Tuesday, September 28, 2010


What a perfect time to read a Banned Book.
Phillip Pullman's, His Dark Materials series is my best recommendation.
1. The Golden Compass  2. The Subtle Knife  3. The Amber Spyglass

Think for Yourself and Let Others Do the Same

What the heck.  It's Banned Book Week.
Another YA favorite of mine.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Alexie, Sherman


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jaine Fenn Gets Me Again

Consorts of Heaven, the second novel by Jaine Fenn is just too good not to mention right away. I loved Principles of Angels as you may have noted in the previous blog. Her second book stands tall, the woman is a very talented story teller at the beginning of what I hope is a long career. Though her first two books don't seem on the face of things to be much related, there are hints. The same aliens, the Sidhe, are afoot and the previous character Nual is mentioned. The author says they are part of her Hidden Empire series but the stories stand alone comfortably. I look forward to the big bang when the dots really start to connect. Consorts... takes place on a planet living on the edge of what feels like pre-iron age and the folks for the most part have no idea they are under the thumb of some not so benevolent aliens. The story begins with a "sky-touched" (kinda, autistic savant, sorta) boy, Damaru, finding a naked stranger in the swamp lands. Damaru and his widower mother, Kerin, take the man home to care for him. Kerin is an appropriately strong willed and strong minded woman with purpose to her life, I loved her. The man has no memory, but a quick clue to who or what he might be is in his finding his primitive surroundings pretty disgusting. Oh What Fun! The world Fenn has created, its social and religious system, are nothing short of brilliant. I look forward to the next book Guardians of Paradise, maybe the big connect will arrive in it's pages. The Sidhe's ability to get inside the minds of humans makes for a very difficult critter to face off with. But surprises abound and heroes emerge from the most unlikely places.

Go with music that fits the titles for this one.
Bob Dylan's, Dylan track 12, Knockin' On Heaven's Door
There have been so many pop covers of this song of late
it's good to get back to the genius who penned the song.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Steampunk Noir Nightmare, Quick Enjoyable Space Opera, A Rousing God Riddled Fantasy and A Twisted Sci-Fi Laden With Broken People On The Mend Throug Action

Jeff Vandermeer's Finch is one bent bit of imagining. Thought it reminded me of China MiĆ©ville's, Perdido Street Station, which blew me away, it had it's own originality and intrigue.  Just think of aliens living beneath you and the world running riot with fungal rot that is slowly diminishing your life and all that you and your physical world are. Spooky! The protagonist is not the easiest fellow to like but his complexity drags you along until you don't want to let go and you need to know more about him. He's just a poor plodding detective trying to do his job.

At Empire's Edge by William C. Dietz, book one of a new duology, was almost put aside after the first few pages. I picked it up a little later and the hooks were set. I burned the words off the pages and sighed with contentment as I closed the book. Space Opera, Candy, Yum!

Surprise, surprise, some new thinking in Fantasy Land.  N. K. Jemisin caught me off guard with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. It is a poor lass from the hinterlands come to the city as a poor prospect to vie with two psychopaths for the throne. But it is so much more. The Gods are enslaved to the whims of the city folk, but twist any and all commands to some twisted demented "Mr. Literal" response.  What fun!

I have saved the most interesting for last.  Some of the professional reviewers are so wrong about this author's first novel.  Principles of Angels by Janie Fenn is terrific.  The broken, the depraved and the deprived reign supreme in the delicious tale. The city is a brilliant closed system construct. The players are brutal beyond pale. Faint at heart be forewarned. Yet, those of you, who like me, walked through Stieg Larsson's first and brilliant tale of broken abused humans, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, without doubting the potential cruelty of the human being may enjoy this read. I could do nothing less than admire and respect the young male protagonist telling (living) this tale.

It was so shocking, I can't remember which of the three books above did me in, It was not Dietz' Space Opera, but I was just reading along minding my own business and things slipped in to a full blown stream of consciousness event. I don't think it was a psychotic break, I may have suddenly started channeling William S. Burrows (Naked Lunch), I'm just not sure. The point beyond the event is, I guess, (I don't even know why I'm making this point, but hey, this is Science Fiction, strange things happen.) there are linguistic programmers out there that don't even know they are linguistic programmers and they want your brain, they want your heart, they want your soul. It may be a talk show host, it may be a pretend news man. It may be an author. It might be me. Check the facts, just check the facts. Go find independent and opposing forces, go look at raw data. Don't roll over because you heard it before. "Doubt your doubts", as my semantics professor kept harping at me back in 1968. Read a book, Go with the flow. Don't let anybody know you're the least bit as confused as they are (except for friends that need to know they are not alone).

Obvious Music of the Moment
The Rolling Stones
19th Nervous Breakdown, Disc 1,Track 7  Forty Licks
Torn and Frayed Track 7 Exile on Main Street
Jigsaw Puzzle, Track 5, Beggars Banquet
Thank goodness for mood music to sound track your life with.

little richard, Big Universe

Thursday, September 9, 2010

If You Are Not Reading Young Adult Fiction You Are Missing Some Of The Best

Just finished Christy Raedeke's Prophecy of Days,
Book One of The Daykeeper's Grimorie.
I am breathless and filled to the brim with joy and trepidation.
I see conspiracies everywhere I look. This book was such fun!
2012, the end of the Mayan Calendar, is near at hand
and daring do is the watch word of the day.
Caity Mac Fireland never stops to twiddle her thumbs.
Once the intros are made the pages burn while turning.
If you are like me and like strong female protagonist,
look no further. (you might look at the second paragraph below too)

I suspect this book will be challenged by foolish folks,
but what the hey, ideas and thinking really are dangerous.

You have to be living under a mushroom to have missed all the
to do about "The Hunger Games" Trilogy by Suzanne Collins.
1.The Hunger Games; 2.Catching Fire; 3.Mockingjay.
The young fem protagonist in this series make the young lady
in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga Series,
look like a wimpy damsel in distress looking for a rescue.
On the other hand, Katniss Everdeen is one stand up young lady.
She may not know exactly where she's headed
but she is definitely not standing around waiting for a train.
I'm shaking with anticipation for my turn at book three.
Admittedly the Twilight Saga Series is enjoyable,
but doesn't come close the the above mentioned young ladies
and all the young female characters in the Philip Pullman books. 

I can not stress enough the great reading you are missing
by not looking at the Young Adult Collection.
It is loaded for bear with great writers telling tremendous stories.
I will undoubtedly return to this theme.
I love YA not to mention some serious gems
in the Juvenile Collection.
It's all about the story telling.

Music for the young at heart (YA) readers.
Patti Smith's CD "Twelve"
track 2 "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"
originally written and recorded by Tears for Fears.
track 1,  "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Kurt Cobain
and Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic of (Nirvana)

The whole CD is a compilation of 12 cover songs
Smith had been wanting to do for years.
Very interesting mix and great music.
Track 1 is Jimi Hendrixs' "Are You Experienced?"
nuf said; Enjoy!

Hey Hey Hey
Don't forget to read everything written by Philip Pullman