Monday, May 15, 2006

Other Books Read in April

I seem to have forgotten to do my month-end round-up this month. Oops.

Well, let's dive into it now, with the usual caveats: it's only books I finished, and I might not mention things I don't want to talk about (for WFA or SFBC reasons) or just can't talk about (for legal, SFBC reasons).
  • Caitlin R. Kiernan, To Charles Fort, With Love
  • Holly Phillips, In the Palace of Love
  • Maureen F. McHugh, Mothers and Other Monsters
  • Luis Royo, Subversive Beauty
    Yes, it's Goth-cheesecake art, but Royo does it pretty well. And I sell about a billion of his books in the SFBC.
  • Joe Hill, 20th Century Ghosts
  • The Dark Art of Tony Mauro
    I think this is finally the last of a big stack of SQP books I had dragged home to look at. They're all pretty same-y, no matter who the artist is. And they really make me appreciate what Royo does well.
  • Matt Wagner and various artists, Grendel: Red, White, and Black
    The second of the collections of sidebar stories about the first Grendel, Hunter Rose. I hope Wagner doesn't do this again (with White, Red, and Black, I guess it would be), since Hunter really isn't that interesting a character, and we already know what happens to him. So just seeing him slaughter a whole bunch of more-or-less innocent people -- even when told in snazzy ways in little eight-page stories -- gets wearying.
  • Tim Powers, Three Days to Never
    The novel we've been waiting for since Declare in 2000; damn I wish he was a faster writer. This one is about Albert Einstein's secret family, and his even more secret other discovery. It's more-or-less contemporary (set in the 1980s), which I tend to think of as unusual for Powers, though he's written a number of contemporary books before (including one of his best, Last Call). It's publishing August 8th; everybody go out and get it then.
  • Javier Grillo-Marxuach & Les McClaine, The Middleman: The Trade Paperback Imperative
    The collection of a fun comics series about a yet another super-secret dude who has to regularly save the world from hideous creatures that the rest of the world would rather not know about. It doesn't take itself too seriously, doesn't betray its origins as a screenplay too badly, and is nicely drawn. It's also quite cheap for a trade paperback, so it's worth checking out if you enjoy comics that underwear pervert fans swear are completely different, even though it's about a person in a distinctive costume and with special abilities saving the world by punching and shooting things. I must say that I don't get the distinction myself.
  • Bret Easton Ellis, Lunar Park
  • Gail Carson Levine, Fairest
    A very very girly YA fantasy that wasn't to my taste. More than that I probably shouldn't say.
  • Chris Ware, ACME Novelty Library #16
    I managed not to slit my wrists after reading it, which is an accomplishment. Actually, the backup story isn't quite as bleak and depressing as Ware usually is, though it's certainly not happy. But "Rusty Brown" more than makes up for that.
  • Alan Moore & Gene Ha, Top 10: The Forty-Niners
    It's not as interesting as the regular Top 10 series was, and I have to assume it's been award-fodder for its Serious And Unflinching Depiction of Real Issues. It all felt a bit rushed and the world didn't have the texture I expect from a Moore story. All in all, somewhat of a disappointment.
  • Grant Morrison and various artists, Seven Soldiers of Victory, Vol. 1
    Parts of this are quite good -- I particularly enjoyed Klarion the Witch Boy -- and parts of it make very little sense and don't seem to tell anything like a coherent story. (I'm looking at you, Shining Knight.) I may just be way out of touch with "mainstream" comics, since I found Morrison's Justice League to be similarly distancing a few years back -- it seemed to leap from event to event without any continuity of action (or even simple panel-to-panel continuity). I might continue on with the rest of the series, but I haven't decided yet. For a supposedly major story by a good writer, there's not a lot here.
  • Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima, Samurai Executioner, Vol. 9: Facing Life and Death
    I think I've said all I can say about this excellent series (and Koike/Kojima's superior Lone Wolf and Cub) in past months.
  • Steven Erikson, House of Chains
    The fourth book of the "Malazan Book of the Fallen," for which I have an inexplicable fondness. These books form possibly the biggest epic fantasy series in existence -- or even imaginable. You have to train on other epic fantasy, and get bored with it, to move up to Erikson, so he's probably not for everyone. But he does tell a fascinatingly gnarly story.
  • Steven Erikson, The Devil Delivered
    A novella that is completely unrelated to the Malazan world (it's near-future, and could even be SF).
  • Paul Grobman, Vital Statistics
    A random collection of facts and figures about all sorts of things, which served as a bathroom book for its time, and has now moved on.
  • Jeffrey Ford, The Girl in the Glass
    Hey, I actually read a book that won an Edgar! And I read it a couple of days before it won, too! Who'd'a thunk it? I liked the book, too: it's an excellent historical mystery, set in 1930s Long Island, and has some neat con-man details in it. I missed Ford's last novel, and now I think I'll have to go back and pick it up.
  • Dan Slott and various artists, She-Hulk, Vol. 1: Single Green Female
    A light-hearted comic series about the female green goliath, which focuses much more than past series had on her legal career. The artist who drew the first couple of issues (and who seems to have returned for at least part of the second trade paperback), Juan Bobillo, draws exceptionally cute women (and not nearly as out-of-proportion as is usual for underwear pervert comics). His Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk's human alter ego) is particularly sweet: small and mousy with a very expressive face. I hope he sticks around for a long time; he's a wonderful artist for this kind of thing, and his light touch is so rare in Marvel-land.
  • Patricia A. McKillip, Od Magic
  • Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett, Queen & Country: Declassified, Vol. 2
    Gritty spy action set in the recent past (unlike the main series, which occurs in the present day). I'm afraid I don't remember what happens in this one at all.
  • Drew Karpyshyn, Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
    There's not much I can say about this, but I am impressed to see that Lucasfilm is making an effort to hire writers whose names sound like they come out of the Star Wars universe.
Looks like I was really busy last month, which is good: I have a lot of books to get read.

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