October 2, 2008
Having gotten over humans crucifying Jesus, God decides to send another messiah to Earth. But this time, it’s a woman. Not only that, but Morrow infers that God Herself is a She. A female God? Sounds crazy but he might be right; God is demanding, prone to frightening emotional outbursts and no man can make Her happy! Rim shot. I guess the Eleventh Commandment would be ‘Thou shalt not leave the toilet seat up’! Double rim shot. Vagina! Goodnight everybody. Highly recommended.
On a scale of miracles Jesus performed ranging from turning water into wine to driving demons from a pig, this book is: that time He made the Statue Of Liberty disappear.
1991: The Bradbury Chronicles: Stories In Honor Of Ray Bradbury edited by William F. Nolan and Martin H. Greenberg
September 5, 2008
Reading Bradbury’s short story catalogue is like taking a highly-addictive, euphoria-inducing drug. It’s a glorious, almost spiritual experience while it lasts. But there’s a limited supply, and eventually you run out. In desperation, you buy some Asimov from a guy you don’t really know and read it by yourself in the bathroom at the bus station. Soon you’re watching Will Smith in I Robot through half-closed eyes and telling yourself you can stop any time you want. The Bradbury Chronicles is like methadone for everyone jonesin’ for more of the master’s works; a series of stories that aren’t the real thing, but will tide you over until you can get some help. Recommended.
On a scale of Bradbury-related withdrawl symptoms ranging from Dandelion Wine D.T.’s to S Is For The Shakes, this book is: A fever of Fahrenheit 451.
August 5, 2008
The year is 2021, and an epidemic of global infertility (don’t worry, it happens to lots of guys) means no babies have been born for 26 years. Anne Geddes is destitute and no one eats for free at HoJo. Amid this bleak background the novel’s protagonist becomes entwined with a group of revolutionaries who may have a way to save the world. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I’m too excited to keep it a secret: THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE A BABY! A sad a poignant examination of the purpose and importance of children in our lives, Kids Of Dudes is a winner. Recommended.
On a scale of reasons to have a baby ranging from boredom to tax deductions, this book is: propagation of the species.
July 5, 2008
At first, this book was irritating. Gibson seemed to be trying just a little too hard to remind the reader that it was set in the not-too distant future. Like, he abbreviates the word ‘claustrophobic’ to ‘claustro’ and passes it off as not-too-distant-future language; this is the linguistic equivilant of a one-piece silver jumpsuit. Even the font seemed obnoxious: Futura. Using Futura in a book about the future breaks an ironclad rule of design: never print a book in a font named after the subject matter (I have yet to receive any interest in my biography of insane Bavarian type cutter Zapf Dingbat). But, by the end, I had to admit it had grown on me: (to the tune of the ‘By Mennen’ jingle) ‘Bill GIB-son!’
On a scale of cocktails ranging from the Rob Roy to the Pink lady, this book is a: Gibson.
June 5, 2008
This book follows the seamy exploits of a private detective in a futuristic Frisco where drugs are legal, animals can talk and criminals are cryogenically frozen and turned into sex slaves. ‘Great,’ you’re thinking, ‘ another one of those novels.’ Still, it’s pretty good. Letham effortlessly blends Philip K. Dick and Chandler (Phoebe, Ross and Rachel, however, fail to make an appearance) for a one-of-a-kind work of cyber-noir. BTW, ‘noir’ is just fancy talk for ‘black’. And, BTW, ‘BTW’ is just fancy talk for ‘by the way’. Recommended.
On a scale of ways to prepare eggs ranging from scrambled to poached, this book is: hard boiled.
Of all the hideous creations in Lovecraft’s pantheon, the visually-impaired, mentally-challenged deity is my personal favourite, so The Azathoth Cycle was like music to my ears. Music comprised of the beating of vile drums and the thin, monotonous whine of accursed flutes, but music nonetheless. This book, however, should in no way be confused with Azathoth-ciclesTM, the frozen treat kids go horribly, irreversibly mad for. Recommended.
On a scale of fictional New England towns ranging from Derry, Maine to Arkham, Massachusetts, this book is: Madeupville, Rhode Island.
April 5, 2008
In the year 2060, a distant planet is visited by a group of Jesuit missionaries (NOTE: absolutely no ‘missionary position’ jokes will be made about this book.) Once there, they experience the greater glory of God in the form of death, torture, modest inconvenience, and sexual brutality at the hands of the native population. I guess the missionary position isn’t as fun as it sounds (NOTE: I couldn’t resist. Sorry.) Highly recommended.
On a scale of martyrs ranging from Miguel Pro to Roque González de Santa Cruz, this book is: the guy who gave that baseball back to Mark McGwire.
Fans of Brian Lumley know him as the authour of the Necroscope series (Necroscope is also the leading brand of zombie mouthwash). But he’s also a devotee of the Cthulhu mythos, having added Shudde M’ell the Prime Burrower to H.P. Lovecraft’s foul pantheon. This anthology contains stories by writers inspired by Lumley’s Lovecraft-inspired creations, which is kinda like someone parodying a Weird Al song that parodies a song that wasn’t very popular to begin with. Like if you took ‘I Want A New Duck’ and changed it to ‘I Want A New Truck’. Y’see how silly that sounds? Okay, then.
On a scale of Weird Al albums ranging from Weird Al In 3D to Alapalooza, this book is: Dare To Be Stupid.
February 5, 2008
Cartoonist Gahan Wilson proves he’s a man of many talents (okay, two) with this offbeat anthology of stories. What I like about this book is that every story is told in a different voice. In ‘The Sea Was Wet As Wet Could Be’, Wilson does a Robin Williams ‘black guy’ voice. In ‘Them Bleaks’ he does a Richard Pryor ‘white guy’ voice. And in ‘The Marble Boy’ he does a ‘what if John Madden and Cher had a baby? I think it would sound a little like this’ voice. Sometimes whimsical, sometimes humourous, sometimes whimsi-rous, The Cleft will delight your literary palate. Recommended.
On a scale of things cut in half featured on thingsihavecutinhalf.blogspot.com ranging from a teabag to a pocket comb, this book is: an alarm clock.
January 5, 2008
A strange virus causes women to begin birthing the next stage in human evolution, threatening to make homo sapiens extinct. Now we know how all those monkeys felt when we grew opposable thumbs! This book is what’s commonly known as ‘hard’ scifi; as in ‘hard’ to read, ‘hard’ to follow and ‘hard’ly worth my time. The story, while compelling, is riddled with scientific terminology far beyond a lummox like me (‘Duuuhhh…..what’s a ‘beaker’…?). But if you’re a PhD – holding endemic virologist looking for a little light reading between cataloguing RNA sequences, give it a whirl. Preferably in your haemacrotic centrifuge.
On a scale of viruses ranging from cytoplasmic ployhedrosis to acute laryngotracheobronchitis, this book is: duck hepatitis B.
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.