Thick as Thieves is Fun, Pulpy SF Crime Fiction

Thick as Thieves is a pulpy adventure SF tale about a burly soldier-turned-tavern bouncer, Brick, who makes the mistake of agreeing to a simple plan and gets involved over his head in a heist.  Although Lizzi is really telling more of an Elmore Leonard-style crime story than a straight heist.  Lizzi gives us a quick, pulpy read (234 pages) that comes with surprisingly depth, economically doled out in small bits.  It is a fun story, if not one that blew me away.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Throwback SF | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Wheel of Time TV Show Makes Casting Announcement for 5 of 6 Main Characters

News about The Wheel of Time TV show has been slow these days, but we finally have some real news, and, whew boy, is it big news!  The show announced the casting for Rand al’Thor, Egwene al’Vere, Mat Cauthon, Nynaeve al’Meara, and Perrin Aybara using language that Rand uses in his final confrontation in A Memory of Light.  If you’ve read my post on the six main characters of The Wheel of Time, you know this is 5 of the 6 main characters.  Only Elayne is left, although her role is somewhat smaller early in the books.  Considering roles early in the books, and with Rosamund Pike announced as Moiraine, the other really big casting announcement left is Lan.

I have little to say about these actors.  I don’t watch enough TV to have a deep knowledge of actors and, as expected, they went with relatively young and unknown actors (I wouldn’t be surprised if they are going for another relatively big name for Lan).  I really can’t judge before seeing footage.  I mean, I still will a bit below, but only after the caveat that I always envisioned Tam as Charles Bronson and Lan as David Hasselhoff.  I’m really not someone whose judgment you should trust is what I’m saying.

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SF: Devil’s Call by J. Danielle Dorn

Today’s post over at Hillbilly Highways is another SF book review, this time of J. Danielle Dorn’s Devil’s Call, a weird western that is a slow burn but winds up going somewhere genuinely horrifying.

Hillbilly Highways

Devil’s Call is one hell of a story, a bloody weird western propelled by protagonist Li Lian’s remarkable voice.

Li Lian is the mixed race daughter from a family where witchery runs on the female line.  She follows her husband, a former army doctor, to the Nebraska frontier.  It is there that something goes terribly wrong.

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2019 Bookish Resolutions Mid-Year Check-In

Last year I made some bookish resolutions . . . and didn’t do great with them.  This year I again made some bookish resolutions, but I tried to be smarter about it this time around.  The big thing I did was go into my calendar and set reminders every month or so to tackle a particular resolution.  Alright, so let’s take a look how that worked out.  My original language is in italics.

Here are my original 2019 bookish resolutions post and my 2018 bookish resolutions post.

no-angel points out that I’ve been burning a lot of time reading nonfiction

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July 2019 Month-in-Review

July was a busy month, reading-wise and real life-wise, if not blog-wise.

I spent a (lovely) week and a half in Canada (Calgary and the Canadian Rockies) and came home to a mountain of work and deadlines.  Much of it remains to be done even though I will be traveling again much of August (albeit a good bit for work this time).

A couple heavy months of reading put me in a position to make a stunning announcement: I am at a zero net change in Mount TBR for the year!  Now all that is left is to make that TBR number go down.  I acquired 14 books, driven by two one-off trips to bookstores.  I finished 9 books—not just matching the 9 books I finished in June but making serious dents in a couple doorstoppers that I didn’t finish.  I added a new section this month.  On my second trip to the bookstore I “sold” (long story) a box of books.  Most I had already read, but I’m subtracting those I haven’t from Mount TBR (which is made up of all books I own but haven’t read).  I want to go through my Kindle and delete some books as well (my overall TBR count is also probably off because there are some books I don’t own inadvertently on my Goodreads).

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Like a good doggo, A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World tries too hard sometimes

When he was 13, Charlie Wilson’s (of Charlie Wilson’s war fame) neighbor killed his dog.  Wilson retaliated first by setting his garden on fire, then by driving enough voters to the polls next election to get his neighbor kicked off the city council.  The protagonist, main character, and narrator of A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is Griz.  Griz, like Charlie Wilson, knows that a man messing with your dog can call for extreme measures.

Griz lives at the end of the world.  An event occurred that nobody really understands—the “Gelding”—and the vast majority of human beings were no longer able to have children.  With only a tiny, tiny percentage (like 0.0001 percent tiny) of people still able to have children, the population of the Earth dropped off a cliff.  The story takes place a few generations after.  So Griz can say that, “In my whole life, I haven’t met enough people to make up two teams for a game of football.”  He estimates there are maybe 10,000 people left alive on the Earth.  But this isn’t one of those fiery apocalypses.  Griz and his family are able to live a nice life on some islands off of Great Britain, only maintaining regular contact with one other family.  But the excitement of a visiting traveler who comes bearing stories and offers of trade ends in misery when the traveler poisons Griz’s family and steals his dog.

“There may be no law left except what you make it, but if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.”

A Boy’s Dog

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Posted in Book Reviews, Dystopian/Apocalyptic | Tagged | 8 Comments

Why the MCU Phase 4 Will Fail . . . And What Marvel Should Do About It

I wasn’t an MCU fan from the get-go.  And I am still not a fanboy.  I was a Marvel kid, but I was far, far more interested in Spider-Man and the X-Men than in the Avengers.  But the MCU earned my respect and many of my dollars over the years (although there are several MCU movies I still haven’t seen).

The MCU was solid from the start.  Things picked up in Phase Two.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy are two of the five best MCU movies.  Things really picked up with Phase Three.  Not because of the quality of the movies, or just because of the quality of the movies, but because those movies complemented each other, building to something big.  Three dozen movies culminated in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.  The MCU pulled off what all its imitators would fail at.  The end result was a cultural event and accomplished something no one movie could.

So don’t get me wrong.  I don’t want the MCU Phase 4 to fail.  It’s just that I am quite confident that it will.  There are things Marvel can do in response, although saving the future of the MCU may leave something that doesn’t look that much like the MCU Phase 4 recently announced.

SPOILERS for Endgame below.

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Posted in Sundry, Superhero Fiction | Tagged , | 11 Comments