An absolutely tacky yet beautiful book! This book is filled with the sentiment and detail of a time that no longer exists. It is a '70's spy movie in...moreAn absolutely tacky yet beautiful book! This book is filled with the sentiment and detail of a time that no longer exists. It is a '70's spy movie in 12pt type. Our hero (Colonel Dante Alighieri Matucci) spends the majority of the book hopping in and out of bed with lovely Italian beauties and dodging bullets. When he's not doing that Matucci is digging up hidden documents, dining in high end private clubs, and swapping war stories with a racist American agent. The Salamander is nonstop fun. Tacky, inappropriate, non-politically correct fun. If you realize that this book was written in Italy in the early 1970's you can do nothing but love it. While reading Morris West's novel, one gives their guilty pleasure gland a good stroking. Like watching a Blaxploitation flick, one realizes that what they are witnessing is not appropriate or condoned in modern liberal society. And like a good Blaxploitation flick, one doesn't care. Just dive in and enjoy.(less)
Not a terribly great book, but definitely a fun book. Jeff Noon does a passable (in the first half of the book) to a nearly non existent (by the end)...moreNot a terribly great book, but definitely a fun book. Jeff Noon does a passable (in the first half of the book) to a nearly non existent (by the end) impression of Lewis Carrol. The word play and portmanteau techniques of his previous two books come to the fore in Automated Alice. I think that Jeff Noon's vocabulary works very well in the context of 'Children's Literature'. Not that this book is exactly a kids book. It does have a series of murders as its main plot device. The plot is unfortunately where this book falls short. We are literally being led on a quest to collect a series of plot coupons (in the form of jigsaw puzzle pieces) before the clock runs out. In books of this type the things found along the way are what make the whole thing worth while. In Lewis Carrol's own Through The Looking Glass, Alice's quest to reach the 8th square of the chess board and upgrade from the status of a lowly pawn into a queen is full of fun little adventures and memorable characters. In Automated Alice, the only memorable character's are a termite who is completely absent after the 2nd chapter and an intrusion by the author himself. That is not to say that I didn't enjoy the book. I enjoyed it quite thoroughly. The illustration are somewhat reminiscent of Tenial's original illustrations in Carrol's Alice books. They add a lot to the work. There are great little details in each one. Jeff Noon's use of language is the main reason to read this book. Even simple puns such as having computing power run on the beanery system (either a bean is there or it is not) as opposed to the binary system are the heart of Automated Alice.(less)
This graphic novel is adapted from the recent film adaptation of the novel by Philip K. Dick. It is not well done, and unless you are a huge fan of th...more This graphic novel is adapted from the recent film adaptation of the novel by Philip K. Dick. It is not well done, and unless you are a huge fan of the movie I can see very little reason for someone to read this book. One of the main things that makes PKD's book so powerful is that you don't know the secret behind everything until very late in the story. In this graphic novelization the secret's out within the first few pages. That doesn't mean that there is no reason to continue reading. The filmmakers are clearly more enthralled with the junky talk and the paranoid freak outs that the characters have throughout the book. The over-arching Dick aspects (lack of understanding of who one is, slips in time and space, paranoia, questions of external intelligences, etc. etc. etc.) take a back seat to scads of burnt out druggies rapping philosophical while toking up. I believe that the people behind this project decided to do it because the story was "weird" (thus making it art) and full of drugs (because drugs are cool) and less because they actually understood the material. All in all, I bought the book on discount at Half Price Books to kill time while eating lunch, so I guess I got my money out of it. A Scanner Darkly: A Graphic Novel is not bad. It is just terminally mediocre. Do yourself a favor and read the original text of A Scanner Darkly. It is worlds superior to this third-hand third rate comic book remix...
This is one of the most unpleasant books I have ever read. It is vile and nasty and racist. Nearly every character that does something negative is men...moreThis is one of the most unpleasant books I have ever read. It is vile and nasty and racist. Nearly every character that does something negative is mentioned to be a minority when that information adds nothing to the plot of the stories. Every story is awash with interesting science fiction ideas that are not explored in any way. They are just window dressings placed on top of badly formed mystery stories. Each story is like a whodunit set in an unsuccessful Twilight Zone script. Unfortunately the mystery and crime story aspects aren't even fleshed out. In one story a person who lives in his car in a perpetual traffic jam witnesses a murder accidentally recorded on tape and sets out to find out what happened. We end up finding the person responsible only to not get so much as a name for this character, let alone a motive behind the crime. We find him murdering again apparently for no reason at all, only to have the tale come crashing to an abrupt end. Every single story in this book is like that. Tantalizing sci-fi opportunities get wasted on mediocre crime fic, only to have both genres short changed. If I could give this book negative stars I would.(less)