Neal Asher

Jul. 26th, 2005 08:31 am
yendi: (Default)
Okay, I'm officially a fan. I'd mentioned reading Cowl earlier this week. I just finished The Skinner this morning, and have started Gridlinked. This guy's not only really really good, he's also capable of incredible variations in style. Cowl is a very nifty time-travel story, The Skinner is a tale of adventure/political intrigue, and it looks as if Gridlinked is going to go the hard-boiled route (not that the books are as easily pigeonholed as I make it sound). He's shown a damned fine talent for both characterization and plotting in both the novels I've finished.

I know I'm relatively late to the party on this one, but I'm still glad I finally started reading him. Definitely an author to keep an eye on.
yendi: (Default)
The incredibly talented [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna , author of The Labyrinth, has not one, not two, but three books now available! Those books are:

Yume No Hon: The Book of Dreams, which, to quote the author, "is a Japanese novel with crazy old women, banditos, quantum physics, and goats." I can't imagine anything I could add.

Apocrypha, a poetry collection. If that sort of thing scares you, move along. If not, you can read the titular poem here, which will tell you more about whether you'll like it than any ten superlatives I could possibly through your way.

Oracles, also a poetry collection. But seventh-graders liked it, even though [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna has a firm policy of including non more than three fart jokes in any of her books (often fewer).

For more info, go read the author's own post on the subject.
yendi: (Default)
Yes, back in Atlanta. Trip was wonderful, trip home itself sucked donkey balls, mainly because Airtran continues to insist on hiring only crack-smoking chimpanzees instead of trained workers. So not much sleep. Not helped by the cats, who clearly wanted to make up for lost cuddle-time at 1 in the morning.

No way to sum up the trip, other than to say that it was wonderful. Love Boston, and love Malden. [livejournal.com profile] beowabbit and [livejournal.com profile] docorion are wonderful hosts, as well as just plain wonderful people. Fun was has by all.

No, didn't really read LJ while I was gone, and no intentions of doing so now. If it's important, email me, etc.

Did lots of reading, including:

[livejournal.com profile] matociquala's nifty second novel, Scardown, which was quite fun, but probably shouldn't be read by anyone who hasn't read Hammered yet (so go read Hammered!). Lots of fun, even if she does mean things to characters I like.

● Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple's Pay the Piper: A Rock and Roll Fairy Tale, a quite nice YA fantasy novel that'll appeal to the CDL/NKH fans, as well as anyone looking for a nice reinterpretation of the Pied Piper myth.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which is a fun little small press title that deserves some attention. Hopefully some of you might have heard of it. No spoilers here, but I'll make a separate post with my thoughts on the book later.

The Zork Chronicles, by the late and wonderful George Alec Effenger (and produced by the later (or is that more recent?) and just as wonderful Byron Preiss). This is a damned funny bit of genre parody (not surprising, given the author), with more than a few "how did he get away with this one?" moments, not least of which is having an organization that acronyms to SFWA, with a Campbell Award, even (this for Joseph Campbell, though). It's definitely better if you've played the games (and, for these purposes, "the games' refers to the first three Zork games, no Beyond, Zero, or anything involving FMV), as the adventure takes place years after the series, and features many of the same locations, as well as the effects of the original hero's actions. Worth grabbing used (which is the only way you'll find it, anyway).

Cowl, by Neal Asher. I'm almost done with it, and quite enjoying it. My first Asher novel, but it won't be my last. One of the better time-travel novels I've read.

Gah. Exhaustion killing me. Need to hunt and kill a wild coffeebeast.
yendi: (Default)
Dammit, no one wrote me a memo letting me know that John Crowley had a new book out! And I love the concept of Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land: Lord Byron secretly did manage to write a full novel based on that famous night of storytelling at Villa Diodati. The fictional novel (featuring zombies!) also contains footnotes by Byron's mathematician daughter.

Crowley's one of about three people I think could pull this off (Tim Powers and John Ford being the other two).
yendi: (Jason)
Iron Man

Dude.

And linked from that page was this one:



Miike and Tsukamoto books. Oh yes, they will be mine.
yendi: (Brain)
After the hullabaloo last month in trying to get my copy of Necklace of Kisses, I finally got an email last Thursday from a nice lady at HarperCollins, apologizing for the mess, and letting me know that they had another ARC lying around. They sent it to me, and it arrived on Tuesday. I finished it yesterday afternoon.

It was, in a word, wonderful.

My biggest fear, after reading the plot blurb (that Weetzie decides to leave Max after twenty years -- sorry, not calling a blurb on the cover and anything that happens by page 3 a spoiler), was that this would turn into Block's Sure of You.

SoY, for those who haven't read it, is the final book in Maupin's Tales of the City series, and basically turns the character of Mary Ann, who started as a wide-eyed innocent in the first book, into a completely unsympathetic character, disolving her wonderful relationship with her husband, Brian, and basically ending the series with them starting their lives over. It's not a bad book, per se, but it's an amazingly cynical end to a series that started off so full of joie de vivre.

So, going into NoK, I was a wee bit worried, as this was another great series that began with an amazingly positive outlook on life. And although I could handle Maupin going down that route (given the lack of true magic in his books, as well as an element of satire that Block has avoided), I don't think I would have been able to see Weetzie take that path.

But Block's a better writer than that (she's also a better writer than when the series began), and the book is just a joy. It's got all the classic Block elements, from the magical realism buried right under (and often creeping out from) all the characters' backgrounds to the oh-so-rare (in literature) willingness of people to admit that they don't understand what's driving their actions at all times. Throw in a book that clearly shows that Weetzie and friends (and we get glimpses into the entire crew at times, enough to keep fans of the older books happy without requiring newbies to have read them) are living in the 21st Century, and have aged, for both good and ill, and you've got a superb continuation (possibly coda?) to the series.

Highly recommended.
yendi: (Default)
Just finished Alasdair Grey's A History Maker. Quite nifty, and possibly the only book I've read in which the plot and resolution both take place, essentially, in the endnotes for Chapter 5. One of the weirder books I've read in a while (not surprising, given the author). Highly recommended, especially for those people who are fans of Future Scottish Dystopian Lit, a sorely neglected genre.
yendi: (Brain)
The Druid Hills Bookstore in Emory Village had a $3.95 rack out front. Looking through it, I found nothing I needed, but felt the siren call of a book sale calling me inside. Lo and behold, there was a 2/$1 cart! Most of it was crap or just stuff I didn't need, but just as I was ready to give up, I saw Alasdair Gray's A History Maker! Yes, another book by the insane guy who gave us Lanark!

So, of course, I also had to look at the 75% off racks, and ended up walking out of there having spent $8.50 (which is a minor miracle by itself), also nabbing the hardcover edition of Bob Fingerman's Beg the Question from Fantagraphics, and the only slightly-dated Hollywood East: Hong Kong Movies and the People Who Make Them. Woohoo!

I probably could have spent more, seeing as they had no fewer than eight 75% off shelves, but I only had so much time.

And I was just bemoaning the fact that I left the book I was reading at home, and had nothing to read on the bus. :-)

Grrrr.

Jun. 23rd, 2005 09:45 am
yendi: (Jason)
So, earlier this month, I was all gloaty, seeing as I'd been informed that I scored a review copy of Francesca Lia Block's latest, Necklace of Kisses from First Look Books. After ten days, the book hadn't arrived, so I emailed the folks at firstlookqs@harpercollins.com, as per their FAQ.

Crickets.

So I waited a week, then emailed again. Still nothing.

Then, three days ago, I got an automated email from them letting me know that I still hadn't submitted my review. To which I sent yet another email.

To date, not one fucking response, although I did get another "reminder" email.

It's not that I'm necessarily "owed" a book -- although once they send an email letting me know that it's on the way, it's not an unreasonable expectation. But if they ran out, or lost it and didn't have another, letting me know would be fine.

But not responding once to four fucking emails? Fuck that. If I did that to a customer, I'd have been fired ages ago. Of course, I don't get to hide behind an anonymous email address at work that likely autofiles items straight into the trash, either.

So, it would seem that the formerly wonderful FirstLook program has been taken over by utter fucking morons. Which is too bad.

In the end, I gave in to the reminder messages, and submitted a "review" noting that I'd never gotten it. Maybe, by some fluke, there's still someone actually reading stuff over there.

*grumble* Want my goddamn Weetzie Bat.
yendi: (Elayna (pic taken by Karlita)
Spent most of the weekend off the net, not always a bad thing.

Since we celebrated Father's Day when Elayna was still in town, yesterday was mostly uneventful on that front, other than a call from my daughter and the surprise that she'd hidden an extra Father's Day card under her keyboard for me before leaving town. Yeah, my kid rules. :-)

Played lots of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. I go back to it every year or two. Still so damned good (really -- I'd rather see action RPGs just try to improve on the few flaws in this formula than start from scratch). Got my sword-and-shield Barb to Lower Kurast.

After two weeks of waiting for a library recall notice to go through, I finally got my hands on the two most recent Kinsey Millhone books, and gobbled down Q is for Quarry, which was the best in a while (and, although I picked up a lot of the important early details, the first one that kept me in the dark about the murderer in a long time).

I also burned through about fifteen magazines that had piled up. And ate yummy food.

Oh, and the best news of all: So, after [livejournal.com profile] matociquala made a comment in her LJ involving the word "Denouement," I felt compelled to quote from the "Heroes" episode of The Tick. This led me to check the Tivo listings to see if it was on anywhere, and lo and behold, Toon Disney is running it every night at 11! I can get my spoony goodness again! And so can all of you!

Finally, anyone know of a good Mac client that handles tag support? I love my iJournal, but I also love tags, and hate editing more than I have to.
yendi: (Default)
(No, he's not in jail. As far as I know.)

I've never read Charles Stross (*gasp*), but since some folks kinda like him, it might be worth noting that his new book, Accelerando!, which will cost you $16.47 at Amazon (and you won't even be able to get it until July) is available as a free ebook download at the book's website.
yendi: (Default)
Howl's Moving Castle was playing at the Tara (and not the Landmark, surprisingly). We caught it on Saturday, and I liked it quite a bit. I suspect I'll like the subbed version even better. Although it's hard to go too wrong with Jean Simmons and Lauren Bacall.

Sunday, we used another freebie coupon to rent the director's cut of Donnie Darko, which, unlike Garden State, did not disappoint. Damned fine (and damned fucked-up) film. That said, looking at the IMDB list of differences between the director's cut and the released cut I can't imagine how anyone who saw the original liked it. The stuff that was cut was, imho, essential to the movie.

We also watched, of course, the latest eps of Teen Titans (fun, but not special, and it breaks into a serious story arc), and JLU (damned fine -- possibly the best animated series on TV at this point).

I also finished Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear. by Jim Steinmeyer, a magician and trick designer who's worked with pretty much all the big names in the industry. This book isn't about today's magicians, though, but about the magicians who led the surge in popularity in Britain and America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It explains a bunch of tricks and standard props, but it's fascinating for the insight into the minds of these men, with their breakthroughs that overlapped "real" science and the jealousy and competitiveness that drove them all. Houdini, Maskelyne, Selbit, and their brethren come across as human, flaws and all, but are still clearly geniuses. It's just a damned fun read. Anyone who enjoyed The Turk will enjoy this one.

Currently between books, but I'll be reading a novella of [livejournal.com profile] murnkay's on my busride home tonight.

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