Friday, August 31, 2012

Read Just Lately

The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch

A fantasy set almost entirely in a great city, we meet the dregs and witness their rise to greatness, as well as a number of spine-tingling  twists. The back-cover calls it a Robin Hood meets Oceans 11, but I couldn't help but see the Oliver Twist comparisons done with all the brutal wonder of a Guy Ritchie film (that is high praise from me if anyone wonders). Likeable rascals and tense action make this one of my favorite books I finished so far this year (yes, I have been savoring for awhile now).

This has to be the book I have been savoring the longest. I've been reading it in snatches here and there for a very long time not because it was slow or boring but because I was letting it seep into me. The finale of the last 100 pages or so was the fastest I went with the entire book. Sometimes I reread a chapter here and there.

Part of it is I can't be sure if I really liked the interludes and flashbacks or if they annoyed me-don't get me wrong there were still fascinating and filling out more of the story worldview-unlike a few other massive tome fantasy series, nothing here was just for window dressing and showing off-everything is vital. Still its not a form I think I would want to follow because of the stopping short in the narrative.

So it wasn't bad form, but I'm not sure I would want to ever try to do the same.

I'll have to grab the sequel soon, Lynch's style promises a lot of great things to come.

B.P.R.D. Killing Ground, by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and Guy Davis

Mignola doesn't let up in the action and horror with this continuation of the B.P.R.D.'s trials. Captain Daimo finally releases his inner demons and Johann Kraus is busy abusing his new human form and Liz is still haunted.

This may be a bad place to pick up if you haven't been following the series thus far, I'm realizing as I try to explain my review.

But who can't love a wendigo running wild in a super secret base?

King Conan: The Scarlet Citadel, by Robert E. Howard, adapted by Timothy Truman, Tomas Giorello, Jose Villarubia

I love Giorello's art, so much better than the current continuum who shall go nameless.

It's been a long, long time since I read the short story the Scarlet Citadel, and I recall a number of folks saying that Hour of the Dragon was derivative but eh? So what, its good at simply being what it is. The duel of opposing wizards is awesome, the dungeon and creatures therein are absolute revolutionary-nobody was doing that when REH wrote it. Being first of course makes it seem derivative when you look back so long ago.

Again with it being so long since I read the original I don't recall any significant changes from REH text. But I enjoyed it, SC has some great Conan imagery and twists.

The Fifth Column, by Ernest Hemingway

I reread this quick in part because of recently viewing Hemingway and Gellhorn, as well as always trying to retain some variety in my monthly readings. While Hemingway does have some adventure in these shorts its more about the human condition and emotion generating what people do in tough situations for good and bad.
The stories touch on humor which even in war is always present and I hope to be able to capture some of that in my own work, we are never too good to learn more from a master or amatuer-each for its own reasons.

How to Build Your Own Spaceship, by Piers Bizony

This is part historical and part present and part conjecture. How many of us read/heard you will work on the moon in bases in the future?
Its ridiculous of course, and Bizony spends quite a bit of time discussing the feasibility of the space race and future endeavors. To build your own space company you will have to bring in money and currently its all about tourism, though there is the thought of one day mining resources from asteroids and the moon - but then you get the legal mumbo jumbo of who owns the moon? There was an Outer Space Treaty in 1967 that actually states that no one nation can claim ownership of a celestial body-but when private companies start to have the ability to go up and get them-who is going to really be able to enforce such a ridiculous law? Aliens?

Overall this was a great book, a quick read with a wonderful rundown on a good variety of material, I learned a lot which is why I read it - research for the upcoming Lovecraftian Space opera collection


Keith said...

The Lies of Locke Lamora was fantastic! I reread passages as I went through it, too. I've been waiting to start the sequel until I can spend an uninterrupted block of time with it.

David J. West said...

I'm a strange reader, I typically have 5 to 10 books going at the same time.

And its not always about what interests me that makes them win out-sometimes its ease of reading, sometimes fascination, information, or even obligation.

Locke Lamora wins out as the book I have been reading (for the first time) the longest. I started a long time ago, and I want to stress that it is just my way and not the book.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds like an interesting reading selection. I've read the Hemingway.

David J. West said...

Thanks Charles, I try to keep it wide but my interests always prevail.