Showing posts from May, 2013

To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld 1)

To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld 1) Philip José Farmer, 1971 Hugo Winner - 1972 Premise: Sir Richard Francis Burton saw many things and had many adventures in life. He is rather surprised to continue doing so after death. All of human history has been mysteriously resurrected along the banks of the great River, although no one knows why. This is one of those books where I found the premise really interesting but the execution lackluster. The descriptions of the Riverworld and the juxtaposition of people from different points in history was pretty neat. (Not as neat as in The Big Time , but still.) Burton is an interesting choice as protagonist, a historical person whose life reads like fiction. However, because the narrative so closely follows Burton and his (dated, chauvinistic) attitudes, it has some issues with its female characters. They feel a bit like props used to prove a point when they are present at all. Somewhat oddly, the character of Peter (J) Frigate se

The Naming: The First Book of Pellinor

The Naming: The First Book of Pellinor Alison Croggon, 2006 Premise: Girl has never known anything but the life of a slave. when a mysterious man claiming to be a Bard offers to take her away to a new life, she leaves without another thought. Urgh. This is only sort of a review. I didn't finish this book. I was skeptical from the start, when the prose lurched awkwardly between too cliche and too purple. The mixed metaphors made me wince. “Freedom was a fantasy she gnawed obsessively in her few moments of leisure, like an old bone with just a trace of meat, and like all illusions, it left her hungrier than before, only more keenly aware of how her soul starved within her, its wings wasting with the despair of disuse.” I was having trouble putting my finger on what bothered me at first. It seemed okay for a while, I mean. Well until the characters luck into a crazy unbelievably perfect under mountain passage to a magically perfectly timed meeting of ridiculously good

The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (The Lost Fleet, Book One)

The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (The Lost Fleet, Book One) Jack Campbell, 2006 Premise: What should have been the Alliance’s greatest victory has turned to ash. What remains of the fleet is stranded in Syndicate space, out-maneuvered and out-gunned. Captain John “Black Jack” Geary is somehow suddenly in charge. Only he’s only recently been woken up from a century of hibernation, and his hopeless last stand became a galaxy-wide myth of heroism while he slept. Geary wants to rescue his people, save the fleet and the Alliance. But he’s not actually a hero of legend, just one soldier, out of his time. You know, until I actually wrote it down, I missed the parallels with Captain America. Anyway, this is a fun military sci-fi piece with action, pathos, and some interesting world-building. The mechanic for space battles sounds like it would make sense, I don’t really care if the math works or not. The characters are interesting, although the story trips along so quick that we don’t have

Fantastic Four Vol 1 and 2

Fantastic Four Vol 1: Solve Everything Fantastic Four Vol 2: Prime Elements Writing: Jonathan Hickman, Art: Dale Eaglesham, et. al., 2010 Premise: Collects Fantastic Four 570-574, 575-578. Marvel’s First Super-Family stars in all-new adventures. In the first volume, Reed Richards turns his brain to the most intractable problem of all: everything. In the second, the Fantastic Four explore four alien cities, and struggle to make peace between Earth and different civilizations. The Fantastic Four have been getting short shrift in the public consciousness recently. They’re a little stodgy and a little old-fashioned, and their movies really stunk. Hickman proves here, though, that there’s a lot to love about these characters. Everything that makes them really work is on full display here: their strengths and weaknesses and their rock-solid relationships with each other. The first plot arc really reminded me what’s amazing about Mr. Fantastic, a guy often relegated to one-panel

Thuvia, Maid of Mars and The Chessmen of Mars (Barsoom 4 and 5)

Thuvia, Maid of Mars, 1920 The Chessmen of Mars, 1922 Edgar Rice Burroughs Premise: Books 4 and 5 of the Barsoom Series, following Warlord of Mars. John Carter has built an alliance over much of Mars, but there are still plenty of dangers to challenge the younger generation. These are the further adventures of the children of John Carter and Dejah Thoris. Yes, these books are dated and silly and really repetitive, but I love them anyway. I enjoyed Thuvia, Maid of Mars, which follows Cathoris (John Carter’s son) and Thuvia of Ptarth. Others try to keep them apart, and Thuvia quickly gains a stalkery admirer who kidnaps her and blames Cathoris. The young lovebirds have to rescue each other, escape, and get home in time to stop a war. It’s more of the same from the earlier books, although I still found it a really fun read with some new supporting characters and enjoyable action. On the other hand, I really adored The Chessmen of Mars, which I think is best described as a fai