the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for March 2013

It’s Ok.  I saw the movie first too.

How many times have you said:

That movie was awesome! what? you say there’s a book? Dude, I can’t wait to read it!

So many times have I seen a movie, loved it to pieces, learned there was a book, loved *that* to pieces,  and went on to have a simply lovely time.  This has been going on my entire life. I give movies and TV all the credit for getting me into science fiction. A child of the 80s, I knew who Han Solo was before I knew who Isaac Asimov was,  I thought Carl Sagan was just that guy who did the cool outer space PBS show, I knew David Lynch had something to do with this weird epic scifi movie that made no sense but looked and sounded really neat, and I stayed up late to watch reruns of Star Trek (back then it was just Star Trek).

The best thing about seeing the movie first? Since you don’t know what you’re missing, you’re probably not going to walk out of the theater saying “that movie sucked”.  Well, maybe you will, but it won’t be because they didn’t follow the book.

Here’s just a few recent examples of movies that got me to finally pick up the book:

Howl's.Moving.Castle.full.151358

Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones’s famous children’s book gets the Miyazaki treatment. I admit it, I’m shallow.  A few minutes into the movie I was madly in love with Howl’s voice. An hour and a half later I was in love with the entire movie Sure, Miyazaki played fast and loose with the characters and put his own spin on the ending and on Howl’s “secret”, but it’s such a pretty movie, and certainly one of my favorites from Studio Ghibli.  After watching the movie a few times, I read the book, and greatly enjoyed it.

john carter of mars

Disney’s John Carter of Mars/A Princess of Mars – panned by critics, I actually really liked this movie. It was well paced, the CGI martians were cool, I liked the premise, I liked the opening. Other than a plot that didn’t make much sense, it was a fun adventure movie. (also, I’m shallow. I have no idea what color his eyes were. My attention was umm, elsewhere.) I downloaded an audio version of A Princess of Mars, and it’s awesome! I don’t agree with all the changes they made when adapting the book to a screenplay, I do understand them. Had I seen this movie after experiencing the book, I probably would have panned it too.

lord of the rings movie poster

Lord of the Rings trilogy – yes, I suck, I’d never read these until about a year ago. But I liked the movies! Nice visuals, great music, excellent cinematography, great acting, what wasn’t to like? After ten years of my other half (who loves The Lord of the Rings almost as much as he loves me) nagging me to read them, and me giving him lame excuse after lame excuse, it was my enjoyment of the films that finally got me to read the books. Doing it as part of a read along with some other bloggers didn’t hurt either.

hunger games

The Hunger Games – that was one damn good movie. my family loved the book and have been bugging me to read it for a while. I will. . .  eventually. It’s going to get me addicted to this super trendy YA post apocalyptic stuff, isn’t it?

Dune 1984

Dune (1984) – yes, that one, and you had to know this was coming, and okay, this isn’t so recent.  I was ten or eleven years old the first time I saw this on T.V., and it was love at first sight. Mind you, I had absolutely no idea what was going on, or why it was important, but I was fascinated by the imagery and the epic music.  I read the book as a teenager, and took my first step in a life long love affair with science fiction. And yes, the book is a zillion times better than the movie. But I had to start somewhere, didn’t I?

now it’s your turn.  What movies or tv shows got YOU to finally pick up the book?

KOT2King of Thorns (Broken Empire, book 2), by Mark Lawrence

published in 2012

where I got it: purchased new

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It’s all about a change in perspective.  Getting yourself somewhere where you can see the bigger picture, because there is always a bigger picture.

The story begins with a knife and a box. All Jorg can remember about the box is that it should never, ever be opened. If he opens it, it will destroy him.  So strange, how something so small could destroy a person so completely.  If the dream-witch Sageous can get into Jorg’s mind, the only place his thoughts, plans, and memories are safe are someplace out of his mind. The box contains Jorg’s salvation and his destruction.

Split into two timelines (and each with multiple flashbacks), King of Thorns is far more complex than it looks.  In the “now” timeline, Jorg is 18 years old, about to get married, is surrounded by the armies of his enemy, Orrin, Prince of Arrow.  If he’s going to defeat Orrin, he’s going to need the memories and strategic plans that are locked in that box.  Haunted by the ghost of a child, Jorg continues to allow his baser instincts to influence him.

The other timeline is four years earlier, a few months after the end of Prince of Thorns.  Jorg is King of the Renar Highlands. Not the crown he planned on, nor the last one he expects to wear, but he’s got to start somewhere.  Young Gog is having trouble controlling his fire-magic, nearly setting the castle on fire more than once.  Jorg decides to travel to  a northern firemage, thinking if he can help Gog, maybe he can help himself.   Gog’s storyline was one of my favorite parts of the book.

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I can’t believe we’re almost to the end!  such a wonderful ride it’s been!

here’s this week’s discussion questions, and remember to leave your link in the comments so I can visit your blog for your answers. 🙂

I got a chuckle out of Tiffany’s visit to ZakZak’s shop, especially the bit about the different styles of witch hats. What kind of witchy goodies would YOU buy there?

Inside Tiffany’s head might be the strangest place the Feegle have ever been. What did you think of Pratchett’s imagery of her mind, and of her safe place?

Poor Miss Level. Do you think she’ll ever recover from what happened to her? How is this going to change her relationship with Tiffany?

In the discussion Tiffany has with Mistress Weatherwax at the end of chapter 9, Weatherwax gives Tiffany some very important information about how to be a witch. Who would you rather study with to become a witch? Weatherwax or Level?

Any thoughts on how the story might end? Do you think the Hiver is gone for good?

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agyar-197x300Agyar, by Steven Brust

published in 1993

where I got it: purchased used

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Ladies, John Agyar is the kind of man your mother warned you against.  He’s charming and mysterious, and he only wants one thing from the beautiful young women he flirts with.

Some of you may have already stopped reading, because you’re not interested in *that* kind of character. As a reward to those of you still reading, I’d like to share with you the thought that screamed through my head around the halfway point of the book: “holy shit, that’s what’s been going on all this time!?”

Squatting in an abandoned house, John is told there is a typewriter in an upstairs room, and he therapeutically begins to write. At first, he just records his conversations with the boring residents of this sleepy Ohio town.  As he gains comfort with the idea of writing as therapy, and with the idea of his housemate Jim actually reading these typewritten pages, he begins to add in more important details.  The pages of Agyar are those typewritten pages.

Here’s the thing through – This is John’s diary, and he talks about what he feels like talking about. He’s under no obligation to tell you anything important.  You’ve got to figure that part out for yourself.   In so many books the story is in the ink, in the words, on the pages.  In Agyar, everything important is between the lines. If you look close, it’s all there. As per usual, this review may be more vague than needed.  I type the wrong word, and I spoil the surprise. (whatever you do, don’t read review of this book on Amazon. the surprise is spoiled instantly, and in the most unkind way)

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Hi everyone!   welcome to part 2 of our Hat Full of Sky read along!  if you’re just joining us, it’s not too late to get involved, click here for the reading schedule.

We’re halfway through the book, and is it just me, or is the book suddenly going really, really fast?  I pick it up, planning to read just a chapter, and suddenly I’m four chapters in!  Now that Pratchett has fully introduced Tiffany and her um, smaller friends, he can really ramp up the story-ness of what’s happening.

this week’s questions were provided by Susan over at Dab of Darkness, and here we go!
1) Awf’ly Wee Billy, the gonnagle, comes up with a plan, the PLN. First, do you like the basic idea? Second, what was your favorite part of the execution of the PLN?

2) Miss Level has a philosophy of ‘storing it in other people’. How do you like this philosophy and do you know any witchy people in life who might be secretly following it?

3) We finally get to meet some other witchlings, such as Petulia and Annagramma. What do you make of Tiffany’s first meeting with them?

4) The Hiver has finally found Tiffany and Miss Level has finally met the Feegle. How do you think Tiffany will fair against the Hiver and how much damage do you think will be done (either by the Hiver or the Feegle)?

my answers and spoilers aplenty, after the jump!

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Radio. . .   television . . .   next year, the world!

I was recently a guest on a local tv show called Monday Night Live, hosted by the gracious Keith Roe.

Put up your feet, grab a drink, and click here to watch the show.  John and I discuss how and why we got into science fiction, how and where to find trustworthy book reviews, some new releases we’re excited about, we talk a bit about the industry, blogging, authors, happy birthday to Douglas Adams and what happens when a boy robot and a girl robot meet in outer space.

Authors mentioned by name include Robert Jackson Bennett, Guy Hasson, John Scalzi, Cory Doctorow, and  John Love, apologies if I mispronounced anyone’s name.  Authors not mentioned by name, but referred to, you can probably figure out who you are.   I didn’t give up all my secrets!

A question that came up unexpectedly in the show, what was books to recommend to high school students to get them turned on about math and science? I recommended Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, which isn’t exactly about math or science, but I still felt it was important for high schoolers to read.

What books would you recommend for teens, to get them interested in careers in math and science?

MondayLightlive

If Keith ever invites me back, I promise to talk louder.

note to self: live TV is way, WAY different from pre-recording a radio segment.  epically different.

A while ago I reviewed Guy Hasson’s latest short story collection, THE EMOTICON GENERATION. Everything from an even quicker than twitter language to seeing the last moments of a loved one’s life, to how to deal with immature artificial intelligences that become too smart for their own good, the technologies Hasson plays with in these stories are right around the corner, making some of them too close for comfort. Curious? go read my review.

emoticon

And Mr. Hasson doesn’t just do science fiction. He’s also currently serializing his fairy tale novel, TICKLING BUTTERFLIES, with new entries posting three times a week on his blog. Every time I think I’m caught up, he goes and posts more.  If you enjoyed Catherynne Valente’s The Orphan’s Tales, or enjoy fables and mythology of any kind, you will get a kick out of TICKLING BUTTERFLIES.  Click the title to get to the index of entries.

Now that your appetite is whetted, I’m thrilled to announce the THE EMOTICON GENERATION blog tour, with stops all over the blogosphere! Kicking off right here, on April 2nd, there will be reviews, interviews, guest posts and giveaways. Here’s the current list of participating bloggers:

Over the Effing Rainbow
Dab of Darkness
Attack of the Books
Postcards from La La Land
My Bookish Ways
Lynn’s Book Blog
Two Dudes in an Attic
A Fantastical Librarian

and it’s not too late to get involved! If you would like to be part of this blog tour, comment below, and I’ll be in touch.


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.