I've been skipping this series because I was bored by the first issue and I'm not loving the whole 'schism' setup. But this was in the library and I h...moreI've been skipping this series because I was bored by the first issue and I'm not loving the whole 'schism' setup. But this was in the library and I had some time to kill and I liked it pretty well. Chris Bachalo's art is a nice fit for Bendis's writing and the characterization of Emma Frost is a pleasant surprise to me (though we shall say nothing of that costume, ye gods.) Cyclops is okay too and I really enjoy the new student characters; I'll track down the next few volumes, eventually.(less)
This book contains a lot of great reporting about some lesser known (or at least less remembered) incidents in the history of the U.S. civil rights mo...moreThis book contains a lot of great reporting about some lesser known (or at least less remembered) incidents in the history of the U.S. civil rights movement. It gives good context about the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's mission in the 1940s & 1950s, and lots of specifics about a particular criminal case that occurred in Florida in 1949 and all its various twists and turns (many of them harrowing, some genuinely shocking).
Thematically, the book does seem a bit muddled. s the unwieldy subtitle hints, the author doesn't always seem sure what the book is about -- Marshall himself or the particular case, and I'm not at all clear what "New America" we're supposed to be seeing here; that seems to reflect an effort in the book's epilogue to put an 'uplifting' twist on the story's ending but that is NOT the overall takeaway and it makes the whole project seem a little disingenuous. This is not by any means a story of unalloyed victory and the attempt to put a narrative arc into it is not entirely successful.
Caveat that I listened to this on audio, and I'm rather keen to get my hands on a hard copy and dive into the endnotes to figure out how King went about putting the story together.(less)
This is a cool project rounding up reviews and blog posts related to science fiction and fantasy over a particular year. The editors have assembled a...moreThis is a cool project rounding up reviews and blog posts related to science fiction and fantasy over a particular year. The editors have assembled a nice balance of voices (though there's clearly a progressive/liberal bent to them overall -- this doesn't seem to be an attempt to capture voices across the political spectrum, since I know for a fact there are loud right-wingers and reactionaries blogging about SF all over the place -- and on thinking about it, I rather wish that the editors had mentioned that selection bias, not because I *want* to read those posts but because the stated goal of the project is to capture the state of online writing in 2012, and somebody reading this decades in the future would get a picture of a blogosphere being more progressive and in-accord than it was).
Otherwise I loved a lot of the selections and found almost all of them interesting or useful in some way. The one thing that bugs me is that there are 3 rather lengthy pieces, each harping in their own way about how hardly anything of value is being produced in SF, and how the genre needs to live up to certain standards that the author has decided on, and nothing else has any worth. This is a pretty familiar kind of article for anybody who has spent anytime reading literary reviews, and it's pretty much my least favorite kind of article for lots of reasons (everything you're interested in and thought you had been learning about in the rest of this book SUCKS, more fool you). I understand having these articles in here, but I'm assuming that each of them started conversations when they were published (I assume the point of that kind of article is to start conversations) but no reaction to or acknowledgment of these articles shows up in any of the other selections. I'm not sure if the editors' intent was to let the lively conversation reflected in the rest of the anthology serve as a rebuttal to these pieces, but the actual effect was that the negativity of these three pieces (and the desire of my mind to go 'yes, but --' because I don't per se think those writers are wrong, I just hate this fatalistic kind of framing that attempts to render any other conversation moot because it's not addressing the important things that the critic has stated are the only things worth addressing) almost outweighs and unbalances everything I enjoyed.
This was, I dunno, for a book by a dude told from the point of view of a female sexbot, I mostly not offended by it, and I had a good time reading it?...moreThis was, I dunno, for a book by a dude told from the point of view of a female sexbot, I mostly not offended by it, and I had a good time reading it? I don't think I would waste a lot of energy defending my enjoyment much less recommending it to anybody. But, like, crazy space adventures with a sex robot and some unexpected use of P.G. Wodehouse, if that sounds like your thing.(less)
I think this novella is about how the Internet keeps people from believing in God and we need to fix that or alien praying mantises are going to eat u...moreI think this novella is about how the Internet keeps people from believing in God and we need to fix that or alien praying mantises are going to eat us???? There are some cool things in the story but the anvillicious nature of the 'message' was too much for me. Also I totally guessed this writer was Mormon before googling to confirm so good job there.(less)
I've been reading the Best Novella nominees for the Hugo Awards and this is definitely my favorite so far. It's structured around this history of a Fl...moreI've been reading the Best Novella nominees for the Hugo Awards and this is definitely my favorite so far. It's structured around this history of a Florida attraction where several Hollywood movies were filmed in the early 20th century -- particularly Tarzan films and the Creature from the Black Lagoon -- but the character focus is on the African American resort staff who weren't supposed to swim in the springs or mingle with the white guests. It ends up being a fascinating family saga, told in miniature, and I found the way the different sections of the story tied together in the end to be extremely satisfying. The only downside when considering the story's worthiness for a science fiction award is that the SF/fantasy connection is fairly weak -- I guess it was considered because of the press that published it; though on the other hand, the whole thing is concerned with fantasy & monster stories of all kinds, and how those resonate in the lives of real people. (less)
This is one of those books that I know can't have the impact it would have had when it was new (or if I'd read it as a teenager, I suppose) because th...moreThis is one of those books that I know can't have the impact it would have had when it was new (or if I'd read it as a teenager, I suppose) because the innovative parts of it have been ripped off so many times -- particularly the way the 'unstuck in time' metaphor is used to show a lot of parts of the point of view character's life at once. My favorite parts are actually the beginning and ending section where 'the author' is addressing us directly.
Overall I didn't like it as much as 'Mother Night' -- also, while Vonnegut is definitely capable of presenting thoughtful, multi-sided female characters (particularly in his short fiction) -- you wouldn't know that from Billy Pilgrim's story, where the women generally exist to nag or to coddle the protagonist.
I do appreciate the insights into the World War II experience and what happened in Dresden, and of course Vonnegut's skill as a writer is self-evident and always on display.(less)