June 28, 2008
Future England: London has broken up into city states that are at constant war, and eventually there’s a great bloody melee and everyone dies (melee weapons only give you +4 strength, after all, and leave you vulnerable to ice magic). This book is full of the kind of humor that can only be described as ‘dry’. Actually, ‘dry’ isn’t the word; more like ‘desiccated’. Desiccated, not-very-funny humour. Regardless, it’s described as a ‘comic novel’ and was met with great enthusiasm when it debuted at Comic Novel-icon 1904 in San Diego. To this day a huge contingent of cosplay fans dress up as G.K. Chesterton, and are savagely and contemptuously beaten by other nerds, thus proving that even the lowest and most pitiful tiers of society are carefully structured.
On a scale of Hugh Grant films ranging from Notting Hill to Notting Hill II: Bigger And Notting-er, this book is: Notting Hill III: The Search For Curly’s Gold (by far the best of the trilogy).
June 7, 2008
Many people confuse this book with John Steinbeck’s East Of Eden, and there are similarities. Like Steinbeck’s work, Harrison’s tale is set on a prehistoric Earth where dinosaurs never went extinct and evolved into sentient creatures that compete with humans for survival. The protagonists of both works ride a triceratops into battle. And both books depict rough reptile-on-human intercourse, which I’m not certain is possible, although I’m not a doctor.
On a scale of technologically advanced reptiles ranging from Mecha Gojira to Bahamut Zero, this book is: cyborg Michigan J. Frog.
May 21, 2008
What would’ve happened if, instead of standing against Germany and Italy in WWII, America had elected a brutal dictatorship of its own? Give up? Read this pile o’ pages and find out. This novel is a comic commentary on fascism (think Hitler, but with a Groucho Marx moustache) and the fragility of democracy, and is an oft-cited work of alternate history. That’s right – ‘oft’. So you know it’s good. Recommended.
On a scale of characters in Stephen King’s It ranging from Eddie Kaspbrak to Mike Hanlon, this book is: It.
If you don’t think the real WWII was bad enough, this book is for you; eleven stories portraying a victorious Nazi menace looming like a dark cloud over the world. The forecast? Stormy, with a chance of heil. If you’re a Hitler buff, you’ll definitely want to read this book. Also, if you’re a Hitler buff, you probably shouldn’t go around describing yourself as a ‘Hitler buff’. Very highly recommended.
On a scale of rooms in Hitler’s house ranging from the schlafzimmer to the küche, this book is: the lebensraum.
March 21, 2008
Although this novel postulates a world in which the Nazis won WWII, it was written two years before the war started, when Hitler was an apple-cheeked Führer building Luftwaffe models in his bedroom and doodling Auschwitz blueprints in his binder during math class. In it, the Nazis have imprisoned women, deigning contact only for reproduction, and have rewritten history to make Hitler seem like a blond-haired God. I think we can all be thankful that Burdekin’s predictions didn’t come to pass, and that the privilege of rewriting history went to the victorious Allies. By the way, did you know Kaiser Wilhelm failed his driving test and had a third nipple? Recommended.
On a scale of predictions that didn’t come true ranging from Oral Roberts being called home to Y2K, this book is: my lotto numbers coming up.
March 7, 2008
Russians! Ruskies! Reds! Commies! Pinkos! Barney Rubles! Kopek-erheads! Lenin-lovers! Stalin-suckers! Putin-pumpers! Chernobyl laureates! Nyet-sayers! Russians! Whatever you call them, they rule England in 2089, according to this grisly, fast-paced alt-hist thriller. That is, unless, a sociopathic spy named Winston Three Three Three can help the Brits spark a revolution that’ll send their Tetris-slinging overlords back to where they came from: Russia! Where Russians come from!
On a scale of wrestlers Nikolai Volkov fought ranging from Sgt. Slaughter to Ted DiBiase, this book is: Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
January 4, 2008
A book is always more exciting when exclamation points are added to the title: The Old Man And The Sea! To Kill A Mockingbird! Absalom, Absalom!!!!!!! This book is no exception. It’s a series of stories set in S.M. Stirling’s Domination timeline, where British South Africans who call themselves ‘the Draka’ have enslaved humankind (you don’t have to have your body and spirit broken under the yoke of servitude to work there, but it helps). While interesting, the premise itself is far-fetched: only in science fiction could South Africa be an intolerant dystopia where an elite few withhold basic human rights from the masses. Recommended for fans of the Domination series.
On a scale of spin-offs ranging from The Golden Palace to Archie Bunker’s Place, this book is: Frasier.