the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘funny

atrocityStrossThe Atrocity Archives, by Charles Stross (The Laundry Files, book 1, also includes the novella The Concrete Jungle)

published in 2004

where I got it: purchased new (not in 2004. closer to last year)

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finally! I have finally read the first Laundry novel!  and learned two things: You can read these out of order and do just fine, and the first book is decent but not the best in the series. For fans of Stross’s Laundry series this is a must-read, and if you’re not a fan, start with the 2nd or 3rd  book in the series, work your way backwards, and then you’ll be a fan, so you’ll want to read it.

Bob Howard is not a hero. He doesn’t kick ass, he can’t keep his roommates from trashing the house, and cops are embarrassed if they have to work with him. Bob is your average IT professional, a super nerdy guy who spends his days checking the network for viruses, keeping spam out your e-mail, and avoiding his supervisor, which is totally okay because she’s an absolute bitch.  Bob’s problem is that he’s way too good at what he does. So good in fact, that he can’t help but get involved when things go to shit, especially when the jackass from accounting gets himself possessed by a Lovecraftian intelligence during a training class.

IT jokes? Lovecraftian horrors?  If you’re not into IT or Cthulhu, don’t worry, there’s no experience needed to enjoy The Laundry.  Everything is explained. For god sakes, these books are how I got into Cthulhu mythos in the first place! and what isn’t explained in easy to understand language is glossed over in purposely arcane and sometimes sarcastic infodumps.

The Atrocity Archives is where it all begins (well,  not where it all begins, but you know what I mean). We learn how Bob got “invited” to join the Laundry, his bachelor-esque life before Mo, and how many mainline supervisors he had to piss off to end up in Angleton’s office.  It looks like fantasy horror, but The Laundry books are really hard scifi thrillers. Mathematics are the name of the game here, where changing a variable gets you from pie are squared to Azathoth coming up your bathtub drain. If you’re the scientist who hits on which variable and what to change it to, you can expect a call from The Laundry.

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I had the best line for Belle’s opening number in Beauty and the Beast, but so far I haven’t been able to make the rest of it work. Who’dah thought that Gaston’s song makes for the best messing about?

Feast your eyes on the travesty that is Darth Bob!

Sung to “Gaston”, from Beauty and the Beast.  Makes a great duet!
Darth Bob:
Who does she think she is? That girl has tangled with
the wrong Sith! No one says “no” to Darth Bob!
Lied to! Betrayed! Publicly humiliated! Why, it’s
more than I can bear!
LeFou:
More Gorg?
Darth Bob:
what for, nothing helps. I’m disgraced!
LeFou:
Who you? Never! Darth Bob, you’ve got to pull yourself together!

It disturbs the force to see you this way
Looking so down in the dumps
Every Sith wants to be just like you
Even when taking your jumps
There’s nobody here as admired as you
You’re everyone’s fav’rote bad guy
Everyone’s so scared shitless of you
and it’s not very hard to see why
No one’s mean as Darth Bob
no one’s fast as Darth Bob
No one’s force choke is as strong as Darth Bob
we’d all love to be your apprentice,
You’re perfect a pure paragon!
You can ask any Hutt , Dug or Wookie,
And they’ll tell you whose side they prefer to be on!
No one’s been like Darth Bob
a kingpin like Darth Bob
No one’s got conflicted soul like Darth Bob!
Darth Bob:
As a specimen yes I’m intimidating!
LeFou:
my what a guy, that Darth Bob!

Chorus line:
Darth Bob is the best
Makes even Ventriss all stressed
No one trains like Darth Bob
gives us pain like Darth Bob
in a challenge no one force chokes like Darth Bob!
For there’s no one as force sensitive,
Darth Bob:
I’ve got Midichlorians to spare!
Le:Fou
you’re completely light negative!
Darth Bob:
my force powers are nearly as dark as my hair!

LeFou:
in a force duel nobody maims like Darth Bob!

Darth Bob:
I’m especially good at regenerating
When I was a lad I sacrificed my own Dad
when he could teach me no more
and now that I’m grown I never feel bad
and I know every last page of Sith Lore!
Chorus Line:
No one kills like Darth Bob
or has skills like Darth Bob
Then stomps the star system like you!
Darth Bob:
I use Death Stars in all of my decorating

 

 

Stay tuned for more silliness!

Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess (a Girl Genius novel) by Phil & Kaja Foglio

published in 2012

where I got it: purchased new

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First there was the webcomic.  then came the graphic novels (identical to the webcomic, just in printed form). Now there is the novelizations.

That could too easily be a recipe for disaster, but this is the team of Phil and Kaja Foglio. Disaster isn’t in their vocabulary. Not satisfied with developing the Hugo award winning Girl Genius comic series, they’ve dived headfirst into writing the novelizations of the comics. (read my review of the first novel, Agatha H and the Airship City, here) Not interested in webcomics or graphic novels? You should still pick up their Agatha Heterodyne novels. Why?  Because they are simply fantastic. These books have it all: characters with incredible depth, humor, doomed romances, hysterically ridiculous mad science, more humor, family secrets, excellent dialog, circus folk, monsters, and an all around good time. You will have a smile on your face the entire time you are reading these novels.  Don’t get me wrong, the graphic novels are great (I own them all), but the novels are even better.

In a semi-fictitious Europe, those with the ability to breath life into machines are known as Sparks. Being a Spark isn’t always a good thing, because they are so intent on making amazing creations that they often don’t realize last week’s amazing creation has burned down the village. Some Sparks hide their abilities, others survive by volunteering to work for the powers that be.

Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess is the second book in this series, and it picks up right where the first book, Agatha H and the Airship City left off. Along with the talking cat Krosp, she’s escaped from Baron Wulfenbach’s flying castle, learned who her parents really are (the famous Bill Heterodyne and Lucrezia Mongfish), and discovered that she is indeed, a very powerful Spark. It doesn’t matter that she’s developed some pretty strong feelings for the Baron’s son, Gilgamesh, as she’ll probably never see him again anyway.

Alone in the forest, she comes across a traveling circus, who allow her to travel with them.  Agatha doesn’t tell the troupe who she really is, and they are hiding their own secrets. The troupe puts on what are known as “Heterodyne shows”, with the actors performing the madcap adventures of Bill and Barry Heterodyne, and their sidekicks Klaus and Lucrezia. It sure is uncanny how well Agatha can imitate Lucrezia on stage! She sounds just like her!

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The Anvil of the World, by Kage Baker

published in 2010

Where I got it: library

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I’ve been unbeliveably lucky lately. Nearly everything I’ve read these last few months has been smack dab incredible. When I do get to some mediocre book, books like this one are going to make that poor blameless book even more of a let down.

Fantasy should be fun, it should be fantastical and magical, it should make you smile and laugh and think a little and maybe get a little choked up at the end. If that’s the kind of fantasy you’re looking for, The Anvil of The World is the book for you.  A little big farcical, a lot of fantastic, The Anvil of The World was pure joy to read.

Having retired from his profession of assassin, and possibly trying to escape a blood feud, our main character Smith gets a job as a caravan leader. Smith isn’t his real name, but he really  is part of the increasingly large Smith clan of the race of the Children of the Sun. Smith’s people have always followed their God, The Smith, and traveled the world building cities and creating things and generally smithing about. However  not every race on the planet is all about the smithing.

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The Fuller Memorandum (a Laundry Novel), by Charles Stross

where I got it: purchased new

why I read it: enjoyed the previous Laundry novel, The Jennifer Morgue

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Bob Howard has a problem. it’s that he’s too good at his job. The office manager leaves him alone; his boss, Angleton, is sending him on special errands; and his wife, Mo, has started bringing work home with her. When you’re a computational demonologist, none of those can be good things.  You see, Bob works for the ultra secret British government agency called The Laundry.  Think James Bond meets Torchwood, but instead of fighting the Russians and aliens, they’re fighting the Russians and unthinkable Cthonic soul sucking horrors from another dimension. When the end comes, make sure you’re armed with a shotgun (same goes for when playing Arkham Horror, btw).

Although The Fuller Memorandum is mostly action, usually involving Bob getting the crap kicked out of him, it was the slower parts that were some of my favorites. Things like getting to know more (perhaps too much) about the mysterious Angleton.  What Mo actually does with that bone white violin (she needs her own book. period). How to jailbreak an iphone in three easy steps (step one, allow a professional hacker into your house). How to handle Russian zombies and drunken cultists, and what the British secret service really thinks about Americans.  And Bob Howard, accidental computational demonologist, armed with a jailbroken unauthorized iphone running illegal apps, better solve all these problems before his soul gets sucked out by cultists who’ve awoken something far more evil than they were expecting. The slower bits might have been all interesting, but the crazy action bits? Totally over the top frakin’ awesome.

If you’re grinning, you can skip the next paragraph, however if you’re a bit confused, quit skipping around and stop feeling bad.

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may be Vader some day later now he’s just a small fry. . .
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Behold!  Weird Al’s brilliant spoof of Episode One.  This has been out for a while, so I’m sure most of you have already heard/seen it. Complete with guitar playing Jedi, odd aliens, a horrible Padme, Weird Al with short hair, and the damn catchiest chorus ever.  To the tune of American Pie, of course.

holy crap, is that the Emperor on keys at the end??

 

and there’s more!

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The Order of the Stick: Dungeon Crawlin’ Fools (graphic novel type thing), written & Illustrated by Rich Burlew

where I got it: husband’s stack of webcomic goodies

why I read it: he kept laughing his head off.  Redhead want to laugh head off too!

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I follow a handful of webcomics, but when push comes to shove, I’d rather read them in book/graphic novel format.  Good thing Rich Burlew, creator of Order of the Stick is just as cool for old skool.

Ahh yes, Order of the Stick,  the webcomic that started in 2003 out as a dungeon crawling group of role playing adventurers, who broke rules, hated the new rules, forgot some really important rules, found an plot-arc, awkwardly flirted with each other, and slaughtered plenty of goblins in the meantime. This is a little like Looking for Group but with more seniority and farcicalness, and Dungeon Crawlin’ Fools is like the Directors Cut with commentary (literally) version of the webcomic. And did I mention it’s laugh out loud hilarious? Seriously, if you’ve ever been into role playing, or gaming, or D&D specifically, this is the comic for you.

The first few pages of Dungeon Crawlin’ Fools includes an introduction by RedCloak, and a few bonus pages that introduce the characters so you don’t go into the first strip deaf and blind.  We’ve got Roy Greenhilt, the fighter and party leader who spends most of his time trying to keep the rest of the party under control; Haley Starshine the sexy (as sexy as a stick figure can be) rogue thief, who when she’s not stealing everything that’s not nailed down has a burgeoning crush on Elan the bard. Vaarsuvius the genderly ambiguous elf wizard, Durkon the dwarven cleric and Balkar the grumpy ranger halfling round out this team of treasure grabbing, dragon smashing, ogre killing player characters.  Wait you say, I’m missing a dark elf? Bah, that’s not a player character race, is it?

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The weather’s been nice, the sun’s been shining. Time for some adventures, don’t you think? Definitely time for an illustrated epic poem!

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we bought a bunch of book like objects,

some comic books too

thought it was time we headed to the zoo.

lemurs, ostriches, zebras, monkeys and more,

among peacocks of blue and jade,

and wolves. and yes, many Westeros jokes were made.

I think the one on the left is Summer?

and then I went a picked a metric shitload of strawberries.

there will be much freezer jam made this weekend,  I swear it!

The World House, by Guy Adams

Published in 2011

Where I got it: The library

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On the one side, is the Box.  If you come into contact with the box in a specific situation, you wake up in the house.  

On the other side is the Renegade. The house is his prison, and he’s been planning his escape for a very, very long time.


Almost in the style of a  long prologue, we are quickly introduced to a diverse handful of characters who come into contact with the box, usually in violent circumstances.  Some of them are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, whereas others have been searching for the mysterious, mythical box for years.

As people wake up in different parts of the house, they learn very quickly to adapt or die. For this is a house that isn’t a house. It may have hallways and bedrooms and a library and a kitchen and a library, but the hallways go on forever, the countless bedrooms have never been slept in, the library contains the memories of the universe and the kitchen houses one of the cannibals.  And when the lights go down,  it’s time to find a safe place to hide.  Because this house is alive, and it is hungry.

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Of Tobacco Worms

Spending some time at a friends house the other day, she gave me the tour of the landscaping and gardens she and her husband have been working on for the last few years.  the vegetable garden (beautiful!), the hops plants (tall!) and the moonflower plot (infected!).  Apparently, their moonflowers have been infected with tobacco worms. Moonflowers are related to Nicotiana and Tomatoes, all of which are susceptible to Tomato worms and tobacco worms.  I learned more than I ever wanted to about tobacco worms and the beautiful moths they grow up to be.

Moonflowers. greenhouses. worms. giant beautiful moths.

All I could think of was China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station.  I’ll never be able to think of tomato worms the same way again.

damn you New Weird for infecting nearly day of my life!

. . . and  scifi fashion

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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.