Sunday, October 04, 2015

A Sunday Review

The Philosopher Kings
The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton.

First up: the completely *non-spoiler review. Starting almost 20 years after na vasnzbhf qrongr raqrq gur rkcrevzragny Whfg Pvgl (na nggrzcg gb perngr Cyngb'f Erchoyvp va gur qvfgnag cnfg), guvf obbx fubjf ubj gur senpgherq cbchynpr trgf ba jvgubhg uryc sebz Nguran naq gur ebobg jbexref fur cebivqrq. This book is not nearly as unsettling as the first in some ways, but in other ways... whew. It's a wild ride. *It's been pointed out that my non-spoilers were not non-spoiler enough. My mistake, and a big one. I apologize to anyone who was spoiled.

Ok, Spoilers ahead (use rot13 to read). Vg'f 20 lrnef ba naq gur obbx cerggl zhpu fgnegf jvgu gur qrngu bs Fvzzrn, gur Znel Fhr bs gur svefg abiry. Fur'f orpbzr terng juvyr chefhvat rkpryyrapr naq yvivat va gur Erzanag bs gur Whfg Pvgl. Fur'f nyfb unq n qnhtugre, Nergr, jub orpbzrf gur guveq ibvpr jr ernq va guvf abiry. Yvxr gur svefg, gur puncgref fjvgpu orgjrra cbvag-bs-ivrj bs guerr punenpgref, gjb bs gurz gur fnzr sebz Gur Whfg Pvgl.

Boivbhfyl, gur ovttrfg greebe bs guvf obbx vf jung Ncbyyb qbrf gb Xrorf/Zngguvnf. Vg vf, sbeghangryl, abg eraqrerq gbb qvfgvapgyl va jevgvat. Ohg vg vf qrfpevorq rabhtu gb znxr zr srry zber guna n yvggyr fvpx. Gur npgvba vf gur erfhyg bs Ncbyyb ernqvat Fvzzrn'f qvnel: jung jnf 1/3 bs gur cerivbhf obbx. Nyy bs gung jnf oehgny, naq nyy bs gung jnf arprffnel gb rkcynva gur npgvbaf bs gur punenpgref vaibyirq, V guvax.

V nyfb rawblrq gur wbl bs Ncbyyb'f puvyqera nf gurl ernyvmrq gurl unir cbjref naq pna orpbzr qrzv-tbqf. Orggre lrg, gurl ner yvxryl gb orpbzr na npghny cnagurba ng gur raq bs gur fgbel, nsgre Mrhf chgf gurz va gurve arj ubzr. V jnf nyfb cyrnfrq gb frr gung gurl unq n pubvpr. Zhpu vf znqr bs ubj vzcbegnag vg vf sbe crbcyr gb unir n pubvpr. Gur ragver frevrf eribyirf nebhaq gung vqrn gb fbzr rkgrag.

V sryg guvf obbx uryq gbtrgure fyvtugyl orggre guna gur svefg obbx, ohg gbtrgure gurl znxr n sbezvqnoyr grnz. Qrsvavgryl fbzrguvat V'z tynq gung V ernq. Guvf Uhtb guvat unf fbzrguvat tbvat sbe vg, boivbhfyl!

In conclusion, I believe nominating The Just City/The Philosopher Kings as a single work may be appropriate and may be something I will do. I'll have to think about it a little more, but I think they work best together.

Short story reviews:
  • "Miriam and I, After the End" by I. Verse is a short tale of what happens to a robot caretaker after the end of the world. I quite like the "voice" of the robot, telling us how it got into the situation its in, and I can't help but feel for Miriam, who isn't feeling anything but is still cared for. A strange little story.

  • "The Cubicle Witch" by James Luther Reinebold is a quick but jolting fantasy of the modern office building. Having seen more than a few offices in my life, I'm just glad I never got to the point where a 13th floor accountant-turned-witch would be something I'd feel like turning to for help. But then, I've always been the type to leave a situation like that first.

  • "The Pixie Game" by Anna Zumbro is set in a fairly normal universe, except for the well-known existence of pixies. Gage takes a dare and regrets it. Cute little story, but there's not a lot of *ahem* bones to it.

  • "Pot" by Chuck Rothman is a very silly story about a leprechaun and his gold. It's a bit of a stinker, but somewhat funny.

  • "Chocolate Chip Cookies for the Apocalypse" by Claire Spaulding is a spare tale about love at the end of the world. Like most of the stories I'm finding on Daily Science Fiction, there's just something missing. It's not a bad story, but it needs more to be a great story.

TV this week:
  • Doctor Who: "Under the Lake" - I didn't know this was a two-parter. I was engrossed enough that I didn't figure it out right away. Which is both good and bad. Good, because it means I really enjoyed the story. Bad, because at the cliff-hanger I just yelled "ARGH!" Ok... let's see. Good things: it's nice to see Clara and the Doctor just out having adventure, and some of the patter between the two (mostly on Clara's part) was fun. The crew of the station was great, with a simply awesome second-in-command. V jvfu jr'q unq zber gvzr jvgu gur pbzznaqre uvzfrys. Gur genafyngbe vf n xrl punenpgre - V'z fher rirelbar svtherq bhg jul ur jnfa'g xvyyrq, evtug? Ur arire ybbxrq ng gur jbeqf, fb ur pbhyqa'g orpbzr n genafzvggre, fb uvf qrngu jnf cbvagyrff. V jnfa'g fher nobhg gur raq, rfcrpvnyyl ubj gur gvzrl-jvzrl ovgf jbex. Next Saturday cannot come fast enough.

  • Gotham: "Knock, Knock" - Whew. I really was not expecting that one. I mean... obviously a pile of lunatics running loose is going to cause problems, but I really didn't expect those particular actions. In fact, those were about as far from what I was expecting at this point in the season as it's possible to get. So, svefg gurer ner zheqref ng gur arjfcncre'f bssvpr, gura n fpubby ohf shyy bs purreyrnqref arneyl trgf sevrq. Gubfr ner onq rabhtu, ohg gura nqq va gur cbyvpr znffnper (uneq gb gryy ubj znal bssvpref qvrq irefhf ubj znal whfg ynl fgvyy hagvy gur qnatre jnf tbar) naq vg'f haoryvrinoyr. Naq gur pbzzvffvbare! Qnat, Revp cerqvpgrq fur jbhyqa'g ynfg gur frnfba, ohg fur qvqa'g znxr vg guebhtu gur rcvfbqr. Gur bgure cybgf jrer terng... Nyserq unq fbzr ybiryl zbzragf va guvf rcvfbqr, vapyhqvat uvf senax gnyx jvgu Yhpvhf Sbk. Altzn'f fhocybg, fubeg nf vg jnf, bs fnivat Xevfgra jnf bar bs gubfr gjvfgf gung'f obhaq gb unir artngvir pbafrdhraprf va gur shgher. I really doubt this series can keep up this level of action. I'm kind of expecting to be let down like I was with last season. But so far so good.

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • Aug 19th
  • Justice League #43 - Luthor isn't usually this stupid, is he? I'm still annoyed at the lack of Aquaman in this storyline, but not very annoyed, because it's a crappy storyline, so it's best Aquaman's not involved in it.
  • Harley Quinn & Power Girl #3 - *speechless* *shaking head* *stunned open-mouthed staring* *wrinkled eyebrow and mild frown* *speechless* *disturbed laughter* *befuddlement*
  • Green Lantern: The Lost Army #3 - This entire situation is nasty, but I'm actually vaguely interested in how this is going to play out. I actually sympathize with Guy for once. Very odd.
  • Teen Titans Go #11 - Cyborg's facial hair and Raven's family. Well, they can't all be winners. But I am amused by the cover, at least.
  • Astro City #26 - So, the overall arc is getting a bit stickier. The heroes are thinking about the next generation and worrying about getting older. Interesting. And this is a nice tribute to the first issue.
  • Oddly Normal #9 - Ok, this is fun on several levels. Lots of potential for new stories set up, and a new character introduced, along with a resolution to a past one. Nice.
  • Fiction #3 - Ah, I'm seeing links to Doctor Who in this one. There's a very old DW story that uses the exact method seen here to get out of trouble. Hrm.
  • Doctor Who 2015: Four Doctors #2 - Trying to avoid something always seems to make it happen, yes? The Keys of Marinus is one of my favorite serials of the original series, so I'm eagerly awaiting what happens next.
  • Rivers of London #2 - Still not making a whole lot of sense to me, but I'm following the gist of it, I think. Fun stuff.
NOTE: To people looking for Hugo recommendations, I'd say if you are really into humor, the Harly Quinn & Power Girl series is worth a look, but only if you are into the humor. Astro City is always a contender, and I highly recommend it. Oddly Normal, Fiction and Rivers of London all had potential as well. Personally, I'll be looking hard at recent Astro City story arcs for something to nominate - for the rest, your mileage may vary, but they are all worth a glance.