I have read Walter Mosley before, but only knew him as the author of the Easy Rawlins and Leonid McGill mystery series. I had no idea he also wrote sp...moreI have read Walter Mosley before, but only knew him as the author of the Easy Rawlins and Leonid McGill mystery series. I had no idea he also wrote speculative fiction. My ignorance was an oversight.
This short story features Mosley's strong voice and excellent writing, and adds an imaginative story about a patchwork man with the memories, abilities and seemingly, souls, of many others inside of him. This plot device is similar to Brandon Sanderson'sLegion and the Cowboy Ninja Viking graphic novel, but the style is all its own.
This story seems to be the prelude of a larger narrative, which I can only hope is the case, as my appetite has been whet for more Jack Strong adventures, and more answers to Strong's mysterious past.
Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review.(less)
Considering J.K. Rowling repeatedly said she was done writing about Harry Potter, and has been busy writing the Cormoran Strike books as Robert Galbra...moreConsidering J.K. Rowling repeatedly said she was done writing about Harry Potter, and has been busy writing the Cormoran Strike books as Robert Galbraith, I have to say I am perplexed as to the why of this faux-newspaper article by Rita Skeeter on Pottermore.com. Not that I minded the update on the characters that made up Dumbledore's Army -- all now adults -- but it strikes me as odd, especially the last sentence, which reads "Harry Potter and his cohorts never claimed to be perfect! And for those who want to know exactly how imperfect they are, my new biography: Dumbledore's Army: The Dark Side of the Demob will be available from Flourish and Blotts on July 31st." That date, by the way, is both Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling's birthday. So could there be an announcement about another actual Potter book on that date, maybe? I can hope.
If you are logged into Pottermore.com, you can read the article here.(less)
Alright, let me preface this review by stating upfront that I have tried to read two of Mieville's novels -- Kraken and Railsea -- and wasn't able to...moreAlright, let me preface this review by stating upfront that I have tried to read two of Mieville's novels -- Kraken and Railsea -- and wasn't able to finish either. I had pretty much given up on him when I came upon this free short story available on Tor's website. I figured at that price, and with such a short time commitment required, I may as well give him a third chance. And you know what? I kind of dug this story.
It has a good central idea -- natural resources that humankind is destroying, such as icebergs and coral reefs, find extraordinary ways to reform. And it is also a personal story of a boy growing up among this phenomena and how it affects his childhood friendships. However, it was light on rising action and felt rather hollow and unfinished at the end. It did accomplish something nothing of Mieville's ever has for me before though -- it made me want to read more of it. So now I am wondering if Tor has released this ahead of a potential full length book in this world? If that is the case, this story definitely has my interest peaked, and I would definitely give it a shot.(less)
For as much as I like Stephen King, I was not sure it was within his ra...moreThe stories I read from this collection are:
'The Doctor's Case' by Stephen King
For as much as I like Stephen King, I was not sure it was within his range to write a Sherlock Holmes story. And while the reader can see the license he took with the characters, I was left fairly impressed with this result. The highlight of this story is its premise -- King has Watson solve this case ahead of Holmes, something that never happened in the canon.
'The Shocking Affair of the Dutch Steamship Friesland' by Mary Robinette Kowal
This was an interesting take on a case that was alluded to in the Holmes canon, told from the point-of-view of a young woman entangled in the mystery. It wasn't a very strong mystery, but the chance to see Holmes and Watson through the perspective of a suspect/victim was interesting.
'A Study in Emerald' by Neil Gaiman
This story was very different from the others that I read in that this heavily featured the fantastic, an element lacking in the other, more traditional Holmes pastiches I read. It is the perfect short story for anyone into Neil Gaiman, Sherlock Holmes and the Cthulu mythos. It is no surprise to me this won a Hugo award for short fiction. (less)
I'm not really into horror, so if I'm going to enjoy something in the genre, it better have more going for it than just being a horror. Well this, whi...moreI'm not really into horror, so if I'm going to enjoy something in the genre, it better have more going for it than just being a horror. Well this, while very much being the kind of horror you might expect from the son of Stephen King, is also dripping with mystery and supernatural elements. I'm glad it was lent to me, because it truly is a notable work in the graphic novel genre, and I say this after only reading the first volume, which barely seems to have scratched the surface.
The members of the family, especially siblings Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode Locke were well developed and couldn't have been easier to differentiate right from the beginning, something I really appreciated. But the character development I was most impressed with was that of the house, that being the family estate of Keyhouse, which is located in Lovecraft, Massachusetts. This is definitely one of those works where the setting does double duty as a character. And talk about foreshadowing, just look at the name of the town this is set in.
And it almost goes without saying that given my praise thus far, I really enjoyed the artwork. The style reminded me a lot of Preacher, so much so that I checked to see if it was the same artist; it isn't.
This first volume definitely gave me a Scooby Doo beyond the darkest timeline kind of vibe, and I would definitely recommend it based on this first volume.(less)
How else but in a mad lib could you have a book involving an idiot angel, a pot smoking sheriff, a zombie Santa, a talking fruit bat, and Kendra, Warr...moreHow else but in a mad lib could you have a book involving an idiot angel, a pot smoking sheriff, a zombie Santa, a talking fruit bat, and Kendra, Warrior Babe of the Outland? From the mind and pen of Christopher Moore, that's how!
This is typical Moore fare, which is to say, atypical, irreverent, and funny as hell. It's a short, quick read that never takes itself the least bit seriously, and, best yet, it's a Christmas story (I really hope they make a movie out of this, as is allegedly in the works. I would watch it every holiday season, assuming they didn't fuck it up).
I honestly don't want to say more about the plot, because it's probably funnier if you don't know what is coming, but I will leave this quote, which comes from the end of Chapter One, to give you an idea of the tone of the book.
In another Christmas story, Dale Pearson, evil developer, self-absorbed woman hater, and seemingly unredeemable curmudgeon, might be visited in the night by a series of ghosts who, by showing him bleak visions of Christmas future, past, and present, would bring about in him a change to generosity, kindness, and a general warmth toward his fellow man. But this is not that kind of Christmas story, so here, in not too many pages, someone is going to dispatch the miserable son of a bitch with a shovel. That's the spirit of Christmas yet to come in these parts. Ho, ho, ho.
This is a good example of the difference between graphic novels and comic books. While, yes, this does feature Superman and Lex Luthor, this is as sta...moreThis is a good example of the difference between graphic novels and comic books. While, yes, this does feature Superman and Lex Luthor, this is as stark a departure you can get from Superman's Action Comics roots. It basically inverts everything you know about Superman by asking one simple question -- What if Superman's ship crashed in Soviet Russia instead of Kansas?
Well exactly what happens I won't spoil, but it starts with Superman as Stalin's champion of Socialism, Louis Lane married to Lex Luthor, and Jimmy Olsen as an agent in the CIA's Anti-Superman division, and later weaves in excellent sequences with an American Bizarro, a Soviet Batman, and Lex Luthor as the U.S. President.
The story is told in shades of grey, as Superman is still doing what he believes to be morally right, while Luthor is just as villainous as ever. But with their allegiances reversed, it really punches the reader in the gut. The climax also lives up to the rest of the story, with earned twists and revelations, and the aftermath is as mind-bending as it is perfect.
I only wish there were more pages dedicated to fleshing out some of the plot points -- such as the Brainiac attack, the Green Lantern Corps, and the mind control devices worn by rebellious comrades in Superman's Soviet regime. But all in all, this is a rare, must-read Superman story, as this is exactly the kind of out-of-the-box scenario it takes to make Superman a truly interesting character.(less)
This Vulture article made me very excited to read this recently re-released comic, and now that I have, I don't even know where to begin with a review...moreThis Vulture article made me very excited to read this recently re-released comic, and now that I have, I don't even know where to begin with a review. So here is a brief history of the comic, taken from the Vulture article (click the link above for the full article):
When the U.S. stopped importing then-popular Captain Marvel to Britain in 1954, British publishers created their own knock-off, Marvelman, who was popular until U.S. comics import restrictions eased in the early 60s, causing Marvelman do disappear in 1963. In 1982, Dez Skinn launched the anthology Warrior and brought back Marvelman, giving it to writer Alan Moore. This series continued until 1984, when it came to a stop amidst rumors Marvel Comics pressured Warrior to drop it because of the Marvelman name. In the early 90s, American publisher Eclipse bought the character rights and started reprinting the Warrior comics with the character renamed as Miracleman. They also continued the story with writer Neil Gaiman. This lasted until Eclipse went out of business in 1994. Then, in 2009, Marvel bought the rights to the character, and announced they were reprinting all the stories... and letting Gaiman write and publish the end of the saga.
So this first volume, collecting Miracleman issues 1-4, is a bit dated and distinctly British, but it is also the early work of graphic novel legends Moore and later, Gaiman, and it shows. The opening gambit, a Golden Age interpretation of Miracleman and his sidekicks had me quickly flipping through the book to make certain the entire run wasn't like that, but fear not, it isn't. It is just a brilliant way to contrast the way Miracleman is about to be handled going forward -- by turning everything the reader, and he himself, knows end over end. In a word, this comic is an early archetype of the subversive work Moore would later be known for.
I do have one issue with this collection that does not relate to the comic run, and that is that this 176 page hardcover book is about a third filler material, some of which is the type of obligatory sketches almost always found at the end of most trade paperbacks, but there are also multiple comics at the end that do not feature Miracleman at all. So just be aware going in that this collection is a bit slimmer than you might initially expect. I guess Marvel has to make as many trade paperbacks as it can out of a 24-issue initial run. And, of course, I will run out and buy them all. Sigh.(less)
Before I begin this review, I have a small confession. I love table top gaming, and was an avid paper-and-dice gamer when I was younger and could get...moreBefore I begin this review, I have a small confession. I love table top gaming, and was an avid paper-and-dice gamer when I was younger and could get enough people together to run a campaign. Beyond the archetypal Dungeons & Dragons was my all-time favorite RPG, Deadlands. One of the great things about Deadlands was its inimitable flavor. It was a "Weird Western" and it was fully committed to its theme -- the game play involved not only dice, but decks of poker cards and poker chips, for example. It blended its frontier attitude with macabre horrors unearthed during westward expansion. Basically, this graphic novel could be a loose prequel to it, and it made me love it.
Manifest Destiny has the historical premise of Lewis and Clark mapping the newly acquired portions of the westward continent, meeting with real life guide Sacajawea, who is channeling River Tam in this graphic novel. In addition to facing the foreseen trials of such a large expedition, there are unforeseen horrors awaiting them in the untamed wilderness beyond. In this first volume, which I sense is only the beginning of these nightmares, Lewis and Clark encounter both local fauna -- buffalo minotaurs, or buffataurs as they nickname them -- and local flora -- plants that zombify the entire ecosystem around them -- while dealing with a crew of both soldiers and criminals out to earn their pardon. And all this is managed with a dark sense of humor. It's an excellent travelogue of a Lovecraftian American frontier, as told in absolutely stunning, illustrated detail -- seriously, I can't compliment the artwork highly enough.
This volume is still the beginning of the tale, as the party has only just left St. Louis. I, for one, cannot wait to read more.
Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review.(less)
Reading this book was a struggle. It is definitive proof that humor is subjective. After seeing so many reviews comparing this favorably to Christophe...moreReading this book was a struggle. It is definitive proof that humor is subjective. After seeing so many reviews comparing this favorably to Christopher Moore, I figured I'd love it, but man was I wrong.
The endless insect asides, complete with Latin names and detailed descriptions, distracted from what should have been a fast paced, light read. The writing was subpar in an amateurish way. Neither the tone, nor the humor worked for me, although the story did pick up toward the end as the assassins converged on New York City, so maybe it deserves 2.5 stars -- but not enough to round up to 3 stars.
Also, I cannot wrap my mind around a critical question with Bob's plan to start an all-natural pest control business. He plans to use assassin bugs to kill the roaches and other insects infesting restaurants and businesses, but then how are the assassin bugs killed? It is mentioned that they need to breed in order to work, so they aren't sterile. It just makes no sense, the business would just then have an infestation of infinitely more terrifying hybrid assassin bugs.(less)
This is a great philosophical short story with an answer to the question "What is the meaning of life?" And no, this author's answer is not "42." You...moreThis is a great philosophical short story with an answer to the question "What is the meaning of life?" And no, this author's answer is not "42." You can read the story for free here.(less)
I still see a lot of potential in this series, and I love the artwork, but I was not overwhelmed with this second volume. It focused way more on the c...moreI still see a lot of potential in this series, and I love the artwork, but I was not overwhelmed with this second volume. It focused way more on the character of Angela -- this volume's namesake -- than it did on the Guardians of the Galaxy. This is a rather odd decision by the creative team, considering the team is new and not particularly well developed at this early juncture in the series (this volume collects issues #4-#10). I think the writers got so excited about being able to use the Angela character -- a bit of an infamous property that was created by Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane for Image comics, and was later awarded to Gaiman after a lengthy legal battle -- that they let it get in the way of the natural development of the Guardian's story. A good example of this is the early fight scene between Angela and Gamora, which seemed forced and served as nothing more than a fan service skirmish between two scantily clad super ladies. (less)
"Okay, but I hear that the pilots call them Fuckers." "I've never heard that. Why would they say that? " "FKRs, Flying Killer Robots. The Predators are...more"Okay, but I hear that the pilots call them Fuckers." "I've never heard that. Why would they say that? " "FKRs, Flying Killer Robots. The Predators are the Little Fuckers and the Global Reach are the Big Fuckers." "No, don't call them Fuckers. I don't want that to spread. Very bad messaging."(less)
This, to me, is exactly what Free Comic Book Day is about. Comic publishers promoting their hot/rising properties with interesting comics that introdu...moreThis, to me, is exactly what Free Comic Book Day is about. Comic publishers promoting their hot/rising properties with interesting comics that introduce the characters without having elements that would be difficult for someone reading the series to follow if they hadn't read this comic (which is a definite possibility considering it is only readily available one day, ever). Also, in addition to the Guardians of the Galaxy segment, which introduced Venom to the team, there is a second segment promoting an upcoming Thanos title that was just as interesting, and featured him and Drax the Destroyer of the Guardians of the Galaxy.(less)
Well, that was certainly not what I expected when I picked up this comic with Batman Beyond on the cover. But it certainly is one hell of a way to kic...moreWell, that was certainly not what I expected when I picked up this comic with Batman Beyond on the cover. But it certainly is one hell of a way to kick off a new series -- albeit a dark, post-apocalyptic/dystopian future DC superhero series. For a counter-point, here is a really good article on why this comic is exactly the wrong thing for DC to give out on Free Comic Book Day, which begins:
So DC’s Free Comic Book Day title this year is 20 pages of superheroes getting killed. That’s not a joke. That’s actually what they’re putting out as an enticement for readers who are going into comic book stores, looking to find out more about these characters at a time when superheroes are the most popular thing in the world, is a full-color comic promoting their new crossover, where characters are just murdered and mutilated for twenty solid pages.