Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Library Book: Redshirts

A friend of mine recommended that I read Redshirts by John Scalzi some time ago.  Needless to say, I finally read it today.  I'm trying to pair down the library books that I have so I can get back to reading books that I own; now that I finished reading Redshirts, I only have two more library books out.  I'm not altogether sure I'm going to read them right now though; I might send them back and get them out another time.

Anyway, Redshirts is a book making fun of the early Star Trek. There are five people on board the Universal Union flagship Intrepid who can go into uncertain danger and escape (mostly) unscathed: Captain Abernathy, Commander Q'eeng, Chief Engineer West, Medical Cheif Hartnell and Lieutenant Kerensky.  Everyone else is expendable, particular when they are assigned to an away team with one or more of the five officers.  The Intrepid goes through a ridiculous amount of crew as the ensigns die, one after another in a myriad of spectacular ways.  And then some of the ensigns, led by Andrew Dahl, notice the pattern.  And they're not content to wait around until it's their turn to die.

Red Shirts was a pretty fun read.  It was super predictable, particularly through the main narrative (not so much the three codas at the end of the book), but that didn't really take away from its charm.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Library Book: Kill Shakespeare Volume 2: The Blast of War

So yes, I did immediately read Kill Shakespeare Volume 2 after finishing Volume 1. Volume 2 picks up literally right where Volume 1 left off. War is immanent between the forces of Richard the Third and Lady MacBeth, versus the rebellion led by Juliet and Othello. And between the two forces stands the Shadow King, Hamlet, who must make sense of the prophecy before his friends are killed in the coming war.

I really, really enjoyed both volumes of Kill Shakespeare. This is an interesting story, pitting heroes and villains from all of Shakespeare's plays against one another.

Library Book: Kill Shakespeare Volume 1: A Sea of Troubles

I've never heard of Kill Shakespeare before, but when I saw it at work, I knew I had to read it. This is a crazy mish-mash of Shakespearean characters. William Shakespeare is believed to be either a great wizard or a god; either way he is believed to wield great power with his magic quill. And Hamlet finds himself in the middle of a prophecy: he is believed to be the Shadow King, the one who will either return the Bard to his people, or kill the great wizard.

I really enjoyed this first volume. I can't wait to read the second!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Old Man and the Sea

My brother has been wanting me to read Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea for a few months now; I finally sat and read it today.  It's a short read (only about 120 pages) and surprisingly compelling considering it is about an old man and the sea.  The old man of the title goes off fishing by himself.  He has just gone 84 days without catching any fish and so feels lucky, heading out further than everyone else to find the fish.  His luck is with him, and he catches a huge fish on one of his lines.  Unfortunately he has to find a way to actually bring the fish in and kill it.  This is the story of his struggle with the fish, which goes on for days.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Library Book: Warm Bodies

I've been waiting to read Warm Bodies for a few months now. Unfortunately the library only has one copy though, meaning I've had to wait. But I got it yesterday and started reading it today. It's a pretty quick read; I think it took me maybe six hours total, which was a lot quicker than I was expecting. It's well written though, making me want to just keep reading.

Warm Bodies is the story of R, a zombie. R eats the brain of a young man and inherits his memories, most especially his love for a girl named Julie. And so R strives to protect her, starting one of the strangest love stories I've ever read.

I don't want to give spoilers here so I'm not going to say much. But it's a pretty fun story. I really liked R, especially how he was eloquent in his thoughts, but just couldn't express himself out loud. The tale reminded me of Romeo and Juliet in many ways, which I thought was pretty good. The only thing I didn't like was the ending, which left me feeling unsatisfied.

That being said, Warm Bodies is still an excellent book. I can't wait to see the movie!

Friday, February 1, 2013


For Christmas, my brother and his wife got me Nowadays, a graphic novel about zombies that was made locally.  Flipping through the book is pretty neat because it even deals with local places (they're heading to Thunder Bay, people talk about Silver Islet, things like that).

I was a little leery of reading this so soon after my Walking Dead extravaganza, but luckily there was no need to worry.  Nowadays features zombies but they are very different from those in The Walking Dead.  For one thing it's blood the zombies crave.  For another, the more they have, the more human the zombies become (reminiscent of Gwen, but she needed brains).  Zombies who are full of blood are generally indistinguishable from humans (but they are faster and stronger than us).  This made for a nice contrast between those people who may be desperate at times to heal but who are good and those people who are jerks looking out only for themselves; it's the latter who wanted blood just to be stronger and more powerful.

Nowadays opens with Brendan.  He dies from an infection in his foot and wakes up craving blood.  After eating his dog (who subsequently becomes a zombie dog), he heads off to the graveyard, hoping against hope that his wife and child, who passed away years before, may have somehow returned from the grave.  Finding them 'alive,' he feeds them blood (with the help of his dog's hunting) and they slowly begin to heal.

Brendan's story is intersected with a group of survivors.  They were heading out to plant trees but were attacked by a zombie.  One of their number is bitten and turns while they're trying to rush her to the hospital. They are left trying to decide what to do with her; she died but she's clearly not dead.  Decision made, they then need to figure out how to survive in this new world.

I have to admit, I had a hard time getting into the story.  Most of the problem in the early pages was due to editing errors (there were a couple of words that I really had to puzzle out because they were misspelled), but it also took awhile for the story to focus.  I mean, it started out with Brendan, so I thought he was the main character.  But then it took off from Brendan and stayed away from him for quite awhile.  Once the story came back to him, he clearly wasn't the focus either.  So things were a bit confusing until closer to the end.  But if you do give Nowadays a try, definitely stay with it.  I did, and I really ended up enjoying it.  It took some twists and turns that were fun, had some great characters, and I'd definitely be interested in more.