Please donate to I READS YOU

Sunday, December 21, 2014

I Reads You Review: OLD MAN'S WAR

OLD MAN'S WAR
TOR/Tom Doherty Associates – @torbooks

AUTHOR: John Scalzi
ISBN: 978-0765309402; hardcover (2005)
320pp, B&W, $. U.S.

Old Man's War is the debut novel from blogger and science fiction writer, John Scalzi.  The book was first published in 2005 (although there may have been a Science Fiction Book Club edition of the book published in late 2004).  It was nominated for one of science fiction literature's top honors, the Hugo Award for Best Novel, in 2006.

Old Man's War is a military science fiction novel in the tradition of Starship Troopers, the novel by the late author, Robert A. Heinlein, which was first published in hardcover in December 1959 (after being serialized in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction).  Old Man's War is the story of an old man who enlists in the human interstellar military force, which wages a constant war against aliens for the planets that humans colonize and the ones humans want to colonize.

Old Man's War is told as a first-person narrative by the novel's central character, John Nicholas Perry, a retired advertising writer.  Perry does two things on his 75th birthday:  (1) visit his wife, Kathy's grave and (2) join the army.  Ten years earlier, Perry and his wife had signed a letter of intent to join the Colonial Defense Forces.

You see, the good news about the future is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space.  The bad news is that planets fit to live on (or support complex life) are scarce.  The other races (or aliens) willing to fight for these scare planets are common, so the universe is a hostile place.  The Colonial Defense Forces (CDF) protects human interplanetary colonists.

Now, Perry takes the space elevator to CDF station.  It is the first step to training to fight in battles in ways that are totally different from how anyone or any military has ever fought on earth.  He travels to new planets, where he must sometimes kill the inhabitants, or kill other races that also want to colonize those planets.  Perry meets new people and new kinds of people and discovers things that are just new.  But before a 75-year-old man can fight for the CDF, he has to undergo a shocking change.

I don't like Old Man's War.  I love it; yes, “love” is the word that I want to use.  There were times that I stopped reading this book for a few days just to delay getting to the last page.  Of course, I later learned that Old Man's War is the first in a book series.

Old Man's War does remind me of Starship Troopers, which I read some time in the past ten years – I can't remember exactly when.  So this book is what Starship Troopers is, a military science fiction novel that is also philosophical about war and about why we (humans) fight wars – against ourselves and others.  Apparently, Robert Heinlein originally wrote Starship Troopers as an installment in his line juvenile science fiction novels.  With that in mind, Old Man's War came across to me as a boy's adventure novel with the boy being an old man who gets to have a great big old adventure thanks to war and future science.

I do not want to dismiss Old Man's War by genre or thematically, but sometimes, it is good enough that a novel is a great story.  And Old Man's War is a great story, a rousing adventure that captures the imagination. I read a lot of science fiction until my early 20s.  Since then, I have read it sporadically, occasionally seeking out books generally considered science fiction and fantasy classics.  Old Man's War feels like classic science fiction – a great yarn about strange aliens and strange places and about the science that can take us to those aliens and places.

Old Man's War is eternally youthful and fresh.  It is an ode to the best of science fiction, but told in a new voice so that the familiar still seems captivating.

A+

http://scalzi.com/
http://whatever.scalzi.com/

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.



Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review: MORIARTY

MORIARTY: A NOVEL
HARPCOLLINS – @HarperCollins

AUTHOR: Anthony Horowitz
ISBN: 978-0-06-237718-0; hardcover (December 2014)
304pp, B&W, $26.99 U.S.

Moriarty: A Novel is a 2014 crime thriller and detective novel from Anthony Horowitz, the author of the modern Sherlock Holmes novel, The House of Silk.  Horowitz is also known for creating the acclaimed British television series, “Foyle's War.”  In Moriarty, two men chase a mysterious figure who is determined to be the new crime lord of London.

This novel is set in the world of Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective, Sherlock Holmes.  The story begins (more or less) in April 1891, after Sherlock Holmes and Professor James Moriarty take their infamous plunge down the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland.  That event apparently left both men dead, or so the public believes.

Known as “the Napoleon of Crime,” Moriarty only appeared in one Sherlock Holmes story written by Arthur Conan Doyle.  This story, “The Final Problem,” was first published in Strand Magazine in December 1893.  Since this was the story that depicted the incidents around the Reichenbach Falls, it was Moriarty's first and last appearance (as far as Doyle's writing goes).

In Moriarty, two men arrive in the Swiss village of Meiringen, near the Reichenbach Falls, to view the drowned corpse of Moriarty.  One of them is Inspector Athelney Jones, a detective from Scotland Yard.  [Jones is a character originally created by Doyle and first appeared in The Sign of Four (1890), Doyle's second novel featuring Sherlock Holmes.]  The other man is Frederick Chase, an American and a senior investigator with the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

Chase tells Jones that Moriarty's death has left a convenient vacancy in London's criminal underworld.  While there is no shortage of candidates to take Moriarty's place, the one most likely to succeed is a particularly fiendish criminal mastermind from America.  He is Clarence Devereux, and Chase has... um... chased him across the Atlantic Ocean.  The problem is that, other than a few loyal lieutenants, no one knows what Devereux looks like.

Athelney Jones, who is also a devoted student of Sherlock Holmes, joins forces Chase to find a man who may be more dangerous than Moriarty.  Their investigation takes them all over Victorian London – from elegant neighborhoods to squalid districts and even into shadowy streets and lairs.  Devereux proves to be an elusive and dangerous man, and while Jones and Chase are capable men, they must also content with the fearsome reputation of Moriarty, whose shadow hangs over their investigation.

Don't turn away, dear reader.  Moriarty: A Novel is not another pastiche of Arthur Conan Doyle-written Sherlock Holmes stories – well, not entirely.  The novel starts slow, but simmers during the four chapters that set up the central mystery.  Then, the narrative explodes in Chapter 5 at CafĂ© Royal in London.  From that point, I chased this story through a series of big reveals, before contending with the shocking last third of the novel.

Yes, Moriarty is a good read.  That said, it's too clever or maybe a little too cute.  I think some of the story's surprises change the novel.  It is mostly an engrossing crime thriller; then, it becomes something that is, at best, a re-imagining of Holmes or, at worse, a pastiche of Doyle's Holmes stories.  I won't say that some surprises ruin the novel.  Rather, the novel seems to be one thing, before the author, Anthony Horowitz, changes its fundamental nature.

So, most of the novel is exceptionally entertaining.  The rest of it strikes an odd note.  Still, I want to see where Horowitz takes his ideas and concepts, so I recommend that you read this now for what may very well come later.  Fans of Sherlock Holmes and of Victorian mysteries will want to find Moriarty: A Novel.

B

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review: WAYWARD #5

WAYWARD #5
IMAGE COMICS – @ImageComics

STORY: Jim Zub – @jimzub
ART: Steve Cummings – @stekichikun
COLORS: Tamra Bonvillain – @TBonvillain
LETTERS: Marshall Dillon – @MarshallDillon
COVER: Steve Cummings with Tamra Bonvillain
VARIANT COVER: Marguerite Sauvage
28pp, Color, $3.50 U.S.

Wayward #5 arrives in comic book shops today (Wednesday, December 17, 2017).  It is the conclusion of the series' first story arc (“String Theory”).  Wayward is the creation of writer Jim Zub and penciller Steve Cummings.  Published by Image Comics, Wayward focuses on Rori Lane, a half-Irish/half-Japanese teen girl.  Rori is trying to start a new life in Japan with her mother, Sanae, only to find herself connected to the magic and ancient creatures that lurk in the shadows of Tokyo.

Wayward #5 (“Chapter Five”) opens after the battle in the decommissioned subway tunnels beneath Ueno Park.  Rori and her “gang” of fellow supernatural types, Ayane, Shirai, and Nikaido narrowly defeated a band of monsters.  Rori discovered, however, from the leader of their attackers, that all was not what it seemed.  Now, Rori races home, sensing that her mother, Sanae, is in danger.  It is actually worse and more complicated that she imagines.

As with previous issues, the ComicBookBin received an advanced review PDF copy of Wayward #5 that writer Jim Zub sent to reviewers.  This fifth issue is also the close of the series' first story arc.  Wayward is going on a two-month hiatus and will return in March 2015.

Zub and Cummings leave us with a beautifully drawn and exceptionally told series, and while they leave us with many questions, they also leave us caught in the weave.  We want to be Wayward.  With each new issue, Wayward expands its scope without losing its great sense of mystery.  With similarities to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, yokai manga, and Harry Potter, Wayward is that amazing new fantasy series we've been waiting for DC Comics' Vertigo imprint to give us.  Instead, Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, and Image Comics have given it to us.  Gimme more.

A

[Wayward #5 contains another engrossing essay, “Hyakki Yagyo and the Yokai Invasion,” by Zack Davisson (@ZackDavisson), with art by Steve Cummings.]

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.


Read Grumble: Chapter One - Page 8



Page 8 is here: http://www.comicbookbin.com/grumbleonepage008.html




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for December 17, 2014

DC COMICS

OCT140343     ARROW SEASON 2.5 #3     $2.99
SEP140316     AUTHORITY TP VOL 02     $24.99
AUG140328     BATGIRL HC VOL 05 DEADLINE (N52)     $24.99
SEP140305     BATGIRL TP VOL 04 WANTED (N52)     $16.99
OCT140293     BATMAN #37     $3.99
OCT140296     BATMAN #37 COMBO PACK     $4.99
JUL140240     BATMAN & ROBIN HC VOL 05 THE BIG BURN (N52)     $24.99
OCT140304     BATMAN AND ROBIN #37 (ROBIN RISES)     $2.99
OCT140290     BATMAN ETERNAL #37     $2.99
JUL140304     BATMAN KELLEY JONES GALLERY ED HC     $125.00
OCT140284     BATMAN SUPERMAN #17     $3.99
OCT140287     BATMAN SUPERMAN #17 COMBO PACK     $4.99
OCT140318     BATWOMAN #37     $2.99
OCT140324     CATWOMAN #37     $2.99
AUG140357     DMZ DELUXE EDITION HC BOOK 03 (MR)     $29.99
OCT140241     EARTH 2 WORLDS END #11     $2.99
OCT140389     FABLES #147 (MR)     $2.99
AUG140325     FUTURES END FIVE YEARS LATER OMNIBUS HC (N52)     $99.99
OCT140334     GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS #37 (GODHEAD)     $2.99
AUG140340     IDENTITY CRISIS 10TH ANNIVERSARY HC     $29.99
OCT140349     INFINITE CRISIS FIGHT FOR THE MULTIVERSE #6     $3.99
OCT140223     JUSTICE LEAGUE #37     $3.99
OCT140226     JUSTICE LEAGUE #37 COMBO PACK     $4.99
OCT140397     KITCHEN #2 (MR)     $2.99
OCT140381     MAD MAGAZINE #531     $5.99
OCT140218     MULTIVERSITY THUNDERWORLD #1     $4.99
OCT140257     NEW 52 FUTURES END #33 (WEEKLY)     $2.99
OCT140327     RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #37     $2.99
AUG140354     SANDMAN OVERTURE #4 COMBO PACK (MR)     $4.99
AUG140350     SANDMAN OVERTURE #4 CVR A (MR)     $3.99
AUG140351     SANDMAN OVERTURE #4 CVR B (MR)     $3.99
OCT140348     SMALLVILLE SEASON 11 CONTINUITY #1     $3.99
SEP140324     SPECTRE TP VOL 02 THE WRATH OF GOD     $19.99
OCT140281     SUPERGIRL #37     $2.99
SEP140323     SUPERMAN BATMAN TP VOL 02     $19.99
SEP140313     SWAMP THING TP VOL 05 THE KILLING FIELD (N52)     $14.99
OCT140262     TEEN TITANS #5     $2.99
OCT140380     TEEN TITANS GO #7     $2.99
OCT140264     TRINITY OF SIN #3     $2.99
OCT140266     WONDER WOMAN #37     $2.99

DC COMICS/DC COLLECTIBLES

JUL140295     BATMAN ARKHAM ORIGINS ACTION FIGURE 4 PACK     $59.95
JUN140319     BATMAN BLACK & WHITE STATUE BY MICHAEL TURNER     $79.95
JUL140302     DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS STATUE HOLIDAY HARLEY QUINN     $124.95
JUN140324     DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS ZATANNA STATUE     $124.95
JUN140326     SON OF BATMAN BATMAN AF     $19.95
JUN140327     SON OF BATMAN DEATHSTROKE AF     $19.95
JUN140328     SON OF BATMAN NIGHTWING AF     $19.95
JUN140329     SON OF BATMAN ROBIN AF     $19.95
JUN140320     SUPERMAN MAN OF STEEL STATUE ANIMATED SER     $79.95
MAY140436     SUPERMAN MINI STATUE NEW ED     $99.95
MAY140437     VERTIGO COVER GIRLS DEATH STATUE NEW ED     $99.95