Wonderful but hard to take in large quantities. (Like truth I guess.) Will keep coming back to it but doubt I'll be able to sit and have one continuou...moreWonderful but hard to take in large quantities. (Like truth I guess.) Will keep coming back to it but doubt I'll be able to sit and have one continuous read.(less)
I liked almost everything. The syntax is a solid, sensory delight. It completely realizes the wonderful settings, and has a strong, charming voice tha...moreI liked almost everything. The syntax is a solid, sensory delight. It completely realizes the wonderful settings, and has a strong, charming voice that simultaneously encompasses the original Adams but doesn't worry about trying to imitate it. It also succeeds in fixing some of the issues I had with the original story (as heard in the radioplay w. Paul McGann and the released snippets from what was filmed with Tom Baker) - as the afterword confirmed for me, things that Adams himself hadn't been thrilled with but Roberts and I are sure he would have fixed if he'd had the time. Bravo to all of that!
The thing I didn't like, that knocks it down a star for me, is the gender issue. The female characters doth protest too much (often in narrative) that they won't be relegated to 1950s gender roles, yet pretty firmly remain in them, even when they and the narration loudly declare they're breaking free (and don't). Book does not even pass the Bechdel test: when Romana and Clare are in the same place together, they're either not talking to each other directly, or the one time they do, it's about Chris and the Doctor. Which is a shame because they're both rather kickass characters—or again would be if only they'd go ahead and initiate anything ever rather than be almost entirely reactive. There are one or two exceptions, but it's a shame they are exceptions. Overall, it's frustrating to read. Similarly, why gender switch Dr. Caldera from a man to a woman, only to take her one scene away and give it to a male character? Really confusing.
One might argue that in Doctor Who, next to the Doctor himself, everyone becomes fairly reactive and delegated to lab assistant. (Though I think happily that hasn't been the case in much of New Who.) In "Shada", very confusingly and sadly, it's not just the Doctor. Clare even reflects on this—yet continues to be reactive. Sigh.
I think I'm only complaining about this so much because in this case, with this author, it seems like this situation could so easily not be the case. I didn't get this vibe from the other adaptions, even where Romana's external actions were the same.
It's a shame, really, because as I said, I liked everything else. I just found this issue disappointing and distracting for being so unnecessary.(less)
Might be my favorite so far. As ever, the noir stencil is kept light and lighthearted, providing a very fast engaging read; and the real glory of the...moreMight be my favorite so far. As ever, the noir stencil is kept light and lighthearted, providing a very fast engaging read; and the real glory of the books is in the tangible, grounded street-smarts, humor in and compassion for the characters, who could seem like stereotypes if they weren't also clearly people the author has real knowledge of, affection and respect for. Glad to have a couple of "my tribe" represented in a BP book. Keep 'em coming, my friend.
My only complaint is about the book cover: not uncommonly, the picture is all wrong for any of the characters in question.(less)
I liked "Are You My Mother?" better, but that might be 'cause I read it first, so it was more of a revelatory entry to Bechdel's novels. Or maybe, as...moreI liked "Are You My Mother?" better, but that might be 'cause I read it first, so it was more of a revelatory entry to Bechdel's novels. Or maybe, as she says, because "the bar is set higher for mothers". Either way, still amazing, and also gives me a wonderful window into many other authors I haven't (yet) read.(less)
Amazing. As with Bechdel's "Are You My Mother?", if this material were presented text-only, I'd probably have a hard time getting through it; but as g...moreAmazing. As with Bechdel's "Are You My Mother?", if this material were presented text-only, I'd probably have a hard time getting through it; but as graphic novels, with the images providing characterization even in the more densely technical sections, it's perfect. (Of course! That's why the authors made them this why! Having only recently come to the art form, I'm the one learning why/how it works so well.) The meta-storytelling, a device which calls attention to itself and so hard to pull off without seeming amateurish or pretentious (or both), is done *beautifully*, and gives the story a braided feel - completed with the inclusion of the Oresteia. The authors (or the depicted versions of themselves within the novel) are very clear that this is a *story*, not intended to be a lesson or crash-course in anything; but I did find it informative, and it's given me better anchors for the names and terms and ideas I've heard in computer science circles than I ever did before. That's all execution-centric critique… I also found it emotionally and imaginatively engaging, though it's harder to describe that. Except, again, it gave me a more vivid sense of connection with many of these ideas than I've gotten in the past - some fictionalizing can be very effective in illustrating history/fact! (But of course, the book asks, what is a fact, really… Sort of. ;-) )