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Archives for: February 2011


Classic sci-fi gets graphic novel treatment

Courtesy of the Graphic Novels blog.

Ender's Game - Battle School
I enjoyed this for many reasons, nostalgia being one and for the simple reason Ender's Game is one of my favorite novels of all time (if you haven't read it, I would highly recommend that you do). This is a decent adaptation, but woefully abridged from the source material. There's so much left out it's only made me want to go back and re-read the novel.

The growing trend to adapt classic novels into this format is one I'm on board with -- it's like waiting for my favorite books to get made into movies. And like film adaptations, sometimes the graphic novel format works, and sometimes it doesn't. It works here ... to a point. For me though, there's just too much good stuff left out for it to really work -- especially for those who have not read the novel. It's those readers who will be short-changed the most.

Ender's Game - Command School
This is an okay adaptation, but leaves way too much out for my liking. You get all the spoilers with none of the richness, complexity and reward that comes with the unabridged novel. This adaptation will rob of you of that experience and ruin the novel, so if you haven't, do yourself a huge favor and please read the book first. The illustrations are a little too simplistic for my taste, and just don't adequately capture the conflicting emotions or white-knuckled tension.


Categories: Book Lists

Freedom to Read Week 2011

Freedom to Read week runs from February 20-26 this year. Celebrate your freedom to read by enjoying one or more of these novels and their themes of freedom or control of information.

After by Francine Prose
The shootings in Pleasant Valley were fifty miles away, but at Central High a grief and crisis counselor is hired, security is increased, and privileges are being taken away. If you break the new rules the punishment is severe, and the rules keep changing every day. Students and teachers begin disappearing. If you trade your freedom for safety, how safe are you?

Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
What makes the Evil Librarians so evil? They control what information people get to know, keeping secrets and spreading lies as part of a massive conspiracy to take over the world!
The Fortunate Fall by Raphael Carter
Maya Andreyeva is a journalist who works as her own camera, after getting sensory and telecommunications equipment implanted in her brain. Whatever she sees is broadcast for a major news network.
Matched by Ally Condie
Like everyone in the Society, Cassia is forced to listen to the same 100 authorized songs, read the same 100 poems and books, and appreciate the same 100 paintings. She has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her including what to eat and to whom she should marry. But what happens when a mistake is made and Cassia starts questioning what it means to be creative? Will she accept her "official" match or will she refuse to "go gently into the good night" by exploring a relationship with someone else?
The Merro Tree by Katie Waitman
Mikk of Vyzania mastered the Somalite song dance, then is prohibited from performing it. The penalty would be death, unless he finds some way to change the law.
The Truth by Terry Pratchett
William de Worde is the accidental editor of the Discworld's first newspaper. Now he must cope with the traditional perils of a journalist's life -- people who want him dead, a recovering vampire with a suicidal fascination for flash photography, some more people who want him dead in a different way and, worst of all, the man who keeps begging him to publish pictures of his humorously shaped potatoes.
Whole Wide World by Paul J. McAuley
Omnipresent surveillance cameras are all connected to an artificial intelligence system. The Internet is patrolled by zealous Censors. Welcome to London, in the aftermath of the Infowar, where people might do anything to control information, and Sophie Booth's murder was just broadcast over the Internet for everyone to see.


Categories: Book Lists

LJ's Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy of 2010

Not to be outdone, Library Journal (LJ) released its best Science Fiction & Fantasy books of 2010:

Elfsorrow by James Barclay

LJ's Verdict: The mercenaries of the Raven journey to the heart of the elven continent of Calaius to save the land from dying in a superbly visualized fantasy adventure reminiscent of Glen Cook's classic Black Company tales.

Dragongirl by Todd McCaffrey

LJ's Verdict: Devotion and sacrifice are the twin keys that will save Pern from a plague that is killing the dragons necessary to combat the deadly space-born spore that falls from the sky. The son of sf Grand Master Anne McCaffrey continues the beloved world created by his mother.

Kraken by China Miéville

LJ's Verdict: Museum curator Billy Harrow tracks the preserved corpse of a giant squid through a London populated by cultists, paranormal investigators, and supernatural scoundrels. Brilliant storytelling and doses of eccentric humor and eerily compelling horror call to mind the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells.

Nights of Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton

LJ's Verdict: Conspiracy and murder threaten the grand city of Villjamur as an ice age's approach brings throngs of refugees to civilization's heart. Newton's outstanding fantasy series debut is filled with splendid imagery and compelling dramatic conflicts.

And Falling, Fly by by Skyler White

LJ's Verdict: A neuroscientist seeking to cure his memories of past lives meets a fallen angel of desire in an underground asylum. One of the year's most unusual blends of supernatural fiction and urban fantasy.


Review: The Fall

Courtesy of the Horror Blog.

The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

May's Review: In the follow-up sequel to Del Toro's and Hogan's The Strain, The Fall chronicles the aftermath of the vampiric infection as nations slowly crumble and the Master sets his nefarious plans for world domination into motion. Amid this backdrop of suspended disbelief and gradual decay, our heroes led by vampire hunter Blade tries...Whoops! Sorry, wrong hero. What I means to say is that our heroes led by vampire hunter Abraham Setrakian and his band of followers, including former CDC member Eph Goodweather and exterminator Vasiliy Fet, struggle to save mankind only to find themselves drawn into a deadly war between two deadly vampire factions.

What I like about sequels is that the reader doesn't have to wait around for the main characters to catch up. None of this, "I wonder why my supposedly dead husband is now walking around and seems to be fixated on my neck" business. Instead, the reader is plunged right into the storyline that is filled with break-neck action sequences and plenty of suspense. The interludes are probably my favorite portions of the book because they reveal more of Setrakian's character, especially his all-consuming drive to kill the Master. I particularly liked Vasiliy's character in this book, especially when he reveals his hidden heritage and why he is helping Setrakian.

Overall this is a good vampire book with some moderate scare scenes. Enough to make me want to read the third and final book in the series which should be coming out this month.