Monday, July 07, 2008

Recent Reads and Viewing

While I have not been working, I have been reading more than usual, including Grimspace by Ann Aguirre and Dagger Star by Elizabeth Vaughan. I mentioned having read Conspiracy Game by Christine Feehan in a previous post. Last night, I finished Moonstruck by Susan Grant. All of those titles are in print. My current eBook read is Human by Choice by Darrell Bain and Travis Taylor. I met “Doc Travis” at Liberty Con in 2006, and I was quite impressed by his knowledge, as well as his class as an author/minor celebrity.

Grimspace is grim, but not unworthy. The plot is not exceptional, but the writing has some great spots. I particularly liked her crisp description, such as “The sky looked like a boiled potato.” Science fiction romance is one of my favorite genres to read for fun, and Grimspace does qualify, due to a romantic undercurrent. Readers of urban fantasy might like it as well, due to its “grimness.” Certainly, this is a winning debut novel, with more to come, I hope.

Since I liked Vaughan’s Warprize so well, I had high hopes for Dagger Star. Alas, I have to agree with the Amazon reviewers who found it to be a disappointment. I did finish it, but it took me a while. The characterizations don’t jump off the page, and the plot reminds me of Ecclesiates (there is no new thing under the sun.) However, I did not realize that magic goats do not produce manure. Nanny Dodd did say that you learn something new every day, so that does qualify, I suppose.

Susan Grant sent me a copy of Moonstruck just before it was officially released, and I didn’t so much put it off as hold onto it, as one does a dessert after the meal, since I expected it to be a treat. Moonstruck, as she predicted, was much more to my taste. The hero and heroine are both realistic and engaging and there is plenty of action as well as romance. Certain aspects of the novel remind me of space operas, both in print and on the screen, and the theme is the same as the name of the ship, Unity. Readers of science fiction romance should really like this tale, as I did.

My teenagers and I have also been to the movies in the past couple of weeks. My son is fifteen and had never seen an episode of Get Smart. He really seemed to enjoy the film, and while I knew many of the lines, since it is true to the original, the script seemed fresh and interesting to my kids. There a couple of times when Max utters the phrase, “Missed it by that much” but the script doesn’t miss, nor does the acting talent of Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway. If you liked the television show and fear that this will be like the big screen versions of The Beverly Hillbillies or The Avengers, don’t worry any more, just go buy a ticket.

Pixar/Disney did a marvelous job with WALL•E. The main character and story was not what I expected, and yet it was. More so than other studios, Pixar seems to push the medium of animated entertainment into an ever higher art form. This film is beautifully made, with a cautionary science fiction theme. The webzine SciFiDimensions recently featured WALL•E with a favorable and comprehensive review. I don't think it is for toddlers, however.

Now, it is back to work. Darn it!

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