"Drexel" is a thrilling novel that takes you into the mind of a unique antagonist, all while weaving in fun sci-fi elements, like clones and cool tech...more"Drexel" is a thrilling novel that takes you into the mind of a unique antagonist, all while weaving in fun sci-fi elements, like clones and cool tech.
Different people band together to try and stop Drexel's diabolical plan, but will they succeed?
If you like action/thrillers that keep you guessing, this book is for you!(less)
Very precise details on espionage/assassinations and other things I could have done without. This book was definitely written with male readers in min...moreVery precise details on espionage/assassinations and other things I could have done without. This book was definitely written with male readers in mind, as women in Reynolds's version of utopia are very sexually available, and in the simulated dreams, there is a scenario in which the protagonist lives out his fantasy of having sex with a harem of six-eight women.
I also could have done without the references to actors/actresses I had no way of knowing. Other than that, the story was told in the style of Bellamy's "Looking Backward", so that's a plus.(less)
I loved the story, but in the middle of the book, the writing was a bit hokey, then again, the author could have written like that purposefully to par...moreI loved the story, but in the middle of the book, the writing was a bit hokey, then again, the author could have written like that purposefully to parody romanticized interactions. Specifically, the writing was lacking when describing the budding relationship between the two lead characters. Other than that, this is a great book with such a varied plot and set of characters. (less)
John Carter is a former Virginian confederate officer. Penniless after the end of the Civil War, Carter is not without courage, honor, and a friend: J...moreJohn Carter is a former Virginian confederate officer. Penniless after the end of the Civil War, Carter is not without courage, honor, and a friend: James Powell. When Powell is taken by a band of Native Americans, Carter follows and finds his friend dead. He later takes refuge in a cave and is almost overtaken by the same band of Native Americans. Though, some noise or presence scares them off (maybe a foreign spacecraft; Burroughs never says) and when Carter next awakes, he is on the planet Mars.
The first sign of life Carter is exposed to are green men called the Tharks. They are a harsh sort of civilization, comparable to the culture of Spartans. They relish brutality, respect violence, and laugh only when these two things occur. Carter is lucky because he kills two of their chieftains, and gains the Tharks esteem, becoming a chieftain himself. His female mentor (all Tharks are raised by female mentors, not mothers or fathers) is Sola, and she shows him compassion and kindness. Carter’s other companion on Barsoom (the Thark word for Mars) is his dog-like companion, Woola.
Carter finds out that there are other humanoids on Barsoom when he meets Dejah, a captive of the Tharks. She looks like an Earthling, but for her copper skin. Through her, he learns that Barsoom thrived over a thousand years ago, but due to failing resources, it fell into a state of disrepair ruled by the warring Tharks and other creatures.
A constant theme (and perhaps even a fear held by Burroughs) is the unjust nature of a communal civilization, as displayed by the Tharks. Personal possession is unheard of, unless it is something consequential like a blanket. Children do not learn love or even who their parents are. From the first year, they are taught warrior codes, and always to fight for what they want. Tharks do not even recognize love or friendship when the concepts are presented to them by John Carter. “Friendship?” asked Tars Tarkas. “There is no such thing.” (p. 62). Dejah laments the loss of love from the Tharks, a race that once mixed with her own to create hybrid Barsoomians.
Burroughs also chooses to make the character of Sola independent, brave and strong (as she is a Thark). Yet, the more civilized Dejah (the Barsoomian Princess of Helium) is not either of those things. Carter thinks of her as ‘earthly womanly’, giving that comparison whenever Dejah displays affection, weakness, or abject stupidity (at least, she does not seem that bright to me, the reader). For example, when Dejah convinces herself that Carter is an alien, she does not do so from any deductive reasoning, but rather she says her conviction comes from “her heart telling her to believe because she wishes to believe it”, a logic that Carter deduces is a “good logic, good, earthly, feminine logic.” (p. 48-49).
It seems that Burroughs ideas of a Communist society was only one in which barbaric pleasures reigned, as the Tharks did nothing but create a menacing picture of a communal faction. Carter’s ideas on ‘real’ women were borderline offensive at times, but probably reflective of the decade in which the novel was written. (less)
Three young students set out to explore a legend shared by the locals of the foreign country that they are residing in. The legend is of a hidden comm...moreThree young students set out to explore a legend shared by the locals of the foreign country that they are residing in. The legend is of a hidden community comprised solely of women. Since the three students are also young men, their interest is more than piqued.
All three men have different views on women, ranging from the extreme to the sympathetic. Jeff is the biologist, and an idolizer of women. The narrator, Van, stays neutral on most every subject as a sociology major. Terry is a geologist, and straddles the line between gentleman and chauvinist pig.
Before they find out that the legend of Herland is indeed true, the three men surmise on what sort of civilization could arise if maintained by only women. Their prejudices and sexist views come to the fore during these discussions; “We mustn’t look to find any sort of order and organization […] Also we mustn’t look for inventions and progress; it’ll be awfully primitive.” (p. 8-9).
The civilization the three men discover is far beyond anything they could have imagined. Herland is a beautiful country, with gardens and forests that are carefully tended to yield the most food (there is no room for crops or cattle in Herland's tiny strip of territory). Men are nowhere to be found. In fact, the arrival of Terry, Jeff, and Van mark the civilization’s first sighting of men in two-thousand years.
Though Herland is not a distant planet, it might as well be for the all the differences Van takes note of in his journal. At first, Van believes his ‘world’ to be more advanced, but as he learns more and more about the women of Herland, he becomes ashamed at the state of his world in comparison to their paradise.
Many notions of femininity come into question in this short story from Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The women of Herland keep their hair cropped short, wear clothes free of adornment, are intelligent, and work hard doing things that the three men considered only for men. Not every woman is young, giggling, and beautiful: [Van’s perspective]- ‘Woman’ in the abstract is young, and, we assume, charming. […] Most men do think that way, I fancy.” (p. 21). By the end of the story, Van and Jeff come to see that Terry’s view about women is entirely wrong, that indeed all their thoughts about women are entirely based on their society’s perception of gender roles. (less)
Lisa and Kat are lovers. Almost as a hobby, Lisa studies witchcraft while maintaining a normal job on the side. Kat accepts Lisa's quirks as she has a...moreLisa and Kat are lovers. Almost as a hobby, Lisa studies witchcraft while maintaining a normal job on the side. Kat accepts Lisa's quirks as she has a few of her own. They live a comfortable and quiet life together, until one day Lisa purchases an ancient grimoire of unknown origin. Right away, Lisa feels a connection to the grimoire, and over time, she uses the connection to heighten her powers as a witch.
The grimoire holds secrets of the occult, ancient history, and much more. Devon Chandler, the previous owner of the grimoire, is eager to get it back since he knows the power of possessing and utilizing the book's secrets.
Professor Ian Kenley aids Lisa and Kat in keeping the grimoire from falling back into the hands of Chandler. When the book mysteriously disappears, they use all the clues they can to find it. Soon, the trio's journey to find the grimoire leads them to a cult of necromancers.
This book was fast-paced and interesting. The cast of characters was highly likable and believable. C.D. Sweitzer is a skilled writer who knows how to inject humor when needed most. I highly recommend this book.(less)