01 May 2005

April's Reading

The Prodigal Sun by Sean Williams and Shane Dix. Not as good as Williams' solo fantasy. Rather average space opera. Have I mentioned that I absolutely hate science fiction with psychic powers in it? I mean, just admit you want to write fantasy and do it. Bah! I had to give up on this one, it just wasn't going anywhere I wanted to be.

The Billy Ruffian by David Cordingly. A biography of HMS Bellerophon with associated history of the Napoleonic Wars. Very good. Cordingly does a phenomenal job of making what could have been a very dry, tedious listing of details of the ship's travels and engagements into an exciting story. It helps that the Bellerophon was in key positions in the Glorious First of June, the Battle of the Nile and the Battle of Trafalgar, of course.

Sloop of War, To Glory We Steer, Command A King's Ship, Passage To Mutiny and With All Despatch by Alexander Kent. These next few novels are much better than the first ones. Bolitho was clearly just waiting for a command (Sloop of War details his first) to bloom into a much more interesting character. Both the story and the characterization here are great. Highly recommended.

Isaac the Pirate 2 by Christophe Blain. Second volume of a strange comic about a Jewish artist in probably 18th century Paris who ends up in a pirate crew. The first one was better, this has less humour and more gruesome death.

Invincible (all written so far) by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker. Hilarious teen superhero parody comic. Read it. Takes a much more serious turn in #3 but it's still good.

The Walking Dead (all written so far) by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore. Very good zombie comic. Unlike Invincible, there aren't any funny bits at all. Scary and tense, and things don't turn out well. A good story, though

100 Bullets (every damn one that's been written so far) by Brian Azzarello. Reading them in order made much more sense than #5 by itself. Brutal, nasty people in a really pretty cool conspiracy. I look forward to finding out what's really going on but that's still 40 issues away, apparently.

Sleeper (every damn one of these too) by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Extremely grim comic about a deep-cover agent infiltrating a super-villain organization. Very good but harsh. Things just don't go well for the poor guy, and so far it shows no sign of getting cheerier.

Gotham Central (volume 1) by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka. Nice comic about what it might be like to be a cop in Gotham City. Some funny moments but some grim ones too.

Queen & Country (volumes 1 & 2) by Greg Rucka. Good spy comics.

Stamping Butterflies by John Courtney Grimwood. Couldn't get into this one. Author trying far to hard to be complex (and thus difficult). Seemed to have some cool ideas buried there but not good enough to actually find them.

A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett. Sequel the The Wee Free Men and pretty much carries on just like the first one. Funny, good.

Old Man's War by John Scalzi. Extremely good and often hilarious space opera/war novel. Kind of like Starship Troopers or The Forever War in style. The basic idea is that old people can join the Colonial defense Force and get rejuvenated. We follow one old guy through the process. A good story and worth it just for the scene where he gets introduced to his "BrainPal" computer.

Lost Worlds by Michael Bywater. Strange miscellany of things that have been lost, with commentary. Evenly split between interesting odd stuff, his personal nostalgia and thoughts about mortality. Interesting.

Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen. Really, really good comic about what it's like to be called "Clark Kent".

Plastic Man: On The Lam by Kyle Baker. Very odd, quite fun. Like a Ren & Stimpy superhero comic or something.

A Scattering Of Jades by Alexander C Irvine. Recommended by Kenneth Hite as not quite as good as Tim Powers but definitely good enough while waiting for Powers' next novel. That's a pretty good description. Similar style and use of secret magic history, but not quite as compelling as a Powers novel. Still very good, of course. It's set in the early 19th century and deals with Aztec gods coming back to life with cameos from Edgar Allan Poe, P T Barnum and Aaron Burr.

Singularity Sky by Charles Stross. I've been wanting to read this for a while and finally found it for sale locally. Very cool hard SF dealing with the effects of a singularity inflicted upon a world - suddenly everyone can have anything they want from the super-high-tech visitors. A lot of fun.

Book total this month: 30 or so (I kind of lost track of all the graphic novels there) and year so far: 74. The other half's reading this month is here.

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