Saturday, August 23, 2008

Review: Warm Worlds and Otherwise

James Tiptree, Jr. was the pen name of science fiction writer Alice Sheldon (1915-1987). This collection of short stories and novellas dates back to the late 60's and early '70s and translates fairly well to the '00s.

(Except, perhaps, for that carful of stoned anarchic hippy xenophiles driving around Washington, DC. But I enjoyed that story, too.)

This is not, repeat, is not a book for very young or sensitive readers. My People informs me that she would have been too embarrassed to read many of these tales when they first came out.

Tiptree/Sheldon spins a fast-paced and rollicking good yarn, but expect to be titillated, horrified and challenged.

Challenged, especially. So much so that I feel like I've grown a second head --

(pauses and looks around)

-- Mea culpa. The second head belongs to my brother Walter. (yanks WW&O out from under a quietly snoring silver tabby) Hey! Get your own blog.

Warm Worlds and Otherwise by James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon):
  • "All the Kinds of Yes"
  • "The Milk of Paradise"
  • "And I Have Come Upon This Place by Lost Ways"
  • "The Last Flight of Dr. Ain"
  • "Amberjack"
  • "Through a Lass Darkly"
  • "The Girl Who Was Plugged In"
  • "The Night-Blooming Saurian"
  • "The Women Men Don't See"
  • "Fault"
  • "Love is the Plan, The Plan is Death"
  • "On the Last Afternoon"

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Review: Dragons of Spring Dawning (Part 2)

Dragons of Spring Dawning, Part 2 completes the Devil's Due Publishing serialization of Weis and Hickman's Dragonlance Chronicles. Part 1 was reviewed here back in April 2008.

Most of my comments about Part 1 still hold true: The slower pacing of Spring Dawning works much better than the mad dash through the first two novels in the trilogy. The art is good, and also stable -- The characters look like themselves and stay looking like themselves. And, for the most part, the dialogue is spot-on.

Astreja K., who has several gazillion Dragonlance books lying around the house, has spotted one typo, one missing mini-subplot involving a door lock, and one green dragon who must've been on his coffee break when the pencil artists came by to rough out the scene. She also found the artists' rendition of Raistlin a bit jarring (being accustomed to the Larry Elmore and Matt Stawicki portraits), but admits that this version much better explains the average Krynnish person's reaction to Mr. Majere.

The included collection of comic book covers, particularly those by Jeremy Roberts, are a nice touch.

But I may need a bit of help trying to calm my People down -- Apparently DDP is going to do Dragonlance Legends next. (grabs Astreja K. by the ankle and hangs on for dear life)

Review: The Blind Watchmaker

This book is a slow, slow read. If I had a bag of cat treats for every time my People rubbed Her eyes and put the bookmark back in place (and Her head down on the desk)... Well, let's just say I would no longer have my svelte and girlish figure.

But oh! the information in here. And not just the big words, either. Professor Dawkins has taken a lot of time and an extraordinary amount of effort to explain exactly how complex stuff comes from simple stuff.

My feline understanding of the whole thing:

If you have enough time...

...And very, very small changes are taking place as a result of chemicals and biology and physics... (pushes Cartoon Guide to Physics off bookshelf and opens it with a few nudges of her nose) ...Like these 'gamma ray' things, here...

...And you only keep stuff that works better than other stuff...

...You will eventually end up with a cat who writes book reviews.

I *yawn* rest my case. Good night.