The Lost Fleet Series by Jack Campbell: It normally takes me seven to ten days to read a book, I know, I know, I am a fairly slow reader. However, I have plowed through the first three books of this series in the last week. Campbell builds an interesting universe where humanity has been engaged in a galactic war with itself for more than a century and due to staggering losses, the war has degenerated into horrible stale mate with the two sides throwing cheap ships with raw crews at each other in near one for one exchanges. The main character John “Black Jack” Geary is an interesting characterization of a man out of time. Although some times it feels like a cross between between Andromeda and Idiocracy, over all it is an excellent read.
Legion of SuperHeroes/Star Trek crossover: When this first came out, I avoided it like the plague, I figured there was no way this was going end well. So by the time the 3rd issue was out, I started reading some reviews of it saying it was turning out pretty good. So I went to my friendly neighborhood comic shop and picked up the first three issues. All I can say about this is, it really sucks ass far worse than I originally thought. Whoever thought this was a good idea needs to fired from IDW and DC Comics. Seriously, I knew who the villain was by page twelve of issue 1, the plot is not only predicable, it is BORING and predictable. The characterizations of the Legion is completely two dimensional and the Enterprise crew is presented in extremely cliched manner and is almost a parody. Please do not waste your money on this crap.
This last week Anne McCaffrey, author of the Dragon Riders Pern, died. While she was not my favorite writer, I have read much of her work, and she writes in that light, fun sort of way that new writers don’t seem capable of. I suggest everyone dig out their copy and re-read Dragonflight next week.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a rags to riches story set in a near future dystopian America. The basis of the story is the world is in extreme decay, human civilization in decline, the only escape most people have from their bleak lives is the OASIS, a huge virtual reality where most people spend their days. When the creator of OASIS dies, he leaves his huge fortune to anyone who can solve his three puzzles. Wade Watts is a poor chubby little boy living in a trailer park who solves the first puzzle and it launches him into the adventure of a lifetime.
Cline writes very well and I really enjoyed his characterizations. I completely understood why Wade Watts was in love with the primary female character Art3mis, because I had a crush on her myself by the middle of the book and Wade Watts was a likeable character who I readily identified with. The book is full of 1980′s nostalgia and trivia because James Halliday, then inventor of OASIS, grew up in the 80′s and his puzzles involved 80′s movies references, video games and music. Because I myself am a child of the 80′s, this made the book all that much more fun to read. This book is the best book I have read all year, it is fast, fun and intelligently written. I highly recommend it to anyone.
I have never cared for the SteamPunk sub-genre. I have never read a SteamPunk book or comic that was anything more than mildly amusing and even SteamPunk movies don’t really do much for me. For a long time I couldn’t really figure out why, I am a Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror reader. I enjoy most other sub-genres within those categories, so it felt odd that I didn’t really enjoy SteamPunk, especially since I enjoy SteamPunk’s elder cousin CyberPunk a lot.
Recently it dawned on my why, so far everything I have read has the emphasis on the “Steam” and not the “Punk”. What I mean is they tend to be gee wiz stories talking mostly about clockwork this and steam powered that, descriptions about an idealized Victorian setting. The problem is the Victorian age was not much fun and an idealized form of it is outright boring. The genre, paints a shallow facade of the 19th century where wars are fought by gentleman and no one of any consequence ever dies (except the peasants) and technology is a great fashion accessory but has not solved any real problems.
To any prospering SteamPunk authors out there I would like to explain to you what “Punk” actually means in the cultural sense. Punk is at its core about rebellion, it is about youth rebelling against the oppressive moral values of the older generation, it is rebellion of the poor and disenfranchised against the wealthy elite of society. Punk stories should be about cynical protagonists fighting and carving out a better life for himself against a society that wants him to grow up, accept his place and go back to the ghetto. Punk is about being beaten down and pushed into the sewer, it is dirty, it is gritty, but it is also about getting back up, crawling out of the sewer, screaming “I am not going to take this any more !” and fighting back. If you don’t understand what I am talking about go sit down and listen to everything done by the Romones, the Clash and the Sex Pistols between 1975 and 1980. If after that you still don’t get it, then might I suggest you move on to writing Romantic Fantasy.
I read The 10 Best Star Trek Episodes article at The Best Article Everyday with some reservations, this sort of thing is way too subjective and many a forum flame wars have been fought over this subject. I do not necessarily agree with all their choices, some of them seem to be stretching it to include one from every series (except Enterprise). However, it is a good try, there are several excellent choices and I 100% agree that Balance of Terror is probably the single best all time episode of Star Trek.
Normally I try to add some substance to these reviews, but Tron – Legacy was entirely “Meh”. While it did not suck, it was also not exceptional in any way. Don’t bother buying it unless you already have the original and are a completest of some kind. It is probably worth rotating through Netflix, but honestly, there is no hurry.
I have a pretty good memory, although sometimes it is a bit selective. For instance, I remember D&D games from 1980, I remember pretty much every TV show I have ever watched and I remember every book I have ever read, at least I thought I did anyway. Of course don’t ask me what my cell phone number is or my mothers birthday, because I will have to look it up.
For the last couple of years I have been re-reading many of the books I read as a teenager and young adult. So far I have remembered everyone one of them. Before re-reading them, I could tell you the plot, all the major characters and describe significant scenes. Some of those books stood the test of time and others did not.
These last couple of weeks I have been re-reading The Illuminatus! Trilogy. Oddly, these books have been a blind spot for me. I remember reading them, PezWitch remembers me reading them. However, in the re-reading it is like I never read the books at all. The only thing I remembered from the books is the main character Hagbard Celine and Fnord. This is a bit disorientating for me, however at least all the gags are new. The only explanation I have is obviously I am a victim of the Illuminati Orbital Mind Control Laser.
PezWitch picked up a copy of the original LP for Star Wars off of ebay for like $10, which included this poster, now hanging in her grrl cave.
Recently Time Magazine started publishing articles written decades ago online so readers could get a glimpse into the world of the 1930′s and 1940′s. One of those articles was about a small Science Fiction Convention taking place in Manhattan. The article is condescending and in some cases outright mean, proving that SciFi fandom has never gotten any respect, no real surprise there.