Showing posts from May, 2010

The Greatest Show on Earth

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution Richard Dawkins, 2009 The Greatest Show on Earth is both a lovely, careful step-through of the process of evolution via natural selection, an explanation of many of the mountains of evidence supporting it, and a call to solidarity against those who would deny such evidence.  On this level alone I recommend this book in the strongest terms. This is the third book I've finished by Dawkins, and by now I'm getting a sense of the hallmarks of his style.  They include an easy confidence combined with infectious enthusiasm for his subject, a ready humor tinged with a bit of didacticism, acknowledgment of retread ground, and friendly recognition of criticism with merit. In a sense, this occupies a middle ground between the two previous works I read, with a similar amount of scientific explanation as The Selfish Gene while tempering the righteous anger of The God Delusion to a frustration tinged with hope. Evo

Free Comic Book Day 2010 - Part Two

Last week we started a trip through this year's crop of Free Comic Book Day books.  See previous post for the full intro , and stay tuned at the bottom for what I actually paid cash for on said day. And now, the second half. Irredeemable/Incorruptible     Boom Studios    Two half-issue stories is a good way to introduce more than one title in a free issue without overwhelming me with super-short snippets.  Both in the same world, even.  I preferred Incorruptible to Irredeemable, but both had decent writing/art. Rating:  4     Buy another?  Probably not Love and Capes     Maerkle Press Better than last year's sample of this largely unambitious superhero “sitcom”.  Which is saying it's been upgraded from awful to “shrug”. Rating:  3     Buy another?  Nope Mouse Guard/Fraggle Rock     Archaia Oh, Huzzah!  The short Mouse Guard tale was beautiful and sweet, and the Fraggle Rock two-fer read like, well, a mediocre episode.  Not a great episode, but not outside of

Free Comic Book Day 2010 - Part One

Free Comic Book Day 2010 So every year Erin and I do a trip through the big NYC comic shops on Free Comic Book Day. This means we end up with a lot of comics.  Many of them are duplicates, which we distribute among our friends and coworkers who had to be elsewhere on the first Saturday in May, but we still end up with a sizable assortment.  Why does Free Comic Book Day exist?  Everyone gets something they want.  We get free comic books.  The stores get a high volume of traffic, some of whom buy something.  (And yes, I pretty much always buy something on Free Comic Book Day.)  The publishers get a sample book into the hands of potential new customers. I always read all our FCBD books, even though many of them are uninteresting.  This year, I'm sharing that experience with you.  Aren't you lucky?  For each book, I'll tell you the title, the publisher if possible, what I thought of it, rate it from 1 to 5, and tell you how likely reading this book has made me to pur

The Red Wolf Conspiracy

The Red Wolf Conspiracy (The Chathrand Voyages, Bk 1) Robert V. S. Redick, 2008 I heard about this book getting high praise on a blog somewhere, and as fantasies and books set on boats are both genres I enjoy, I picked up The Red Wolf Conspiracy when it appeared at my local library. This story doesn't start very strong, but does get better.  It's a solid fantasy adventure--downtrodden heroes, magical races, evil politicians, powerful talismans--with perhaps one or two too many sidetracks in the plot.  Yes, it's an original world, not a clone of another series, but that's the minimum requirement these days. I think the author may have flirted a few too many times with the line between too much exposition and not enough.  There were aspects and whole species that took me a while to figure out from context, and the prose might be even more unforgiving to novice fantasy readers. On the other hand, some of the fantasy elements were fine deduced from context,

Put a stake in it and call it done.

So I've come to the end of my trip through vampire country, for now anyway.  Although I have picked up the first two issues of the new comic book American Vampire .  It's currently split into two related story-lines, written by Scott Snyder and Stephen King, and set respectively in LA in the 20's and in the 'Old West' in the 1880's.  Given the title, no surprise that it's about uniquely American vampires.  So far I'm intrigued, and I like the art, so I'll probably collect it through this first arc (five issues, I understand) and see where it goes. I'm not going to make a big chart of vampire characteristics and powers, but the one at Wikipedia is pretty great .  Also of interest, if you missed this link in a previous article: the Sliding Scale of Vampire Friendliness (Productivity warning, that's a TVTropes link...) Instead, today I'm going to give you a quick meditation on the importance of opening lines.  A good opening encourages