29 June 2012

Busy Busy

Within the blogging community there are some frequently used words and phrases that pop up in most blogs.  Thanks to the endless repetive nature of them, I have come to abhor the word rambling and would like to put anyone who types the saying "I can't believe it is has been so long since my last post..." into a full nelson.  Yes, that is right, a FULL NELSON.  As a result, it is with great personal loathing that I feel the need to type the next sentence.

I can't believe it's been so long since my last  posting.  Gad, I hate myself.  Cruising blogs has become a perverse past-time of mine.  There is some straight up weird crap out there with some weird ideas of what is worthy to put out into the world wide webby.  I don't know how much time I have wasted sifting through a stranger's family blog.  You know what I speak of.  Those blogs where the parent (usually mother, okay, always the mother) posts daily updates of her five adorable kids doing various mundane things with sprinklings of straight laced Christian sayings so we all know she and her family are proper Americans.  I cannot pull away from this type of blog.  It is like watching a car crash of the American Dream. I always leave feeling a little better knowing that my son calls his Grandma "Darth Vadar", that my husband and I do not own matching anything and that I adore SF.

So let's get to it, shall we.  I have been a very busy busy reader this past month and have some ramblings to share. ( Excuse me while I go run myself over with a bus.)

As you know, having read my review of The Witches of Karres, the witches' story does not end with this book.  Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint and Dave Freer collaboratively wrote The Wizard of Karres.  It boggles my mind how three people can work together to create a book but they did and they did it well.  In fact, the writing style mirrors James H. Schmitz perfectly making it very difficult to find fault with this book.  Like the original, The Wizard of Karres and even The Sorceress of Karres are not going to win a Pulitzer.  But I don't read books just for the pure pleasure of watching my brain grow. I read for the fun of it and these books are straight up fun.   Now I must admit that by book three, written by Eric Flint and Dave Freer the story drags on a little.  And with Mercedes absence the ability to mirror Schmitz's style is lost.  Like the new Dune books, The Sorceress of Karres tends to rely on repetition to fill the plot.  Rather annoying but if you need some books for your beach bag and do not want to stretch your grey cells in any way, these three books are for you.

Sprinkled in amongst the witches I read Triggers by Robert J. Sawyer.  Now before I even get into what this book is about let me just congratulate my mother, who does not read SF for reading this book.  Way to go Mom, you have come to the dark side at last.  Now go out and pick up Black Out/All Clear by Connie Willis please.  Triggers is a great summer read.  It is basically one long continuous conversation with a group of people who happen-stance to be at the wrong hospital at the wrong time (or right...!).  Here is a snippet of the plot:  The president (of America, it is always America isn't it) is shot,rushed to the hospital and during his heart surgery something happens that results in a group of people being linked.  That is all I am going to say. I  hate reviews in which the book's content is unceremoniously undressed.  This is a quick, easy SF book to read.  It takes place in "normal" time with "normal" people who happen to have something abnormal happen to them.

And that is my busy busy month.  I am knee deep in summer reading, get ready for all things Star Wars in the  next couple of posts.

7 June 2012

Doomsday: A Review of Parable of the Sower, The Canticle of Leibowitz, Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd Century America

Once again another list has not only occupied my time and imagination but made me wish I had thought of it.  Googling Armageddon calls up some startling sites:  For example the now defunct site Countdown to Armageddon.  As my alarm bells start ringing in my head for fear of inadvertently clicking into some dark, religious nightmare,  I see this
Site last updated on September 13th
Our apologies for the lack of recent updates.
This site is run by volunteers who haven't
had time to invest recently.
It is hard to maintain full scale panic when you rely on volunteers.

That being said, the Apocalypse or Armageddon or my personal favourite "All Hell Is About to Break Lose"  sub-genre is a thriving, varied plot element that most SF authors use.  Looking for some type of crisis for your main character? Why not chuck in the complete destruction of his/her world.  Actually the only person I have met who takes this destruction pretty well is Princess Leigh.  The Death Star blows up Alderaan before her eyes and all she does is screams "No" and then proceeds to jump down a garbage chute with a Wookie, and two handsome blocks with blasters.  (kinda went off the rails there, but I think I have made my point.  If I was Princes Leigh, which trust me I have, also Boba Fett ((come on, he is awesome)) and saw my planet get obliterated I most likely would pull my face off.  Yes, my entire face.  I also probably would jump into a garbage chute with two handsome blocks as well, you know I think I will just stop here...).

As you are aware I lightly touched on Armageddon in Ladies First confessing that I overdosed on it a couple years back. So much so that until I read this list I thought I was done with the genre but soon realized that I have been reading it the entire time.  WTH!   The great thing about SF is that it is a huge category allowing for a great amount of flexibility.  If you would like to go completely berserk you can.  If you would rather step back from insanity and showcase something less violent that is also open to you.  With this in mind here are three great Armageddon-laced books ranging from full on nightmare to mild anarchy.

Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler - Full on Nightmare
Since reading this book I am unable to look at U.S interstates without visualizing the highways overrun with mobs of people making their way on foot to Alaska while trying to avoid being murdered, beaten or eaten.  (now that is a sentence)  If you are into full scale Apocalyptic insanity this series is for you.

A Canticle for Leibowitz, Stephen M. Davis - Mid-level panic
600 years have passed since the world was devastated by nuclear war.  Not surprisingly, those left to rise from the ashes decided to turn their backs on technology and jump blindly back into the dark ages.  If you could read, you were killed.  Isaac Edward Leibowitz, survives the murderous hoards and founds a monastic order whose mission is dedicated to preserving  knowledge.  A true SF classic and a must read for all you new SF readers out there.

Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd Century America, Robert Charles Wilson - Mild Anarchy
Great fun book to read for the summer.  Not too heavy on the berserk quality but enough to create a mild level of panic.  It reminds me of A Canticle for Leibowitz in that good ole' America has imploded upon itself and reverts to a neo-Victorian oligarchy ( NO idea what that means).   The books has an old west flavour to it, with great, extremely likable characters.  I really enjoyed reading this book.  Wilson is a true story teller.