Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Sunday Review

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • May 29th
  • Justice League of America #4 - Shocking ending, if it hadn't already been spoiled for me multiple times all over the internet by various people who apparently just figured it was something fun to spoil. Oh well.
  • Earth 2 Annual #1 - So we get the origin of one character, a mysterious new character, and some other stuff. A little disjointed.
  • Smallville Season 11 Special #1 - This one had more of the cast than I've seen before. Not bad.
  • Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #5 - Getting more of the overall plot. I enjoyed the portrayal of both the Rutans and Sontarans in this one.

My library book this week was The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett. I admit I waited awhile before reading the second Discworld book, because although I enjoyed the first one, I didn't love it. This one is better. The book picks up right where the last book left off, with the main character in a rather fatal position. Rincewind, Twoflower and the Luggage still have work to perform on Discworld, and so they perform it as the end of the world arrives. With this book, I'm definitely hooked. Death was funny in the first book, he gets even better in this one. I also liked how Rincewind finally comes into his own. There really isn't a lot that can go into a review of a book like this, except that I really want my own Luggage and I sometimes have dreams of finding one of those mysterious shops. A good little tale. I wonder what's next? I'll just have to load up "Discworld #3" on my Kindle and find out...

Fortean Times #302
Fortean Times #302 (July 2013). The previous issue, with the Peter Cushing cover, made Eric take a second look at it. This issue also got a second look from Eric, who saw the name "Madame Blavatsky" and said there was a connection with the Wizard of Oz there. I didn't realize that she'd affected L. Frank Baum, but the article includes him in a long list of people whose lives and work were impacted by the Theosophical Society. The article itself argues that a long-standing opinion of Blavatsky as a fake is based on biased material and should be reassessed. The author, Gary Lachman, doesn't say she isn't a fake, but does point out inconsistencies and errors in the evidence used to prove that she was a fraud. Regardless of whether or not she had magical powers, she certainly impacted a lot of people with her ideas. Lachman argues that people should be focused on her influence, rather than just the fraud angle.

Another oblique Oz reference came with a report on the Editorial page of the reaction of people in England to Margaret Thatcher's death. Strangedays has the usual round-up of insanity and humanity, including a bit on bizarre book titles, more on fairy circles in Africa, and censorship at the TED conference. There's also Fortean Follow-ups, which I nearly always find extremely interesting.

A main article covers the fate of people who purchased Princess Diana's dresses, and posits a bit of a curse on the new owners. Nothing concrete, of course, but it makes me even less likely to buy one of her dresses if I became rich.

The final main article is about a Turkish family apparently plagued by a fire demon. As is usual in poltergeist cases, the phenomena is focused on an adolescent girl. The family told the investigator about a lot of other things besides fires happening, but the skeptics were convinced it was the family's children making mischief. An interesting story.

Konspiracy Korner covers a report that Nixon intervened to prevent peace talks in Vietnam in order to give him a better chance to win the 1968 elections and why the media doesn't report on these kind of stories, even years after the fact. Ghostwatch is about TV ghost shows like Most Haunted and how children react to them. Alien Zoo reports on mini-pygmies in Sumatra, supposedly spotted by rangers in a national park, and gigantic freshwater fish that re-earned its status as a species after scientists ran across the original monograph describing it in detail.

Archaeology is about the One Ring... no, really. And Hobbits. And a gamma-ray blast and underwater cairn, but hey, One Ring! Classical Corner is about strong women in history. The UFO Casebook has connections between Spontaneous Human Combustion and UFOs, with an interesting theory. The Random Dictionary is about animal mutilations, complete with a really gross picture. The Fortean Traveller goes to Liverpool and visits the Williamson Tunnels, which sound pretty amazing. Illustrated Police News is about a woman's supposedly reincarnated cats (the cats were reincarnations of people she knew).

The Forum starts with an article on the "real" King Arthur and how the legend that he was based on a real person got started. The second article is about the Boston bombings and the conspiracies that sprang up after the event, and what that means about people's relationship to the government. The final Forum article is about Jess Franco, a cult horror movie maker who got his start in Fascist Spain under a different Franco.

Reviews are lovely as usual, with at least two that make me want to go hunt down books. The new Star Trek movie gets a solid 7, with the comment, "Big, brilliant blockbuster: but Abrams is no genius" to sum it up. Interesting. The Reverend reviews Scanners and its sequels and I find I still have no desire to see any of them. The Letters column has more about the Betty and Barney Hill abduction case, and some other extremely interesting bits. It happened to me... is spooky as always, one of my favorite sections of the magazine.

The Wizard of Oz folks (Oogaboos) were here this weekend, and at some point we were discussing magazines, and I handed out copies of my precious Fortean Times issues to people. At one point there were three Oz fans sitting on my couch, each with a different copy of Fortean Times being happily devoured in their hands. For the rest of the weekend, one of our guests continued to look through the issues I'd brought down. I think she enjoyed them a lot.

Also, I'm nearly caught up to the current issue. I have Fortean Times #303 on my bedstand, having received it a week ago, and I've only just started it. So I'm nearly current, which is kind of nice. But that means my Sunday Reviews will shortly get a lot less meaty. Oh well.