Monday, March 30, 2009

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Ghost Roads (Golden, Holder)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Ghost Roads, book two of the Gatekeeper Trilogy, Christopher Golden, Nancy Holder, 1999

I didn't realize that it was book two when I picked it up, but that just meant that the action started that much sooner (although I had to figure out who everyone was). Oz, Angel and Buffy are touched by the paranormal, so they can travel the Ghost Roads, where spirits pass on their way to their final destinations. Many ghosts wander the roads because they are afraid of what that destination is. Breaches are opening and the villain (Il Maestro, not to be confused with The Master, whom I did confuse him with) wants to open the Gates of Hell through the Ghost Roads.
The Flying Dutchman makes an appearance and takes Giles on board.
The ending was a downer, and not because [edited] dies, but suddenly there's a way for humans to travel them.

I edited who dies, but let's face it, you know that that person has to come back to life in the next book. The series was still on the air at the time!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Oakdale Affair (Burroughs)

The Oakdale Affair, Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1918

The story of the theft of jewelry from Miss Abigail Prim by the Oskaloosa Kid, or at least by someone purported to be the Kid, and the disappearance of the same Miss Prim, who may be in league with the criminals, possibly including the real Oskaloosa Kid.
Misidentification is key to the complications that beset the Kid, the runaway girl that doesn't want to face her father, and a gentleman hobo named Bridge, as they avoid some dangerous killer tramps, the police and even a gypsy with a bear and still managed to surprise me with the ending (though if I had read little more or had done this in one sitting without putting it down a few times for other things, I might have caught on sooner!)
Good, fun, quick read.
I wonder if the movie was any good.

I was attracted to the book because I've read Burroughs's Mars books, and the bear on the cover was cool. I really didn't know what to expect from this book, but I did know that the imcomparable Deja Thoris wasn't going to make an appearance.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Star Trek: The Great Starship Race (Carey)

Star Trek: The Great Starship Race, Diane Carey, 1993

Not bad. Romulans are "attacked" by a strange race that can project their emotions. Everyone dies except one "coward" who blows the ship and escapes in a pod. 74 years lates, the USS Hood discovers the aliens' homeworld beyond the edges of Federation space. Happy that they aren't alone in the universe, they try to quickly join the Federation and ten years later try to organize a big race.
Then a Romulan ship shows up, commanded by the "coward" who has spent his life looking for the Rey, knowing that some day they will be a great weapon to use against the Empire.
Vulcans are sensitive to their projects.
The Romulans attempt a suicide mission. It fails.

I don't believe that I gave away the ending. If I did, I apologize. This is what I wrote nearly a decade ago. I used to have a lot of the Timescape Star Trek books -- more than I read. I couldn't keep up with them and stopped collecting before the 50th book came out. Nowadays, there are hundreds of them. Had I read faster, I might've bought those instead of comics. Just as well that I didn't. Too many aren't good -- even ones by good authors get messed up before they hit the shelves.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Cusick)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Richio Cusick, based on story by Joss Whedon, 1992

Total movie fluff. Not a good novelization. Too bad Joss didn't do it, but as I understand it, the movie doesn't bear much resemblance to what he originally wanted (aka the TV show).

I don't think I've ever actually seen the film. Maybe parts of the ending in the school gym. I caught up with most of the episodes of the TV program, which I didn't start watching until sometime after she had been in college.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Souls (Russ)

Souls, Joanna Russ, 1982

Hugo winner. Tor SF double #11
The better of the pair. A boy (now much older) recalls the remarkable Abbess from his childhood and how she handled an invasion by sacking Vikings.
The ending was confusing. Was the Abbess so bright because she had been from the future from the day she was born? Had someone from the future taken over her body at some point?
Good story. Fun read. But when I was finished, I was a little unsatisfied as if some part of the tale had been missing.
(They also might have been aliens because everyone was bald. I don't know.)

I confess: I don't remember a thing about this story now. I do remember some of the tropes involved in the other part of this double, but probably because of the tropes.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Houston, Houston, Do You Read? (Tiptree)

Houston, Houston, Do You Read?, James Tiptree, 1976

Hugo and Nebula winner (for novella or novel?), part of Tor SF double #11.
Not so good. Quite confusing. Starts off with a full cast of characters on one ship -- suddenly it's a year before and they're on different ships. I missed the transition line, which was important because the main character was being drugged at the time, and I'm still not sure what happened at the end. It seems to end before it began, or something like that.
I knew I was in trouble when it began on page one with a guy alone in his shower holding his "[vulgar term deleted]"
Three [men] going around the Sun lose contact with Earth -- they were shot into the future. In the meantime, Earth is hit with a plague that wipes out most of humanity. Guess what -- only women are left.
Nice scientific explanations, but the story was lame.
Didn't like it.

I can't read my own handwriting. I have no idea what I wrote in place of "men", what the word could be, but I'm assuming I was refering to three male astronauts.

I thought I would've enjoyed it more for the awards that it had won, but it might've been that the story was just a little dated and the subject of numerous B-movies in the intervening years.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Time Flies (Cosby)

Time Flies, Bill Cosby, 1987

Cosby turned 50 in 1987 and tells about it. It reads like his comedy act (and I think I've heard him do parts of it).
Quick, funny.

I should've added, "Not that that's a bad thing".

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)

The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien

I've heard the radio dramatization and listened to the book unabridged, and I've seen the old (horrible) movie. Now I've finally read it.
It's dense and slow in many parts and not good too read when going to bed. Sitting on the couch, however, I could knock off 40 pages in a sitting. It's a great story but it drags in parts, and it moves faster once they get to Bree and then Rivendell. (Skip the poems for the most part.)
Slow reading, but worth it.

You do have to wonder about a classic that even it's ardent supporters will tell you has parts that you should skip the first time through.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone (Rowling)

Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, J. K Rowling

I finally got around to reading this just before the movie came out. A simple and quick read, but deceptive. It reads like a series of misadventures at school, but they all tie together at the end (which is partly why the movie fell a little short). The "pre"-school bit went on too long and the ending was a little lacking. Actually, it's the kind of story that's fun to read when you're reading it, but if you think about it too much, it loses something. But it's still better than a lot of the dreck out there.