Logan is Wolverine Boiled Down to his Essence

Logan is, without a doubt, the best X-Men movie yet.  And that’s counting Deadpool.  It’s the first nine (!) movies boiled down to their essence.  The two actors and characters at the heart of the movies—Hugh Jackman/Wolverine and Patrick Stewart/Professor X.  The push and pull between the two as Professor X tries to convince Wolverine to accept the mantle of hero.  The seemingly inevitable genocide of mutants and dystopia for the rest of us.  Violence that, stripped of all cartoonishness, is mostly people getting stabbed in the face.

Someone will come along.

Someone has come along.

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Posted in Dystopian, Sundry, Superhero Fiction | Tagged | 1 Comment

Review of The Wrong Dead Guy by Richard Kadrey

I loved The Everything Box.  I even put it on my Hugo Awards ballot.  And The Wrong Dead Guy isn’t, by any means, bad.  But it is pretty pedestrian.

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Throwback SF Thursday: Have Space Suit—Will Travel by Robert Heinlein

I don’t read a whole lot of YA fiction these days (or ever, really).  Even less middle school fiction.  And I suppose Have Space Suit—Will Travel, like The Hobbit, would be marketed as middle school fiction were it to be released today.  There isn’t a love story, and a book simply must have a love story—preferably a triangle—to be YA.  But what it is is good—better than most and certainly different than anything I read.  Like The Hobbit, it threatens to be a bit too twee at times, but I never found it overwhelming.  It is, like its protagonist, unabashedly earnest; entirely unapologetic in its love of science and engineering and work; and sharply written, showing full well Heinlein’s immense talent for aphorisms—if I hadn’t stopped writing down or tweeting every great line I would still be reading it.  It also has two absolutely killer hard science fiction action sequences.

You see, I had this space suit.

How it happened was this way:

“Dad,” I said, “I want to go to the Moon.”

“Certainly,” he answered and looked back at his book.  It was Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat, which he must know by heart.

I said, “Dad, please!  I’m serious.”

This time he closed the book on a finger and said gently, “I said it was all right.  Go ahead.”

“Yes . . . but how?”

“Eh?”  He looked mildly surprised.  “Why, that’s your problem, Clifford.”

Pretty much everything you need to know about Have Space Suit—Will Travel is in that quote.  (Don’t worry, I have more to say.)

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2017 Hugo Awards Nominations

I almost certainly won’t wind up voting on the Hugos this year.  The number of people nominating and voting on the awards jumped way up, but that hasn’t markedly improved the quality of the finalists.  And it’s clear that a lot of people involved don’t want the make-up of the finalists to change—at least not for the better.  And those people are committed to doing whatever it takes to guard their fiefdom, including putting No Award over very fine work.

Voting means an enormous time commitment for works that aren’t special enough to merit the commitment and without the opportunity to have much of an impact on the final results (especially when a large chunk of the voters obviously aren’t bothering to read many works).

But I did buy a supporting membership for this year’s WorldCon, so I am eligible to nominate.  I’m not going to go out of my way to try to read anymore works from 2016 before the nomination deadline.  And after recently finishing Death’s End, I can’t think of any works off the top of my head that I’m dying to finish anyway, especially anything that has any shot at being a finalist.  Although I may add some shorter works if I can get caught back up on Cirsova Magazine and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction before the nomination period closes.

But Hugo Awards notwithstanding, I have read some really great speculative fiction published in 2016 and I’m happy to promote it.

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Review of Death’s End by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu

With its completion with Death’s End, I can now say that the Remembrance of Earth’s Past is my all-time favorite science fiction series (says the noob of a sci fi fan).  It opens just like you would expect the final volume of an insanely ambitious hard science fiction series to open, with a magician offering to help the emperor prevent the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.  Wait, what?  This has never been a series interested in hewing to convention.  And so we get a story spanning a few million years (specifically, 1453 – 18906416).

“Once, ancient Romans had whistled in their grand, magnificent baths, thinking that their empire, like the granite that made up the walls of the pools in which they floated, would last forever.  No banquet was eternal.  Everything had an end.  Everything.”

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(SPOILERS for the first two books in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past series below the fold.)

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Throwback SF Thursday: The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

demolished-man-cover-mineTension, apprehension, and dissension have begun . . .

Alfred Bester may have had a touch of psionic ability himself.  The Demolished Man reads like equal parts hardboiled noir and cyberpunk.  It’s tense and taut throughout, if it never quite matches its own ambitions.  But unlike many writers who set their sights high, Bester never stumbles at the lower orders of storytelling.  It’s a damned fun story of two men engaged in combat, each trying to destroy the other.

Squared off are Lincoln Powell, Prefect of the Police Psychotic Division and 1st Class Esper, and Ben Reich, the scion of the Monarch Utilities and Resources commercial empire and a man who would be equally at home as the hero or the villain in an Ayn Rand novel.  There are many minor characters, but the plot is entirely driven by the cat-and-mouse game between Powell and Reich.  Reich plans the perfect crime—the only kind you dare contemplate in the world of The Demolished Man—to kill his rival in commerce, and Powell is the only man who can bring him to justice.  Powell’s ace in the hole?  That part about being a 1st Class Esper, or telepath.

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Review of APB

I have a review of Death’s End coming, honest!  But I have a LOT to say about it.  In the interim, reading The Forever War and The Demolished Man have my mind turned to science fictional crime fighting.  How well-timed, then, that I saw the commercials for APB during the Super Bowl, with the premiere scheduled to air the day before I needed to get a post up.

Police work isn’t rocket science. It’s harder. Inspired by true events, APB is a new police drama with a high-tech twist . . . .  Sky-high crime, officer-involved shootings, cover-ups and corruption: the over-extended and under-funded Chicago Police Department is spiraling out of control. Enter billionaire engineer GIDEON REEVES . . . .  After his best friend is murdered in a botched attempted robbery, and the killer remains at large, Gideon demands justice.  Putting up millions of dollars of his own money, he makes an unprecedented deal to take over the troubled 13th District – and reboot it as a private police force: better, faster and smarter than anything seen before.  With cutting-edge technology created by Gideon himself, this eccentric yet brilliant outsider challenges the city’s police force to rethink everything about the way they fight crime.

APB marries science fiction with one of the few things the networks are comfortable with—police procedurals.  So how is it?  Read and find out!

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