Kingdok (Bone #4) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Kingdok
Series: Bone #4
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

The day before the spring fair Fone Bone and Phoney Bone do chores around the farmhouse. After Fone Bone tells Phoney about the great cow race and how they bet on the races Phoney Bone thinks of a new scam and runs off to Barrelhaven. While traveling to Barrelhaven, Phoney Bone encounters the two rat creatures and Kingdok. He overhears that they are looking for a “small bald creature with a star on its chest”. The rat creatures are summoned to a high council by “The Hooded One” who sends every rat creature in the valley to attack the farmhouse.

My Thoughts:

Things take a turn for the serious here. Not only are the 2 rat creatures here, but we are introduced to their king, Kingdok, who is on a scale larger than them as they are to Fone Bone. And we meet the Hooded One, who appears to be leading Kingdok, and who knows the dragon that is guarding Fone.

Phoney Bone is still causing trouble on the farm but runs away to the town to do some betting. He overhears the 2 rats and Kingdok and I do wish he’d been caught and eaten. Oh well, can’t have everything I want in a comic I guess.

The issue ending with a horde of rat creatuers surrounding the farm of Gran’ma Ben really hits home the point that this comic is not going to be a bunch of panels of talking heads (like the Peanuts) or one issue gags (like Garfield). Smith has a big story to tell and I felt like we as readers fell down the rabbit hole in this issue. There’s no going back and no way out except forward.

If you’d like a review of the whole series at once (I’m going to be taking years at this pace), Jeroen recently reviewed the Complete Bone. Just remember, he’s a jaded european, not a bright, cheery, optimistic American like me. So take his review with a grain or three of salt 😉

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rudin (The Russians) ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Rudin
Series: (The Russians)
Author: Ivan Turgenev
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Pages: 183
Words: 49K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

Rudin’s Arrival

The novel begins with the introduction of three of the characters – Aleksandra, Lezhnev, and Pandalevskii. Pandalevskii relates to Aleksandra Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s invitation to come and meet a Baron Muffel’. Instead of the Baron, Rudin arrives and captivates everyone immediately with his intelligent and witty speeches during the argument with Pigasov. Rudin’s arrival is delayed until Chapter Three. After his success at Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s, he stays the night and the next morning meets Lezhnev who arrives to discuss some business affairs with Dar’ya Mikhailovna. This is the first time the reader finds out that Rudin and Lezhnev are acquainted, and studied together at university. During the day that follows Rudin has his first conversation with Natasha; as she speaks of him highly and says he “ought to work”, he replies with a lengthy speech. What follows is a description quite typical of Turgenev, where the character of Rudin is shown not through his own words, but through the text which underlines Rudin’s contradictory statements:

“Yes, I must act. I must not bury my talent, if I have any; I must not squander my powers on talk alone — empty, profitless talk — on mere words,’ and his words flowed in a stream. He spoke nobly, ardently, convincingly, of the sin of cowardice and indolence, of the necessity of action.”[5]

On the same day, Sergei leaves Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s early and arrives to see that Lezhnev is visiting. Lezhnev then gives his first description of Rudin.

Rudin and Natasha

In two months, we are told, Rudin is still staying at Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s, living off borrowed money. He spends a lot of time with Natasha; in a conversation with her he speaks of how an old love can only be replaced by a new one. At the same time, Lezhnev gives the account of his youth and his friendship with Rudin, making for the first time the point that Rudin is “too cold” and inactive. On the next day, Natasha quizzes Rudin over his words about old and new love. Neither she, nor he confess their love for each other but in the evening, Rudin and Natasha meet again, and this time Rudin confesses his love for her; Natasha replies that she, too, loves him. Unfortunately, their conversation is overheard by Pandalevskii, who reports it to Dar’ya Mikhailovna, and she strongly disapproves of this romance, making her feelings known to Natasha. The next time Natasha and Rudin meet, she tells him that Dar’ya Mikhailovna knows of their love and disapproves of it. Natasha wants to know what plan of action is Rudin going to propose, but he does not fulfil her expectations when he says that one must “submit to destiny”. She leaves him, disappointed and sad:

“I am sad because I have been deceived in you… What! I come to you for counsel, and at such a moment! — and your first word is, submit! submit! So this is how you translate your talk of independence, of sacrifice, which …”

Rudin then leaves Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s estate. Before his departure he writes two letters: one to Natasha and one to Sergei. The letter to Natasha is particularly notable in its confession of the vices of inactivity, inability to act and to take responsibility for one’s actions – all the traits of a Hamlet which Turgenev later detailed in his 1860 speech. Lezhnev, meanwhile, asks Aleksandra to marry him and is accepted in a particularly fine scene.

The Aftermath

Chapter Twelve and the Epilogue detail events of over two years past Rudin’s arrival at Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s estate. Lezhnev is happily married to Aleksandra. He arrives to give her news of Sergei’s engagement to Natasha, who is said to “seem contented”. Pigasov lives with Lezhnevs, and amuses Aleksandra as he used to amuse Dar’ya Mikhailovna. A conversation which follows happens to touch on Rudin, and as Pigasov begins to make fun of him, Lezhnev stops him. He then defends Rudin’s “genius” while saying that his problem is that he had no “character” in him. This, again, refers to the superfluous man’s inability to act. He then toasts Rudin. The chapter ends with the description of Rudin travelling aimlessly around Russia. In the Epilogue, Lezhnev happens by chance to meet Rudin at a hotel in a provincial town. Lezhnev invites Rudin to dine with him, and over the dinner Rudin relates to Lezhnev his attempts to “act” – to improve an estate belonging to his friend, to make a river navigable, to become a teacher. In all three of this attempts Rudin demonstrated inability to adapt to the circumstances of Nicholas I’s Russia, and subsequently failed, and was in the end banished to his estate. Lezhnev then appears to change his opinion of Rudin as inherently inactive, and says that Rudin failed exactly because he could never stop striving for truth. The Epilogue ends with Rudin’s death at the barricades during the French Revolution of 1848; even at death he is mistaken by two fleeing revolutionaries for a Pole.

My Thoughts:

After Anna Karenina and it’s almost 1300 pages, every other Russian novel that’s under 500 pages suddenly makes me feel like somehow I’m cheating and having an easy time of it. Russian literature is bleak and grim and depressing and your very soul is supposed to suffer while reading it. And here I am, breezing along like I’m on a circus ride or something.

It’s just not right. Or maybe I’m just not right. OR (prepare for Conspiracy Theory Numero Uno)…..

….. The WP4 have brainwashed me into somehow liking Russian Literature. I can totally see Dix trying to brainwash me, so I’m going with the Conspiracy Theory option.

Thankfully the titular character is not the main character. He’s an arrogant jackass who won’t stick to anything unless it is done exactly his way. Since he pretty much sponges off of other people, well, you can see the friction there. What got to me was near the end of the novel, Lezhnev (I’d call him a main character) meets Rudin (who is now practically homeless and barely surviving) and is very charitable to him. That was fine and showed what a good man Lezhnez was. What I really disliked was how Lezhnev starts praising Rudin for everything that I abominated in him. His inability to get along with others. His laziness. His excuses for not finishing things. His playing with people’s lives as if they exist for his use alone. I was actually waiting for him to starve to death all alone but I think how Turgenev portrayed him dying, getting shot at the barricades during the French Revolution of 1848 (I had to go look on wikipedia, but this Revolution was just another one by the Frenchies, not the one portrayed in Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities). It was very fitting for Rudin to die while sticking his nose into a completely different country’s business.

I have to admit, I am not skilled enough to be able to tell the differences in writing style of Turgenev from either Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky. Part of that might be that a good bit of Russian literature was translated by Constance Garnett and if she wasn’t careful, her own style would overpower theirs. While no translator is listed for this book, the public domain version is translated by Garnett so I’m going to assume this is her translation.

And yet, with everything, I still enjoyed this quite a bit. Turgenev sees people and does an excellent job of putting that down in words. I get all the benefit of a varied circle of acquaintences without actually having to deal with people. That is a Win-Win situation as far as I’m concerned!

The only other Turgenev that I’ve read is Fathers and Sons. I definitely preferred that to Rudin. However, I do look forward to more Turgenev as I continue this Russian journey.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] The Meanest Man in the East (One Piece #11) ★★★★✬

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Meanest Man in the East
Series: One Piece #11
Arc: East Blue Part 11
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 188
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(1_186)

“Darts”

“Happiness”

“Going Down”

“The Other Villain”

“Spin, Pinwheel”

“The Meanest Man in the East”

“Kitetsu III”

“Dark Clouds”

“Luffy Died”

Arlong and Luffy exchange blows until Arlong impatiently picks up his large sword. Tearing through Arlong Park, he chases Luffy into the cartography room where Nami spent years drawing maps for the fish-men. When he sees blood stains on her pen, Luffy decides that he must destroy the room. He breaks the blade of Arlong’s sword, and crushes the fish-man and his park into the ground. Overjoyed at their regained freedom, the island’s inhabitants celebrate for three days and nights. Johnny and Yosaku take their leave and with Nami on board and the Straw Hat Pirates set sail for the next port – Lougetown, where Gold Roger (the king of the pirates) was born and executed. News of Luffy’s victory over Arlong and the first bounty placed on his head by the World Government reaches the ears of Navy captain Smoker; Zoro meets sergeant-major Tashigi (Smoker’s second-in-command) and Luffy visits the execution site, seeing his former opponents Buggy and Alvida.

My Thoughts:

This was an emotionally satisfying volume. Luffy beating the snot out of Arlong and destroying him and everything he had created was fantastic. And it wasn’t all man-serious either. The manga-ka once again balanced humor with the grisly fighting in a perfect dance. The following just made me laugh out loud because it displays Luffy’s happy go-lucky attitude even in the midst of a fight for his life:

Once Luffy and Co hit the town where Roger Gold (the King of the Pirates) was born and executed, things start to move along. Luffy has a 30million berry reward on his head now (for perspective, Arlong only had a 20million reward), Alvida and Buggy the Clown make their reappearance and attack him and Zorro finds out one of his swords is a legendary one worth millions of berries. We also see the next Marine Captain on tap and he appears to be a real tough guy. So Luffy is going to have it wicked tough from both the Pirate and the Marine side of things.

The volume ends with the crew running back to the ship while the marines and other pirates are chasing them. Next volume should be fun 😀

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A Baker’s Dozen ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: A Baker’s Dozen
Series: ———-
Author: Alfred Hitchcock (Editor)
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 170
Words: 67K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover

NEVER SAY DIE.
For those who had the courage to come back for more, that generous master of suspense has provided a baker’s dozen of the bizarre, a little extra in the way of horror and intrigue. Here is a supreme collection of skin-prickling suspense, cunningly chosen to startle and terrify, by
ALFRED HITCHCOCK

Table of Contents:

F. TENNYSON JESSE – The Mask

AGATHA CHRISTIE – Accident

GRAHAM GREENE – A Day Saved

ROBERT LEWIS – Roman Holiday

SAMUEL BLAS – Revenge

JOHN STEINBECK – The Snake

MARY DEASY – Long Shadow on the Lawn

RAY BRADBURY – The Night

D. H. LAWRENCE – The Rocking-Horse Winner

GEORGES CAROUSSO – The Warden

ELLIS ST. JOSEPH – Leviathan

LOUIS POLLOCK – Breakdown

EUGENE MANLOVE RHODES – The Fool’s Heart

My Thoughts:

This was a decent read and I don’t have anything to complain about but it wasn’t as fantastic as some of the other books that Hitchcock has edited. With authors like Christie, Steinbeck and Bradbury I have to admit I was expecting something a notch above what I got.

In terms of food, it was the difference between the pictures of a hamburger that you see at fastfood places (like McDonald’s) and the reality of what you get. Nothing wrong with the burger and you’re going to eat it and enjoy it. But no one can say that it looks anything like the picture of perfection you see up on the menu or in the ads.

I am content with my time spent with this book but have nothing to rave or rant about. Makes writing this review pretty easy though!

Oh, technically this book is called “A Baker’s Dozen of Suspense Stories” but that is a ridiculous mouthful.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hard Day’s Knight (Black Knight Chronicles #1) ★☆☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Hard Day’s Knight
Series: Black Knight Chronicles #1
Authors: John Hartness
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 230
Words: 62K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

Children are missing.

The police are stumped.

Halloween is coming, and an ancient evil is on the horizon.

The vampires are the good guys.

This is not your ordinary fall weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. Vampire private detectives Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood have been hired to save a client from being cursed for all eternity, but end up in a bigger mess than they ever imagined.

Suddenly trapped in the middle of a serial kidnapping case, Jimmy and Greg uncover a plot to bring forth an ancient evil. Soon, they’ve enlisted the help of a police detective, a priest, a witch, a fallen angel and a strip club proprietor to save the world. This unlikely band of heroes battles zombies, witches, neuroses and sunburn while cracking jokes and looking for the perfect bag of O-negative.

My Thoughts:

Ranting and theological oriented stuff ahead. Read at your own rist.

This type of book is the EXACT reason I don’t read much urban fantasy. If imams were portrayed the way most priests are, you can bet your bottom dollar there would be riots and violence and other imams going full on mufti and screaming out death notice fatwas faster than you could eat a porkchop from Willie Jewels Barbeque! In fact, the author would be in danger of having his head cut off or being gunned down at his business (just look what happened to the Charlie Hebdo publication in France!) Heck, if Hartness had written it that way and gone to Malaysia, the government itself might just cut off his head, or at best beat him until he promised to not write like that anymore. But do you see hordes of roman catholics beating down Hartness’s door, or Cardinals (the guys just lower than the Pope) sic’ing the Jesuits on him? No, you don’t. What you get is bloggers like me sighing and rolling their eyes at the absolute stupidity and lack of knowledge exhibited here.

The older I get the more I care about how Christianity is portrayed in fiction. Not because it bothers me personally but because of how many people take their cue from fiction. If you were to ask the average Joe or Josephina on the street if a priest who was truly devout would have a comparative religions breakfast with the leader of a coven of witches every month so they could genially compare theological notes, they’d probably wonder why that would be a problem at all. And that is the least of the things I had a problem with in this book. For that example, it wasn’t that the priest was friends with a witch. He should be. You can’t show Christ to people if you refuse to be their friends and don’t interact with them. But it was the “comparative” part coupled with the truly devout. On matters of theology, a Christian is not going to come together with people of other faiths and claim that they’re all equal. Only one of those faiths is genuine and since the Bible declares itself to be the Word of God Himself, a devout Christian is going to treat it as such.

Then you have stuff like demons vs fallen angels vs angels. There were no angels in this story. Just a couple of demons and a fallen angel. Who ends up being allowed to go back to Heaven “because he just had to ask”. I barely even know where to start with what is so wrong with ALL of that. Angels and demons are not just amped up humans with a pair of wings of either dovelike or batlike appearance. You cannot ascribe human emotions and reasoning to them because THEY ARE NOT HUMANS!!! That’s just the tip of it for that issue and I’m already holding my head in my hands (which is quite a feat as I’m also typng this!). I think that is enough from me. Any more and I’ll just start upsetting myself and there’s no need for that.

In conclusion, I won’t be reading any more in this series and I’ll be avoiding Hartness as an author in general.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

A Christmas Carol read by Tim Curry ★★★★✬

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: A Christmas Carol read by Tim Curry
Author: Charles Dickens
Narrator: Tim Curry
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Length: 3hrs, 31minutes
(Pages: 98)
(Words: 28K)



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

The book is divided into five chapters, which Dickens titled “staves”.

Stave one

A Christmas Carol opens on a bleak, cold Christmas Eve in London, seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge’s business partner, Jacob Marley. Scrooge, an ageing miser, dislikes Christmas and refuses a dinner invitation from his nephew Fred—the son of Fan, Scrooge’s dead sister. He turns away two men who seek a donation from him to provide food and heating for the poor and only grudgingly allows his overworked, underpaid clerk, Bob Cratchit, Christmas Day off with pay to conform to the social custom.

That night Scrooge is visited at home by Marley’s ghost, who wanders the Earth entwined by heavy chains and money boxes forged during a lifetime of greed and selfishness. Marley tells Scrooge that he has a single chance to avoid the same fate: he will be visited by three spirits and must listen or be cursed to carry much heavier chains of his own.

Stave two

The first spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Past, takes Scrooge to Christmas scenes of Scrooge’s boyhood, reminding him of a time when he was more innocent. The scenes reveal Scrooge’s lonely childhood at boarding school, his relationship with his beloved sister Fan, and a Christmas party hosted by his first employer, Mr Fezziwig, who treated him like a son. Scrooge’s neglected fiancée Belle is shown ending their relationship, as she realises that he will never love her as much as he loves money. Finally, they visit a now-married Belle with her large, happy family on the Christmas Eve that Marley died. Scrooge, upset by hearing Belle’s description of the man that he has become, demands that the ghost remove him from the house.

Stave three

The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, takes Scrooge to a joyous market with people buying the makings of Christmas dinner and to celebrations of Christmas in a miner’s cottage and in a lighthouse. Scrooge and the ghost also visit Fred’s Christmas party. A major part of this stave is taken up with Bob Cratchit’s family feast and introduces his youngest son, Tiny Tim, a happy boy who is seriously ill. The spirit informs Scrooge that Tiny Tim will die unless the course of events changes. Before disappearing, the spirit shows Scrooge two hideous, emaciated children named Ignorance and Want. He tells Scrooge to beware the former above all and mocks Scrooge’s concern for their welfare.

Stave four

The third spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, shows Scrooge a Christmas Day in the future. The silent ghost reveals scenes involving the death of a disliked man whose funeral is attended by local businessmen only on condition that lunch is provided. His charwoman, laundress and the local undertaker steal his possessions to sell to a fence. When he asks the spirit to show a single person who feels emotion over his death, he is only given the pleasure of a poor couple who rejoice that his death gives them more time to put their finances in order. When Scrooge asks to see tenderness connected with any death, the ghost shows him Bob Cratchit and his family mourning the death of Tiny Tim. The ghost then allows Scrooge to see a neglected grave, with a tombstone bearing Scrooge’s name. Sobbing, Scrooge pledges to change his ways.

Stave five

Scrooge awakens on Christmas morning a changed man. He makes a large donation to the charity he rejected the previous day, anonymously sends a large turkey to the Cratchit home for Christmas dinner and spends the afternoon with Fred’s family. The following day he gives Cratchit an increase in pay, and begins to become a father figure to Tiny Tim. From then on Scrooge treats everyone with kindness, generosity and compassion, embodying the spirit of Christmas.

My Thoughts:

Most people know the story of A Christmas Carol already. This review, therefore, is going to be more about the audio side of things, as I listened to this read by Tim Curry. When I did my Currently Reading post about this last month I was very excited to hear this in Curry’s voice.

So how did it turn out? Overall, pretty good.

Listening to this, instead of reading it, allowed me to focus on different aspects that what I’ve concentrated on before and brought to the fore little things. Like the fact that Bob and Tiny Tim attended church services, or that Scrooge began attending church as part of his changed nature. Descriptions of the surroundings or of secondary characters that I’d read over like a steamroller, were allowed a new lease on life due to the magic of Curry’s voice.

I liked Curry’s reading of this. Except for one thing. Scrooge’s voice. It’s a big thing and that’s why I kept this at 4.5stars instead of bumping it up to 5. Curry turns Scrooge into this whining voice that just barely avoided being annoying. While he still conveys the fear, the excitement, the remorse, that is in each of Scrooge’s talks to the various spirits, it is all done in that tone. It is a big enough thing that I suspect I won’t be listening to this version again but will try the one read by Patrick Stewart, or I’ll just read it myself.

I did find out, in the Currently Reading post’s comments section, that Curry had suffered a major stroke and was wheelchair bound. Reading his wiki page, that happened in 2012 and this was produced in 2016. I’d never have guessed it from his voice here though.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ps,
I am taking part in Anna the Book Critter’s Linkup Party with this review. Feel free to head over to her site and check it out.

Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters ☆☆☆☆✬

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters
Series: Kaiju Rising #1
Editor: Tim Marquitz
Rating: ½ of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy Short Story Collection
Pages: 444
Words: 161.5K



Synopsis:

Table of Contents

Foreword – Jeremy Robinson

Big Ben and the End of the Pier Show – James Lovegrove

The Conversion – David Annandale

Day of the Demigods – Peter Stenson

The Lighthouse Keeper of Kurohaka Island – Kane Gilmour

Occupied – Natania Barron

One Last Round – Nathan Black

The Serpent’s Heart – Howard Andrew Jones

Monstruo – Mike MacLean

The Behemoth – Jonathan Wood

The Greatest Hunger – Jaym Gates

Heartland – Shane Berryhill

Devil’s Cap Brawl – Edward M. Erdelac

Shaktarra – Sean Sherman

Of the Earth, of the Sky, of the Sea – Patrick M. Tracy and Paul Genesse

The Flight of the Red Monsters – Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

Operation Starfish – Peter Rawlik

With Bright Shining Faces – J.C. Koch

The Banner of the Bent Cross – Peter Clines

Fall of Babylon – James Maxey

Dead Man’s Bones – Josh Reynolds

Stormrise – Erin Hoffman

Big Dog – Timothy W. Long

The Great Sea Beast – Larry Correia

Animikii vs. Mishipeshu – C.L. Werner

The Turn of the Card – James Swallow

About the Authors/Artists

Acknowledgments

My Thoughts:

I picked up this collection on the strength of Correia’s name being prominent on the cover I saw. Unfortunately, for me, it was a story he had included in his first Target Rich Environment collection, so I had already read it.

Josh Reynold’s story was about the Royal Occultist, so that was a nice little visit and reinforced my decision to read more in that universe should Reynold ever be able to release more.

Sadly, those 2 were really the only bright spots. Most of the other stories were either Cli-Fi, Angst-ridden or so full of hatred for Humanity that I had to wonder why the authors hadn’t killed themselves in protest of being human. So this was definitely on the path to 2stars. Some of the stories had Buddhist monks, Japanese nuns, Islamic warriors and one and all, they respected the environment, respected women and were paragons of virtue, which I have to admit, didn’t even fly across my radar in any way.

Then I read stories like “Conversion” and “Fall of Babylon” and this completely entered into Blasphemy territory. They didn’t make me angry or upset, I just sighed and shook my head. It was evident that the authors despised Christianity, not just didn’t believe it and that showed through like a drop of blood on a white canvas.

So between the religious hypocrisy and the blasphemy, this is getting the rare ½ star. Last time that happened was with Torchship Captain. Not good company to be in.

As I was writing this review, I realized that the editor’s name sounded familiar. If I had paid more attention and realized Tim Marquitz was involved with this project, I never would have touched this with a 10foot pole. Certainly explains the blasphemy and religious hypocrisy.

Rating: 0.5 out of 5.

Phoney Bone (Bone #3) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Phoney Bone
Series: Bone #3
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

At the farmhouse Fone Bone helps Thorn with the chores while waiting for Gran’ma Ben. Fone Bone shows Thorn what’s in his knapsack including the map they found in the desert which Thorn finds familiar. Phoney Bone meets Gran’ma Ben and instantly gets on her bad side. Fone and Phoney are reunited when Gran’ma Ben arrives back at the farmhouse. Phoney starts eating a pie Thorn made especially for Gran’ma Ben and he shoves the remaining part in Fone’s mouth and blames him.

My Thoughts:

While we “met” Phoney Bone in issue 1, it was just a couple of panels. Here we get a couple of pages and my goodness, he’s the most selfish creature around. He’s the reason the Bones were run out of Boneville in the first place and I have to wonder how much trouble he is going to have to get his cousins into before they abandon him to his just desserts. He isn’t malevolently evil, but he’s in no way good. I can’t remember for the life of me if Smith redeems him by the end or just leaves him as a foil to Fone.

And while I’m thinking about it, why did Smith choose to use Fone and Phoney as names? They’re too close. I found myself several times thinking in my head “Fonee Bone” and having to stop and think a second about who I was actually reading about. Visually, they quite different so there’s no issue there. But being a words person, I did get tripped up a couple of times.

Smith continues to draw me into this world with little things here and there. Thorn recognizing the map and telling Fone it was like one in her dreams. Means there’s going to be mysticism in this series and probably not just funny vignettes. For 28 pages, Smith has once again kept my interest.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Best Science Fiction of the Year (2015) ★☆☆☆☆ DNF@5%

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Best Science Fiction of the Year (2015)
Series: The Best SF of the Year #1
Editor: Neil Clarke
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF Short Story Collection
Pages: DNF@5%
Words: DNF@5%



Synopsis:

Table of Contents

“Introduction: A State of the Short SF Field in 2015” by Neil Clarke

“Today I Am Paul” by Martin Shoemaker

“Calved” by Sam J. Miller

“Three Bodies at Mitanni” by Seth Dickinson

“The Smog Society” by Chen Quifan

“In Blue Lily’s Wake” by Aliette de Bodard

“Hello, Hello” by Seanan McGuire

“Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfiang

“Capitalism in the 22nd Century” by Geoff Ryman

“Hold-Time Violations” by John Chu

“Wild Honey” by Paul McAuley

“So Much Cooking” by Naomi Kritzer

“Bannerless” by Carrie Vaughn

“Another Word for World” by Ann Leckie

“The Cold Inequalities” by Yoon Ha Lee

“Iron Pegasus” by Brenda Cooper

“The Audience” by Sean McMullen

“Empty” by Robert Reed

“Gypsy” by Carter Scholz

“Violation of the TrueNet Security Act” by Taiyo Fujii

“Damage” by David D. Levine

“The Tumbledowns of Cleopatra Abyss” by David Brin

“No Placeholder for You, My Love” by Nick Wolven

“Outsider” by An Owomeyla

“The Gods Have Not Died in Vain” by Ken Liu

“Cocoons” by Nancy Kress

“Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World” by Caroline M. Yoachim

“Two-Year Man” by Kelly Robson

“Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer

“Botanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts by Ida Countess Rathangan” by Ian McDonald

“Meshed” by Rich Larson

“A Murmuration” by Alastair Reynolds

2015 Recommended Reading List

My Thoughts:

I made it to the 3rd story before giving up. Horribly depressing. Perverse. Self-righteous. Smug.

While Clarke didn’t write these stories, he did choose them as the Best of 2015. That is just horrible. I think I’m going to be avoiding anything else with his name on it from now on.

If Woke Cli-Fi is your thing, then have at it. As for me, I’m going to go read something that is actually good.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

When Worlds Collide (Bronson Beta #1) ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: When Worlds Collide
Series: Bronson Beta #1
Authors: Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 225
Words: 83.5K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

Sven Bronson, a Swedish astronomer working at an observatory in South Africa, discovers a pair of rogue planets, Bronson Alpha and Bronson Beta, which will soon enter the Solar System. In eight months, they will pass close enough to cause catastrophic damage to the Earth. Sixteen months later, after swinging around the Sun, Bronson Alpha (a gas giant) will return to pulverize the Earth and leave. It is hoped that Bronson Beta (discovered to be Earth-like and potentially habitable) will remain and assume a stable orbit.

Scientists led by Cole Hendron work desperately to build an atomic rocket to transport enough people, animals and equipment to Bronson Beta in an attempt to save the human race. Various countries do the same. The United States evacuates coastal regions in preparation for the first encounter. As the planets approach, observers see through their telescopes cities on Bronson Beta. Tidal waves sweep inland at a height of 750 feet (230 m), volcanic eruptions and earthquakes add to the deadly toll, and the weather runs wild for more than two days. As a token of things to come, Bronson Alpha grazes and destroys the Moon.

Three men take a floatplane to check out conditions across the United States and meet with the President in Hutchinson, Kansas, the temporary capital of the United States. It is discovered that the entire Southeast region flooded, the Great Lakes rose and emptied into the Saint Lawrence region, and Connecticut has become an island archipelago. All three are wounded fighting off a mob at their last stop, but manage to return with a precious sample of an extremely heat-resistant metal one of them had noticed. This solves the last remaining engineering obstacle, as no material had been found before to make rocket tubes capable of withstanding the heat of the atomic exhaust for very long.

Five months before the end, desperate mobs attack the camp, killing over half of Hendron’s people before they are defeated. With the rocket tube breakthrough, the survivors are able to build a second, larger ship that can carry everyone left alive (instead of only 100 of the roughly thousand people Hendron had recruited). The two American ships take off, but lose contact with each other. Other ships are seen launching from Europe; the French ship’s tubes melt, causing it to explode in the upper atmosphere. The original American ship makes a successful landing, but it is unknown if anyone else made it. The survivors find that Bronson Beta is habitable. They also find a road.

My Thoughts:

This is the 3rd “Official” time that I’ve read this book but I know I read it at least once in Bibleschool and two or three times in highschool, so we’re talking at least six times. And I realized that I enjoyed it just as much this time as I have in the past, so its rating got bumped up to 5stars.

This is completely a comfort read. It has the 1930’s American mindset, so not only is Scyenze going to save humanity, but humanity is going to save itself. And they do a fine strapping job of it, with brawn, panache and manly friendship overcoming even jealous love interests. You don’t get stuff like this anymore. I know because of the review for a book that is coming up for Wednesday :-/

Everyone involved is a paragon of virtue. Even when they struggle with wanting to do the wrong thing, they realize it is wrong and fight and overcome it. Scientists are pure of motive and have no underlying idealogy outside of Truth Seeking, just like how we want them to be even today. The men are brawnly and smart, the women kind and gentle.

The disaster is fantastic, I have to admit. When Bronson Alpha passes Earth for the first time and destroys the moon and causes complete havoc on earth, the authors do a fantastic job of describing the cataclysmic occurrences in such an understated manner that it’s not horrifying until after you’ve read it and think about what just occurred. It’s described in a macro enough scale that as long as you have a rough idea of world geography (in terms of land masses and bodies of water) then you too can join in on the horrifying fun of it all.

Of course, the absolute nonsense about Bronson Beta having a breathable atmosphere and even having cities that survived is just something you have to put up. Hence the “scyenze” tag. But it’s no more fantastic than John Carter waking up on Mars and marrying a Pod Woman Princess.

Rating: 5 out of 5.