Weekly Pull Review 1/21/15

This is kind of an odd week for comics- there’s nothing in my pull that’s been there longer than a few issues this time around. Weird. It’s been a while since that’s happened.

Drifter #3- Image

Drifter’s consistently good art has held it in my pull so far- it’s not to say that the writing is bad, but the art has been the major pull thus far. The third issue is finally starting to pull some story threads together- mostly, though, it’s bringing more life into the town, its economy, and its residents. The issues thus far feel somewhat vignette-like, though they’re obviously part of an overarching story. Though the story is starting to improve, the art is still the primary draw. The mine scenes stand out especially well, with the worm-creature’s face being by far the standout visual in the issue.

Intersect #3- Image

Huh. This one wasn’t as weird as the past two issues. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s still pretty bizarre, but Ray Fawkes didn’t really whip out anything especially new this time around. Insane person merged into their environment- check. Disorienting, weird changes of locale? Check. I mean, it’s still good, and there is at least a pretty big surprise at the end. We do finally get to see Lucky, the monstrous dog creature who has been plaguing them in the background the whole time- and he’s kind of underwhelming, frankly. Intersect is still one of the most unusual, weird comics out there right now, though, so it definitely stays in. (more…)

Weekly Reading List: 1/11/15- 1/17/15

I know, I know, it’s late- but this weekend was my birthday weekend, so… yeah. 9 books isn’t a bad week at all, these days.

Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera, Book 1-6

Epic Fantasy, Reread

I’m not going to do an individual entry for each book in the series. Nope. Not happening. I’m way too tired for that. Anyhow, Furies of Calderon was my first introduction to Jim Butcher, well before I ever encountered the Dresden Files, and I honestly like the Codex Alera a lot more, which is really saying something, since I love me some Dresden Files. At six books, it’s much more manageable of a read than the Wheel of Time, or even A Song of Ice and Fire. (Which, although it has fewer books, has much, much longer individual entries. The Codex Alera books cap out around 700 pages.) Roman themed fantasy, while it definitely exists, is much, much rarer than “medieval European” themed fantasy, which is unfortunately dominant in the world of fantasy fiction today. About once a year, I get a hankering to reread the entire series. It happened pretty early this time around.

Adam Roberts’ Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea

Science Fiction

Oh, hey look, I did a review.

Clifford Simak’s Way Station

Science Fiction

Hey, look, a Hugo winner. Hmm. Maybe I’m reading Hugo winners for a reason, like I’m actually restarting my readthrough. (Yep.) Anyhow, more on this one later.

Brandon Sanderson’s The Alloy of Law

Fantasy, Reread

Brandon Sanderson probably gets more rereads from me than any other author. I don’t know if that necessarily makes him my favorite author, but it definitely says something good about him. The Alloy of Law is a followup to Sanderson’s bestselling Mistborn trilogy, but is set centuries later, in Scadrial’s equivalent of the Wild West. Magic-filled gunfights, hurrah! The seqeul and third book are coming out around the end of this year, so that’s something fun to look forwards to.

Book Review: Adam Roberts’ Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea

This book is insane, and I mean that in the absolute best possible way. The only way I can describe it is as the lovechild of Jules Verne (to whom the book is very much a tribute), Edwin Abbot, and Albert Camus. The book follows the French nuclear submarine Plongeur on its shakedown voyage in 1958. When catastrophe strikes, the skeleton crew prepares for death as the ship plummets downwards towards the seafloor. And keeps plummeting, and plummeting, and plummeting, until they realize that they’ve traveled far beyond the depth of the Earth’s core, then past the other side of the Earth, then even farther, and yet pressure stays manageable, even survivable to a naked human. The crew confronts leviathans, underwater suns, terrifying piranha children (childranha), and each other, as they descend into madness, religious madness, and violence.

The characters in this one aren’t especially likeable, with one or two exceptions, but they are nonetheless compelling- there is a reason I compared this book to Albert Camus. As the end draws closer and closer, the book grows steadily madder and more bizarre, with more and more unanswered questions rearing their heads. When you finally start to get more answers, well… it just brings up even more questions. I’m not going to spoil the ending, but there is definitely a very, very good reason I brought up Edwin Abbot.

The internal illustrations by Mehendra Singh are absolutely perfect for this book- the faux-woodcut appearance is immediately evocative of Jules Verne, Sherlock Holmes, H.G. Wells- it immediately screams 1800’s adventure novel. They’re absolutely perfect for the book.

Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea is a slim volume, but definitely one worth the read. It’s the kind of bizarre, trippy weirdness that has been so long absent from science fiction. I just wish I’d noticed this one when it came out last year, instead of just now discovering it.

Weekly Pull Review 1/14/15

Jupiter’s Legacy #5- Image

Holy hell, it actually came out. Issue #4 came out in March of last year- I’d essentially given up on seeing this one. This one’s got a bit of a hefty price tag, at $4.99, but you do get 29 pages out of it, which is pretty impressive. I picked it back up surprisingly quickly, so it was at least memorable for me. Many comics I read I forget things just month to month- Mark Millar, love him or hate him, at least does pretty memorable work. Jupiter’s Legacy, while good, however, hasn’t especially felt groundbreaking. I’m somewhat doubtful that it’s possible for many superhero comics to be groundbreaking anymore, of course. The art in Jupiter’s Legacy is odd- it looks really good, but at the same time very spartan and minimalist, but not in the way you’d usually imagine it. I’m having trouble explaining what I mean here, but you’ll understand when you see it.

Copperhead #5- Image

Copperhead’s first story arc ended in a very different way than I expected. It played it as a straight mystery- no plot twists, no sudden reveals, just a steady path to the conclusion. It’s a fresh breeze in comics, where the big twist is king. The mystery here, though, isn’t the brilliant, convoluted plot that it takes a genius to solve- it’s the kind of crime you expect a small-town sheriff to be able to solve. The characters of Copperhead don’t exist to support the plot, though- the plot exists to support them. The story is about Sheriff Clara Bronson and Co solving the mystery, not about the mystery being solved by Sheriff Clara Bronson and Co. It’s a fine distinction, but an important one. It’s part of what makes a good story. Also, don’t get me wrong- I’m talking about this story like it’s a mystery, but it is definitely a Western, and a good one at that.


Weekly Reading List: 1/1/15-1/11/15

Hey, look, I’m actually keeping my New Years Resolution! I’m going to

Yes, I know, I know, that’s more than a week listed in the title. But I didn’t do any reading this year until Monday the Fifth, so stop complaining. Also, I didn’t want to do this and my Weekly Pull Review on the same day, so I’ll be publishing my weekly reading lists every Sunday.

This was a pretty slow week for me- I was sleep deprived and cranky all week, and definitely fell a bit behind. Also, I’m working 40 hours a week, and I have a 3 mile walk to work and a 3 mile walk back, which comes to nearly ten hours of walking a week, so I’m not reading anywhere near as many books as I was when I was working part time (I was reading twice as many books then, if not more) or as when I was unemployed (three times as many, at least, especially since I was living in a new city where I didn’t know many people). I know, excuses, excuses. (Totally not humble bragging at all. Totally not… wait, no, yes I am. Stroking my ego was the whole point of these.)

Anyhow, on we go!

Firefight (Reckoners Book #2)- Brandon Sanderson

Fiction, YA, SF, Superheroes

It was a pretty damn good book to start out my year on. Check out my review.

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Player’s Handbook- Wizards of the Coast

Non-Fiction, Roleplaying Game

Admission: I started this one back in December, so it doesn’t really fully count.

I’m going to do a review of the three core rulebooks when I finish them soon, so I’m not going to go in depth right now. Suffice it to say, this may very well be the best edition of D&D yet. It’s elegant and simple, yet allows for great complexity of play. I’m absurdly excited to start a group.