Monthly Archives: March 2015

Comic Review: Batman-Hush

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Jesus, the gaps between my posts are getting miserably long. Hopefully it won’t extend to another 4-month hiatus for no reason. Anyway, just read Batman:Hush and wanted to give an opinion on it.

Batman. Ohhhhhhh Batman. You need to stay the hell away from Catwoman, she is unhealthy for you. This comic progressed their relationship to the point where he told her his secret identity (flippin’ MORON, Bruce!). So… that happens. Beyond that, the plot involves a plethora of Batman villains crawling out of the woodwork randomly to attack Batman, which is normally known as “Tuesday” for this guy. But! Being the World’s Greatest Detective can leave you fairly paranoid, as Bruce deduces (heh!) a connection between the crimes. And yes, there’s a mystery villain. And no, I’m not telling you who it is. I hate reviews with spoilers with a burning passion.

This comic blew me away. Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee really have something here. Like the rest of the human race, I’m a huge Jim Lee fan, and his work on this was as good as I’ve ever seen him. As a Batman story, this was phenomenal.

But… as well as a Batman guy, I’m a big mystery fan. And the actual mystery part wasn’t fantastic. That’s the thing-World’s Greatest Detective or no, Bat-mysteries are often fairly transparent. The guy in the bandages was always going to be… who he was. The final twist I did not see coming, though. I quite literally fell off my chair when I found out who had orchestrated the thing (my favorite Bat-villain, no less!). It was a bit rushed, though. Not quite up to par, but close.

Final jab: no Penguin? I like him!

See? Now the Penguin is angry.

See? Now the Penguin is angry.

Okay, I have a crapton of stuff to review, so I’ll probably (hopefully) be back soon!

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Book Review: Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

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OKAY! Back to the blogging! I recently read, and am reviewing, Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. Hopefully it’ll kick off more reviews over the next few weeks: I’ve read a a lot of good stuff and I look forward to ranting about it. Anyway:

So Ready Player One is set in a future that isn’t quite apocalyptic or dystopian, but is well on its way. (That in itself was unnerving as hell: it just seemed about 5 years away, and it’s really the only novel I can think of that was that plausible. Shiver.) Society is slipping into “hellish” territory, and everyone escapes from that by jacking into a virtual reality game called the OASIS. The OASIS is, as far as I can tell, a virtual universe full of more or less every fantasy, sci-fi or video game universe imaginable. The plot centers around the death of the inventor of the OASIS. For some unimaginable but probably stupid reason, he decided to will his entire  (megabillion-dollar) fortune to whoever solved this massive, 80s-themed nerd puzzle in the OASIS. This is the story of one sixteen-year-old’s quest to complete that puzzle.

Things I liked about this book were many: the characters didn’t suck, the 80s pop culture was fun, and there were times when I literally could not put the book down. Also, like I said, it’s one of the only sic-fi novels in my brain at the moment (there are probably others) that feels like it could literally happen in a month, given the right push. The main antagonist, a corporation desperate to gain control over the OASIS (another prize for solving the puzzle), also seems vaguely linked to net neutrality. Because I really, really hate to blog about politics (I see the value, but I just don’t know what I’m talking about), I’m passing over the issue as much as I can, but it did feel like it could happen.

That said: who taught this guy to plot a story? He’ll just leave his character weak after a major event and then jump back in, a few months later, with the character explaining how he spent the last few months developing his avatar. We understand that you want your character powerful without the intermediate (another Spider-Man origin story, anyone?), and we understand why he has to start out weak, but you can’t just jump us out of his life. It’s a conundrum: the explanation is boring, but the lack of one would confuse the hell out of the readers. It wasn’t great. Also, Ernest Cline, like the rest of the world, can’t inject suspense into a description of an 80s video game. Valiant effort, Mr. Cline, but no go.

James and Brendan Dwyer read this book and were mad because it was in the 80s instead of the 90s. The result, Cult Fiction, which I reviewed elsewhere, isn’t quite as good as this. But I’d read it first: if you can survive those characters and that writing (all the same problems, but chose easier-to-dramatize video games), you can deal with this.

Okay, that was really long. Arrivederci!

RIP Terry Pratchett

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For those who missed it, Terry Pratchett died of Alzheimer’s 3 days ago. Sir Terry wrote plenty (including the excellent Good Omens with Neil Gaiman) but is rightfully best known for the massive, hilarious Discworld series. I cannot describe it, I can only beg that the world read it. I haven’t finished, and I’m so glad I have more, now that there won’t be any more written.

I don’t have anything else to say. Rest in peace, Sir. I will always be jealous of your hat.

P.S. Ook.

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Double Review: American Gods and Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman

THESE BOOKS!!!

THESE BOOKS!!!

Okay! I have a spare minute to blog now, so I’m going to talk about 2 of the 3 Neil Gaiman books I just read, American Gods and Anansi Boys.

American Gods followed Shadow, a man whose wife died the day he got out of prison, while having car-sex with his best friend. With basically nothing left in his old life, he accepts a job offer from a mysterious Mr. Wednesday. I don’t want to explain much more, but here’s the gist: gods walk among us, and a war is coming.

If all that sounds cliche, don’t be fooled. This is not Percy Jackson or whatever. This is well put together, and fun, and deeply weird, and fairly original. And I have to say, Gaiman possesses the rare gift of endings-once he has a book going, he knows exactly where and how the end is going to go, and if he doesn’t, he’s a hell of a good faker. The protagonist was sympathetic-ish without too much of the book spent on making him so. Plot twists are unexpected and not too numerous. In case it was unclear, I loved the hell out of this book.

So then Gaiman decides that whether or not he’s done with Shadow (apparently not, he just published a new short story about the guy), he’s not done with the world, and along comes Anansi Boys. Anansi is the African spider trickster-god. Probably you’ve heard of him. He was featured in American Gods, and now we meet his kids. And they have to deal with each other, and a bunch of other gods wanting revenge for Anansi screwing with them in the past.

This book was a total stylistic change from American Gods. It was way lighter, and the protagonist (named Fat Charlie) was much easier to like. But the 2 books were both fantastic, and I recommend them to the entire flippin’ world.

Oh, hey, I just thought of a really good analogy. If these books were episodes of Doctor WhoAmerican Gods would be Blink and Anansi Boys would be The Lodger. That… is actually insanely spot-on. Well done me. Fans of the episodes should read the books, and vice versa. (Two of my favorite episodes as well).

Why I Haven’t Been Blogging

Hi! Okay, it has been a while since I wrote anything. I’m not going to add anything now other than an excuse.

My excuse is, I’ve been too busy reading. I’ve gone through 3 Neil Gaiman books (if you count Good Omens, which he cowrote with Terry Pratchett), and I just finished Codex Bound, the second book in the Magic Ex Libris series, by Jim C. Hines, (to say nothing of The Inimitable Jeeves by the great P.G. Wodehouse), and now I’m working on Leviathan Wakes, the first book in the Expanse series, by a couple guys under the pseudonym James S.A. Corey. And I have about 11 books lying around waiting for me to get to them after that. I’ll review these soon, but for now I’m just basking in them. Back soon.

Side note: please respond to my below post! I need input, Stephanie!

Okay, thanks, and I shall return when my reading list diminishes.