Thursday, July 19, 2018

Comic of the Week #28

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Comic of the Week has been on a long hiatus but I wanted to bring it back since I've been reading graphic novels and comics again. Every week I'm going to showcase a comic or GN cover- could be old, could be new- and share a few thoughts on why I think it's special. Do you like what I picked out? Let me know in the comments, and as always, if you have a favorite cover or piece of comic art, let me know! 

This week is Silver Surfer #2. 

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Bookcover Spotlight #163

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Um... I'm heading for shore?    

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Blackfish City

Blackfish City

 Blackfish City is a hard book for me to review. I came into this with reasonable expectations but high hopes- I mean, you have a post apocalyptic world, rising sea levels, a city run by artificial intelligence, and an orcamancer. Yes, an orcamancer- someone bonded to a killer whale. Oh, and she has a polar bear too, as if the orca wasn't enough! I mean, what's not to like? And while there are some neat ideas here, and good writing, this book was a slow read for me. I'm not even sure why- I mean, I like dystopias- but there's just something about this that didn't work for me.

The central premise here is that the orcamancer arrives at Qaanaaq, a floating city in the far northern hemisphere, and her arrival sends shockwaves through the city. Mainly because of the novelty of her appearance- again, she has an orca and a bear- but even as everyone wants to know why she's there, we also get insights into Qaanaaq itself. And it's a fascinating place, with spiral arms radiating from a central hub, and aquadrones that protect the central core, greenish methane flares that light up the night (I especially liked those- imagine watching the greenish flares shoot into the sky against a backdrop of stars, or the northern lights). The worldbuilding and sense of imagination are there. But it's almost too much? I felt at times like, okay, this world is a mess, I got it, but I need something to happen.

Part of the problem may be the multiple points of view. We have Ankit, a political worker just trying to make it in the city; Kaev, a beam-fighter who throws fights to lesser contenders because that's his role; Fill, a gay man who gets in way over his head when he gets sucked into events in the city; and Soq- perhaps the most interesting of the bunch- a messenger of indeterminate gender who has plans for Qaanaaq- and they're not beneficial plans. Mixed in with these four POV's are themes of gender, climate change, the evils of real estate, rich/ poor divides, refugee issues- there's a lot going on here. The author has a lot to say about a lot of topics, and while some may feel it really brings this world to life, for me it was an awful lot for one story. Especially a story that takes a long time to go anywhere.

Qaanaaq is fascinating, like I said, not quite like any post apocalyptic setting I've read about, but at the same time there was so much going on that I never really felt like it was alive. The four point of view characters eventually come together, brought into contact with each other through events, and of course the orcamancer question looms over all. When it all does come together the story moves at a pretty good clip, and the climactic action scene was relatively interesting, but if you're looking for action or a fast moving story, I'm not sure this is it.

I have a hard time recommending this because I think for some readers it will absolutely work, and for others it might drag, like it did in my experience. I think the gender explorations were particularly well done, so that may be a bright spot- I had to laugh at one point when one of the characters sees a guy he thinks is hot, then thinks it's a girl, then has no idea what it is. Gender fluidity and the experience people have with that are a focus here. There's also a strong sense of frustration with the evils of capitalism and the way landlords perpetuate suffering among the poor- I mean, depending on your political views you may cheer or roll your eyes. I for one found myself agreeing with much I read, even though I wanted a little more escapism and a little less real world relevance, perhaps.

I'll leave you with this quote, which perhaps sums up much of the novel in terms of tone.

 "They banned political parties, which had- in the view of the artificial intelligences that drafted these rules, anyway- been vehicles of mob rule and mediocrity more often than efficient strategies for decision making."

The Kamandi Challenge #2

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The Kamandi Challenge is a twelve part round-robin storytelling competition, with each issue being done by a different creative team. The project is to honor Jack "The King" Kirby, creator of many of Marvel and DC's properties, by resurrecting a fan favorite character of his- Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth. Kamandi was a series that ran in the 70's and was a post- apocalyptic tale of a boy who made his way though a rugged wasteland after some Great Disaster. The world at this time has changed, with talking animals and only scattered pockets of humanity left. Humans have mostly reverted to savagery, with the more advanced animals treating them as little more than beasts.

The point of the Challenge was to tell a twelve part story with each installment written and drawn by a different creative team. Each story ends on a cliffhanger, with the next installment's creative team tasked with continuing the story, and by turn handing it off to the next team. I love the idea of this, and even though I've never read the original series I was intrigued and wanted to check it out. And the creative teams are a who's who of comic creators too, so added bonus.

So... let's take a trip into the apocalypse with the Kamandi Challenge.

Issue #2

Written by Peter Tomasi and illustrated by Neal Adams.

First of all I was excited to see comics legend Neal Adams doing the artwork for issue #2. We pick up right where issue #1 left off, with King Caesar of the Tiger people about to set off a nuclear warhead, like the idiot that he apparently is. Kamandi tries to warn him but gets slapped down, so he makes a break for it (sorry dude but you probably can't outrun a nuclear explosion- still, I'm sure I'd run too), but he doesn't get very far before being recaptured by his previous captor, Prince Tuftan. It doesn't look good for Kamandi, who laments that he's never going to kiss a girl, but when the countdown hits zero there's no explosion. Instead a great ape leaps out of the missile and starts killing tigers. A Trojan horse- the apes are striking the tigers unawares!

Kamandi seizes the opportunity to break free and manages to snag a bolo net gun. He also makes the acquaintance of a bird- like creature that guards the Museum of War, where the tigers are storing all the weapons they find. Kamandi finds himself in a forbidden area, where he unearths a weird chair that is apparently a teleportation device? He activates it- somehow- and transports himself, along with Dr. Canus and Tuftan, somewhere else. He and his animal companions have no idea where they are, until the nonhumans realize they are on the border of the Wild Human Reserve. Whatever that is.

Unfortunately they are confronted by two robots called Manhunters, and the two animals are quickly zapped. Kamandi's not going without a fight, though, and after being disarmed he throws himself off a cliff rather than be taken. Does he fall to his doom? Well, we'll have to find out next issue!

So this one wasn't too bad, although it didn't quite the match the first one for me. Obviously with a different team every issue the quality level is going to vary wildly, but I love the idea (and zaniness) of this and will definitely keep reading. And it's always a treat to see Neal Adams doing comics. 

Can't Wait Wednesday #31/ Midweek Stuff


 So here's a midweek round up of what I'm reading watching, etc. Plus Can't Wait Wednesday, hosted by Wishful endings. So sit back, raise a cuppa, and see what's new! And share what you're up to.  

This week my Can't Wait pick is Uncharted - sounds like a heady mix of mythology and fantasy.     


Uncharted

What I'm Reading

Strange New World (Brave New Girl, #2)

What I'm Watching

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Listening 


Misc Stuff

 This week Movies That Suck (?) will feature The Edge of Seventeen.       

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Top Ten Favorite Novellas/ Short Stories

 

 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy reader Girl. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted. Everyone is welcome to join. Link back so everyone can check out other bloggers' lists. It's a fun way to get to know fellow bloggers.

This week we are looking at novellas/ short stories.  And since it's my blog and I'll cheat if I want to I'm gonna include both novellas and comics/ graphic novels. So I'll be showing off a few of my favorite short stories and a few favorite GN's as well. And let me know in the comments what 
your favorites are!      

Planet of Exile

Probably my favorite short novel. It's only a bit over one hundred pages but packs so much story in those pages- love, betrayal, acceptance. 

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

The first Murderbot

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)

The second Murderbot lol- as good as the first! 

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)

The third Murderbot- which is not out yet but I'm calling it. 

The Young Queens (Three Dark Crowns, #0.2)

This adds so much to the story of the three queens.  

The Oracle Queen (Three Dark Crowns #0.1)

This tells the story of Elsabet the mad queen years before the current series. Adds a ton of info. 

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My favorite Tintin. 

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The Cave of Time (Choose Your Own Adventure, #1)

The Cave of Time- but really the whole Choose Your Own Adventure series because cool idea. 

 Alex + Ada: The Complete Collection

Alex and Ada  

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The Mutant Massacre may be my favorite X-Men story. Marauders set out to exterminate mutants living in the tunnels under NYC, and when the X-Men intervene there are casualties on both sides. This event changed character arcs and story directions for years


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Thunderbolts Ultimate Collection. Dark and crazy at times, this might be my favorite graphic novel to recommend. Villains posing as heroes, half the team are psychotic or just warped, and it's hilarious too. 

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This series is a trip. 

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The X-Men in the Savage Land collected here. 

Winter Soldier: Winter Kills #1

My favorite Winter Soldier story. Bucky spends Christmas thinking back on the things he's done, making some new acquaintances, and revisiting an old friend. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Midyear Book Freakout Tag


I was tagged in the Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag by Jo at Jo's Book Blog (thanks Jo!!!) and then I was tagged again by JJ at This Dark Material (thanks JJ!!!!!!) so here we are. :) And it made me think of this song, so for your listening pleasure you can listen to some Chic while reading my answers. Or whatever... and good luck getting that song out of your head afterwards!

Best Book You've Read So Far This Year

This is a toss up.

The Wolves of Winter

or

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces

Best Sequel You've Read So Far 

This Fallen Prey (Casey Duncan, #3)

New Release You Haven't Read Yet But Want To 

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)

Most Anticipated Releases For The Second Half Of The Year

Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers, #3)Echoes

Biggest Disappointment 

Blackfish City

Biggest Surprise 

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces

Favorite New Author 

Rogue Protocol Cover

Book That Made You Cry

The Wolves of WinterBefore Mars (Planetfall, #3)

Book That Made You Happy 

The Extinction Trials (The Extinction Trials, #1)

Favorite New Character 

Maybe ART from the second Murderbot novella? ART stands for Asshole Research Transport, BTW, a name that Murderbot rather un- affectionately gives it!

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)

Favorite Book To Film Adaptation 

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Most Beautiful Book You Bought This Year

The Wolves of Winter

Favorite Post You've Done This Year

That's a toughie. Probably Why Dragons Are Like Cats or maybe Best Car Chases

Kamandi Challenge

KAMAND CAN·YOU SOLVE IT BEFORE THEY DO? WELVE TM CHALLENGE THE ADVENTURES OF THE LAST BOY chapter ON EARTH! ABNET EAGLESHAM.一 GIFFEN KOBLISH HI-FI RATED TTES OMICS.COM MAR 2017

The Kamandi Challenge is kind of a neat thing. DC Comics decided to celebrate Jack "The King" Kirby, creator of many of Marvel and DC's properties, by resurrecting a fan favorite character of his- Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth. Kamandi was a series that ran in the 70's and was a post- apocalyptic tale of a boy who made his way though a rugged wasteland after some Great Disaster. The world at this time has changed, with talking animals and only scattered pockets of humanity left. Humans have mostly reverted to savagery, with the more advanced animals treating them as little more than beasts. Kamandi's name is a mash-up of Command D, a bunker where the boy was raised by his grandfather. When his grandfather is killed, Kamandi ventures out into the world to make his way.

The point of the Challenge was to tell a twelve part story, in honor of Kirby, with each installment written and drawn by a different creative team. Each story ends on a cliffhanger, with the next installment's creative team tasked with continuing the story, and by turn handing it off to the next team. I love the idea of this, and even though I've never read the original series I was intrigued and wanted to check it out. And the creative teams are a who's who of comic creators too, so added bonus.

So... let's take a trip into the apocalypse with the Kamandi Challenge. The first issue is split into two halves, with two creative teams doing their thing.

Issue #1

Written by Dan DiDio and illustrated by Keith Giffen.

The boy who will become Kamandi wakes up late for school and has to make a run for the bus. Unfortunately the world is ending- or his is, at any rate. Apparently the bucolic small town he lives in is a bunker? And everyone in it (other than him) is tasked with guarding him. As invaders overrun the town, everyone else apparently dies defending the boy, who manages to escape after his grandmother ushers into a chamber where he'll be safe. This chamber somehow educates him, including a directive to "remember Command D,"  but after an indeterminate amount of time he is removed from the chamber and captured by talking animals, who throw him into an arena to fight for their amusement.


Written by Dan Abnett and illustrated by Dale Eaglesham.

Eaglesham is one of my favorite comic artists and this section has amazing art. Kamandi is in the arena and facing off against a huge gorilla named Tiny. After outsmarting the beast he is slated to train as a gladiator, with Prince Tuftan (a talking tiger) instructing Dr. Canus to get him ready. Neither initially believes him to actually be intelligent. Kamandi tells Canus about the dream-like memories of his prior existence, along with the knowledge that he is to seek out his parents. It turns out Kamandi is in Tiger City, ruled by King Caesar, who is away on campaign. Tuftan is his son.

Canus is showing Kamandi around when Caesar returns, having crushed a leopard army, and bringing many of them back as prisoners. He also has a nuclear warhead he has brought back, and Kamandi realizes he is stockpiling weapons. Caesar instructs his scientists to "wake the god," which translates to arm the nuclear weapon, which begins counting down to detonation. Kamandi warns Canus that they're about to be blown to bits, but he doesn't get it.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Sunday Post #254


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Date 
  
Well it's mid- July already. Is anyone else shocked? Remember when summer used to last forever? Clearly it doesn't anymore. It's been hot too. I'm kinda looking forward to fall already, with cooler temps and changing leaves. I need that bite in the air, cider and doughnuts, a harvest moon and pumpkins... 

I'm still reading Blackfish City- that one's been kind of a slog. Not a bad book but just not super exciting, you know? I should finish it this weekend, and then return to either The Lies they Tell or Rachel Vincent's new one- which would you pick? I do have a read-a-long coming up for Record of a Spaceborn Few later this month or in August- whenever we get to it- with LaLa in the Library, Jo's Book Blog and A Dance With Books. Gonna be fun.  

This week Movies That Suck featured The Guns of Navarone. This week will be Edge of Seventeen and I had a suggestion for Big Trouble in Little China, which I will happily accommodate! Plus the Sinbad movies are coming up. Life is goooood. Oh and my Nancy Drew/ Hardy Boys Tag is coming. And... since I haven't shared any writing in a while, I have a new flash fiction on the way, inspired by this image   
      
Blackfish CityThe Lies They TellStrange New World (Brave New Girl, #2)Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers, #3)Image result for the jetsons comicRelated imageImage result for the guns of navarone

Song of the week 



PULP COVER OF THE WEEK: 

vintage pulp fiction

NEW ARRIVAL/ UPCOMING REVIEWS:

Survive the NightAdrift
BOOKISH LINKS

Here's an overhead look at Sleeping Bear Dunes. 



And here's a nice shot of Lake Michigan at the Dunes, although for some reason after the 4 second mark the view shifts to some rocks- not sure why- but the beginning and end show the lake off nicely! 



Gemma at Secrets of the Citadel breaks down the crypts of Winterfell- and their secrets- for us. 




And... as many of you know, a new Song of Ice and Fire book is coming out this year. No, not The Winds of Winter, but Fire and Blood- 700 pages of Targaryen history. Gemma takes a look at what to expect. 


With summer upon us I thought I'd share a little Michigan love, summer version.   




Collection of magnificent Middle-Earth illustrations along with detailed Lore - Imgur


the beach cafe. by megatruh

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This one's pretty dark and is called Vader the Emperor. I guess in this version he wasn't redeemed and killed the Emperor and Luke.

Vader the Emperor., Maciej Drabik on ArtStation at https://www.artstation.com/artwork/vader-the-emperor

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Sith attack

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Tsuneo Sanda poster

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SHADOW OF EVIL | STAR WARS ORIGINAL ART | SANDAWORLD.COM | The Art of TSUNEO SANDA

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TIE Fighter Pilot - Star Wars - Rafał Rola

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Some Sith cosplay. 

Lady Sith Cosplay.  Costume: shiveeejam Photo: SLDixon Photography