FALL might well have been the second act of HYPERION, similar to how Simmons wrote ILIUM and OLYMPOS. There's a LOT going on here, and FALL doesn't st...moreFALL might well have been the second act of HYPERION, similar to how Simmons wrote ILIUM and OLYMPOS. There's a LOT going on here, and FALL doesn't start out particularly interesting, especially if you havent just jumped into it having completed HYPERION. Still, it prevents an amazing scifi exploration of heady philosophy about Man, God and Machine. Simmons excels at this type of edge thinking, but you have to wade through 700 pages before you realize what he's doing. Do yourself a favor and stick with it.(less)
Pretty awesome stream-of-consciousness history of comics from the perspective of one of its most daring writers. Morrison has always brought a little...morePretty awesome stream-of-consciousness history of comics from the perspective of one of its most daring writers. Morrison has always brought a little bit of the crazy to his work, and that's in no short supply with SUPERGODS. Interwoven with his interpretation of the great movements in superhero comics since 1938 is Morrison's personal story about growing up in Glasgow and inching toward his rebellious career as a comic book writer. These scenes play out as a sort of superhero origin story themselves, something Morrison may be seeking anyway as he tries on the multiple "fiction suits" of his characters.
Say what you will about the dense oddity of Morrison's comics writing-- this, his first prose venture, is captivating and fun. What I enjoyed particularly about SUPERGODS is the background to some of Morrison's more insane ideas, e.g. the concept that the DC Universe is a living, conscious entity that writers tap into and make contact with to relay stories in a neverending parade of multiple universes. Most of this background involves a lot of trippy drugs and counter-culture for which the author has been made famous in the past. But the result is the same: a fascinating story about one comic book writer's attempt to alter the fabric of perceived and unperceived reality through writing his own comics.
That's not to say that some of the history Morrison presents isn't totally accurate or free from bias. He takes a lot of potshots at a lot of people in his narrative, some of it bordering on abject slander. But it's interesting to get his behind-the-scenes take on how the comics industry has worked for the past few decades. I particularly enjoyed his breakdown of the "Dark Age" of comics and its various authors, illustrators and events.
Awesome, AWESOME work from the author of posthumanity's ILIUM. Simmons wrote HYPERION before ILIUM, so you can see him experimenting with a lot of the...moreAwesome, AWESOME work from the author of posthumanity's ILIUM. Simmons wrote HYPERION before ILIUM, so you can see him experimenting with a lot of the concepts he later incorporates. Simmons' Hegemony is a sprawling complexity to comprehend, and he chooses the frame of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to describe his far future world. Not only does each individual's tale serve to uncover a new facet of the mystery surrounding the novel's main plot, but they also paint a deep, rich picture of some aspect of this new scifi world. It's damn near impossible to put down. (less)
Terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE novel. Which is so disappointing given the interesting way the book unfolds as a "digi-novel" on the iPad. I bought this...moreTerrible, terrible, TERRIBLE novel. Which is so disappointing given the interesting way the book unfolds as a "digi-novel" on the iPad. I bought this primarily to experience Zuiker's take on integrating multiple forms of media into a single storytelling experience. The presentation is extremely innovative.
Unfortunately the story itself is written at the quality of a mass market grocery store aisle paperback. It's cheesy, overwrought, and outright stupid in many places. The drama is retarded and the characters are not compelling at all. Even worse, the filmed movie sections of the narrative are cast with some of the worst actors I've ever seen, particularly the guy who plays Steve Dark as such a melodramatic jerk.
I couldn't even finish the book because it was so awful. Avoid at all costs.(less)
I may have missed the boat on this one. ENDER's GAME reads like a product of it's time: Cold War. Lots of America v Russia overtones cloaked in an ost...moreI may have missed the boat on this one. ENDER's GAME reads like a product of it's time: Cold War. Lots of America v Russia overtones cloaked in an ostensibly "original" sci-fi story.
As a product of said time, ENDER'S was probably a revolutionary idea: videogaming taken to its fullest potential in acting as complicated simulated environments in which to train soldiers of the future. VR, 3D, online, and social gaming has peeled the novelty of this concept off, at least for me.
I feel like Card was onto something with focusing on kids though because ENDER'S could have been a Harry Potter-like scifi franchise. I've not reaD any of Card's sequel novels, and I'm not sure I will, but I'm half interested to see where he takes Ender next. Loglines for subsequent books don't fill me with a lot of desire to run out and buy one.
ENDER'S GAME read to me very much like the kind of scifi you would expect from the 1980s. Same vein as FOUNDATION but not near as complex as something like DUNE.(less)
Starts out very strong but devolves into rando scifi tropes by the end. Entire story seems rushed. Still, there's some great stuff in here, particular...moreStarts out very strong but devolves into rando scifi tropes by the end. Entire story seems rushed. Still, there's some great stuff in here, particularly the background on the Spartans. Made me want to play the games again. Not sure I'll read more of the books, but I enjoyed this transmedia element of the franchise.(less)
I've recently rediscovered a bunch of these old Star Trek books as ebooks, and they're a BLAST rereading years later. I particularly dug STRANGERS IN...moreI've recently rediscovered a bunch of these old Star Trek books as ebooks, and they're a BLAST rereading years later. I particularly dug STRANGERS IN THE SKY from way back when not only because the book was awesome but also remembering fondly George Takei's reading of the audiobook version.
The story is particularly fun because of its nonlinear pace, jumping back to a pre- "Where No Man Has Gone Before" era where Gary Mitchell and Lee Kelso are major characters on Kirk's Enterprise. Bonanno - a longtime Trek fan and writer - constructed great characters in Mitchell and Kelso given that they had only received one episode of screen time.
Aside from the characterization, it's just a really great story. My views may be colored with nostalgia but I don't mind. :)(less)
The problem w/ updating a book like this w/ new content by the authors 10 years later is that it almost makes reading the original book unnecessary ou...moreThe problem w/ updating a book like this w/ new content by the authors 10 years later is that it almost makes reading the original book unnecessary outside of some classroom like exercise. The first half of this new edition of CLUETRAIN basically involves all the authors returning to discuss what they got or wrong on their original manifesto of 10 years ago. So by the time you finish reading that material up front, it's pointless to go back and read the original stuff: they basically tell you the important parts up front.
There are no terribly obvious flashes of brilliance here either. By 2010, everybody knows about the humanist movement of employees and customers who want to force businesses to become more human. This is almost a prehistoric version of a social business manifesto, which sounds cool until you read it and go "DUH!" The lessons are good and the tone is engaging, but I wouldn't recommend this for anyone seeking true insight about modern social business.(less)
This is a terrible book. Granted, I understand Cialdini is held in high regard for his analysis of "compliance professionals" but I found this book te...moreThis is a terrible book. Granted, I understand Cialdini is held in high regard for his analysis of "compliance professionals" but I found this book tedious, boring, and rife with self-reverance. It is by no means a 21st treatise on how influence works. I don't even recommend this as a historical example of how salespeople and other influence experts may have been taught; it's that bad.(less)
This book fits into a weird category, one of inspiration and motivation more than practical business advice. This is a good thing though, because Hugh...moreThis book fits into a weird category, one of inspiration and motivation more than practical business advice. This is a good thing though, because Hugh McLeod's talking about turning your creative passions into a lifestyle. IGNORE EVERYBODY wasn't as ballsy a motivator as CRUSH IT! but it's still worth the read. Don't expect any awesome revelations about anything; there are merely helpful anecdotes from McLeod's experience going from an unhappy ad agency copywriter to a supercool social media rock star using his crazy passion for drawing on the backs of business cards.(less)
This is a great book about the nature of trust networks and how they work on the modern internet. Brogan & Smith leverage their years as Web super...moreThis is a great book about the nature of trust networks and how they work on the modern internet. Brogan & Smith leverage their years as Web superstars to bring some extremely valuable insights actionable ideas to anybody looking to understand the currency of trust amongst online communities. Those most likely to benefit from this book include marketers, CEOs, business leaders, community organizers, fundraisers, and creative entrepreneurs.
Brogan has long been a proponent of brining humanity to the Web, i.e. interacting with people like they're people and not like they're advertising fodder. There are some critical observations in TRUST AGENTS about what this means and how it must be understood by those seeking to carve a path for themselves in an online community.
I have only 2 gripes, however, that prevent me from giving TRUST AGENTS full marks:
1) Language & grammar: I felt the tone of the book was a little too conversational. I appreciate that Brogan & Smith write like they're conversing with a group of people, but the tradeoff is that their writing can come off as amateurish in some places. One of my big quibbles with business books or "how-to's" is that they are often not written in a logical, easily structured way, which leads to confusion amongst readers. TRUST AGENTS isn't badly written in that way, just not as professionally as I would have preferred.
2) The "duh factor: A lot of the tips and insights Brogan & Smith write about are things I already know through my own online engagement and research. This lead to a lot of "duh!" moments, which made me feel that I wasn't really learning anything new. That said, it's still nice to have those insights in one place where I can easily refer to back to them for future use.
Don't let my criticisms scare you away though. TRUST AGENTS is a GREAT read and one of the best, most actionable business books I've ever read. Pick it up.
(Nook note: The formatting on the Nook version of TRUST AGENTS was pretty erratic. Lots of spelling and grammatical errors that pulled you out of the flow of reading.)(less)
Gary V has been making waves for the past couple years as a social media personality who managed to cash in from his wine video blog. In CRUSH IT!, Ga...moreGary V has been making waves for the past couple years as a social media personality who managed to cash in from his wine video blog. In CRUSH IT!, Gary describes how he went about achieving this notoriety. His thesis is that you will never achieve 100% happiness in your job unless you're doing something you're passionate about. Using this as a starting point, he details some simple methods using social media tools that you can begin using immediately to start monetizing that passion.
The great thing about Gary V is that his enthusiasm and all-out balls are great motivators for those who are sitting on the fence about starting their own businesses or feel they trapped in jobs they hate. He writes in quite an entertaining fashion, which engages you and gets you cheering along with him. Gary is an unabashed balls-to-the-wall MOVER, and you will not be bored by this book.
The only caution I would give to readers is the same one Gary gives: while the lessons he provides can enable anyone to cash in on their passions, they are by no means a strict blueprint for everyone. Everyone who reads this book should adopt as much of Gary's lessons as they can as they apply and not en toto.(less)