Saturday, July 29, 2006

Screaming and Whispering

From a Whisper to a Scream is one of Charles de Lint's horror novels. As with many of his works, it's set in the fictional city of Newford.

The ghost of Teddy Bird, a pedophile and serial killer, is killing young prostitutes in Newford's "Combat Zone." His daughter Niki, a Native American cop, and a photographer try to stop the killings. So does a voodoo priest/mob boss, but he and his goons get killed. Basically, other than the violence, this book isn't any different from most of de Lint's books.

That's not a bad thing, though, because I love de Lint's books. I found the ending somewhat less than satisfying, but not too disappointing. That said, I give From a Whisper to a Scream 4 yo-yos.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Arms of Stone Will Break My Bones, But Words Will Never Hurt Me

I decided to read some of the book's by Victoria Strauss and Ann Crispin because I like their Writer Beware Blog. I started off with Victoria's Arm of the Stone, mainly because it had lots of good reviews on Amazon. It's about to get another good review here.

The book is mainly about a guy named Bron. Ages ago, his family owned a magical Stone. Then some guy called Percival stole it (or rescued it depending on who you believe). Then the world split into two worlds, one of Mind (magic) and one of the Hand (technology). Percy took the Stone to the Mind side and founded the Guardians, who are dedicated to preventing the spread of technology, because they believe it to be inimical to Mind power. Over time, they become cruel and corrupt.

Bron's family has passed down an ancient tale which says that they are the rightful owners of the stone and Percy was a nasty villain. The rest of the world believes that Bron's ancestor's were villains and Percy was a hero. Bron's tale also includes a prophecy about a Chosen One who will rescue the stone. Naturally, this being a fantasy novel, it turns out that Bron is the Chosen One.

What I really like about this book is that it's not as straightforward as most of the books with ancient prophecies and chosen ones. Bron doesn't gather a ragtag army. He doesn't lay siege to the Guardian's fortress. He doesn't kill the Guardian's leader. Thank God.

He joins the Guardians and becomes a member of the Arm of the Stone, an elite group that hunts down anyone who dares to improve upon technology. He quickly realizes that his family's tale is a load of crap. He also realizes that the Guardian's story is crap and that technology isn't inherently evil. When the other Guardians find out about they aren't very happy with him, but since he really is the Chosen One, he does fulfill that prophecy.

I really love the way Bron's character develops through the story. I didn't really care for Liliane, the other view point character as much. She doesn't really seem to develop through the story. She starts off as a naive girl who believes that all the cruelties she's put through as a novice are some sort of Test. She ends up as a woman who blindly follows orders and turns the man she loves (Bron) over to the Arm of Stone, even though anyone but an idiot could tell it would bring about her own downfall.

Still, I do think this is a great book. I give it 4.5 yo-yos. Up next, Charles de Lint's From a Whisper to a Scream.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

More Web Comics

Since I got a shipment of books from Amazon, I put Firethorn aside and Started reading The Arm of the Stone, so I'm not finished with any books do reviews on. Hence, I've got another web comic review. It's Inq Tales, a collection of comics by IngaLill Roesberg of Norway. As far as I can make out, these were originally published as regular comics in Norway, and are now being posted on the Web in English. She has two series going on the site, The Knights of Dor and Felina.

The Knights of Dor is a fantasy about seven knights fighting against an ancient prophecy. Every five hundred years an evil wizard arises to rule over the lands of Dor. The Knights of Dor fight against the evil wizard. The comic has a nice mix of action and comedy that I just love.

Felina is, as you can guess from the title, about a cat. She reminds me of nothing so much as Puss in Boots, and all the other fairy tales where a really clever person outwits a bunch strong, but stupid, people (or ogres or giants or whatever). Those were always my favorite kind of fairy tales. Felina is also very funny, and I highly recommend it.

As far as I can make out, Knights of Dor is updated Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Felina seems to be updated daily. I give both of these 5 yo-yos.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hegemon, Use Vine Whip!

I usually like Orson Scott Card's stuff, and Shadow of the Hegemon is no exception. It is a very compelling story full of interesting characters.

The only thing that gave me any trouble were the names. For some reason, Hegemon just sounds like a Pokemon. I picture it as a grass-type Pokemon that looks like a bush. It evolves into shrub. Or something like that. There's also Chamrajnagar, who is a minor character. As he's from India, I'd guess it's an Indian name. I do know a girl from India, but since she's actually in India at the moment, I can't ask her if it's a real name or how it's pronounced. So, I just think of him as Charmander.

None of that hurts the book. In fact, it's really just me being silly. The characters are just great. Bean is kind of a pain in the ass, but he's very loyal to his friends. Peter Wiggin is also a pain in the ass, but he actually would make a good leader. Petra's a pain in the ass too, at least somewhat, but she holds up remarkably well in the hands of a psychopath. Achilles is one of the greatest villains I've ever read; he combines being a psychopath with being a genius very well.

The plot centers around Bean's efforts to rescue Petra, and the other Battle School graduates, from Achilles. Sure he also helps Peter become Hegemon (the titular ruler of Earth), but that's not the focus of the story. It's not all that secure of a position anyway, since Achilles' machinations have made him the unofficial ruler of most of Asia and a big part of Europe.

Unfortunately, the end leaves us hanging a bit. Is Achilles still alive and a threat? Probably, but now I'll have to read the next book to be sure. Anyway, I'll give Shadow of the Hegemon 5 yo-yos. Right now, I'm reading Firethorn by Sarah Micklem. So far, I'm not liking it all that much, but seeing as how I got the hardcover out of a bargain bin in my grocery store for $5.99, I wasn't expecting a masterpiece. Still, I'll have to finish it before I give an actual verdict.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Pointless Update and a Bad Pun

Since I like to try and post at least every other day now, I thought I let you all know that I've just about finished OSC's Shadow of the Hegemon and I'll probably have the review up sometime tomorrow.

Okay, now for the pun. I rented the DVD Masters of Horror: John Landis - Deer Woman, and I have to say that the Deer Woman sure had a nice rack. Sorry, but I just couldn't help myself.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Final Garrett Omnibus

I just finished with Glen Cook's Garrett on the Case, which is the last of the Garrett omnibuses (unless Cook writes more Garrett books).

As usual, I loved it. I'm not really sure why I love the Garrett books. It's probably the combination of fantasy and mystery. The first novel in the omnibus, Angry Lead Skies is actually a science fantasy mystery,, I suppose, as it features aliens in flying saucers causing Garrett all kinds of trouble. The second novel, Whispering Nickel Idols, has Garrett trying to save Chodo Contague, the local crime boss, while simultaneously fighting off an evil cult that has really bad taste in pants.

That's another thing I like about the Garrett books: the humor. Where else would you find a cult that's easily identifiable because it's members all wear green plaid pants? There's also lots of wise cracks, and Garret's often comical first person narration. And then there's his problem with women.

I'm not really sure how a man who's getting on in years, who's out of shape, and who gets beat up so regularly that he can't possibly be handsome anymore gets so many women to fall in love with him. He's got Tinnie Tate, the vivacious red head, Belinda Conague, the psychotic crime lord, Pular Singe, the rat girl, a trio of ETs, a pixie, and dozens more in the previous books. I wish I had those kinds of problems. Sigh.

I wasn't completely satisfied with the ending of the second novel, and I kept getting the various groups of ETs confused in the first one, but other than that I had no complaints. I give this one 4.5 yo-yos.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gotta Love That Coinstar

Well, I just cashed a big jar of coins in at my nearest Coinstar Machine. Not for the cash--I wouldn't pay 8.9 cents per dollar for that--but for an Amazon gift certificate (they waive the fee for those). Anyway, once Amazon ships my stuff, you can expect to see the following reviews sooner or later:

The Arm of the Stone
By: Victoria Strauss

From a Whisper to a Scream
By: Charles de Lint

Necroscope: The Lost Years By: Brian Lumley

Necroscope: Resurgence: The Lost Years: Volume Two By: Brian Lumley

Necroscope: Avengers By: Brian Lumley

Necroscope: Defilers By: Brian Lumley

Necroscope: Invaders By: Brian Lumley

The Sandman: Endless Nights By: Neil Gaiman

Jill the Reckless By: P. G. Wodehouse

Love Among the Chickens By: P. G. Wodehouse

The Collected Jorkens, Vol. 1: The Travel Tales of Mr. Joseph Jorkens and Jorkens Remembers Africa By: Lord Dunsany, S. T. Joshi (Editor)

The Weird Al Show - The Complete Series [DVD]

Of course, Amazon says that Victoria Strauss's book will be shipped next week and the others won't be shipped until next month. I'm not sure why for some of them. Sure, The Weird Al Show isn't going to be released until next month, and the Jorkens book says it ships in 2 to 3 weeks, but the others all say they ship in 24 hours. Sigh, Amazon can be a pain sometimes. They still haven't shipped my copy of Dominic Deegan: Crystal Clear and I ordered that almost 2 months ago. Oh well, this is Yoyogod signing off.

Can't Touch This!

Well, I finished Brian Lumley's Necroscope: The Touch yesterday. As is usual with Lumley's Necroscope books, I liked it. This one is different than the other ones I've read.

First off, Harry's dead in this one; yes, I know he's dead in the Vampire World and E Branch trilogies too, but I haven't read them yet. In this book, the Necroscope is Scott St. John. Scott's wife died at exactly the same time as Harry Keogh, and he (Scott, I mean) received a metaphysical golden arrow containing a part of Harry's soul. Of course, Scott is so messed up by his wife's death--and he doesn't really believe in his powers anyway--so he doesn't use his new found powers until near the end of the book.

The other major difference between this book and the other Necroscope books is the villains; they aren't vampires this time. Instead, the world is facing imminent destruction at the hands of a trio of insane aliens. All members of their species have the ability to warp flesh with just a touch. Most members of their race used it to heal, but the Mordri Three, as the aliens are called, use it to torture and kill.

The Mordri Three are on a quest to prove the nonexistence of God. Their theory is that since God is good, He would try to stop evil, so they will be as evil as possible, and if God doesn't stop them, He doesn't exist. They show their evil not just through killing and torture, but also by destroying entire planets. So far, they've wiped out three planets and three civilizations, and Earth is next.

Scott isn't alone in his fight. He is aided by a wolf and a good alien--who make up his Three--and by E Branch. There isn't much they can do though, until Scott finally stops screwing around and uses his Necroscope powers. It's pretty obvious why Scott waited so long to use his powers. It's because otherwise the novel would have been a short story.

Sadly enough, despite all their powers, their vast knowledge, and their advanced technology, the aliens seemed no more formidable than the vampires. As much as I like these books, the Necroscope's just too damn strong. With all his powers, he can beat just about anybody with no trouble. Even so, I found this book very entertaining, so I'll give it 5 yo-yos.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

McNinja. . .Dr. McNinja

Well, since I still haven't finished reading any new books, and I don't like going more than two days without a post anymore, it's time for another web comic review. As you can probably guess from the title, I'll be reviewing The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.

Just as the name implies, Dr. McNinja is a doctor and a ninja. According to the comic, Dr. McNinja's ancestors were Irish. One day several centuries ago, their village was attacked by pirates, and Dr. McNinja's ancestors fought them off using frozen shamrocks. This impressed a passing ninja, who trained them in the art of ninjitsu.

Dr. McNinja is, more or less, the black sheep of the family. His parents don't approve of his being a doctor. They'd rather see him kill people than cure them. Not that he doesn't kill people, he just doesn't kill enough people to make mom and dad happy.

He's fought many strange adversaries in his comics: Ronald McDonald, a gang of dinosaur-riding banditos, a muscle guy with an organic jet pack, a giant lumberjack, and the ancestor of the pirate who attacked Dr. McNinja's ancestors' village. He also has some odd friends, including a gorilla receptionist and a Mexican boy with a silly mustache for a sidekick. I know it all sounds rather silly, but that's okay; I like silly.

Now would be an excellent time for anyone to start reading the comic, because a new story will start on Monday. The Adventures of Dr. McNinja is second only to Dominic Deegan on my list of favorite web comics, so I'll give Dr. McNinja 5 yo-yos Hopefully I'll finish my next book soon. It's The Touch, Brian Lumley's's latest Necroscope book (this time with no vampires!).

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Good, Annoying, Confusing

Well, I just finished Reading Tristan Egolf's Kornwolf: A Novel. I thought it was a very good book, though parts of it were annoying, and the ending was very confusing.

I won't hold the fact that it annoyed me against the book, because what annoyed me probably wouldn't annoy most people. It's a matter of names. Throughout the book, Pennsylvania is referred to as Pennsyltucky, which is a name that generally implies that everyone in the state--outside of Philadelphia--is a bunch of dumb-ass, redneck hillbillies. Sure, I'm not under any illusions that much of the population in my states more rural areas, and smaller towns and cities, is a bunch of dumb-ass, redneck hillbillies--I just have to read the letters column in any local paper to know that--but I'd prefer it if a writer didn't use a slang term as if it were the proper name. I also don't like the way he presented the town names. He used the proper names of the embarrassingly named towns of Blue Ball, Intercourse, and Bird-In-Hand. He misspelled others with more ordinary names as Yorc (York, obviously), Rudding (Reading), Alleytown (Allentown), Horaceburg (Harrisburg), and Philth Town (I'm guessing Philadelphia).

Spoiler Warning: Some of the next paragraph may be considered a spoiler!

Besides that, this is a great story. Owen, an out of work reporter, shows up in rural "Pennsyltucky" to learn boxing and is hired onto the local paper. Soon he gets his hands on the picture of a vaguely Richard Nixon-like monstrosity called the Blue Ball Devil or the Kornwolf. The Kornwolf is an Amish boy named Ephraim. On the nights surrounding the new and full moons, and occasionally at other times, he turns into a werewolf and goes on a rampage. It turns out that Owen's boxing coach, Jack, was the original Kornwolf and was Ephraim's father and also his uncle (remember what I said about hillbillies). In the end, Ephraim goes on a brutal rampage and kills the abusive man who raised him, and several other people. In the end, he is rescued by Jack and whisked away to parts unknown.

The only thing I didn't like was the ending. It left too much unresolved. There is mention made of a mysterious deal between Jack and Owen, but we're never given any details. We're never told what Jack did in Vietnam, though we're definitely intended to want to know. We don't know how Jack overcame his lycanthropy or how he plans to help Ephraim. We're also left wondering what the deal was with Jack's, probably Native American Friend, Scarlet. She is supposedly waiting for Jack in Indiana, which leads me to guess that she's supposed to be a shaman, or something, with werewolf healing abilities. That seems a bit cliched for this book, though.

Despite the ending, I thought this book was great. I give it 4.5 yo-yos.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different

No, I'm not going to review Monty Python's Flying Circus. I'm not reviewing Kornwolf either, because I still haven't finished it. Instead, I'm going to share something that amused me, the book descriptions at

As you probably know, Lulu allows anyone to publish a book for free. This means that they publish some of the most godawful crap imaginable. Some of their stuff seems to be good too, though; I noticed one book that has a positive review by Kirkus in its description. Books like that don't interest me right now. I'm going to share some of the descriptions from their Science Fiction & Fantasy section that are so horribly written, you just wonder about how bad the book is.

Here's one for a book called Weird Wide Web. This one is actually fairly intriguing, and I'd almost like to buy it just to find out if it's any good. If it was written this way on purpose, it may be very funny, or it may be the deranged ramblings of a lunatic:

Weird wide web Fantasy and Science Fiction authors invent weird worlds. Often with planets with unlikely names like Google or Lycos with gods with names like Sergey and Brin who live on a mountain called Altavista, high view, the centre of a weird world endlessly searching, searching, like the Flying Dutchman. My computer came from a company called Time Computers. It is was a Time machine. But Time computers have ceased to exist. Time has stopped. But the clock still ticks. The internet has heroes with made up names like Captain Bill Gates on spaceships with names like Explorer. The starship Internet Explorer has a wizard to magic you up. No witches though. Sexist. The Weird Wide Web invents non-existent characters. They invent a world where nothing and nobody is real. Fantasy land. Arthur Brownwindsor is on all the major search engines. As is his lady wife Lucinda Brownwindsor. And their friend, mime artist star of Windsor Silent Radio, Marcel L’Aise. I bet you are not.

Here's one called Eden (sic throughout). I'd also like to say, "Mr. M. C. Duncan, if you want to review your own book, please use a better alias than Melvin Duncan.":

A lost colony. Supplies run out and they revert to horses and water wheels. For two thousand years they live the primitive life. New customs develop to fit the situation.Poor Mark, He becomes a keeper at age eleve with a mystery to solve. At age thirteeh he has to choose a bride. Who should he chose. Find out what happens. How do they survive? Will Mark make a good choice? Will the space ships come again?

From the description of Carouse the Planet Paltip, I'm guessing it might be a Choose Your Own Adventure type of thing, but at only nine pages, it seems a little short even for that:

Carouse of the Planet Paltip is a guided sci-fi adventure to land on the planet, and this broadminded fun here begins at describing it as a miscellaneous panorama.

Here's the description of The International Guild, which leaves me with a few questions. How can a novel that seems to be set in the future take place in contemporary times? Wouldn't a woman who is unique be very special by definition? Why would a Christian organization be preserving science and a Secular Humanism organization be trying to destroy it when experience indicates the opposite is far far more likely? Anyway, here's the quote:

The Guild is the result of the world going into the dark ages and a group of scientists, theologians, and philosophers that formed a secret society to preserve knowledge. Through the years the Guild became far more advanced than the rest of the world. The First Caste is the adversary of the The Guild. War is imminent between the two. The book is set in contemporary times. The main character is Michael, and a very special and unique woman named Jane. The longer Michael spends time with Jane the more he realizes there is something very different about her and her family. He learns that she is part of a secret society, a society that he will join. As Michael and Jane’s relationship grows a war breaks out between the two groups. Michael and Jane both get caught up in the war. The book portrays The Guild, the protagonists, as Christians. The contrast is between the Christians and those with humanist world views, The First Caste.

Despite the fact that Revelations has a good review and a high rating, it's description is very poorly punctuated. A comma is used in place of a semicolon, and there's no comma in a compound sentence:

A disease plagues the dark streets of Colton Falls, a disease that bleeds softly up from the catacombs below. Men and women dissappear into the night and those few that are seen again are something different. Into this nightmare scape walks a man whose days are destined to be numbered.

Okay, that's all the time I have for now. I'll be back soon.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A bit OT

Well, I still haven't finished Kornwolf, mainly because I got the latest Fortean Times yesterday. I don't particularly feel like doing another web comic review, so I'm going a little off topic today.

A few weeks ago, while reading the news on the FT website, there was a link to an article about a spy blimp. Among the comments, I noticed this little gem (sic throughout):

Is this the same blimp that started 2 illegal wars, cages protestors, forces book outlets like Amazon to stop stocking books like "America Deceived" by E.A. Blayre III and spies on all citizens? No that's not a blimp, it's the people buying the blimp. I'm sure they won't use it in any nefarious way.
Last lnik (before Google Books gets a visit from the blimp):

Despite the fact that the author forgot the link, I was some what intrigued. I Googled EA Blayre and came up with about 85 unique hits. Other than his iUniverse listing, their all comments on blogs and news sites that say practically the same thing. There are some differences in the posts . Some mention an Ernst Zundel. Some claim the book was banned because of scenes featuring Fox News anchorwomen:

Sickening. About Foxnews anchorwomen. There’s a great book called “America Deceived” by E.A. Blayre III that features a demented CIA character who dreams of FoxAnchorwomen and animals. They got it pulled from Amazon and B&N. It’s on Google Books for the stuff about E.D Hill. Fu*k Foxnews

I couldn't help but wonder why the government would ban a book because of sex scenes featuring the women of Fox News. I also couldn't help but wonder why the government could pressure big companies like Amazon into pulling the book, but they couldn't get a vanity press like iUniverse to stop publishing it. The obvious answer is that the government didn't force Amazon to stop carrying the book.

Even though I have no way of know if Amazon ever even carried the book--they do carry a lot of iUniverse books, so they may very well have--I would suspect that if the book was pulled, it wasn't at the instigation of the government. They might have pulled it because they were afraid of getting sued by the anchorwomen in question. I tried to contact Amazon to see if they had anything to say, but their customer service people only gave the singularly unhelpful reply:

I tried to find "America Deceived" by E.A. Blayre III on our web
site for you, but it appears that we do not currently sell this
particular item on

We do expand our selection frequently and want to know what products
you'd like us to offer. You can submit your product suggestions at
this URL:

I've also included some information below that may help you find
what you are looking for from another source.

Thanks for shopping at

As far as the book itself goes, you can browse it online. The writing contains such wonderful pieces of prose as, "The blemish occurred in his hometown Boston when an obnoxious, repugnant, detestable Yankees fan smashed a Budweiser bottle across his face..."

I would quote more, but the book pages are saved as GIFs, which makes quoting a pain in the ass. PDFs would really be much better. Anyway, besides not putting commas around Boston and way overusing adjectives, the writing isn't all that great. I can't help but suspect that all the comments I came across are part of an exceptionally lame publicity stunt by the author. If I'm wrong, please come and leave me a comment Mr. Blayre.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Saving A World

I just finished reading Marion Zimmer Bradley's To save A World. As you probably know, if you've read my older posts, I've read several of the Darkover novels, and usually I like them. I never did post about The Saga of The Renunciates, which I never did finish because I thought that the second story in it, Thendara House, was too boring.

To Save A World is a different matter. I could hardly put this one down. As with most of the other Darkover novels in print, this is an omnibus edition containing The Planet Savers, The World Wreckers and the short story "The Waterfall." Unlike some of the other Darkover omnibuses, these novels both take place in the same time frame and share some of the same characters.

Dr. Jason Allison and Regis Hastur are major characters in both stories. In The Planet Savers, the pair is on an expedition to find a cure for a deadly plague that decimates Darkover's population every few decades. In The World Wreckers, The pair are part of study on telepathy that ultimately saves Darkover from some sort of corporate interests who are undermining the planet's infrastructure so the Darkoverans will be forced to become part of the Terran Empire.

The Planet Savers was the first Darkover novel to see print. As such, this omnibus makes a pretty decent introduction to the Darkover series, so if you haven't read any Darkover novels, buy this one. I give To Save A World 5 yo-yos.

Up next, I'm reading something slightly different, Kornwolf: A Novel by Tristan Egolf. It isn't marketed as fantasy, but since it's about a werewolf, I thought it would be worth a try. I got it because a local newspaper mentioned that it was about a werewolf in Amish country and that the author had lived in Lancaster, PA. So, I thought that a locally written book set in my neck of the woods with a werewolf, cool! Anyway, have fun and read, everybody.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Another Divergence into the World of Web Comics

Since I still haven't finished reading my latest book, I thought I'd take an opportunity to talk about another web comic I like. Once again, I'm talking about a fantasy themed comic. This time it's Sorcery 101 by Kel "Kell Hound" McDonald. While I don't think it's quite as good as Dominic Deegan, I do still like it.

There are a couple of reasons why I don't think it's quite as good. First off, there's the spelling and grammar. While Kel's spelling and grammar has improved, it's still not really all that good. Several of the older strips are just full of misspellings.

There are also a few minor problems with the plotting. Mainly with not knowing when to cut stuff. For instance back at the end of March there was a brief interlude where Seth, one of the vampires, tries to buy a werewolf from another vampire. The scene took several weeks, and really didn't contribute anything to the overall plot as far as I could see.

The main reason I like this is because of the characters. I just think their interesting. The main character is Danny, an apprentice sorcerer/chain smoker/womanizer/blood slave/high school teacher. Then there's his best friend Brad, the werewolf, and his wife Ally, who isn't a werewolf but is a mage, and their daughter Rebecca, who is also a werewolf. Then there's Pat, Danny's sorcery teacher and a vampire. Finally there's Seth, who's a powerful vampire and is the one with a blood bond with Danny.

The current storyline has Danny, Brad, and Seth going to a vampire party to rescue one of Danny's students. The student was bitten by Rebecca and is now a werewolf. He was grabbed by some vamps and is being auctioned off as a slave.

The comic usually updates three times a week, but right now it's being updated five times a week because Kel got $300 in donations last month. If she gets $500 this month, she'll update five days a week again next month. So, why don't you head over there, read the comic, and donate.

While it's no Dominic Deegan, I do like Sorcery 101, so I'll give it 3.5 yo-yos. Next time I'm late with a review, I'll do another web comic, most likely Doctor McNinja or Ganalath the Extraordinary. I also read VG Cats, but since I'm not a big enough geek to get all the video game references, I don't feel qualified to write review of it. If anyone knows of any other web comics they think I'd like, please leave comment.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

First Meetings

Okay, I finished reading Orson Scott Card's First Meetings: In Ender's Universe. It's a collection of four short stories set in the universe of his popular Ender's series. This particular edition is apparently designed to be educational,; it has a reader's guide for teen readers in the back.

While I haven't been a teen for a long, long time, I think the question in the guide are a bit, silly. Sure, even as a teenager, I was more of a reader than most, but still:

A. Go to the library or online to research the literary term "short story." Write a brief report that includes a definition of the term...

Definition: a short story is a story that is short. There, I didn't even have to look anything up or think about it or anything. Anyway, on to the actual stories.

I mostly liked these stories. "The Polish Boy" gives us some insight into Ender's dad. "Teacher's Pest" shows us how Ender's parents met and fell in love. These stories give us some strong hints that the government manipulated the two just so Ender would come into being. "The Investment Counselor," which is set between Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead, shows how Ender became a speaker for the dead and how he met Jane, his sort of AI assistant thing. This was my favorite of the bunch, because I like Jane, and I think the stories of Ender as an adult are more interesting than ones about his family.

Now I'll talk about "Ender's Game" the novella. I didn't like it. I thought the novel was much better. There's no Valentine or Peter, and in fact, it seems like Ender and the other boys in Battle School were born and raised there. The enemies don't seem to be Buggers. All the conflict between Ender and the other students is missing. Instead of being a story about Ender Wiggin, it's a story about boys fighting a war. It's not a bad story, but I'm very glad Card turned it into a novel.

I'd also like to mention that this book is illustrated. Unfortunately, the illustrations suck. If it wasn't a violation of copyright, I'd scan them in and post them here so you could see how much they suck. Everyone seems to be tall, thin, elongated, and has the ability to bend at odd angles--except for Graff, the army guy. He looks like Nick Fury, without the eye patch.

The stories are all good, though I think the book is a bit short what with it only having four short stories and a cover price of $6.99. I also really hated the illustrations. As such, I can only give First Meetings 4 yo-yos.