Sunday, April 08, 2007

Reading Into the Past: Week of 4/1

This time our magic number is ten, and here are the books I was reading at the end of March 1997:
  • Linda Obst, Hello, He Lied (3/24)
    One of those Hollywood memoirs that proliferated in the mid-90s (with the rise of the independent production companies, I bet). Obst may have written a more famous book before this one (or I may be thinking of someone else), but this is the one I read. It has not stuck in the mind, but I still like that title.
  • Brian Aldiss, Remembrance Day (3/26)
    A contemporary novel, I believe -- and I think there was some terrorism in it. I wonder how it compares to this year's new novel, HARM?
  • Les Daniels, DC Comics (3/26)
    A big fat coffee table book with lots of comic panels blown up a bit too large. I believe Daniels did a Marvel book first, which was a hit, and so I was looking at this follow-up for the SFBC. I can't remember if we offered it or not, or much about the book itself.
  • The Alien Life of Wayne Barlowe (3/26)
    Another art book from the man behind Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials and the much later Barlowe's Guide to Fantasy. He always had a naturalist's eye, which made him a great painter of aliens and other interesting creatures -- I believe this book was loosely themed around those strengths. I haven't seen anything from Barlowe in ages; I wonder what he's doing these days?
  • John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke, The Mask (3/27)
    First comics series about the character; one of the movies was probably coming up at this point (I am too lazy to investigate right now), and I was thinking about them for the club. Decent early-'90s over-energetic comics, but I doubt they've aged well.
  • John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke, The Mask Returns (3/27)
    See above.
  • Masamune Shirow, Appleseed Book One: The Promethean Challenge (3/27)
    I imagine I was reading this for the SFBC as well. I recall mostly liking it --the characterization was pretty good, and Shirow has an art style that's interesting, if a bit busy -- but I've never been a big giant-robot fan, so I didn't seek out any more of the series.
  • Walter Jon Williams, Days of Atonement (3/28)
    I finally caught up to this novel a few years late; It was published around 1990. This is probably Williams's least skiffy novel, being a near-future police procedural, and I enjoyed it, as I've liked all of his novels.
  • James White, Final Diagnosis (3/29)
    It's not actually the last "Sector General" novel -- there was one more, a few years later -- though it sounds like it should be. I wish there were more books like these: fun but not flyweight, serious but not dour, adventurous but not violent.
  • Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love (3/31)
    First of two novels in an ugly brown-paper Modern Library edition; I'm afraid all I remember is that they're about upper-crusty English types in the middle of the last century, and that I was supposed to figure out a lot of scandalous real-life details, since it's a roman a clef. (Mitford was one of a slew of daughters from an aristocratic family, and they all keep popping up in the oddest places in 20th century English history -- one married Oswald Mosely, and one ended up writing The American Way of Death.) I felt as if I needed to read five or six good history books to properly appreciate this novel, so a lot of it just went past me.
  • Scott Adams, Casual Day Has Gone Too Far (3/31)
    A Dilbert collection. 'Nuff said.
  • Nancy Mitford, Love In a Cold Climate (4/2)
    The other novel in that ugly Modern Library omnibus, which I think was a sequel to Pursuit, and left me equally cold.
I seem to be writing these up during the week, and saving them to post on Saturdays (when I don't have time to sit down at the computer, usually). Perhaps I should shift my weeks to accommodate that? (Of course, if I did, then I'd suddenly start posting these at completely different times, for whatever reasons.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Appleseed isn't really about giant robots: the one big mecha-like thing we see is the cyborg Briareos Hecatonchires and he is only about, what, eight feet tall? He is also too plagued by "realistic" problems for the mecha genre: unlike a lot of robot and cyborg characters, the cost of his maintainance keeps him nearly broke and the characteristics of his body limit him in many ways (I seem to recall him having serious problems with stairs, because he weighs as much as a truck).

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