The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One) by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
If someone had described this book to me, I would not have read it. I’m just not in the market for a first book in a trilogy that sounds like bog-standard modern fantasy no matter how you cut it.

Luckily, no one described it to me.

It just kept coming up from different people who I know had no contact with one another. So, when my first book of the summer reading came up I picked it up.

It was compulsively readable. I went through over 700 pages in five days. I was staying up late and losing sleep to read it.

I am not going to give a summary of the book because it isn’t my thing. The scenes in the arcane academia were really nice. A friend of mine was writing a novel set in a university of wizards and I loved it but, like in this book, was always disappointed when the plot took us away from that setting. It was obvious to me that the author had spent time in academia and having read his bio, I see that its true.

The framing of the story, the way that each book will be about one day of the main character telling the tale of his life to the royal chronicler is fantastic and well wrought.

There were lots of words wasted, telling us how difficult it is to be poor that were better shown just by illustrating his difficulties. Two or three times the main character talks about being a poor student and it got tiresome.

There was only really only one female character but even the characters listening to the story remarked on it, so I am thinking that will change in the latter two books.

I like how the book is a story being told; it gives it a kind of self-awareness that doesn’t come off as trying too hard to be some kind of lame-ass post-modern commentary of the genre (as opposed to China Mieville, which is fanastic commentary on the genre).

I promised myself I wasn’t going to get into any more fantasy series but I’m tentatively hooked. I want to see past the students days, into the epic, king-killing, gods-will-fear-me stuff. Seduce me with another block of a book that goes by like a breezy summer day and I’ll read your damned series. I’m in.

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Starman Omnibus Vol. 1

The Starman Omnibus Vol. 1 The Starman Omnibus Vol. 1 by James Robinson

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I started reading this series when it was still coming out in single issues. I jumped on in the middle, when DC put out a really nifty jumping-on issue that made it easy to wade in midway.

At that point, Robinson had really found his stride and the series was really plugging along. This first omnibus is where he finds his feet. Art-wise it is splendid but Robinson had a tendency to over-write some things and the prose can get a little purple. But still, well worth it.

I am thrilled that I will get to have the Starman series in these big, beautiful editions. It is a great series that deserves this kind of treatment; it is the series that got me back into comics after a leave of absence.

The second omnibus has just arrived at my house and the writing and the rhythm is much improved.

Good stuff.

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Mini-Review: Burning Chrome

Burning Chrome Burning Chrome by William Gibson

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
“If poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, science-ficton writers are its court jesters. We are Wise Fools who can leap, caper, utter prophecies, and scratch ourselves in public. We can play with Big Ideas because the garish motley of our pulp origins makes us seem harmless.”

– Bruce Sterling, Preface

“Nothing aquires as rapid or peculiar a patina of age as an imaginary future.”

– William Gibson, Source Code: An Introduction

I had this in a bag of books in my car that I bought for a few bucks a pop from the bargain bin at Borders. It felt like I needed a break from the novel I am reading and sometimes a book of short stories is just the thing. It was neat to read these stories in a weekend.

The stories about space and astronauts were just the chaser I needed after two Arthur C. Clark novels. They just felt right.

And after Richard K. Morgan‘s Takeshi Kovacs books, it was nice to see where cyberpunk was born, in the alleys that huddle under the skyscrapers of the Ono-Sendai corporation.

Even the stories that hadn’t aged particularly well still read well, even if time had proven the writer wrong, the character still rang true and the endings were a nice blend of optimism, realism and maybe some nihilism here and there.

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Gridlinked (Mass Market Paperback) Gridlinked by Neal Asher

My review

I got a hundred pages in and the only character I cared at all about was Mr. Crane, the psychopathic android, but he was not enough to keep me in it. I won’t give it any rating because I didn’t finish it.

I have noticed that when I read a book that I don’t particularly like, I will drag my feet and finish it in a month. However, when I read a book I like, I finish one or two a week.

I read one hundred pages of Gridlinked in a week and it often felt like homework. I picked up 2001: A Space Odyssey and burned through a hundred pages in a day.


I am going to be more ruthless in putting books on the GONG shelf and moving on to words that demand I read them and don’t let go of my eyes.

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Comic Book Therapy

Work was rough today and on my way to get my cell phone fixed, I stopped off at the comic book store for some therapy.My monthly regular comics habit is supplied from a comic shop online that gives me a deal but I occasionally stop by the local store for impulse buys or to pick up a single issue that is eluding me.

So, here’s what I got:

The Amazing Spider-Man #569: After reading Ellis’ take on Norman Osborn (two parts George W. Bush, one part Joker) I was curious to see how Norman would be in a spider-book. Also, after years of reading and digging Ultimate Spider-man I am curious to see how a Spider-man my own age is doing.

The use of Eddie Brock was nifty, as a kind of recovering addict of the Venom symbiote and Osborne is cuh-razy, though has amnesia apparently, so he only remembers that there is some link between Parker and as Osborne calls him, “the bug.” I waited all issue for Spider-man to correct him about being a bug and it never happened.

It was okay, nothing special. If it is a late night at Wegman’s and I need something to read with my sherbert binge, I’ll give a future issue a shot.

Air #1: It is a Vertigo title and it had an endorsement quote from Neil Gaiman. It was about a stewardess and it was trying to make some kind of a statement about terrorism and airlines. I couldn’t get through it and skimmed to the end just to make sure there wasn’t some kind of a big reveal that would blow my mind.

There is always that feeling when you pick up a Vertigo title. Am I getting on the ground floor of a Sandman, a Preacher, a 100 Bullets, or a Fables? No, not this time.

Doktor Sleepless #3 & 4:I wasn’t thrilled with the first issue of Doktor Sleepless and Elllis’ work on Avatar’s label has been hit or miss for me, mostly miss. But issue 3 had the words, “Don’t worry ma’am we’re from the internet” on the cover and I couldn’t deny it.

I came away with the same feelings I had from Global Frequency, each issue had a cool idea and just not enough going on around it to make it worth my while. Ellis has cool ideas about the future but there wasn’t enough character meats to keep me chewing.

But I’ll always go back to Ellis and give him a few issues worth of a shot because you never know when you might stumble into Planetary, Stormwatch, The Authority, Black Summer, Transmetropolitan, or my favorite of his, Fell.

Anna Mercury #1 and 3: I have no idea what is going on. Maybe this is because I am missing issue 2. It is perhaps more telling that I just don’t care about not knowing what is going on. This is a neo-pulp comic book about a fictnaut (yeah, he doesn’t use that word but its right out of Planetary) with red hair, wielding two guns in a tight leather outfit in a fictional zeppelined out city called New Ataraxia. The city is stunningly rendered with signs that say things like, “Magnetism: The way of the future.”

No idea what is going on but I’m in.

The reveal at the end of issue 3 is fun stuff and the constant banter with Mercury Launchpad reminds me a whole lot of Lacuna’s Control.

I’m in. You got me.

Batman R.I.P. #679-678: What is Grant Morrison up to? I had read the first arc of his Batman run and while the introduction of his son via Talia from the Batman: Son of the Demon graphic novel, the first hardback comic book I ever owned, tickled my geek, it just wasn’t that damned compelling.

I talked with my buddy, Pete, about Batman comics and neither of us knew what was going on with it. So, I picked up the most recent issue off of the rack and it grabbed me.

Also, Marvel announced a big, purty hardback for Morrison’s six issue mini-series, Marvel Boy and that was a doozy of a fun, rockin’ comic.

Long story short, Batman is having a nervous breakdown, folks are digging up stuff on the Waynes and it isn’t all that nice. Turns out Martha and Thomas had a hard party streak and there were even rumors back in the day that their first born son, Bruce, might’ve really been the son of the BUTLER!

I have no idea if the villain of the piece is really a fractured piece of Bruce Wayne or what.

I’m intrigued.

I’m in.

A nice phone conversation with Janaki while watching some pretty people play volleyball, nine comics, a talk with Bret about Dogs in the Vineyard and our yearning to play us some Darkpages and the work-day is long behind me.

The Umbrella Academy

Take two parts X-Men or if you are out of X-Men or want to prove how very old school you are, substitute with Doom Patrol and put in one part Series of Unfortunate Events and marinate with lots of gonzo pulp. Let it bake for six issues and take it out before it burns.

I picked the single-issues today, along with the first issue of Northlanders. The Umbrella Academy’s art was solid and the writing fun. I’m not ready to get a tattoo or even buy the t-shirt but shit, its a fun comic about a super-powered dysfunctional family and there are talking monkeys.

I’m in.