Showing posts from April, 2013


Ringworld Larry Niven, 1970 Hugo Winner - 1971 Premise: Louis Wu is bored on his 200th birthday. He's seen and done a lot in his long life. Now, however, he's bored, so when an alien named Nessus from the reclusive species known as puppeteers asks him to come on an expedition past the edge of known space, he quickly decides to go. Louis, Nessus, a Kzin called Speaker and a girl who Louis met at his party will comprise the team to explore the anomaly spotted on long range scans, the anomaly called the Ringworld. Ringworld is not really about the Ringworld. I mean, yes, about half of it takes place there, and it is the iconic idea that lasted in the sci-fi consciousness and made the book famous. However, the book is really about the four main characters and how they reflect 'futuristic' and/or alien ideas about life, love, sex, destiny and humanity. You can find out nearly everything you need to know about the Ringworld by reading the back of the book, though

Terrier (Beka Cooper, Book 1)

Terrier Tamora Pierce, 2006 Premise: Young Beka Cooper wants nothing so much as to be part of the Dogs, aka the City Guards. When she finally starts her on-the-job ‘Puppy’ training with a pair of the best guards in the Lower City, she’s both thrilled and nervous. Her tenacity and her own small powers could help her become a great Dog, if she can first survive training. The design of Terrier really risks being cutesy, but I liked it. The book is Beka’s diary, plus some supplementary documents in the front, and that occasionally means an entry about being sick and unable to write more, or an inkspill on the page. Because it’s written in her words, we’re thrown immediately into the dialect of the city, but you’ll have no trouble keeping up. Beka is a great YA heroine. She’s brave and friendly, but afraid of speaking up sometimes. Her small paranormal abilities (not too exceptionally rare in a fantasy kingdom) sometimes feel like more trouble than they’re worth, but she uses t

Hawkeye Vol 1: My Life as a Weapon

Hawkeye Vol 1: My Life as a Weapon Matt Fraction, David Aja, Javier Pulido, et. al., 2013 Premise: Collects Hawkeye #1-5 and Young Avengers Presents #6. I’m just going to quote from the beginning of the first issue. “ Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, became the greatest sharpshooter known to man. He then joined the Avengers. This is what he does when he’s not being an Avenger. That’s all you need to know .” What a fun series. Apparently when Clint isn’t busy with the Avengers he’s mixing it up with low-level gangsters, getting involved in the lives of his neighbors, and running the odd secret mission for SHIELD. Also training/hanging around with/getting trash-talked by Kate Bishop, also known as Hawkeye. (That’s sort of explained in the Young Avengers Issue in the back. They have the same code-name, just roll with it.) The dialogue is snappy and clever, the action exciting and tense. The art perfectly enhances the tone of the book; it’s stylized and gritty on one level, but also


Superheroes Edited by Rich Horton, 2013 New Release - I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for the purpose of review. Premise: A new anthology of fiction based around the title theme. From other reviews of this book, I expected to like it a bit more than I did, but I did still enjoy it. Like most anthologies, this was a mixed bag. The first few, especially, I thought were just fine, nothing too exciting. The last one I found long, meandering, annoying and pointless. In general, I think the target market for this book are people with a casual knowledge of superheroes, but who aren't really hardcore comic fans. For example, I enjoyed The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm , which followed the average citizens of a country ruled by a supervillain, and Tonight We Fly , about an aging hero, but these aren't any more inventive or interesting than stories that have already been told with Dr Doom or in Astro City. Not necessarily less interesting either, but I

The Spark (Extrahumans, Book 3)

The Spark (Extrahumans, Book 3) Sarah Jane Bigelow, 2012 Premise: Sequel to Broken and Fly Into Fire . Dee has grown older, but still feels lost inside. She can’t control her powers or her life. The little settlement of former heroes on the planet Valen may have finally gotten the government’s attention, and soon no one will have a safe refuge. In short, I don’t think this is a bad book, and big chunks of it were great, but overall I was left unsatisfied. Bit too much angst, bit too much dystopia in this one for me. Some great character stuff, but the very end pissed me off. For more details, read on, but Some Mild Spoilers Ahead. It wasn’t that I wanted the characters to solve all the problems of their dystopian future. At the end of the first book I got the feeling that the author wasn’t interested in telling that story. But I wanted something. I wanted one relationship to not fall apart or one character to not betray/fight/hate the others. I wanted some personal reso

The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula K. Le Guin, 1969 Hugo Winner - 1970 Premise: Genly Ai is an ambassador, of a sort. He is sent to an inhabited planet on behalf of the larger confederation of space, simply to make contact and try to establish friendly communication. He thinks he’s making progress, but the politics and undercurrents of the societies on Gethen are difficult to grasp. Almost as difficult as the people. I really enjoyed reading this book. Le Guin’s prose is really lovely, even when it’s spare and simple. I had some trouble adjusting to the style and the euphemisms at first, and the book surprised me when it switched (rather late, as these things go) from just a first-person account with supporting information to two alternating first-person accounts. The Left Hand of Darkness seems, at first to just be a story about an envoy from galactic civilization trying to communicate and survive among people who have a hard time believing that anyone could come from the