4.5 / 5.0. Beautiful ending to this favorite fantasy fiction trilogy by Marillier. Loved both the Cara/ Badan folktale, and the conclusion to Blacktho4.5 / 5.0. Beautiful ending to this favorite fantasy fiction trilogy by Marillier. Loved both the Cara/ Badan folktale, and the conclusion to Blackthorn and Grim's journey.
Hoping the author will set other stories in this world with some intriguing characters: Conmael, the Swan Island men.
Highly recommended trilogy. PERSONAL FAVORITES: Dreamer's Pool and Den of Wolves....more
In the end, there's hope, love, and what is left of human civilization begins adapting to the new world. All begins anew. The rest are the details ofIn the end, there's hope, love, and what is left of human civilization begins adapting to the new world. All begins anew. The rest are the details of how the survivors along with the Children of Crake get there.
Zeb's pre apocalyptic story is related here, serving to tie up loose ends left over from the two previous books. There's romance, violence, rape, harsh and deadly journeys, as well as a battle with Pigs as allies, humor, dick jokes, and a couple of psychopaths. But the main theme is survival and adaptation. Humanity's ability to go on, live, love, protect, teach, learn. Survive.
The end is neither the garden of Eden found in the God's Gardeners' prophesies nor the utopia planned by the nihilistic Crake. What's man's future? Who knows?
Parallel plotting to Oryx and Crake from a different perspective. This time from a female point of view and two different narrators. Atwood again usesParallel plotting to Oryx and Crake from a different perspective. This time from a female point of view and two different narrators. Atwood again uses the flashback device to complete this side of the story and introduces new characters, mixing with the already introduced Jimmy and Crake.
Slow pacing plagues this second book, as well as long sections of preaching about the evils of consumerism, big corporation control, pharmaceutical companies manipulation and humanity's overconsumption of natural resources. All this in the guise of a "green" cult / religion.
Events do move forward and some answers left dangling in Oryx and Crake are answered. Some characters such as Toby and Zeb, As well as Amanda keep the reader going. Unfortunately there is not much more to be said about Jimmy / Snowman at this point.
The reader is pretty much beat over the head with a hammer with the main themes. Atwood's writing style is accessible, so even though this is a long book with slow sections, it is not a dense read. Quite the opposite.
Going on to find out if Atwood finally addresses the after effects of the apocalypse by reading MaddAddam, the last book of the trilogy. 3.0/5.0...more
3.75 or B- Interesting social sff. Dystopian world as seen from a male perspective. Big pharma, gene tampering, Big Corp, overpopulated, declining ear3.75 or B- Interesting social sff. Dystopian world as seen from a male perspective. Big pharma, gene tampering, Big Corp, overpopulated, declining earth and resources, debauchery and humanity at its worst, all presented on an overblown scale. All of the above leading to a sort of apocalypse and an ambiguous ending.
Main characters are unsympathetic. Crake is portrayed as a narcissistic, Machiavellian genius, Oryx is sly, with a history that could have made an impact, yet in the end her portrayal comes off as vaguely superficial, and Jimmy is the dupe. A grown child who pouts and avoids the truth and responsibility throughout much of his life.
Flashbacks are utilized between present (post apocalyptic state) and past events leading to the inevitable conclusion. Pacing is uneven with long slow sections mixed with action and interesting world building.
I picked up the 2nd book, The Year of The Flood to find out what may or may not happen to the narrator and main character Jimmy/Snowman, and the genetically engineered Children of Crake. ...more
This is a passionate story. Yet, it is written in a deceivingly delicate, simple style. Kawabata uses imagery throughout this story; a kerchief with aThis is a passionate story. Yet, it is written in a deceivingly delicate, simple style. Kawabata uses imagery throughout this story; a kerchief with a thousand crane motif held by a young woman, the precious objects utilized during a tea ceremony, rainstorms, an ugly birthmark marring a breast. The story takes on a complex flavor as objects and events become a suggestion, an insinuation, symbols for life and death, for eroticism, passion, for shame and / or resentment, for corruption and / or purity. A magnificent read. ...more
In Bloodlines the tone is lighter. Nick is moving on and has found peace. Yet, the specter that was AIDS in the 1980's still haunts the reader. The twIn Bloodlines the tone is lighter. Nick is moving on and has found peace. Yet, the specter that was AIDS in the 1980's still haunts the reader. The two mysteries are interesting and involved, however, for me, the interpersonal relationships make this book a winner. Actually, Thornton's Boystown series is an all-around winner and a must read!...more
I put off reading From the Ashes. The beginning is grim after the events that occurred in Murder Book (Book #5), but as I have come to expect from Mr.I put off reading From the Ashes. The beginning is grim after the events that occurred in Murder Book (Book #5), but as I have come to expect from Mr. Thornton, this is another excellent addition to the Boystown series. The slow development of Nick's "rebirth" was perfection, as were the mystery and contributions by secondary characters. A 5 star read. ...more
Accessible literary fiction that reads like a memoir. Written in short, connected chapters that move backwards and forward in time. The beauty of langAccessible literary fiction that reads like a memoir. Written in short, connected chapters that move backwards and forward in time. The beauty of language and its fluidity are key to this story about a Vietnamese immigrant recalling her childhood journey from Vietnam to Quebec, Canada, and going on to relate life as an adult. This novel won the Canadian 2010 Governor General's Literary Award and, in my opinion, deservedly so....more
Love the historical details in this book and Gellis' attempt to capture the medieval mindset. And I still love Alinor. I was as saddened by Simon's loLove the historical details in this book and Gellis' attempt to capture the medieval mindset. And I still love Alinor. I was as saddened by Simon's loss during this REREAD as I was the first time around. The romance between Alinor and Ian is plagued by one too many misunderstandings and lack of real communication. There is a heavy contrast here between Ian's youth and Simon's maturity. Regardless, this is my second favorite book of the Roselynde Chronicles. ...more
Rereading the Rosalynde Chronicles by Roberta Gellis. First read Roselynde back in the late 70's, early 80's and this reread stands the test of time.Rereading the Rosalynde Chronicles by Roberta Gellis. First read Roselynde back in the late 70's, early 80's and this reread stands the test of time. I still love young Alinor the Intrepid and Simon the Honorable. Fantastic details, excellent characters and a plot that kept me engaged from beginning to end. ...more
I enjoyed reading all 17 short stories, essays and/or articles in Best Gay Stories 2015 ed. by Steve Berman.
It has been said that life is "nothing morI enjoyed reading all 17 short stories, essays and/or articles in Best Gay Stories 2015 ed. by Steve Berman.
It has been said that life is "nothing more than an accumulation of moments or events," some pivotal in a lifetime while others just occur with no real beginning or end. I am always searching for short pieces capturing those unique or pivotal moments in a character's (or a real person's) life, and for authors with the talent to write in the spare, well-constructed, elegant prose necessary to create gems out of those pivotal or flash-in-the-pan moments. Personally, I prefer stories that wring a response from me: thought-provoking, positive, negative, emotional. I found much of or all of what I search for between the pages of this anthology. Here are a few examples:
"Outing" by Allan Radcliffe is hard to forget as it tenderly focuses on a special moment in the life of an established, older gay couple whose first kiss in public is inspired by two young men kissing at a train station. Touching and beautiful. In "Lovely Company" by Ron Schafrick a too cautious man makes the wrong decisions for his father and himself. This sad, realistic piece made me think about the importance of taking risks, living, and enjoying the moment. Life.
"What Did I Know?" by Joseph R.G. DeMarco is a profoundly thoughtful and intimate piece. A childhood trauma causes Joseph to suffer from fear of death, abandonment, and being forgotten. He believes that romantic love is the answer to his personal terrors. However, it is after losing his long-time partner, while going through the grieving process, that Joseph comes to understand the true meaning of love and finally sheds his fears. The intimacy of this piece engenders a connection with the reader. Personally, I re-read the last page countless times.
"Stories I Tell My Friends" by Richard Bowes is a compulsive read, not only because of the content, but because of the style in which it is written. Set in Boston, this is a string of stories, within a story, narrated by the author. They are recollections of events that took place during the narrator's childhood and young adulthood while his family moved from place to place. The narrator's father, cops, firemen and actors feature prominently. Events are intertwined as one story runs into the next until Bowes makes a final point. This is an excellent example of unique short story construction I mention above.
"The Case for PrEP How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love HIV-Positive Guys" by Evan J. Peterson is an article in which the author makes his case for the drug Truvada. The essay lists points made against the drug, however in general it has a positive slant for its usage and interviews, numbers, percentages etc are utilized throughout the article for this purpose. Peterson documents his own choice to use Truvada and the stigma that follows those who make the decision to do so. He gives examples such as public judgments made against it (Truvada has been called the "whore pill"), as well as the fear-driven negative responses to a drug that allows gay men to have unprotected sex without fearing HIV infection. Informative and thought-provoking.
"Needle" by Peter Dubé is a story about a sex-driven, highly volatile relationship based on addiction and mutual violence. This intensely disturbing piece is deeply memorable, more so because Dubé keeps the reader on edge to the very end by utilizing two different settings, a skewed first point of view narrative and a silence presence that makes a strong impact. Excellent read. "Skin" by Joe Okonkwo actually wrung a wow from me at the end of this piece. Oh the hypocrisy!! Okonkwo focuses on ageism and the gay community's iconisation of the perfect body. He touches all the important points, i.e., the invisibility factor and the effect it has on men after they reach a certain age, as well as the love of the "body beautiful" and how it affects gay men who do not fall under that category. Skin is a great read throughout, but the ending makes it unforgettable.
"My Adventure with Tom Sawyer" by Jameson Currier is one of three re-reads for me, the other two are "The Balaclava by Nathan Sims" and "Shep: A Dog by Alex Jeffers," two stories I thoroughly enjoyed. My Adventure with Tom Sawyer, however, has to be the most delightful story in this anthology. Currier is an author whose deft hand at writing a self-deprecating, humorous piece is so well represented with this piece that for the second time around I sat back, relaxed, and settled in for the long-haul forgetting that this is a short story, yet it ends exactly where it should. Excellent execution. Memorable quote: "I was aware that I was having one of those awful motion picture moments when the old- maid spinster realizes her tour guide is someone generations younger than she is. Or worse, finding myself in a country-music version of Death in Venice."
"Smuggler" by Philip Kennicott. "I remember my first kiss with absolute clarity. I was reading on a black chaise lounge, upholstered with shiny velour, and it was right after dinner, the hour of freedom before I was obliged to begin my homework. I was sixteen. It must have been early autumn or late spring, because I know I was in school at the time, and the sun was still out. I was shocked and thrilled by it, and reading that passage from a novel by Hermann Hesse, made the book feel intensely real, fusing Hesse's imaginary world with the physical object I was holding in my hands." Kennicott is referring to"Beneath the Wheel" as he begins this fantastic essay focusing on 19th Century and early 20th Century literature featuring homoerotic scenes or homosexual characters, and the positive / negative effects reading these books had on the author or may have had on other gay readers. He ends with what, if any, the future holds for these classics, particularly after all the recent changes that have taken place in the gay community. I am oversimplifying here friends, but believe me, this is a fascinating, well-thought out, clearly defined, elegant piece begging to be read.
The above samples highlight some of this anthology's diverse content, however, the gay theme is prevalent throughout and there's something for everyone. If you enjoy short fiction and non-fiction the way I do, Best Gay Stories 2015 is an anthology I recommend in its entirety....more