Tuesday, September 29, 2009

weekend reading

a bit of a misnomer as subject lines go, since this is really "last week's reading" and "probably a bit of the week before last's" as well.


patient zero, jonathan maberry. the first maberry book i read was ghost road blues -- apparently the first volume in the now-inevitable trilogy, followed by dead man's song and bad moon rising. i've got both of those on order at the library now and i have to say, i really liked blues. it retroactively reminds me of the preston and childs novels particularly still life with crows and i'm looking forward to song (whenever the library chooses to deliver it to me). but patient zero just didn't do it for me. i've read a lot of reviews in my various horror/genre blogs lauding zero right to the skies for being an original zombie novel and a brave re-imagining of the genre and so on and so forth. it may be all these things -- but by about 200 pages in -- i just didn't care. there had been approximately 2 zombies; they were both dealt with quite handily; and i felt as though i were being subjected to every. single. note. maberry had taken in his research into the american military. i read novels like this for fun; not to go through some ponderous and obvious metaphor on the iraq/afghanistan war. the hero wasn't unsympathetic; he wasn't sympathetic; he was just kind of...there. maybe in six months i'll pick it up again and read it straight through and think it's great but so far...no luck.

13 bullets, david wellington. i got through wellington's monster trilogy last year (island, nation, and planet) which were a steady upward arc of ability and bullets is better than planet by a whole big chunk. the re-imagining of the vampires is great; the narrator character wavers a little at the beginning, but settles in solidly by mid-story and, even when she's annoying, you like her well enough to stick it out; and i thought the end is just great. the main antagonist character comes across -- well, imagine if spike (on a bad day) had a grandmother. kind of like that. except slightly worse. there are, of course, volumes after this one -- i think 99 coffins is the next and then 23 hours? 23 days? something like that. and, if you absolutely can't wait to get a quickie dose of wellington right now, he's posting thirty free stories in thirty days to promote his new book. (i can't say that the interface of the page that link goes to is easy to navigate, but if you stick with it, you'll find the stories. good luck. it really is worth it.)

domino men, jonathan barnes. (clearly i had a "jonathan" heavy week or two). i read the somnabulist too far back for this to be as effective as it might have been, sadly, but it was still very good. a nice solid sequel without the feeling that the (i'm sure inevitable) third volume will be entirely predictable (return of the jedi with...frogs?). the monster is very creepy; the parallel storylines work really well; and the domino men are, as they were in the somnabulist, some of the nastiest things going. now, of course, though, i picture them as matt lucas and david walliams from little britain -- i think they'd do it brilliantly, too!

duma key, stephen king. this isn't quite fair, because i haven't really finished it yet, but so far, so king. i'm curious to see that neil gaiman mentions on his twitter feed reading a copy of king's latest, under the dome, which i'm looking forward to -- i can only assume that gaiman is blurbing an advance copy...? or i've missed something. both are possible. anyway, key has most of what i have come to realise are the usual king problems: he wanders, you get details (particularly in the first half of the novel) that aren't really germane -- it's as if he's writing down all the possibilities for the story and then forgets to go back and do the editing to slim down the first 100-200 pages. and it always seems weird that he writes about florida now. i associate him so strongly with writing about new england -- and maine in particular -- that it always seems weird that he writes about someplace else that isn't the territories or midworld. but key's making up for its wandering first half pretty solidly in the second half. of course, half of my guesses about what's going on will be wrong -- whether this is because king plots poorly or i guess wildly, i'm never sure!

and i've got michael cox's the glass of time on hand, too, but haven't had time to get more than a few pages in.

so i really am following my professor's advice, delivered as i sagged against her office door and handed her my thesis draft from a nerveless hand: "so go take a break now. really. go and read some trash. oh -- well, i guess you do that all the time anyway." ;)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"it's alive!"

...and with that lame young frankenstein reference (sorry, mr. wilder, sir), we start again.

i realised the other day that it was entirely ironic preparing to write posts for a blog in england when i couldn't even keep my own blog going at the rate of a post a week. so i'm going to see if i can do better than a post a week.

the recent hiatus -- so-called -- has been the result of a) the recurrence of an old wrist injury due to too many years spent typing at marlboro; and b) trying to write a master's thesis. surprisingly, it takes a hell of a lot of time! who knew?

anyway, i return now because -- more or less entirely on a whim -- i sent my name in for consideration for part of a new project being set up by a blogger i read out of london. he wanted to put something together about e-books. "aha!" i thought. "i know next to nothing about e-books, but gosh, do i have some opinions!" (only part of that last statement is true.) so i sent him an email; he asked for a "trial post"; i wrote one (largely about the school in massachusetts which recently hit a lot of front pages for declaring it was going to get rid of all its books in favor of the kindle) and sent him that; he liked it. so now the "team" of people he's chosen from all the (dozens? hundreds? ten?) people who sent him emails in the first place are slowly assembling ourselves into something that will -- some day soon! -- resemble a blog about e-books and associated topics.

so i come back here for two purposes.

one is to solicit stories -- do you have links to cool things about e-books? do you use a kindle? a sony ereader? neither? do you live on google books? please -- send me stuff to write about! i'm not honestly afraid of running out of material -- a blog post isn't that long after all -- but i figured if anyone was kind enough to still be hanging on and reading this thing after such a long...we'll be kind and call it a "gap"...it would be worthwhile to put the request out there.

the second is to put into effect the new plan of microposts to solve the above-mentioned issue of the 'once-weekly' post. this way, i figure i can write a little more, clog up all your rss feeds a little more, and not put too much more strain on my poor wrist.