Blog Archives

Jam (Yahtzee Croshaw): A Joint Review

CleverHandle’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Penguinhegemony’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
P: I found Jam to be a unique take on the standard apocalypse genre thriller. The setup is unique and playful and deserves praise for its creativity and execution. The character aspect suffered a little with a protagonist that could have been more intriguing and the supporting cast seemed a bit stilted, but overall this weakness didn’t detract much from the overall quality of the book. I would definitely recommend Jam to fans of the genre looking for a bit of fun, or strawberries, to go along with their apocalypse.

CH: I’ve said before that I’m no fan of zombies; here, we have the standard zombie-apocalypse setup sans undead; instead, man-eating strawberry jam quite suddenly takes over Australia. Like most of my favorite apocalypse stories, the tone is humorous, but Croshaw doesn’t use that as an excuse to shy away from exploring humanity at its worst. I agree with Penguinhegemony that the characters were rather weak, but I found this to be a bigger flaw than he did. I also found the plot to be a bit weak or forced in places, sometimes in an attempt to fit in humor. Overall, though, this was an enjoyable book, and it’s made me want to check out Croshaw’s first work, Mogworld.

Read more ›

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Oh Myyy! (There Goes The Internet) (George Takei)

5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This book is everything fans of George Takei would expect: irreverent, hilarious, conversational, and thought provoking.  Oh, and also pictures of cats.  Takei tells the story of his experiences with building and maintaining a web presence, first on Twitter and then on Facebook, and shares lessons about EdgeRank, Grammar Nazis, and an annoying impersonator he refers to as George Fakei.  You definitely don’t need to be a Star Trek fan to enjoy this; references to his time as Sulu are few and far between.  Rather, this is the story of an engaging civil rights activist in his 70s playing with the new tools the Internet has to offer.

Read more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Nonfiction

Night of the Living Trekkies (Kevin David Anderson): A Special Halloween Joint Review

CleverHandle’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Penguinhegemony’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
CH: I hate zombies.  HATE them.  With the exception of Shaun of the Dead, I have loathed every piece of zombie-related media I have ever encountered.  If you told me I’d be writing a five-star review of a “zombies at a Star Trek convention” book, I would have laughed (even though I’m a TNG fan).  I read it intending to provide a counterpoint to Penguinhegemony’s review.  And in a way, I was right: I didn’t like this book.  I LOVED it.  Anderson pulls you in right from the start, with likable characters and a humorous style.  The writing is excellent: Anderson does a great job of building tension, and during some of the more dramatic scenes, I could almost hear a soundtrack in my head.  The plot is fast-paced and engaging, the book is a page-turner (I read it in one sitting), and Anderson keeps you intrigued and entertained throughout.  You don’t need to be a Star Trek fan to enjoy this, but there are a lot of clever nods to the series throughout, including chapter titles borrowed from episodes of the show.  This is the best book I’ve read all year, and I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys humor, tension, and good writing — even if you hate zombies.

P: I generally like zombie apocalypse stories, but I wouldn’t consider most of them to be something I would recommend.  I picked up Night of the Living Trekkies (tag line: “They thought space was the final frontier.  They were wrong.”) thinking that it would a fun book to make fun of with a ridiculous, easily dismissible premise: zombies at a Star Trek convention.  As I read it, I had the growing realization that it was, to my horror, actually really good.  It solves most of the issues I have with the genre at large: the plot is fun and unpredictable, the characters are well developed and likeable, and the environment is interesting and believable.  Surprisingly, I have to heartily recommend Night of the Living Trekkies as a well developed, action packed read and not just yet another forgettable zombie thriller.
Read more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Thraxas and the Sorcerers (Martin Scott, Thraxas #5)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Fifth in the Thraxas series, Thraxas and the Sorcerers is a fun, lighthearted, fast moving traditional swords-and-sorcery fantasy detective story.  The plot really moves along and focuses more on humor and action than on the more cerebral aspects of the mystery.  The main characters are all well defined and funny; the side characters are more serious, but also decently put together.  The setting is well developed by the previous four books in the series and feels very organic and as realistic as a swords-and-sorcery setting can be.  There is quite a bit of drug and alcohol abuse depicted, so someone who doesn’t want to see that depicted might want to steer clear, but this is no way a trippy psychedelic 60s or 70s throwback fantasy novel.  Overall I would recommend this book as a fun fantasy romp.

Read more ›

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Sci-Fi/Fantasy