Sidekicks is a graphic novel about an aging superhero, Captain Amazing, who’s feeling the endless creep of years sneaking up on him. He decides it’s tSidekicks is a graphic novel about an aging superhero, Captain Amazing, who’s feeling the endless creep of years sneaking up on him. He decides it’s time to get a sidekick, and that’s when we learn that his pets, the real protagonists of the story, have been yearning to team up with him forever. There’s an indestructible dog, a static-energy cat, and a hamster with no appreciable superpowers. And an iguana. A few thoughts:
- This comic has a really positive message — it encourages us to think about all our gifts, and the way that understanding them as part of our whole selves gives us an advantage far exceeding that of the person who excels at one thing alone. - The hamster/iguana team-up is fantastic. They’re both brave and eminently vulnerable, fighting in a world fraught with danger. - Captain Amazing’s tale of aging and teamwork cuts strikingly close to the bone for me, a father watching his children grow up and acquire their own interests that diverge from mine, and at the same time, want to do all the things I do.
It’s a cute and fulfilling comic. Well worth the twenty five minutes it will take you to read. According to the school librarian’s notes in the inside cover, you will also earn “4 points” for reading it. So there’s that....more
Sir Maurice Newbury and Valerie Hobbes are back in another rollicking steampunk adventure in George Mann's The Osiris Ritual. Like the previous book,Sir Maurice Newbury and Valerie Hobbes are back in another rollicking steampunk adventure in George Mann's The Osiris Ritual. Like the previous book, The Affinity Bridge, there's plenty of great action and adventure and nobility and constrained behavior and running around London. The characters of the two protagonists develop a bit more thoroughly in this one, though they end up spending much of the novel investigating two separate cases and worrying about the other. A few more thoughts:
Mann really excels at gruesome description. In the first book, it was automata -- in this one it's a rotting cyborg. Gross and awesome. The fight scenes in the novel are where it's at. Great action! Alas, the relationship tension feels a bit tacked on to me. But I don't generally enjoy that part of these kinds of stories anyway. Thoughts about feelings? GROSS.
A nice romp. If you liked the first one, you'll like this one. If you didn't read The Affinity Bridge, I think you could enjoy this just fine as well....more
Station Eleven is a literary, level-headed look at life after the apocalypse. It’s not a comet, nor a zombie plaStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven is a literary, level-headed look at life after the apocalypse. It’s not a comet, nor a zombie plague, but a simple especially-lethal influenza. Imagine 1918, but far, far worse. St. John Mandel tells the story of several people, all united by their common acquaintance with one man who dies at the beginning of the novel. It’s a solid character study with a compelling through-line and expertly-crafted people. Reminds me of Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake or Colson Whitehead’s Year One. It’s literary apocalypse, and very compelling.
A few thoughts:
The novel imagines the apocalypse in much less horrific terms than many of the books that I read, but it’s all the more chilling for that. The common struggle for survival puts us way back into the dark ages, at least for a time, and people find both the good and the bad in themselves. The mix of present-day and future storylines also works well, giving depth to the future with excursions into the past. St. John Mandel even works out an effective way to tie the younger characters (born after the flu) into the older storylines. My only complaint is that the novel gets a bit too cleanly tied up in the end. It’s fair to say that the story is being told in a way designed to wrap up when the narrative demands it, but it feels like there’s an awful lot of coincidence at work in the final shakedown. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (Dickens did it, after all), but it feels a little too on-the-nose.
Also, I’d like to read the (fictional) comic book from which the novel’s title is taken....more