John Scalzi’s new book The Human Division was an experiment of sorts and it shows. The book was released as a weekly series of episodes that were semi-related (same characters and related plot developments), but could sit alone without any problem. However, the experimental release format makes the novel not really hold together well, as it reads more like a collection of stories, than a coherent narrative. I don’t want to give the impression that it’s bad, because I did enjoy it. Let’s check it out.
Just so we’re all clear about this, NOS4A2 is a license plate version of Nosferatu (yes, this Nosferatu). It’s also the title of Joe Hill’s latest novel. Hill’s made himself known with his short stories, a couple of good novels and a well-regarded comic book series. But this is his first novel with an epic feel. And he succeeds somewhat, even though there are some bumps along the way. So, let’s go check it out.
Quick Review of Iron Man: Season One, which I only picked up due to Howard Chaykin’s name. If you’ve seen the first Iron Man movie, then this book is an inferior version of the movie. There were some changes (Tony Stark is a drunk and the big, bad mecha fight is between Tony and his captor). Gerald Parel’s art is decent, but not great. I don’t want to make this sound like a horrible book, it just really had no business for existing, as it doesn’t do anything new and doesn’t do it that well. Not Recommended.
Austin Grossman (twin brother to The Magicians author Lev Grossman) might not have the critical acclaim that his brother does, but his novels are interesting and, in many ways, better than his brother. His first novel, Soon I Will Be Invincible(my review), was a wonderful story of a supervillian. For his new book, the confusingly titled You, Grossman takes us behind the scenes in the history of a video game company. Let’s check out what it’s about.
I loved Karen Lord’s Debut novel Redemption In Indigo(my review). It was an exciting story with a completely different perspective than I usually read. Even though I’m not a huge fantasy fan, her story was different and a lot of fun to read. So, when I heard that her next novel was a science fiction story, I knew I had to read it. The Best of All Possible Worlds met and exceeded my hopes. It’s a thoughtful character driven story about the aftereffects of a genocide. Let’s check it out.
Dipping once again into the well of Xanth. After reading Piers Anthony’s first Xanth novel, A Spell for Chameleon(my review), I decided to gamble on my memory of the second book being decent and read The Source of Magic as well. While it wasn’t bad (although had some sexism issues which I’ll discuss below), it wasn’t good enough for me to consider reading more in the series. Also this is the last book with the first generation of Xanth residents. Going forward, the book starts focusing on the younger generation and having progressively more puns. So, let’s see what happens.
I came to this book the long way around. I first saw the movie Jumper and thought it was an interesting premise, marred by bad execution and a ridiculous final half. Not knowing much about the book, I wasn’t in a rush to read it. But I heard good things about the book (and how it was better than the movie), so I finally tracked it down and read Steven Gould’s Jumper. I’m happy to report that it’s much better than the movie, but still has some issues. Let’s go check it out.
Science fiction is a wonderful medium for satire. The use of aliens as outsiders to poke fun at our foibles are a wonderful mechanism to satirize our world. Rob Reid tried to do this in his novel, Year Zero. The aliens come in to help poke fun at music piracy and its punishments. But Reid’s novel just doesn’t work. His aliens are silly and the premise is weak. It’s a decent idea with very flawed execution and I just couldn’t finish it. Let’s check it out.
Piers Anthony has, justifiably, taken a lot of grief over Xanth, his teen sex series. But, as I reviewed the first book, A Spell for Chameleon (my review), it was obvious that it wasn’t meant to start out that way. I decided to go back to another series of Anthony’s that I kind of liked when it came out (and I was much younger). On a Pale Horse is the first book in the Incarnations of Immortality. The series follows (one book at a time) the human incarnations of immortal beings Death, Fate, Nature, War, Time as well as God and Satan. I should note that the first book, which follows the incarnation of Death, appeared 3 full years before Neil Gaiman started his Sandman series with the anthropomorphized endless, which are similar (at times) to what Anthony has done. So, let’s check out the story.
I’m not a huge Peter Hamilton fan. I’ve enjoyed some of his books, but they always seem like the editor lost the battle about trimming the book down. His latest doorstop, Great North Road, is my favorite type of book, a science fiction mystery book. But, since Peter Hamilton wrote it, we have an almost 1000 page book with a story that spreads over 20+ years and two cities on separate planets. It’s not a bad book, but it’s very slow in places and has storylines and whole chapters that could have been eliminated or severely chopped down without losing anything in the story.