This book had been recommended by a few people, but I didn't get around to starting it until taking a road trip to PAX with a coworker. He was listeniThis book had been recommended by a few people, but I didn't get around to starting it until taking a road trip to PAX with a coworker. He was listening to the audiobook version, and was cool with starting over to let me catch up. Even better, it turns out to be read by none other than Wil Wheaton.
Enjoyed the story! It felt like it could have been written any time in the last 30 years; I was a little surprised it was just 3 years ago. Either way, it painted a surprisingly plausible picture of the future -- a bit exciting, a bit frightening, a bit depressing, and a bit inspiring. Especially with things like the Oculus Rift coming up, I love the idea of being able to visit with friends with full immersion and not having to travel, and this not being some gimmick rare thing but more normal than Facebook. Same with being able to explore full recreations of famous games and movies.
I haven't listened to an audiobook since Soon I Will Be Invincible. I've not used them much because they take longer, but it turns out there are situations where you need your eyes (waiting for public transport for example) thus an audiobook makes sense, so I guess I should get some more. Plus with the right reader it can really add to the experience -- Wil did a great job. I found especially funny the bit of the story explaining that Wil Wheaton (and Cory Doctorow) were some sort of Internet presidents for decades....more
I got this book for 50c at a library sale. Some friends long ago had mentioned it during a D&D session, so I was curious. Drizzt is famous, even iI got this book for 50c at a library sale. Some friends long ago had mentioned it during a D&D session, so I was curious. Drizzt is famous, even in parody. Also, it is set in Icewind Dale, a game series another friend spoke highly of.
The book gets a 'meh' from me. Not horrible but not great. Formulaic. You can tell that it's the author's first novel, and he's a big fan of Tolkein. I got my money's worth. I wouldn't be surprised if his later books get better, but for now I will leave them be... there's plenty of other books to read.
I suspect I would have enjoyed this book more had I discovered it as a teenager. Sadly there was no chance of that, as that was in the "omg D&D will corrupt your children" era. I remember a real frustration when discussing that with the parents, as it became apparent that they didn't actually understand the reason themselves and were just going with the opinions of their friends. Fortunately, they seemed to become aware of this too over time, and eventually started making their own decisions about such things -- risking disapproval but gaining respect. It's just a pity we couldn't play D&D back then....more
But ok: Korman really shines at stories with school settings. I have to wonder what his middle/highschool exGood ol' Gordon Korman. Nuff said, really.
But ok: Korman really shines at stories with school settings. I have to wonder what his middle/highschool experience was really like, because he is especially able to make wacky situations and crazy characters feel realistic and relatable.
I've often joked I don't like hippies, but what I truly don't like are poser hippies and ultra hipsters. Nothing wrong with some parts of the hippie movement, but some people take it too far or emphasize the wrong things, or join just to be popular (or get attention for being 'different'). The author manages to portray the main (hippie) character with a refreshing innocence, who is able to serenely cope with bullying and ridicule. Come to think of it, it's a lot like 'Blast from the Past' with Brendan Fraser.
The story also hits a little close to home, because I was homeschooled for a time and then entered a public school for a semester. No, I wasn't exactly a hippie, but I was from Vermont (and China) and pretty clueless. It wasn't nearly as bad as in this book, but it was enough to allow me to imagine how it could have been so much worse, and made me really empathize with the character....more
This book reads kind of like a more cynical take on Isaac Asimov's concepts. The concept of humanity dying out and civilization living on (in the roboThis book reads kind of like a more cynical take on Isaac Asimov's concepts. The concept of humanity dying out and civilization living on (in the robots/androids/machines they built) is an interesting one, and the idea of some of the machines having almost human flaws and weaknesses feels authentic. It's even funny to see the machines 'blaming' each other for stuff like Earth's biosphere falling apart -- since humans were originally in charge of it, no machines 'felt' like paying attention to it even after the humans were gone; "it wasn't their job"... until the seas started boiling. Sound slightly familiar?
The setting allows for a far more realistic depiction of space travel than otherwise possible -- no super advanced technology needed. Without 'squishy' humans and their specific 'canned' requirements, corners can be cut, more Gs can be pulled, and suddenly even the Kupier belt is in reach. All this makes for a clever combination I quite enjoyed. Mind, there is some unpleasant stuff: the very nature of how humans created and treated such machines is straight out of the slavery era, and frighteningly plausible. The ethics of creating something with a free mind but not a free will ... Much to think about....more
I first read The Warrior's Apprentice some time last year, which had been on my queue for quite a while after reading a recommendation by Tycho of PenI first read The Warrior's Apprentice some time last year, which had been on my queue for quite a while after reading a recommendation by Tycho of Penny Arcade. It was excellent and unique.
When I went to try to find out what book came next, there was much confusion to be found. There were two different accepted orders, one going by publication order, the other by in-universe chronology. Not only that, but there were books that came before this one, but reports varied whether they were necessary. I ended up putting The Mountains Of Mourning on my queue, found to my surprise that my local library didn't have it, then promptly forgot about it in favor of some other book recommended by a friend.
Then I happened upon a hardback book in the library, CryoBurn by Lois McMaster Bujold, which had a label on the cover claiming that inside was a CD that had ALL the books in ebook format. So I checked it out, didn't read it as it was far later in the series, but looked at the CD. Amazing: the CD said the contents were freely distributable! Check it out! http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/24...
I discovered that The Warrior's Apprentice was the first part of this Young Miles omnibus, so I loaded it up and finished the second and third parts. The middle part (The Mountains of Mourning) was different in that it didn't have Miles tromping around the star systems, but instead dealing with a problem in a small village in his home country of his home planet. It was different, and a little depressing, but served to give him more of a background and shows what he will be standing and fighting for.
The third part, The Vor Game was a return to form, but kept me guessing because every time things got into a routine that promised to progress Miles' career, suddenly something crazy would happen that wasn't really his fault but caused all sorts of problems and changes in his life. This happens more than once, and eventually everything escalates so ridiculously you start to wonder how anything could work out. The author manages to stay on this side of the 'unbelievable' line, but there are certainly a lot of funny coincidences, which combined with the crazy situations make for a very entertaining read. (I hate predictable stories!)...more
Volume 3 continues the awesome of Volume 2, and then throws a huge wrench into the plot. I'm actually a little annoyed with that... I would have lovedVolume 3 continues the awesome of Volume 2, and then throws a huge wrench into the plot. I'm actually a little annoyed with that... I would have loved to see more of just everyday life on Castle Wulfenbach (the castle is an airship).
I also empathize with the 'villain' and think in some ways he is in the right. He comes back from a long trip and finds his land in ruins, the world at war, all the good things he and The Heterodyne Boys worked for (as heroes) come to ruin. His solution was to unite the continent through tyranny. Peace through superior firepower, heh heh. And really, in the long run it's a benevolent dictatorship -- excellent compared to what they had before -- as long as you're not causing trouble ;-) That's why when he demands answers from two of his former friends turned rogue -- WHY were they hiding, abandoning him with no explanation -- I'm like YEAH WHY, and am annoyed when they just escape with violence instead of sitting down for a nice chat.
The character Othar is great; he is all the cliches of heroism personified, and everyone but him knows it. I love how nearly everyone is totally used to (and annoyed with) him already.
No bonus story in this one unlike Volumes 1 & 2. Aw....more
My local library is awesome. It (or at least the county library system) has this series, all sorts of other comics and manga, and even Dr. Horrible'sMy local library is awesome. It (or at least the county library system) has this series, all sorts of other comics and manga, and even Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog on DVD.
I reviewed Volume 1 not long ago. I think Volume 2 is where this series really gets going. I love airships, too. The sheer amount of stuff happening and things to see and people to meet -- it's skillfully handled, never too overwhelming, but the art (especially in color) is amazing.
The end of the book has a fun bonus story that I don't recall reading online: Trelawney Thorpe, Spark of the Realm: The Crown of the Sleeping King. Lots of fun -- and I didn't realize the connection until re-reading Volume 3 that Gil has a Trelawney Thorpe book in his library!...more
I first read the Wizard of Oz when I was 9. I first saw the movie when I was 6, or possibly younger. Both are amazing, especially to a kid. L. Frank BI first read the Wizard of Oz when I was 9. I first saw the movie when I was 6, or possibly younger. Both are amazing, especially to a kid. L. Frank Baum said he set out to create a new type of 'fairy tale' that got rid of fairies and also the horrible graphic events that serve to tell a moral story. He succeeded! And not by making a story where happy friends do whatever they want with no consequences. Though everything works out in the end, the way only a story can do, the characters have trials and struggles and their own building of character (even when they don't realize it).
The book is surprisingly short -- 130 pages! which is perfect for kids and yet there's enough there to keep us interested. And like all fairy tales, Hollywood decided to edit a bunch and leave a lot of things out for the movie, so if your only understanding of Oz is from the movie, I highly recommend reading the book. The movie is good, and amazing for its time, but the book has a lot more....more
I should write a proper review sometime, but it's hard to tell where to start or stop, as this is an ongoing series. This particular volume has only tI should write a proper review sometime, but it's hard to tell where to start or stop, as this is an ongoing series. This particular volume has only two downsides: it's not in color, and it's just the beginning of the series. In my opinion the story REALLY gets going once they get to the airship city in the next volume.
Yes, I said airship city. If you are not already reading this webcomic, and you like anything like airships/zeppelins, steampunk, 'gaslamp fantasy', alternate history, clockworks, mad science, etc... you should check it out! www.girlgeniusonline.com...more