I was given this book to read with the preface, "I was not a fan, but I have a feeling you'd like this." And all of a sudden I was inI LOVE THIS BOOK!
I was given this book to read with the preface, "I was not a fan, but I have a feeling you'd like this." And all of a sudden I was in an old world made new... to me.
The Castle of Otranto has a history as interesting and strange as the tale w/in it's pages. Know as the first Gothic Novel (Gothic fiction is a genre of literature that combines horror, romance and mystery offset by elements of fantasy), the book was purported to be a translation based on a manuscript printed near Naples in 1529 and recently rediscovered in the library of 'an ancient Catholic family in the north of England.'
This turned out to be a elaborate lie woven by the books true author, Horace Walpole (The 4th Earl of Orford). The story itself concerns a curse on the house Manfred, Prince of Otranto. Who is trying to solidify his rule by the marriage of his son to the beautiful Isabella daughter of the Marquis of Vicenza.
Manfred's plans, of course, go awry amidst speculation about an 'ancient prophecy' claiming "That the castle and lordship of Otranto should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it." These claims are surrounded by a series of supernatural events involving many over-sized limbs, ghosts, mysterious blood, and of course murder.
The book is a short, good read and very entertaining. Though I should mention it was written in 1764 and if you haven't read any period lit you might not be able to plow though it as fast as some, since many of the writing rules we've been weaned on were not yet in existence.
But if you have read period lit, or think you can understand a book full of run-on sentences, missing paragraph breaks and no quotation marks, then please try this book out.
If anything you'll get quite a look at the 18th century mind and they're view of 16th century life as well as a fantastic tale....more
A Rom-Com for SF/History nerds... suffice it to say IT WAS AWESOME!
"To Say Nothing of the Dog" takes its name from the popular novella by Jerome K. JeA Rom-Com for SF/History nerds... suffice it to say IT WAS AWESOME!
"To Say Nothing of the Dog" takes its name from the popular novella by Jerome K. Jerome, 'Three Men in a Boat, To Say Nothing of the Dog' (did your nerd-sense start buzzing yet?!) though aside from the name and a little boating early on, this time-travel romp focuses on an adventure had by 'time traveling historian' Ned Henry as he spends time in the same period as the Jerome book was written.
Ned has the well-worn not-too-distant future trope going for him, and it seems even in this future being overworked is still a problem. Poor Ned's ridiculously overbearing employer, Lady Shrapnell, has him looking all through the time-stream for various “missing treasures” in order to complete a restoration project.
One treasure, however, has been particularly difficult to locate. Now the thing is he can't just take the treasures from, say, Canterbury Cathedral. That would cause a paradox.
Ned had therefore been jumping through time, and jumble sales, for days now trying to get a lead on where things may have ended up. Unfortunately a side-effect of too many jumps is time-lag (which seems to be like jet-lag times a million) and poor Ned has a rather more serious case.
As the restoration project is due to wrap up soon Ned has no time to recover... until his supervisor comes up with the idea of sending Ned on a simple messenger jump back to the Victorian past, where he can then take a nice relaxing vacation.
Of course things don't go quite as planned, as Ned is no expert in the chosen time and is still rather confused when he arrives. Naturally hilarity ensues. As does romance, boating, almost drowning, conversations with mediums and Oxford Professors, to say nothing of the cat (bet you thought I was going to say dog).
Every SF nerd out there knows time travel to be a notoriously difficult narrative tool to handle, yet Connie Willis impressively builds a believable and well crafted tale that even the most meticulous reader could not fault, with just the right amount of excessive details and technical terms to make the jiggery-pokery they to seem credible without overshadowing the story.
You have probably already guessed that the most important narrative of the story isn’t really even the time traveling anyway. What concerns us most revolves around the 'Downton Abbey-esque' world that Ned had landed in and making sure he and the historian assigned to this era, Verity, haven't caused an incongruity in time.
If they have, Lady Shrapnell may never have been born... and they might never have come back in time to interfere with any of this... YIKES! That is why Ned, one poetry-spouting undergrad, an eccentric professor, an aristocratic family and their stiff-upper-lipped butler become entangled in this book of misadventures and Victorian England social faux pas.
I recommend this book for every reader out there, from SF fans, to those would love a comedy of manners, to those who enjoy a good mystery with lots of brilliant twist in the time travel narrative. I daresay even those stuffy Oxford types would get a little something out of it....more
Since discovering The Sandman series I have been a fan of Neil Gaiman, one of the few truly Speculative Fiction writers out there. Never bound to oneSince discovering The Sandman series I have been a fan of Neil Gaiman, one of the few truly Speculative Fiction writers out there. Never bound to one reality or one type of idea, I jumped head first into the first book for this INTERWORLD series and found myself a book that might fit right into the Heinlein Juveniles I enjoyed so very much when I was young.
While I wasn't as impressed with this book as I have been at Gaiman's work in the past but I eagerly await time to read the next in this series with hopes it will expand the universe to see more of the depth of storytelling I come to Gaiman for.
That being said do not lose heart that this books is just your average Young Adult SF story, it most certainly is not. The series follows Joey Harker who becomes mixed up in an adventure within parallel worlds, and bearing witness to the forces of magic and science balance the different Earths of the multiverses without causing total disruption of all there is.
A fun skip though dimensions that seem almost mirror copies of each other soon being to vary drastically as do the people who populate them. The clear fun both Gaiman and the reader have with this series which can take you from the familiar to the unfamiliar with just a few steps down the block wasn't as infectious as I wanted it to be but the Nowhere-at-all, an interesting sort of hyperspace our hero has to pass though on his way places almost makes up for the lack in complexity the Gaiman usually exhibits rather early in his storytelling.
I watched the movie version of a few times when I was young, seems it was one of my mother's favorite films. So I knew the twists that were coming.
ButI watched the movie version of a few times when I was young, seems it was one of my mother's favorite films. So I knew the twists that were coming.
But that being said I loved this book, it was romantic in more ways than one. Hilton did his job well giving us a great little mystery, a sadly beautiful love tale and some of his patented social satire.
I don't really want to give anything away so I'll just say I would recommend this book to any romantic historical buff out there, you will love it....more
For some time I had been hearing, "You really need to read WE3" or "The best thing Morrison's ever done is WE3"... Well now I have read it and it is nFor some time I had been hearing, "You really need to read WE3" or "The best thing Morrison's ever done is WE3"... Well now I have read it and it is not the best thing Grant Morrison has ever done. It's not even the 10th best thing I've read by him.
Listening to its boosters one might think none of them has ever read a freaking SF story before?! Or should I say: "an SF comic book before?!" Since, for my money [and mind you I've never actually said this and meant it before] THIS GAG'S GOT WHISKERS ON IT!
It's a story about poor cute pets that have been enslaved by humans... yes, the evil American scientists actually call them slaves. We, as readers, are supposed to give this book a pass because Frank Quitely has dawn some sympathetic looking animals who have been -perish the thought- experiment on. If I cared enough I'd be insulted. Especially as I can point out a number of stories, even children's stories, that do a better job with this trope than we see within the pages of WE3. Sure there's not as much blood nor as many curses but that's not a bad thing.
Now that all being said, for what WE3 is, it's fine. I wouldn't say I hated it, but it doesn't deserve any of acclimations it seems to have received. As should no merely adequate story would. Unfortunately Grant Morrison has something of a reputation and he's teamed up with a dynamic artist who he's worked with before on popular successful projects. To his fans it might just be a treat to see them together again.
I do admit to being both a fan of his work and in finding him overrated at the same time. I, however, try not to read anything with a biased. I may pick up something for who worked on it or what it's about but once the book is opened I'm looking for content. To that end I'm an unbiased reader and for someone with no reason to lean one way or another I have to say that this book isn't anything special.
If this wasn't so loved a book, by some, I doubt I'd feel the need to write a review of it, but as it stands I cannot help put at least one voice out in the ether saying, "meeh". As I am not one to offer opinion without reasons behind that opinion I shall explain why I react the way I do to this tale.
Simply put my reaction revolves around the fact that this book isn't a story but a nice start to a story. Sure it's a potentially cute little story with no aspect being remarkable or inventive on it's own, indeed it's not even a well told story, but it has potential.
While it leans rather heavily on Frank Quitely illustrations for it's story telling, not the actual words on the page like something so short might want to -subsequently providing almost no character development- it does have heart. There's an underling theme to it that's universal. Which is probably why people think it a good story.
Readers have no trouble believing in the inhumanity of people and can not help but project human aspects towards animals. A story of a dog saving his masters from a fire or the purr of a cat on one's lap caused people to anthropomorphize these creatures. I myself can play with puppies for hours and feel real happiness from the unconditional happiness I receive in return, but I do not fool myself into thinking that had this animal more mental or physical capacity we might be living in a Planet of the Pups.
Yes, this story has potential but it fails to reach it's potential, like so many of Grant Morrison's works it reaches for obscurely high peeks but they are just beyond his grasp. Thankfully, at least, most of WE3 is intelligible unlike other of Morrison's works. The shortcomings here are also trackable: WE3 hasn't been given any real character development, as much because of the limited vocabulary and difficult to decipher dialogue of it's important characters as the length of the story. The result being the need to attempt manipulating the reader into caring for those characters by the torture they go through and their underdog (no pun intended) situation.
Personally I enjoy when writers trick me into forgetting I'm just consuming fiction but what happens here is just shoddy and obvious. I would have liked to have suspended my disbelieve but the story is too damned obtuse for me to care about anything in it. I breezed through it in about 20 mins and my only reaction was, "Is that really it?"
Long have I known Mr. Morrison to be a victim of his own hubris... or perhaps I should his readers are the victims. He's an intelligent man and he can write comics (some very well indeed) which is a talent. But, more often than not, he's of the opinion that when the reader approaches any piece of his work they should have read everything else he's ever done to truly understand it. To this end he often leaves huge holes in his work that the reader is expected to fill-in by referring to some of hand comment that was made in a hard-to-find piece he wrote some 5 years before.
Of course hubris comes in many shades and luckily this story doesn't suffer from the afore mentioned flaw. It does suffer from flaws, the main ones being the depthless story telling he hopes can be overlooked by a couple a pathetic looking animals and the plot to disney movie mixed with a little of the ultra-v.
I'd recommend this book to... well no one. Just leave it be, you can keep those 20 mins of your life for a sitcom on Netflix at least you'll smile....more