Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review: Three Tales (30 Days of Night)

Three Tales (30 Days of Night, )
Steve Niles
IDW Publishing (2006), Paperback, 132 pages

‘You are a hunter. You kill’
‘I eat what I kill’
‘So do I’ (p. 9)

This graphic novel is divided in three tales: Picking up the Pieces, The Journal of John Ikos, and Dead Space.
The first tale: a hunter in Alaska finds a corpse (an ex FBI agent and a vampire).
The second tale: John Ikos is out there hunting vampires.
The third tale: vampires in a space ship.

Comment: a part from the beatiful colors and pictures, all tales are boring and improbable.
An example: (inside the space ship the light turn off): ‘What happened to the light?’ - ‘They must have forgotten to pay the bill! ...” Is there something worse than this?

A second comment: vampires in the space ship: out there in the space there aren’t tree to make sticks, so it’s impossible to kills vampires. Is this the tale’s meaning?

To the authors: Have you ever seen Nosferatu with Klaus Kinsky?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: Permanent Obscurity

Permanent Obscurity
Richard Perez
Ludlow Press (2010), Paperback, 464 pages

I received this free e-book from Richard Perez on Librarything's Member Giveaway.

‘Wanting is a manifestation of the whole of life’ Dostoevsky

Permanent Obscurity by Richard Perez tells the story of two girls, Dolores and Serena in their ‘wanting of life’.
The book is divided in three parts: 1 The Kinky Hook, 2 Strange Hungers, 3 No Man’s Land; and is narrated in first person by Dolores.

What about the way of life of Dolores and Serena? I don’t know, maybe the same of other girls in this world, or maybe full of unfortunately events.
We try to accept the last one and explain the story with this words: slowly and relentless a net of depraved people surrounds Dolores and Serena all along the book, until the inevitable ends, where the freedom is no more (and even the dead appear grotesque).
Dolores and Serena’s hopes to get rid of these events are trying to make a movie; but, as always, nothing follows the right path.

In my opinion the title of the book is inadequate: most people could just think a book obscene, although in the book there is more than that. For instance the theme of friendship.
In the first part of the book we can find several similarity with the literature of the last century; I was thinking about the endless Bohemien nights narrated in Journey to the End of the Night by Celine, or A Moveable Feast by Hemingway. So it’s difficult to accept this new Bohemien world; although we can try to think about an evolution of this way of life, maybe with less poetry and literature and more ‘raw’ life.

Some quotes from the book:
‘There was the world you experienced and art you made for real - then there was that sorry s. you shared with others.’ (p. 91)
‘Regardless, a ray of sunshine had broken through my blackened sky, and, just then, I felt that everything would be okay somehow. Everything ... I just had to burn all my bills, avoid the phone when it rang, and not leave my apartment, like EVER. All the trouble in the world was outside, and I was in here. SAFE. In safety.’ (p. 194)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review: Swamp Thing: Dark Genesis

Swamp Thing: Dark Genesis
Len Wein
DC Comics (1991), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 240 pages

‘Who really is the Monster?’ (p.69)

In this volume we read the eight pages of the Swamp Thing’s origin. And in the next first ten issues the Creature meets Arcane and his un-men, the Patchwork man (a creature who came from V. Frankenstein), a Werewolf, an unusual Witch, an Alien, Batman, M’Nagalah (a character from Lovecraft), and several Zombies.

In my opinion the best are the number 4 (with the Werewolf), 6 (a Swiss - clock - village), and 9 (an Alien who needs the Ama).

‘Rain: some say it cleanses the all-too-impure heart -- others proclaim it the sorrow of the Gods, regretting the tragedy their golden hands have wrought ... the tragedy that has long known as Man’ (p. 27)

‘You stayed in that mental shadowland, chained in your brother’s dungeon, refusing to accept what you’d become ... until the day the door opened ... and a more awesome horror stood framed in the light ...’ (p. 76)

‘But, as usual, the words are wrong! It’s never over! The end?’ (p. 198)

P.S. Two question: Where is the fourth plane’s engine? (see page 69). Why are the clocks wrong? (See pages 142 and 143).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Review: Mercury

Hope Larson
Atheneum (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 234 pages

Mercury is one of the elements that was used to refine gold in old times.

Hope Larson (born 17 September 1982) is an American cartoonist, mainly graphic novels.

The graphic novel ‘Mercury’ tells the story of two girls in different times.
In 1859 Josey Fraser meets a mysterious man with the ability to find gold. Tara Fraser, 150 years later, finds a pendant that leads to buried gold. Josey and Tara’s lives are almost identical: a bit of romance, teenage troubles, but a different ‘the end’.

Larson tells Josey and Tara’s stories in parallel, so you know what happens at the same time; a ploy that bonds readers and book.

A novel for teenager.

Review: Frankenstein

Frankenstein (Graphic Classics (Cloth))
Mary Shelley
Barron's Educational Series (2008), Edition: Second printing, Hardcover, 48 pages

Victor Frankenstein is a science student attracted by the secrets of life, eventually he finds out how to give life to a dead body: the Creature is born.
After that, Victor feels of guilty led him following the Creature all over the world, at the end they meet each other to the North Pole. The Creature is lucky because the crew of John Franklin after several years will be there.

This graphic novel is well done for the first look at the Frankenstein story, otherwise, those who already know Mary Shelley and her book, could find this novel spoiled.

Very useful the last pages of the book with further information: Mary Shelley’s biography, scientific discoveries at the time of Frankenstein, and Frankenstein films.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Review: Swamp Thing Vol. 3: The Curse

Swamp Thing Vol. 3: The Curse
Alan Moore
Vertigo (2000), Paperback, 192 pages

‘Their anger, in darkness turning, unreleased, unspoken, its mouth a red wound, its eyes hungry ... hungry for the moon’ p. 126

The Swamp Thing is a creature from the earth, made from grass and tree and bark, live and die and live again among the curses of humankind.

In this novel Alec (The Swamp) meets Constantine, who becomes his ‘regulator’ for all the adventures.

Remarkable the underwater vampires.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review: All God's Creatures

All God's Creatures
Carolyn McSparren
BelleBooks (2004), Edition: First Printing, Paperback, 384 pages

Carolyn McSparren has written a book, All God’s Creature, maybe not thinking to a large claims but the result is different: a readable book, well written, with passion and love for the animals, humankind is not aside and often animals teach some lectures to people.

This is the story of a woman who becomes a veterinary for love of animals, carrying all her humanity; and, sometimes, becoming a new super-hero or, better, a Super-Vet (I remember, for instance the hunt of the escaped buffalo).

Every chapters tells a new and different story, although there is a fil rouge: the life of this Vet from the first dog to the last horse.

I recommend this book for all animal lover (but who doesn’t love animals?).

‘I always devoured books and loved music and art, but culture never gave me the immediate thrill I got from saving an animals life’ p. 238

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Review: Buried in Ice

Buried in Ice: The Mystery of a Lost Arctic Expedition (Time Quest Book)
Owen Beattie
Scholastic (1992), Library Binding, 64 pages

Owen Beattie is a professor of Anthropology at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton. In this book we can read his researches in Beechey Island, a remote island in the Canadian Arctic. In this island there are three graves of sailors who joined the last and lost Arctic Expedition of John Franklin.

Some chapters of this book are fictionalized: Beattie tells the start and early months of the expedition through the voice of John Torrington , one of the corpse buried in the graves.
In the last chapter there are some considerations of Beattie about the reason of this early deaths of the crew of Franklin’s Expedition. Examining the bones of the sailors and some tins of food still on that island, Beattie thinks that the main but non only cause of death was the lead used to seal the tins. The lead killed this young people and led to the failure of the entire expedition, because most of the crew died of starvation , although Beattie discovers knife-cut marks on some bones meaning possibility of cannibalism among the crew.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Review: The Terror: a Novel

The Terror: A Novel
by Dan Simmons
Little, Brown and Company (2007), Hardcover, 784 pages
Books on Tape (2007), Audio CD

Lat. 53° 32’ Long. 113°30’

4 July, 2010

As Terrence Rafferty wrote ‘The Terror won’t kill you unless it falls on your head.’ (From The New York Times, March 18, 2007).

There is always something ‘white’ out there that you have to follow (the White Whale), or something ‘white’ that is following you (the White Thing); the chances are your choice.

Dan Simmons is an American author, writer of various genres: science fiction, fantasy, and horror. This time with The Terror Simmons try a new genre for him: historical fiction; telling the fictionalized story of Franklin’s expedition, which on board of Her Majesty Ships (Terror and Erebus) was searching the Northwest Passage among the ice of the North Pole.

Terror and Erebus are stuck in the ice when strange things begin: the crew’s fears (disease, starvation, poisonous food, cold) materializes in a White Thing who kills everybody unseen.
After the death of Sir John Franklin, Captain Francis Crozier takes command of the crew, leading them toward an uncertain escape from the ice. Eventually someone survives helped by an Inuit woman who cannot speak, but knows a lot more than you think.

The Terror is narrated from the different characters’ viewpoint, especially Crozier and Dr. Goodsir (remarkable his diary).

For those interested in Franklin’ s Expedition (the true story), I found very interesting the article on Wikipedia ('s_lost_expedition).

Last quotation: ‘When the Tunnbaq dies because of the kabloona [the pale people] sickness, the spirit-governor-of-the-sky knew, its cold, white domain will begin to heat and melt and thaw. The white bears will have no ice for a home, so their cubs will die. The whales and walruses will have nowhere to feed. The birds will wheel in circles and cry to the Raven for help, their breeding grounds gone.
This is the future they saw.’ (p. 710)