Time Magazine... it was a disappointment to see how pervasive it is in our society. It's even more disappointing knowing that most people do not know what they are looking at and do not know that they are being swindled.
This is a book that everyone should read so they are more well informed about the world around them and can pull the wool from their eyes. ...more
It took me a little while to get into this book because it starts out slow, and I'm not used to Hindu critter names. It wasn't too long that I was comIt took me a little while to get into this book because it starts out slow, and I'm not used to Hindu critter names. It wasn't too long that I was completely absorbed into the book.
I have to admit, I really liked Basu's writing style. It was fun, hilarious, quirky, and epic. As I read through all of the mini adventures the characters went on, I was amazed and drawn in. While much of the time the quests weren't detailed, it was much easier to read that way. Seriously, I'm not a huge fan of books when you have to sit through every single one of the hero's adventures to understand how he got X item. Basu went through the more fun ones, while skimming over the more lame ones.
This does not mean, however, that character development falls short. You know quite well who the characters are, what they are thinking, what they are like, and half the time in your own head you are begging them to do/not do something.
My favourite thing about this book is the ending. I read a lot, which is probably an understatement, but the ending caught me completely off guard. I like when things are a little different, and Basu really caught my attention with this one.
I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the trilogy. ...more
I have long been a fan of the Dyson vacuums because they worked better than anything I have ever heard of (though I've yet to get one). Thus, when I sI have long been a fan of the Dyson vacuums because they worked better than anything I have ever heard of (though I've yet to get one). Thus, when I saw this book sitting calmly on the library shelf, I reached out to it in wonder. I knew that Dyson raised himself from practically nothing, yet became a force to be reckoned with in the world of vacuums. I was curious as to the more in-depth story behind it. What I got was that as well as a touching insight to the depth of character, intellect, and sheer bull-headedness it takes to succeed in a world of cut-throats.
Dyson writes in a no-nonsense, tongue-in-cheek sort of way. I confess, I found myself laughing out loud more than once. Besides making those stare at me in confusion, I would share with them parts of the Dyson story on the plane, in cafes, and where ever else I found a few moments to read the book. Sharing just a few paragraphs of this work would make others smile and become interested in the man and the machine as well. Yes, it is that well written.
But, is it an autobiography about the man, the machines or the company? It's hard to separate one from the other, honestly. Dyson is the machine and the beating heart of the company. Yet, he seems to be driven by an utter hatred of dust and debris and love of the wonderful vacuum that can get rid of it. So, in the end, the book is about all three. Dyson starts off telling a little bit about himself which explains his driving need to succeed, as well as his love of design. He then continues on to tell of his misfortunes in university life and his stumbling through until he found his calling as a designer that learns engineering on the side. He explains how Jeremy Fry paved the way for an unconventional, honest, and very good way of doing engineering and design, which Dyson makes his own today in Dyson Appliances. And then, the story really takes off.
At this point you start to realise that Dyson is more than just an average person. He's an average person with stubborn willfulness that can make beautiful, functional, and practical roll into one thing. This starts with the Ballbarrow, which is a redesign of the dysfunctional wheelbarrow. It's made to work much easier across an array of ground without getting stuck in the mud, not rust, and actually hold things within it so the items being transported don't slosh about. During the time he successfully makes this a business, he learns painful lessons about business partners and untrustworthy snake oils salesmen. When he recounts the tale, it is with the honesty of someone that has been there, suffered through, and is stronger for it all.
Only after this setup do we get to the epic tale of the vacuum. And, I do mean epic. The tale ranges all around the globe from Japan to Canada, America and finally back to Europe. It ranges from drudgery of starting out, fighting through realms of cut throat bastard business people that try to cheat and steal (and in some cases do) to a final nearly fairy tale like success at the end. Throughout it all, though, Dyson pulls no punches. He tells you straight what it was like, what he had to endure, and that the only way it worked is because he ground his heels in and worked through it.
Throughout the book, Dyson reminds you that it's function and form over cheesy, grotesque advertising that make a product worth it. He reminds you that it's hard work, not a magic pill that will see it through to the end. He also reminds you that breaking the mould is often times better than being a copied part of the system. Being unique is a strength in business from the first ideas through the sweat and tears to the happy ending....more
This is the second book I've read of Brom's, and I really like his work. The books are always laid out with his original art and writings, which makeThis is the second book I've read of Brom's, and I really like his work. The books are always laid out with his original art and writings, which make the books a bit of a treat.
The Devil's Rose is a morbid love story in a way with the soulhunter searching for redemption from his true love even after death. Even in this, the plot takes a slight twist from the well-worn tales of trying to gain forgiveness from one's loved one.
Like Brom's other works, this is a quick, fun read. ...more
Although Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies is a "kids" book, I'm pretty sure it would usurp Invader Zim on my list of most fun things to watch if it was aAlthough Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies is a "kids" book, I'm pretty sure it would usurp Invader Zim on my list of most fun things to watch if it was a TV show. I honestly couldn't have spent a hot day doing anything better.
The story itself is about a group of Fluffs that come from outer space and land near Camp Whatsitooya. They have a mighty craving for sweet foods, which gives them their alien powers. A camp is quite the perfect place to land for them. After stealing candy and marshmallows, they move on to loftier plans of world domination.
That's as much of the story as I'm giving away. Read it yourself! Actually, read it to your kids. Middle school and up will absolutely love it. Adults will love it to for the off the wall comments, amusing sarcasm, and most of all, hilarious situations the campers find themselves in - SPAM always saves the day. Plus, it will remind you that SPAM has a good role in the world. I plan to stock up SPAM myself after reading this book.