Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by captcalhoun, Dec 22, 2011.
I'm about a third of the way through Picard: The Dark Veil.
I loved your Federation discussion, Bruce and Dan. We are in agreement on almost every point, and I would recommend the book to any Trek fan.
Arisen: The Raiders - The Collapse by Michael Stephen Fuchs. (Military and Zombies book).
I finished up Chew Vol. 2: International Flavor last night, which I loved. I'll post my thoughts over in my comics thread in the general Science Fiction & Fantasy section of the boards.
I hadn't planned on starting another comic, but I ended up with a case of "puppy paralysis" for a while last night, and didn't want to go to get my Sandstorm paperback, which was in another room, so I started the digital version of the Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel collection. It's collects The Screaming Citadel crossover that went between the core Star Wars series, and Doctor Aphra. It's written by Jason Aaron and Keiron Gillen, with art by Marco Chechetto and Andrea Broccardo.
The purfect murder by Nic Saint
The Autobiography of James T Kirk
The Purrfect Revenge by Nic Saint
Current reading: THE EMPIRE OF GOLD by S. A. Chakraborty. Really enjoying this trilogy.
And, yes, I stayed up until 1:30 AM last night to finish Book 2. Now onto Book 3.
Star Trek Picard The Dark Veil by James Swallow
John Layman and Fran Strukan’s Mars Attacks Red Sonja from Dynamite Entertainment. The five issues (and a bunch of other comics) have been sitting on my living room table for a while, the pile kept growing, and yesterday I did something about it.
Yes, Mars Attacks, the over-the-top B-movie parody trading card series from Topps. Yes, Red Sonja, the scantily clad sword-and-sorcery heroine of the Hyborian Age. Swords versus Martian super-science!
The concept sounds goofy, but Layman and Strukan execute it well. There’s less tonal clash than you might think. Keep Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law in mind — “Any sufficiently advanced technology will be indistinguishable from magic.” The Martians and their mad science are effectively monstrous beasts and wizardry to Red Sonja and the survivors of the kingdom of Bryssendyn and treated very much as such. The narrative style Layman uses feels very much like a story told by a bard in a tavern centuries after these events and elevates the story.
I’ve read at most a handful of Red Sonja comics in my life, so I have little idea of what her character is supposed to be like, but I liked the way she’s characterized here — fierce, smart, loyal, driven, a little snarky, always dangerous — and she develops a strong bond with the Princess Meredeen, the last survivor of the Bryssendyn royal family. I also liked that Strukan didn’t excessively sexualize Red Sonja. Yes, Red Sonja is known for her chainmail bikini, but Bryssendyn appears to be in a colder land so she’s frequently wearing furs or armor over top the bikini. I imagine Topps may have had some say in that: “Mars Attacks is PG-rated, so let’s keep Red Sonja PG-rated for this.”
The other characters aren’t as well drawn — I can’t even remember most of their names — though the main Martian character, the mad scientist Xi’Zeer, is certainly distinctive; he has an extraordinarily tall head and wears a huge monocle, and I imagine he speaks with a ludicrous German accent.
It was fun. It worked for me as a sword-and-sorcery tale, and it worked for me as an absurd 1950s sci-fi B-movie (like what happens to Red Sonja in the fifth part). I probably enjoyed Mars Attacks Red Sonja more reading it on one go — and that took at most an hour — then I would have had I kept up with the issues individually. I may not go out and read more Red Sonja, but this, on its own, was solid.
I think the collected edition is due out sometime in the spring.
The only Red Sonja I've read is the first collection of Gail Simone's run, but it was great, and if you're looking for more stuff with her, I'd definitely recommend it.
Last night I finished up Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel, and then this morning I started Star Trek: Voyager: A Pocket Full of Lies by Kirsten Beyer.
Screaming Cidatel was really good, like most of the two series it crosses over, the subtitless Star Wars, and SW: Doctor Aphra comics.
The Farther shore (Voyager novel)
THE CHIMES by Charles Dickens
You can tell A Christmas Carol went well for Dickens, cos he tried to repeat the effect a few more times, in his Christmas Books. The Chimes is the second one, published only a year later, but definitely suffers from what we’d now call sequelitis. This follows a similar path of a lead character – albeit one far more sympathetic from the outset than Scrooge – shown visions of the future to make him change his ways. The main differences being that this time it’s about New Year’s Day rather than Christmas, and about the virtues in looking forward instead of back. And also the quality has dropped from genuine classic to all over the map, like a studio-demanded instant sequel to a surprise hit. Which basically is what it is.
Anyway, it starts off well, with vibrant and spooky descriptions of a church and belltower that M.R. James must have found very inspirational, then turns into a tour of fat cat landlords, justices and capitalists stamping down on poor Trotty and his friends, and Trotty getting a big dream sequence of how awful they’ll end up if they believe what the scumbags say of decent poor folks, and look towards a past golden age that never was (Jeez, that sounded familiar, doesn’t it?) instead of raising the poor workers to better lives in future. In this sense it still rings totally true – all the fat cat scumbags could be writing in the papers today from their Cabinet offices.
However, Dickens has probably hit the gig here where he gets paid by the word, and sentences run on for whole pages, making them confusing as hell – there’s also a character death where he forgets to confirm who it actually is! - and it’s all topped off with an appalling “it was all a dream, now lets all sing and dance with all the good characters, who have miraculously turned up at home like in a Muppet version finale”. And the “goblins”, the voices of the Chimes themselves don’t have a memorable or even notable character the way that all the Xmas Spirits in the previous one did.
So, there are good bits, like the opening descriptions, the early fart gag, and the chilling speeches of the – well it’s hard not to say Tories, franjkly, they haven’t improved since. The message is fine and correct, but the delivery is also confusing, long-winded, and despite being two-thirds the length of A Christmas Carol, took three times as long to get through, and has no deep or interesting characters
Started on The Dark Veil by James Swallow at lunch.
Halfway through Avatar: The Shadow of Kyoshi and enjoying it as much as the first part.
Keeper of the castle by Juliette Blackwell
Bruce and I recently had James Swallow on the Positively Trek Book Club podcast to discuss his new Picard novel, The Dark Veil. Really hope you enjoy this episode, we had a lot of fun speaking with him!
Currently reading a book by Dave Jackson about how to improve my podcasting skills - gotta keep studying to get better!
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. Spooky, occult goings-on at Yale University.
Only read one of her books (so far - I've got a couple of others in my list) and that was Warbringer.
This one sounds interesting though.
I'm currently reading Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule.
You might try Mark Russell's Red Sonja run which is finishing up soon. It's a sprawling epic where she's made queen of Hyrkania to deal with the invasion of her homeland by the Zamoran empire. Amy Chu's run lands Sonja in New York in pursuit of a wizard. It has some fun with barbarians in New York. Dan Abnett just started a series Red Sonja Superpowers centering around the use of golden age public domain characters. A group of Golden Age superheroes lands in Sonja's time investigating possible metahuman development. They run into Sonja who thinks they're evil creations of a wizard she's been hired to take out. A lot of folks do recommend Gail Simone's run but that is a very overrated run. She changed Sonja's characterization to something more a bad pastiche of Conan and the stories are very derivative sword and sorcery with nothing to recommend them.
Separate names with a comma.