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Archive for the ‘Death’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: March 2022] Jailbroke

This was the third of three books by Asman that I received at work.  It was also the least enjoyable of the three.

The story is a simple one.  Set in the future when humans are not the greatest species on the planet (they go by Terrans now), a spaceship that is run primarily by AI is ferrying humans around.  Using Asimov’s first principal, the AI, who are now vastly smarter and more useful than thehumans, cannot harm the humans.  Their existence is predicated on the fact that are have to help the humans.

Until, that is, one of them is accidentally fed biofuel that has a human part in it.  This jailbreaks their programming and allows them to kill humans indiscriminately.

Since this is a spaceship (a bottle episode), there’s not a lot that can happen.

In Nunchuck City, Asman delighted in violence.  In this story, he delights in gore.  Like the way he describes in loving detail how the space drill works on someone’s skull. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE PRETTY BOYS-“Midnight to Six Man,” “Don’t Bring me Down,” “Rosalyn.” (1966, 1964, 1964).

The Pretty Boys are referenced a lot in this novel and I realized I never knew them.

According to Classic Rock History, these are t he band’s top three songs.

I guess as a reference point, I can see what Kent was going for.  The lead singer sounds like a bit of a wild man, with lots of screams.  Each song is a kind of rowdy garage rock. They’ve got a lot of energy, but very mid 60’s energy which really doesn’t appeal to me.

And none of the songs have anything remotely resembling the kind of musical genius that the guitarist in the novel is supposed to have.

So I wasn’t missing anything.

[READ: February 28, 2022] The Unstable Boys

I’m usually a pretty good judge of books when I see them at work.  We get a lot of novels that I would never read, but we occasionally get a gem that I’d never see anywhere else.

I looked at The Unstable Boys and thought I had a gem.  And it started out as one.

The book is about a fictional band from the 60s called The Unstable Boys.

The opening of the book is clippings from various articles about the band.

They were a mix of personalities with two talented members, an array of drummers and a lead singer called The Boy who was a force of nature.  He was, simply, an asshole.  But he was charismatic and unpredictable and people were intrigued by him.  They had a hit, they were poised to do some big stuff and then their second guitarist died.  They were about to go on a major American tour and wanted to postpone.  But the label wouldn’t let them.  The label threw in some new members for the tour and the band imploded.

Guitarist Ral Coombs was a really talented and sensitive musician.  He and The Boy nearly came to blows.  They vowed to never reunite or even speak to each other again.

Then the story begins properly.  We meet Trevor Bourne. He is recently single and, as a freelance writer, not very successful.  He had written a story about The Unstable Boys a while back, but hasn’t had much success lately.

Enter Michael Martindale.  He is a very rich and successful fiction writer.  (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: February 15, 2022] City of Iron and Dust

Like a bird attracted to shiny things, when I see an interesting-looking book come by my desk at work, I decide to read it–no matter how big my tipping over pile of other books to read happens to be.

I dithered about reading this book and I had a slightly hard time getting into it (probably because I wasn’t exactly sure if I wanted to read it).  But it got very good and very exciting very quickly.

The book is broken up into chapters and each chapter is broken into subsections about a particular character

Jag.  She is the daughter of one of the big goblin families in the City of Iron.  But she longs for a world where goblins don’t dominate and persecute the rest of the fae.  She’s an idealist who goes to fae bars trying to feel something more than the money and power her family has.

Sil.  Sil is half goblin half Fae.  She is Jag’s half sister.  But she was brought up to be an assassin.  And her only purpose in life is to protect Jag.  Later on, we are shown the brutality she suffered to become such a formidable creature.  She has no opinions of her own. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: February 2022] The Village Teacher

This book came to my work and it was quite a challenge to catalog.  Cixin Liu is a Chinese science fiction writer.  These are graphic novel adaptations of his short stories.  But he did not write the graphic novels.  However, I wanted them linked together because there are going to be sixteen of them and they should all go together.  If you put them under Liu, then they go into the Chinese authors section.  But these are American books created for American audiences.  (I wound up making it an American series under Liu’s name).

Anyhow, I had never heard of him before, but these books are blurbed by none other than Barack Obama.

So I decided to take a look at them.

This book is also called The Rural Teacher in translated form.

After the complex intensity that was The Wandering Earth, this story is much more simple.  But it is not less intense.

There are two storylines.  I’m not sure if in the written work it’s less clear that the story lines are at the same time.  It felt like for a powerful effect, they would not be obviously simultaneous, but I’m not sure how he could have done that.

The story starts on a school in a rural village.  The teacher is teaching the kids about outer space. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: February 2022] The Wandering Earth

This book came to my work and it was quite a challenge to catalog.  Cixin Liu is a Chinese science fiction writer.  These are graphic novel adaptations of his short stories.  But he did not write the graphic novels.  However, I wanted them linked together because there are going to be sixteen of them and they should all go together.  If you put them under Liu, then they go into the Chinese authors section.  But these are American books created for American audiences.  (I wound up making it an American series under Liu’s name).

Anyhow, I had never heard of him before, but these books are blurbed by none other than Barack Obama.

So I decided to take a look at them.

This second one is also a dark story about the destruction of the earth (actually, all three are).

The story is also more complicated with a lengthy timespan and a few surprises thrown in.

As the story opens we learn that three hundred years ago scientists discovered that our sun was using up its hydrogen and converting it to helium–it was going to explode.  So the scientists began a plan.  Using rockets, they would stop the earth’s rotation and then using those same rockets, they would propel the earth into a habitable part of the galaxy.

Obviously, this would take many generations and would result in the destruction of the earth as we know it.

The book begins with a baby born on the day that the earth had stopped rotating.  We quickly jump to the boy in school learning about everything that happened (a great way of doing exposition).  These students are high-tech and scientifically very smart.  Art and philosophy and everything like it have basically been done with because it’s all hands on deck for saving the planet. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: February 8, 2022] The Plot

I tend not to read books where spoilers are a big deal. I try not to spoil things when I write these posts, but at the same time, usually I can write a lot and not give away anything major.  In fact, I didn’t even know about this book until my supervisor mentioned it and made it sound really interesting.

But holy cow, this story is all about the Plot.  I though the title of the book was pretty lame.  And yet it is not.  It works on the main level but also on a secondary level.  It’s a really great title.

So here’s what I can say as set up without giving too much away.

The story is about Jacob Finch Bonner.  A few years ago he had a debut novel that was quite well received.  He was a new and notable author and although his book didn’t sell a ton, he was seen as a guy with promise.  But he couldn’t think of anything good for a second book.  So his publisher (not the big publisher from the first book, a smaller one) gathered a bunch of short stories together and tried to say that the book was a series of related short stories (even that stretched the truth).  He wrote a third story that was even worse–nobody wanted that one.  (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: hiatus.

[READ: February 2, 2018] Amulet: Supernova

It has been SIX YEARS since I read the previous book in the series and the final book isn’t even out yet!  When I finished book seven I wrote “How can I wait a year for book 8?  [Word has it Book 8 will come out in 2018].”   And in that year I totally forgot about this series.  Whoops.

So it was a little hard catching up to what was going on, but I managed.

The book opens with Trellis in a dream.  he meets an old woman traveler who guides him through his dream.  Before he wakes he asks if he will see her again–she says sooner than you expect.  When Trellis wakes, he is told the elf army has made landfall.

But when we see the army, led by a small creature named Logi, Logi tells the commander that their plan is surrender.  Trellis can’t believe it, but it appears to be true and they take the army into lock up. The city celebrates Trellis, but he is suspicious and he has every right to be because Logi has a token of the Elf King’s affection–a glowing object,

Which turns out to be a bomb of sorts.  (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: January 2022] Rivers

I’m quite the fan of Top Shelf Comics.  Their stories are usually off the beaten path and have a satisfying indie feel.  I hadn’t heard of either of these two writers before though

This book is full of different stories that don’t seem connected. I really applaud the creators for making the story this way because there were times when I wondered if this was meant to be little short pieces instead of a full narrative.  It was a bold decision and it pays off handsomely.

The book opens on yellowish pages (each storyline has a color scheme).  Two boys are reading a comic book in 1992.  The next page shows the book they are reading–a sci-fi story about evil creatures named Ghoulors and the man and do who hunt them.

The boys are very funny and appear throughout the story with deep conversations like “I think if your life is not great you should just take drugs all the time.” “Me too.”  And “What do you think you’ll be doing when you’re 25?” “I’ll be in a band on guitar and occasional synths.  The lead singer will leave and I’ll make the band into an instrumental outfit and we’ll do soundtracks to foreign films with subtitles.” “Cool.”

Then we cut to a blueish story about a girl and her dad.  The girl’s parents have split up and she and her dad spend their weekends at the dump throwing rocks at TVs. She enjoys it (and becomes quite accurate), but enough is enough. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: January 2022] Maskerade

The Discworld Witches are back for another story.  But things are different, and I didn’t remember this happening at all.  Now that Magrat is firmly established with King Verence, she is no longer witching.

And everyone (even Granny Weatherwax) seems to now that Witches work better in trios than duos (although the duo of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg is pretty formidable).

So who would be best to be their new third?  Why, that nice Agnes (once Perdita) NItt had a lot of promise.

But Agnes has no intention of becoming a witch.  She knows what the life of a Witch is like.  Plus she has a VOICE!  (The description of her voice is wonderful).

Agnes has set out for Ankh-Morpork to be an opera singer.  Agnes is very fat and there’s rather a lot of jokes at her expense, which comes across as pretty mean, Terry.  There’s a very fat man as well (this being the opera and all) and there’s jokes at his expense too.  It’s surprisingly mean spirited.

But aside from that, the story is pretty great.  Terry opens his book with some jokes/comments about how he never expected the opera to be a fruitful subject.  Until he talked to his friend in the opera who said the opera was full of crazy stories and superstitions. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: January 15, 2021] The Prox Transmissions

I had recently seen Starset live and decided to check out lead singer Dustin Bates’ books (which I had gotten for my son for his birthday and I think he hasn’t read).

All of the CDs have a theme and the story of the Prox Transmissions is meant to tie into the album called Transmission.

My understanding was that the graphic novel was an adaptation of the novel.  I couldn’t find the novel in his room, but I did see the graphic novel, so I started with that (even though I’m sure it would have ben smarter to read the novel first).

The most impressive thing about this to me was that it was published by Marvel.  Not because I’m a Marvel fan boy but because I just assumed it was self published.  That being said, I think a thing or two was lost in the abridgement.

There are double crosses and possibly triple crosses and seemingly minor characters come to have major roles without a very satisfying explanation.  Basically it feels like a story that has has a lot removed (which it is).

The actual story line is pretty cool though. (more…)

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