City is one of those Science Fiction books that has a brilliant idea, but the delivery is just muffled a bit to make it a good read but not great. I see it very much in the same mold as Asimov’s Foundation. There is a lot that can be discussed here, but all of them would involve spoilers. It is very complex and will be sure to take turns you didn’t expect. I would call it a must read for all science fiction fans, even though I do not think it is the best book by Simak. If you have read this, I would love to discuss some of the philosophical ideas and dilemmas presented. Please message me.
Christopher Minori’s anthology of short stories, Dirty Little Secrets is a fun set of stories, each one bringing classic themes of horror and speculative fiction out for a new stroll through you mind. While none of the stories offer a truly groundbreaking story, they do what they set out to do; they entertain.
Minori is from the mold of writers whose craft has been molded through thought experiments of other stories and how they can be twisted into a new tale. The results can be stale at times and brilliant at others.
My favorite stories from this anthology are Father’s Request and The Hummel Store, which is strange for me as they are also ghost stories. I generally do not prefer ghost stories, but I thought these two were Minori’s best efforts. What made these, and A Pound of Flesh, work so well is that the characters in these stories were built to a more acute angle and made whole. While other stories in the book fall short as the characters are made shallow or are cartoon parodies of real people.
While I am often a fan of satire, I think Minori’s style tends to be better when dealing with serious topics. The several comedic pieces in the book fell short for me.
All in all, this was a fun read. Elements of the old Twilight Zones lurk in these pages. Give it a shot.
Of all the Star Wars books I have read, This is my favorite. It is my favorite because it is not a fantasy like the rest of the films, or even a Space Opera or science fiction. Kenobi is a western, and Jackson even included all the old tropes of the western genre. One of my favorite aspect is the the mysterious stranger that shows up and cleans up the town is actually known to us. The Pale Rider is Obiwan Kenobi, hero of the Clone Wars, the trainer of Anikan Skywalker, killer of Darth Maul. We have pulled the mask off the Lone Ranger, and he is one of the last Jedi. If you are a Star Wars fan, read this book. Especially now that there are talks of a movie.
Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill, is not the dark wizard his father is, but he clearly has a bit of his father’s flare in him. The Fireman is a very interesting story. The initial story is pretty ridiculous, but the characters are wonderful, and the action builds to an inferno. I would give this one 3 out of 5. Worth a look if you have the time and the inclination.
Duma Key has, since it’s publication, been one of King’s most disliked books. The reasons are fairly clear. It is a book with a monster story thrown in because that is what King likes to do, but the other story of healing on a personal retreat and finding a hidden talent as a coping mechanism is the far more compelling story.
So in this mess of a story, King tells us a story that is both very human and quite personal and then ties it with a fantastical, mystical story that is far fetched and really kind of stupid. But that is what makes King the master he is. King can create characters and tell us about our lives like nobody else, and then he brings the dark.
I recommend this one. I give it a 4 out of 5. It is far from King’s best, and far from his worst too, but it is a fun ride and I enjoyed seeing the worlds of realism and abstract combine on the canvas.
The Monk is widely regarded as one of the greatest horror novels ever. I don’t think it lived up to its reputation. I think the book shocked people back when it was written because people didn’t speak ill of monks and priests. Priests were revered as holy men. Since that time, priests have fallen from societies graces. I would sooner trust my daughter in the hands of your average beggar than with a priest (an un-average beggar). Starting the book with a view that most priests are sexual predators at the worst and sexual deviants at the best, I didn’t see anything shocking in the slightest in the entire book. I would say, if you own the book and don’t want to dredge through the entire thing, read the last 25 pages. It is the most action in the whole book and really a great ending.
The thing that struck me most was the way the book is told. The drum that is beat loudest in creative writing circles is to always show the story, not tell it. Lewis basically runs the gambit of he said-she said for the whole of the book. Styles change, and perhaps when it was written it was the style of the day, but it was a poor example of a well written book in today’s terms.
I just finished reading a fantastic book by a new writer on the rise, Hawa L Crickmore’s Across the Ocean. This book was unlike most books that I read in that it was serious. It took itself serious. The content was serious. Even the writing style was serious. It was quite different than most fiction that I read which is always a bit tongue and cheek in its delivery. I have often said that horror writers are all comedians, but we are the only ones that get the joke. Not that I only read horror of course, but even most serious literature that I read, and Across the Ocean is certainly serious literature, is still playful in the delivery. Part of me wants to contribute the seriousness of the book to a failure or inexperience on the part of Crickmore, but I may be wrong. Perhaps the subject matter just doesn’t lend itself to a playful attitude. Regardless, the stories seriousness made it a quicker read and one that worked on multiple levels.
The story of the book is a very interesting one. A white British cage fighter comes down with a rare illness that requires a bone marrow transplant from a family member, the only problem is that he was an only child and is orphaned. Dumb luck was in his favor when a new friend, an African American, tested to be a match for donation. This wonderful, lifesaving rarity does not come without questions.
Research is then done to try to find if the pair were related. The book then moves through time to different countries and different people to illustrate how the relationships of drastically different people can be traced to common ancestors. It really is a small world after all.
One place Hawa really excelled was the chapters on slavery. They are heart-wrenching and beautiful.
The place that I thought this book could have been improved was in possibly hiding the conclusion from the reader a bit more, as I felt the outcome was certain right from the beginning.
All in all, a powerful book that I would recommend.