Tuesday, July 15th, 2008
3:15 pm - Books. Lots of Them.  
Proven Guilty — Jim Butcher

I'm still getting used to the written version of Harry Dresden as opposed to the TV version. Just as enjoyable as the TV series, but different. This is the second Dresden novel I've read, and he's so much more of an action hero in these. What with riding dinosaur skeletons into battle and playing Dresden the Barbarian in ice castles in the Never Never. This time it's a group of demons that manifest as the evil characters from horror movies. Good stuff.

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The Sun Inside — David J. Schwartz
Superpowers — David J. Schwartz

David, aka Knut the Difficult, aka snurri  , is a friend, so when he announced these books I pre-ordered them, and they coincidentally arrived the same week. The Sun Inside is a novella, a long monologue by the main character directed at an unseen (and unseeing) companion. I was a bit meh about this one, although I suspect a lot of that has to do more with my dislike of the setting than the writing. The writing kept me interested, but the story is set in a somewhat well known universe that I, unfortunately, never cared for much. Still, David does some interesting extrapolation of what might be going on there many years later, although I'm still trying to figure out how the hell they managed to get internet access there. The other thing is that the story is really more of an introduction to an adventure, i.e., how the character came to be standing there with a pack on his back and a rifle in his hand, and it cuts off just as things might start to get interesting. One amusing side note, my copy arrived with a crisp, new dollar bill inserted into it as a bookmark, which reminded me of Max Bialystock wrapping a twenty around the Times theatre critic's tickets in The Producers. I thoroughly approve of any publishing trend that pays me to read a book.

Superpowers is David's first published novel, and is terrific. It tells the story of five college students who wake up one morning with powers beyond the abilities of mortal men (and women). No explanation is ever given as to what caused this, although eventually they discover it'd happened before. The book follows along as they first learn to cope with their new found abilities (the invisible girl has problems becoming visible again, the telepath has to resort to multiple personalities to cope with the flood of external thoughts coming in), and then decide to use them to try to help others. Of course the latter leads to unexpected consequences, some funny, some not, leading to lots of people trying to find out who they are. Meanwhile, the novel starts in May 2001, so all the while the reader can see that the Big Angst Train is a comin' as the dated chapters count down the time to the climactic event much like the clock in High Noon. The writing is witty and poignant, and the book is great fun. Help a struggling writer out and go buy it.

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My Man Jeeves — P.G. Wodehouse

A collection of some of the earliest Jeeves and Wooster stories, along with some tales of Reggie Pepper. The four J&W's wound up being the basis four the first three episodes of <div style='display:inline; font-style:italic;'>Jeeves and Wooster</div>, Series 3. I skipped the Peppers.

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The Engines of God — Jack McDevitt

Archaeologists in Spaaaace! I liked this book, although there were things about it that annoyed me. Humans have moved out into space and discovered an alien race, along with the abandoned remnants of three more. An archaeological team exploring some ruins discover connections among all the races, even those that didn't have space travel. As they investigate further, they discover that something is knocking civilizations back to the stone age every 8000 years or so. There is some good stuff here, and it's an interesting take on the Fermi paradox. Mostly what annoyed me was that it went from being a story about doing archaeology on a long dead alien civilization to Indiana Jones in space about a third of the way through, and became more action/adventure than science oriented. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed most of the ride, but I was hoping for a little more.

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Whose Body — Dorothy L. Sayers

The first Peter Wimsey mystery, one I hadn't read in about twenty years. I didn't remember much about it, other than that Parker gets more to do than he usually does in most Wimseys. So does Bunter, as it turns out. The mystery starts out strong, but It becomes pretty clear early one who the murderer has to be. And then there's the whole bit where the solitary murderer hauled the dead body of a largish man up to a rooftop, then swung it down through a third floor bathroom window where he left it arranged in a bathtub wearing nothing but a pince nez. Yup. Sure.

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Ellen S.ellenbs on July 16th, 2008 - 01:53 am
Cool beans!
I will Amazon-bookmark "Superpowers" and "The Engines of God". 'Archaeologists in spaaaace' is pretty much the only thing I've ever read that's made me want to read about space.

(off topic) I always say "Bed, Bath, and BEYOND!" in my 'Pigs in Space' voice.
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