The Ballad of Halo Jones is quite a rollercoaster, and despite planning otherwise I ended up riding it over the course of a single afternoon. I was inThe Ballad of Halo Jones is quite a rollercoaster, and despite planning otherwise I ended up riding it over the course of a single afternoon. I was initially very attracted to its cover, but disappointed by the content.. until I read on, and became attached to the characters. The art style too really grew on me, illustrating some wonderful worlds, attractive characters and desirable fashions.
The story is strangely depressing, given that it features a fairly mundane protagonist, some ambitious but relatively unremarkable adventures, and ultimately a depressing end which mirrors that of humanity. Halo Jones is a character who's swept up by the universe she lives in, and deals with it admirably but ultimately makes no conscious impact upon it. She is relatable, complex and surprisingly normal - and I found that strangely refreshing....more
This was a slow burn for me, but in the end the luscious art style and the pacing of the Rocketeer's first proper adventure (in the second half of thiThis was a slow burn for me, but in the end the luscious art style and the pacing of the Rocketeer's first proper adventure (in the second half of this book) won me over. It's a bombastic, colourful and rather sexy tale which is not as steeped in science fiction as I'd first thought, but nevertheless relishes in Hollywood's golden era.
I rather imagine that Betty, the principal love interest, would be intolerable if not for Stevens' crisp, pin-up art style. Her lack of depth is still somewhat disappointing, but then none but Jonas (Secord's mysterious benefactor) and the villain, Lothar, really seemed to possess more than one dimension either. This series seems to be more about the spectacle and the action, and it delivers that without pretense....more
Though it is nicely-presented, and I was attracted by the idea of giving more female comics creators a voice, I was soundly disappointed with WomanthoThough it is nicely-presented, and I was attracted by the idea of giving more female comics creators a voice, I was soundly disappointed with Womanthology. It contains a handful of good stories, but many are simply dire - be it down to the writing, the structure or even the lettering.
To its credit, the book does contain some fairly consistently good artwork, but that wasn't enough to distract me from the very piecemeal nature of its stories. Most of these are no more than 4 pages long, which is no bad thing itself, but as a format it does call for strong and simple messages or narratives, which very few pieces actually delivered. I was alarmed even to see some stories and tropes which had surely been lifted from other media. I feel that the book also lacks any real editing, which would have helped give it an overall purpose. Instead we get quite a jumbled assortment, rather like the results of a game jam. It may be that such an anthology suits other peoples' tastes, but it didn't cater to mine....more
I was pleased to finally finish this trilogy after having read Idoru a number of times, but never actually read Rydell's part in these events.
It seemsI was pleased to finally finish this trilogy after having read Idoru a number of times, but never actually read Rydell's part in these events.
It seems hard to judge All Tomorrow's Parties on its solo merits, given that it is a confluence of the previous two books, but the book definitely satisfies in its gradual build through quite a few key climaxes. The characters we've come to know from Virtual Light and Idoru are rather put through the wringer, and while it's still hard to actually like any of them, I did end up at least rooting for them, and/or pitying them in the end.
What surprised me most was the manner in which Harwood and Rei Toei's stories converge. Abrupt, surprising but also quite satisfying; I typically despise such snappy endings, but in this instance it felt okay. By now I've come to understand that when Gibson (or Shirow, for that matter) writes an adventure, events are made to feel momentous in the eyes of the protagonist but in reality, their impact is purely felt within the virtual - or at worst, a few characters are monumentally affected. Life goes on outside, and even if the climactic event here feels like the start of something huge, Gibson simply returns to the mundane and leaves us to speculate. I respect that about his work, and this book....more
Dabblings in the occult, fedoras and a gorgeous noir art style: this really got me hooked. The comic feels very well-paced, and this volume wraps up wDabblings in the occult, fedoras and a gorgeous noir art style: this really got me hooked. The comic feels very well-paced, and this volume wraps up with a very nice cliffhanger. Surely my favourite in the Humble Bundle, and one I'd like to continue reading....more
I thought this was actually rather terrible, which is a shame because the cover art is gorgeous, and the panel art's nice as well. The plot, characterI thought this was actually rather terrible, which is a shame because the cover art is gorgeous, and the panel art's nice as well. The plot, characters and general dialogue, however, are unnecessarily cliched and too reliant upon trying to be shocking, when in truth the book's actual plot only reveals itself in the last issue.
It's hard to care about the fate of the characters when they stand as stereotypes, stumbling through a gorey maze of unexplained phantoms and psychopathic school staff. I was also pretty disappointed to have such sexualised female characters - each of whom is buxom and slim in the stereotypical comics model, while the male characters have a truer sense of individuality about them....more
A thought-provoking and rather poetic memoir, which really drills down to a very relatable sense of nostalgia. Leigh Alexander describes her lifelongA thought-provoking and rather poetic memoir, which really drills down to a very relatable sense of nostalgia. Leigh Alexander describes her lifelong fascination with technology in frank and sometimes dark tones, certainly going some way to remind me of my own formative years online.
Strongly recommended for anyone who wants to spend a couple of hours reliving this neon-tinged period of recently-modern life - particularly of the late 1990s and the turn of the Millenium....more
I'd say this definitely qualifies as a good souvenir. Rich in photographs and stories, it sheds light on all the aspects of Miniatur Wunderland whichI'd say this definitely qualifies as a good souvenir. Rich in photographs and stories, it sheds light on all the aspects of Miniatur Wunderland which you may have missed, and enriches what you'll remember from your visit. I'd say there's little to enthuse someone who hasn't yet visited, as the richness is in the details rather than the overarching story of the exponential growth of a tourist attraction.
It's presented in a curious format - almost like an extended magazine, with articles and interviews each normally no longer than two to 4 pages long. It's also interspersed with adverts, but because these relate either to model railways or to the companies mentioned in the articles alongside, this manages not to feel intrusive.
All in all, I enjoyed my time reading this on a slow burn, and on many occasions it has made me want to visit Hamburg and MiWuLa again. What more can you ask for in a souvenir?...more
I liked this book, after having been sold on its concept while hearing Robert Llewellyn talk at Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013. It's not the most action-paI liked this book, after having been sold on its concept while hearing Robert Llewellyn talk at Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013. It's not the most action-packed of novels, and the nature of its lead character (an engineer somewhere on the autism spectrum) makes this a hard book to really get into. Still, it's an enjoyable experience with interesting technological ideas. Worth a look, just not especially re-readable or gripping....more
This is definitely a confusing book to look back upon. I started reading it in the usual fashion - as a night-time book - but then took it on holidayThis is definitely a confusing book to look back upon. I started reading it in the usual fashion - as a night-time book - but then took it on holiday and seemed to unlock the good bits simply by being able to absorb myself in each of its characters. It doesn't seem to work when read in shorter intervals.
One thing's for sure - the book starts off terribly. Very little in the way of plot, and not a terribly interesting character to be found in Adam Ewing. I almost gave up on the book when his letters tailed off mid-sentence, but as the plot moved on to the next character, and the next, it started to become much more engaging.
I almost feel as though each nested character should be reviewed separately, as the author has made a clear decision to tackle each story differently. Ewing and Frobisher's letter-based narratives come in different flavours: one somewhat stuffy, in the style of Bram Stoker's "Dracula"; the other much more engaging, but riddled with abbreviations and sentences without a subject. I found it much easier to engage with the more contemporary characters - Luisa Rey's adventures in particular - and felt I was reading an entirely different book throughout Sonmi's interview. When it came to post-apocalyptic Zachry's story I initially feared the same dialect barrier as what prevented me from enjoying Iain M. Banks' "Feersum Endjinn", but thankfully David Mitchell has written reasonably easily here.
"Cloud Atlas" is an interesting and ultimately engaging narrative experiment, with rich worlds and characters (at least, post-1900), which doesn't really deliver an overarcing purpose or reason. One might expect something more explicit to link each of the birthmarked characters in this book, but in the end it simply makes a point - that events can be linked, and there's something of a meta-logic in everyday human interaction....more
I really expected to enjoy this far more than I actually did - despite having had the ending spoiled for me halfway through by someone else. Still, inI really expected to enjoy this far more than I actually did - despite having had the ending spoiled for me halfway through by someone else. Still, in some ways I could see it coming.
One of the things I like bout Banks' work is the horror, which even in The Algebraist manages to sit on the right side of the line for me from outright shock - but not so here. The Wasp Factory proved to be an uncomfortable read, and though that is likely the intention it doesn't didn't suit me. Torture and senseless murder abounds, but more than that there is a tone of misogyny threaded throughout the whole book. It's intertwined with a character who's been intentionally raised in an environment which is free of feminine influence, but as before it tested my levels of enjoyment.
The twist at the end is handled in true Banksonian fashion, though - masterful in the false conclusion we reach but a dozen pages from the end of the book. That at least is a hallmark of what I enjoy about Banks' later work - I'm just not sure I'd return to enjoy this, his first novel....more