Generally, I enjoyed Christa Charter's new series starter (you can tell it's a new series because the last line completely sets up the sequel) and her...moreGenerally, I enjoyed Christa Charter's new series starter (you can tell it's a new series because the last line completely sets up the sequel) and her double team of detectives - Lexy and her "uncle" Mike - work well together. The mystery itself is fun and while there are no great twists and turns, it's also not completely obvious from the outset, which is nice.
The setting, an online game company based in the Seattle metropolitan area seems to be unique and it's obvious (even without reading the author bio) that this is a world Ms. Charter is quite familiar with. On the downside, though, there are enough contemporary pop culture references to choke a horse and while I, personally, love those, a little goes a long away... especially when reading the book now, in 2013, 2012 references are already feeling dated. The problem with writing up to the minute touchstones to current culture is that unless they become timeless, the need for an annotated edition will become necessary in very short order.
The other objection I had is the clumsy way social issues were introduced and dealt with, especially in terms of male/female social interactions. Lexy is a woman who defines herself through her sexual connection with people (think a crop-top wearing version of Lady Brett Ashley) so it's no surprise that the venom spewed at women in the tech and gaming world would come into play. I think this is good thing, it needs to be dealt with and it needs to be discussed if we ever hope to eliminate it, I just felt that in this particular book, it was shoe-horned in, in an effort to give the story some "gravitas." Even with that, the book is a fun, quick, and easy read - but with enough sex I wouldn't recommend it for more delicate readers.
I am, however, looking forward to reading the next in line, Pwned, to see where Lexy takes us. (less)
Coming on the heels of reading "X-Men - Days of Future Past," the theme is similar yet, I think, much better executed here. The fact that this is a on...moreComing on the heels of reading "X-Men - Days of Future Past," the theme is similar yet, I think, much better executed here. The fact that this is a one-off helps. Chris Claremont didn't have to worry about monthly continuity, he could simply write the story he wanted to write. But then again, the X-Men have long been the Marvel stand-in for "the Other" so it's no surprise they are the go to characters when anyone wants to make a point about intolerance and hate. This story has the added bonus of including religious zealotry and hypocrisy. Of course, as a book written in 1982, the resonance it has with today's America and the ideology which is pushing for a theocratic government is pretty impressive.
So, overall, a bit of an easy target and a simplified answer to a complicated issue... but huge props for calling out racism in any form (and for probably the only time a certain racial epithet was uttered in a mainstream comic book, and uttered by a proudly jewish girl who is under 18 - almost as many discriminated against minorities you can jam into one character).(less)
I have to say, I remember reading these initial books when they came out in 80-81 and I remember being absolutely blown away by them. This was the int...moreI have to say, I remember reading these initial books when they came out in 80-81 and I remember being absolutely blown away by them. This was the introduction of Kitty Pryde, who, if you are a comic reader and my age, you had developed a massive crush on at just the right time in your formative years (it didn’t hurt she was Jewish, as I was, so, ya know, there was a bond). So it was with this sense of nostalgia I picked up the compilation (I refuse to call this a graphic novel – a Graphic Novel is a coherant story told in a visual medium with the depth of a piece of literature. It is not a mere collection of monthly comics bound together in a paperback format in the hopes of turning more people on to the comic form by giving it a high falutin’ name). The other reason for my return interest is the thought they are basing the next X-Men film (going by title alone) on this particular sequence of the comic history.
Boy, was I disappointed.
I know, we have to look at the comics in the context of their time and how important they were then, and I am, but still, the artform has come a long way. Not to mention the collection is slightly padded out with stories which really have nothing to do with the “Days of Future Past” storyline, including an issue long catch-up which, if the editros had really wanted us to know what was happeneing, they could have accomplished with a three paragraph piece of prose rather than a 28 page piece of clunky exposition. And speaking of clunky exposition... wow. I understand the need to keep the casual reader up to date with what’s been happening in the story (and I will admit, if you’re reading these issue by issue, it might even help a bit), but reading it straight through, you come out of it feeling that everyone who ever compared comic books to soap operas was 100% spot on.
That all said, the two issue arc which actually hits the “Days of Future Past” stuff offers up some interesting discussion starters on political gain at the cost of human rights, congress vs. The White House and of course, causality and time travel. So while it wasn’t a bad read, like other pieces of literature I’ve tried to recapture recently from my youth, it might have been better to keep it as a distant memory rather than try to relive it. (less)
Prior to this, I'd only known Brown as a science fiction writer. It was while doing research on a SF story that I came across his mystery thriller wor...morePrior to this, I'd only known Brown as a science fiction writer. It was while doing research on a SF story that I came across his mystery thriller work. Being a Lewis Carroll fan myself I had to try this book.
It was wonderful! It's an engaging mystery with humor and thrills and an incredibly likeable protagonist. It's also a nice snapshot into the world of a small mid-western town in the middle of the 20th century.