A short story set in Baghdad about a merchant's experience with a gateway that travels through time. There are shorter tales interwoven within the oveA short story set in Baghdad about a merchant's experience with a gateway that travels through time. There are shorter tales interwoven within the overall tale. The science is not really clearly explained, but the foci of the story is on the nature of the past and the future - and it does this quite effectively, focusing on the people, their motivations, and the lessons they away. The closing scene invokes an emotional response, a closure of sorts, very well done....more
I came in not knowing what to expect and came away all emotional. The ending was something I can relate to, the loss. I was surprised by how stronglyI came in not knowing what to expect and came away all emotional. The ending was something I can relate to, the loss. I was surprised by how strongly it hit. The overall arc was about a middle-aged man visiting a hypnotherapist to quit his smoking habit. But it quickly becomes obvious that that's not the main plot. I found the simple art style to be pleasing and effective. It was easy to follow the dialogue and monologue the protagonist had, as he goes through his high school years again. It was quite "real", not that I attended high school, but similar enough I guess. I felt I could've given it another star if there was a better connection between the surface quit-smoking problem and the real meaning between the "Too Cool to be Forgotten" character. It just felt like it suddenly jumped off on a tangent to me....more
I found nothing much to like about this satire. Perhaps I'm neither American nor Japanese? It falls short for me on several factors.
Syms Thorley is B-I found nothing much to like about this satire. Perhaps I'm neither American nor Japanese? It falls short for me on several factors.
Syms Thorley is B-movie actor, where an obvious theme is the love of monster movies. I love 'em, but I'm not the type to love everything about them - actors, writers, special effects, costumes, conventions, etc. So this doesn't do much for me, just a plot device for an alternate history of the second world war.
As a character, he started off as a roguish smart-talking person who's somewhat likeable, and ended up a sad despairing man unable to move on. The ridiculous things he did in between (specifically how he treats something supposed to be top secret) was only mildly funny, quite unrealistic, and very certainly doesn't go well with the seriousness and suddenness of the anti-nuclear diatribe towards the end.
It's a quick read, so I'd excuse the undeveloped supporting characters, there only to provide some dialogue, but mostly internal monologue.
The whole thing just doesn't jive for me, both from a literary point of view and from an empathic point of view....more
I'm only reading this because I got it from Humble Bundle and it was nominated for the Nebula Award - honestly, I don't see why it was. The odd thingI'm only reading this because I got it from Humble Bundle and it was nominated for the Nebula Award - honestly, I don't see why it was. The odd thing about all the positive reviews and recommendations was the praise for the setting - steampunk, zombies, action, thriller, and horror. I personally feel that it was wasted potential.
The main gripe I have with the whole setting is how it felt like it was moulded to fit the story the author was trying to tell - rather than telling a story within the setting.
(view spoiler)[How did the zombies come about? Some unexplained gas conveniently coming from underground. Why can't Briar follow her son through the sewers? Because an earthquake just so happens to knock only the sewers down. So how did she get past the wall? Just so happens that steam-powered airships had been invented. But how'd she get down from the airship? Just so happens that somehow people manage to construct a towering tube to suck air down to the ground that you can apparently just slide down in. Funny why the first airship won't just anchor to the tall tower that everyone later did. Why didn't she and her son move to the east? Why didn't the authorities investigate this strange gas phenomenon and the plight of Seattle's population? Just so happens that the Civil War went on longer than expected. Why would airships even want to enter zombie ground zero? Just so happens that the gas is extremely profitable as a drug that doesn't feature much. Why would people even want to live in there? Just because - even though life was dangerous, sucks, and a normal life can be had just by crawling out some sewers lots of people seem to know about. (hide spoiler)]
I was expecting an apocalyptic steampunk but it turns out that the zombie part is very localised. And it's a very normal setting, but with some convenient historical tweaks and convenient (and somewhat typical - except maybe Daisy) steampunk technology thrown in. "Convenient" is the keyword here - anything that deviates from normal is just there as a plot tool.
But complaints about the setting aside, the story of a mother going after a foolish son is a compelling one. It has a good pace and all the action scenes were pretty well done - almost like an action adventure movie in the sense that things just happen to the protagonists and they get swept along.
I didn't empathise with the mother and son though. Not enough characterisation I guess. I get why a mother wants to go after the son, and while it is sort of explained, I just don't feel that the mother's desperately looking for her son. Some of the secondary characters were actually more interesting (like Angeline), but not much more so. I ended up not really caring much about the characters.
On the whole, I wouldn't quite recommend this book to anyone, except as a casual read. It's not a bad read at all, but just nothing that stands out enough as recommendation material. It's a pity for the setting as I felt like there could have been more exposition on how the world was different....more
I bought a copy the moment I saw this. Read it during my schooling days and I loved it back then. Still loving it after re-reading this. If I see anotI bought a copy the moment I saw this. Read it during my schooling days and I loved it back then. Still loving it after re-reading this. If I see another omnibus for Asterix and Obelix, I'll probably get them too....more