So I ended up liking this book more than I thought I would, because it was mostly about Zeb and Adam, and those are two interesting and likable characSo I ended up liking this book more than I thought I would, because it was mostly about Zeb and Adam, and those are two interesting and likable characters. Actually all the characters who are supposed to be likable are likable in these books. That makes them very easy to read.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable post- (and during- ) apocalyptic story that I definitely recommend to people who like that sort of thing. It's not going to change your life, but it's certainly worth your time....more
Hey, I really liked this book! Even more than the first one! I think that's because Jimmy was the protagonist of the first book, and he was an idiot.Hey, I really liked this book! Even more than the first one! I think that's because Jimmy was the protagonist of the first book, and he was an idiot. And obnoxious. This book had two female protagonists. Toby is NOT an idiot, she is practical and capable. I LOVE reading about practical and capable women. And Ren is naive, but not so much so that you want to shake her.
I immediately borrowed the next one from the library, though I fear I won't like it as much as the first two. Everything's going to come together and make sense, and that's not as fun as figuring stuff out.
So, without giving too much away, the first book talks about the events leading up to an "apocalypse" of sorts, from the perspective of a rich person. This one ends up covering basically the same time period, but from the perspectives of two women who were not rich. (Maybe that's another reason why I liked them more.) And you learn a lot more about the God's Gardeners. And, sure, they're a little bit wacky, but not really all that wacky when you get down to it. They're a practical religion. I could see myself being a Gardener.
Another reason why the post-apocalypticness of the series appeals to me is that (view spoiler)[it seems at first like maybe almost EVERYBODY really is dead. I think that's more interesting than, like, a burgeoning society rising from the ashes. But then by the time we get to the end of this one, it's clear that there really are a fair number of people out there. So let's hope it holds my interest. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I listened to the first hour of this (out of 19.6 of them) and gave up. I actually RETURNED the book to Audible! I had never done that before.
The storI listened to the first hour of this (out of 19.6 of them) and gave up. I actually RETURNED the book to Audible! I had never done that before.
The story was taking too long to get going. I found the two-minute preface by the author more interesting than the story. As I've said before, if your story is going to take place somewhere/somewhen completely different from the here and now, you need to give me something to hold on to before you start throwing shit at me. Give me a conversation between two people, or a battle, or just something mundane, so that I give at least the tiniest of shits -- THEN tell me about all the stuff that is crazy and different and depressing. I was an hour in and all I know about the one dude is that he's from "the midwest" (I thought it strange that it didn't get the qualifier of being midwestern America, since the story takes place in Bangkok,) and the other dude is from Malay and they say the same repetitive shit over and over about that guy.
I was going to try to at least make it until the titular character showed up, but fuck it, life's too short and there are too many books to read.
With a decent narrator I might have stuck it out, but I didn't really care for this guy. He was too dramatic about everything....more
I've been having a bad run with science fiction lately, and it occurred to me that I like reading the premises of science fiction novels better than tI've been having a bad run with science fiction lately, and it occurred to me that I like reading the premises of science fiction novels better than the actual books, most times, as the books are never (rarely) executed as cleverly as I anticipate them to be.
Then the other day I was reading the Wikipedia entry on Kilgore Trout and was reminded (because surely I knew this already) that this was the genius of Trout: Vonnegut could come up with as many interesting concepts for science fiction stories as he liked, without having to actually write the things.
So it is with Wool. In Wool, a post-apocalyptic society lives in a silo underground, and has for "hundreds of years." The opening scene describes the worn treads on the steel stairs that run through the silo. It was a great image and it made me excited for the rest of the book . . . but then that was it! If you've got a self-contained society, and the only resources you have are what you can mine directly underneath the silo, wouldn't everything be worn? Re-used? Wouldn't there be a near-obsession about using things until they absolutely couldn't be used again? Wouldn't paper be insanely valuable? Wouldn't new items be rare?
In Dune, you FELT the scarcity of water. Herbert makes you not just understand, but really viscerally feel and KNOW how valuable it is. When it's tossed on the ground to waste, you flinch. In the Dark Tower series, you cringe every time Roland has to use a precious bullet. You wonder every time someone manages to have a scrap of paper. Yet you never get that sense from this book. It just sort of feels like regular old society, with regular old boring names (like Cheryl, and Lucas, and Bernard -- also, are all these people white? Why does everyone have a moustache?) and some slightly different rules and taboos. Oh and apparently there's religion too, though it's only mentioned when it's needed as a motivation.
I had so many questions about a closed society that lives underground. Where does their trash go? Where does their shit go? They're mining oil I guess -- since they make PLASTIC like it's no big deal (really??) -- so where does the smoke from using it go? What color are these people? There's a limit on procreation -- wouldn't there be a maximum age as well? Where does their clean air come from? These are all questions which seem fascinating to me, but they apparently are not to Mr. Howey, as he declined to address them at all.
His novel did raise more questions for me, though. Why is there only one staircase in the entire place? Why aren't there any technological advances, with all those nerds working in IT all the time? How are they able to make firearms in ONE DAY that apparently work fine (and they never made firearms before, supposedly) and why the hell would they make RIFLES if all battles were going to be fought in close quarters? How on earth could you have a revolution appear out of nothing, with no simmering resentments building, just, poof? Does it ever really happen that way? I don't think so. Is there really just a Mayor and . . . that's it? No council of advisers? Really? And is groundwater really still going to be at that elevation, after all those years of people tapping into it?
So . . . yes. It was really boring, and didn't talk about any of the stuff that I had thought of in my head even before I started listening. Also, the characters we meet are mostly supposed to be the smartest people in the place, but they are conveniently stupid when the plot needs it. They don't think of possibilities that seem really fucking obvious to me. At least let these things OCCUR to the characters, and then have them dismiss them for some reason, you know? When you leave things unsaid, but I think of them, it ruins my suspension of disbelief and frustrates me. I don't like being three steps ahead of everyone. I almost always felt that when somebody didn't think of something, it wasn't because it naturally wouldn't occur to them, it was because it was convenient to the plot.
Anyway, there's my review. I'm going to go read the synopses of the books of the rest of the series on Wikipedia now, since I know I'll enjoy that a lot better than slogging through the actual novels.
Oh, I almost forgot! The narration (by Amanda Sayle -- there does exist another edition with a different narrator) was pretty terrible. I listened at 1.5x the whole time, which is something I have never done before. She spoke too slowly, and almost all of the people had absurd cartoon character voices. It was ridiculous....more
I read this in high school . . . I bought it because it was by Anthony Burgess, and then ended up writing a report about this, We, 1984, and A BravI read this in high school . . . I bought it because it was by Anthony Burgess, and then ended up writing a report about this, We, 1984, and A Brave New World, all of which are (if I recall correctly) dystopian novels with authoritarian governments. The report talked about how the governments in these novels used love and sex to control their populations.
I don't actually remember much about this particular book, though. But I think I liked it? Liked it and thought it was weird? Dunno....more
Okay, first a note on the narration: dude did a good job. There's an enormous cast of characters, and in an effort to keeWoof, this book took forever.
Okay, first a note on the narration: dude did a good job. There's an enormous cast of characters, and in an effort to keep the voices distinct, the narrator had to give everyone an accent. Since twenty-two Maine accents wouldn't be helpful, some people had a vaguely Southern, or vaguely English, or not-vaguely-at-all English accent. And the French Canadian dude sounded Jamaican.
I read the story "Harrison Bergeron" in high school (who didn't?) and to prove it, I can show you the book. Because I stole this. Sorry, RHS! I blameI read the story "Harrison Bergeron" in high school (who didn't?) and to prove it, I can show you the book. Because I stole this. Sorry, RHS! I blame Nancy. (Actually, I know I read "Welcome to the Monkey House" (the eponymous short story) in Seminar. Because I remember uh wow I can't even remember her name anymore, the English teacher who wasn't Helen -- I remember her talking about all the feminine imagery, like walking through a drainage pipe, and the ocean, and a boat, and Amanda Bell (I think it was Amanda Bell) insisting that the snub nosed revolver, as a phallic symbol, trumped all of that. And that it wasn't the suicide parlor chick saying "Pointless," it was Vonnegut. MAN did she hate Vonnegut.)
I re-read this because I am re-reading a bunch of Vonnegut, looking for a suitable reading for the wedding. I love Kurt Vonnegut, and he says a lot of things that I feel. I haven't found anything appropriate yet. I'll let you know.
The stories are mostly only okay. You don't hear Vonnegut's voice in them, not as overtly, anyway, as in later works -- though I suppose some people might prefer that.
The sci fi short stories do exactly what short science fiction is supposed to do: they expand on something that we think we want (like "being happy" or "living forever") and take it to an extreme, show us how maybe we don't want that after all. He does it well, and he keeps things short and sweet, and to be honest I think they all come off as impressively not-dated.
My favorites are the eponymous story, and the last one, about the stuff that can make you live forever. I didn't even re-read "Harrison Bergeron" this time around, because I'm tired of people asking about it in the "What Was That Book?" community. I also like the one about the girl and the cat. And "Long Walk To Forever" -- it's cheesy and sentimental, but I like it anyway, I can't help it....more
I liked this one, it might be my favorite Dick yet. And I think it's actually way more interesting than the film, right? I haven't seen Blade Runner iI liked this one, it might be my favorite Dick yet. And I think it's actually way more interesting than the film, right? I haven't seen Blade Runner in ten years, though, so what do I know....more
Y: The Last Man is the story of what happens after an event that kills eveSo, this series turned out to be spectacular.
For those who aren't familiar:
Y: The Last Man is the story of what happens after an event that kills every male animal on earth: except for this one guy, and his monkey. Civilization sorta falls apart, and he has to a) figure out what happened; b) figure out how to fix it; and c) find his fiancée. Assisted, of course, by a few kick-ass ladies.
Over the course of the story, the characters grow in a way that is realistic and endearing. Mysteries are conjured and then solved in a satisfying manner. The art is, whilst not groundbreaking, consistent and pleasant to the eye. And in the end, it made me cry.
It's a great series that I recommend to anyone....more
Okay, here is what this book is: Harlan Ellison wrote a short piece of fiction that was supposed to be the beginning of a novel. (This was made into aOkay, here is what this book is: Harlan Ellison wrote a short piece of fiction that was supposed to be the beginning of a novel. (This was made into a movie, but I didn't see the movie, so that doesn't concern me at the moment.) Then he wrote a bit of a prologue to that. Then, when this particular edition of the book was in the works, he wrote another short piece, which is also supposed to be the beginning of the eventual novel. We'll see if he actually ever completes it. Although I really don't care if he does, and I'll explain why below.
Each story is also told in graphic form. The comic is presented first. This is a mistake. The comics don't include everything that's in the story -- also, the comics are sort of terrible. The art is amateurish and the colors are muddy. They add nothing to the story. Screw the comics. Read the story first, then take five minutes to read the comic because why not, it's right there.
The first story (written second) was okay. The second story (written first) was fantastic. I sure do love me some post-apocalyptic tales. It was believable and interesting and had a great ending.
The third story was boring, and diminished the ending of the second installment. He shouldn't have written it.
I would have given just the second story -- story alone, no ugly comic -- four stars. All the other crap in this book brought it down a star....more
I adored this book for the first zillion pages. Then, with less then a hundred left, I wondered, "hmm, how is he going to end this thing so quickly?"I adored this book for the first zillion pages. Then, with less then a hundred left, I wondered, "hmm, how is he going to end this thing so quickly?" Spoiler: halfassedly! I think he just got tired of writing it. Or ran out of ideas. Hand of God my ass.
Aside from that, though, I remember it fondly. I can still remember imagery from the beginning of the book, and for someone who can't remember ANYTHING (that's me, btw), that's pretty impressive.
Thus began my love of post-apocalyptic fiction....more
Phew, I blew through this one quickly! I'm not used to reading such short books.
I liked it! It was interesting and realistic. I also liked how much whPhew, I blew through this one quickly! I'm not used to reading such short books.
I liked it! It was interesting and realistic. I also liked how much whiskey was in it. (Also garlic, I like garlic.) I didn't completely comprehend the explanation for the "disease," but I didn't care enough to slow down and figure it out.
I've only read the first short little story so far (the second half of the book is made up of these) and it was dumb. ...more