This book moves cleverly between its situation (creepy old house full of keys that do wild and creepy things) to its plot (generational nasty thing waThis book moves cleverly between its situation (creepy old house full of keys that do wild and creepy things) to its plot (generational nasty thing wants particular key), spinning out the possibilities of the Keyhouse and the family that lives in it. There is a balance struck between fascination and repulsion for the magical elements that not many fantasists achieve. The art is stunning. Gabriel Rodriguez's training as an architect makes him the best renderer of creepy haint-houses I've seen in a long time. The precision he brings to the buildings does not hamper his figure drawing. If his line is a little heavy for color work, it is very graceful; the characters sometimes resemble saints in stained glass. Joe and Gabriel know their way around comics panels; their pacing and visual phrasing are excellent. Many illustrators and writers who've come to comics from other fields don't know what makes comics work; they do. Oh boy, do they. New favorite series. ...more
This is so much better than you think it will be. Don't just read this one-- the dexterity of the author's alternate-history becomes more apparent asThis is so much better than you think it will be. Don't just read this one-- the dexterity of the author's alternate-history becomes more apparent as time goes on. She is not creating a random even in Japanese feudal history and then allowing things to take their narrative course, she is keeping her story within the bounds of historical fact.
Gender-swapping seems all shiny and new in this treatment, rather than the scraggly, white-bearded trope that it is. OOKU is a genuine attempt to create a society dominated by women that fits the details of Tokugawa Japan. As an exercise in worldbuilding it is not to be missed. For those who are just looking for the sexah it might seem a bit plodding, and the characters you come to love often don't have lengthy stories, bounded as they are by the lives of their historical counterparts. But the artwork is lovely and the sexah is definitely there, as one expects from any book about a harem.
I found the pseudo-Elizabethan English phrasing a nice touch; it keeps the formality of the society intact while remaining fluid and conversational. An informal hey-y'all phraseology would tip this closer to being what it isn't: a titillation about a female ruler with utter dominance over a large group of men....more
I think many people are disappointed by this book-- and, perhaps, by the movie made from it, because it isn't written in Thompson's more familiar gonzI think many people are disappointed by this book-- and, perhaps, by the movie made from it, because it isn't written in Thompson's more familiar gonzo style. This is a much less florid novel than most of his. It would be a mistake to describe his more mad books as less personal, because they're full of lightning-flash insights into Thompson's point of view. But this is much more a straight-up story of the drifter journalist of his time, still strangling on his own leash. It isn't a giggle a minute, but it is very good....more
Joan Slonczewski is a science fiction writer who has more than an armchair understanding of science, and it shows. When you have solid input from theJoan Slonczewski is a science fiction writer who has more than an armchair understanding of science, and it shows. When you have solid input from the real world, your new spins on old tropes can be surprising and fresh.
What follows isn't really a spoiler, but it is part of the story: When I first read DOOR INTO OCEAN in college, my classmates were saying "A whole planetful of purple lesbians? Really." But the purple color of the Shorans' skins derives from a microbe living in their bodies that stores and releases oxygen, providing them with built-in scuba tanks. When these microbes are fully charged with oxygen, they look purple. I want to say this has something to do with rhodopsin, but this is so beyond my own very armchair-science enthusiasm that I can't form the question for a search engine to answer. What's more, Dr. Slonczewski doesn't get overabsorbed in the biological speculations to the expense of the characters' cultures-- indeed, this is where she shines. Her characters' biology and the world upon which they live inform their ways of life, and things go horribly wrong when they conflict-- but she also allows that thoughtful examination can heal those wrongs as well.
DOOR is a classic feminist science fiction novel, and the starting point of a series of related novels that build cultures upon cultures in a way unique to science fiction. Read the whole Elysium Cycle, it just gets richer and deeper....more