Archive for the ‘Book Impressions’ Category


Book Impressions: Mass Effect: Ascension

February 9, 2010

I feel immersed in all things Mass Effect lately.  Aside from playing Mass Effect 2 on the Xbox 360 and playing Mass Effect Galaxy on my iPod Touch, I’ve been reading the Mass Effect: Ascension audiobook.  Author Drew Karpyshyn was the lead writer on the first Mass Effect game, is co-lead writer on Mass Effect 2, and also wrote the first Mass Effect novel, Mass Effect: Revelation.  I read and reviewed that novel.  How does this one stack up?

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Book Impressions: And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer

November 11, 2009

hgttg6So this frood named Eoin Colfer, well known for his Artemis Fowl children’s books, was asked by the widow of the late great Douglas Adams to “finish” the Hitchhiker’s Guide series.  Finish H2G2?!  Well doesn’t that just take the biscuit!  What do you call Mostly Harmless, for Zark’s sake!?

Actually, I don’t care about all that.  Hitchhiker’s Guide isn’t sacred, and has appeared in so many forms that it’s almost too difficult to count.  That Colfer was approached by Adams’ widow Jane Belson, not the other way around, is the right start for me, meaning it wasn’t a vanity project.  That Colfer has always been a fan that appreciates the uniqueness of the series is a critical next step.  And that Colfer was quoted as saying that “this is a wonderful opportunity to work with characters I have loved since childhood and give them something of my own voice while holding onto the spirit of Douglas Adams and not laying a single finger on his five books” says to me that this is a serious effort that deserves open-minded consideration.

So now that I’m finished with And Another Thing: Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Part Six of Three, I can truly and unequivocally say whether this Colfer chap really knows where his towel is, or whether I now have this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side.


Nostalgia.  I listened to the audio, read by Simon Jones (who portrayed Arthur Dent numerous HHGTTG iterations), and I have to say that for the first 10-15 minutes of listening to him speaking new Hitchhiker’s, I was grinning from ear to ear.  Nostalgia is not always good, as frequently the reality is not as good as you remembered it to be.  But I’d say that overall the book was upbeat and fun, didn’t take away anything from what came before it, and gave us just a little bit more.

Unmistakably Hitchhiker’s.  The Part Six detractors will hate me for even thinking of saying this, but the book felt like a Hitchhiker’s book.  Possibly more so than Adams’ last two entries into the series.  There really isn’t a series that feels like Hitchhiker’s, and someone with less appreciation or imagination might not pull it off.  Colfer definitely pulled it off.  Taking a new trip with Arthur and Ford and Trillian and Zaphod felt good because the tone and essence that makes Hitchhiker’s so special was there.  It was a good romp in the Hitchhiker’s universe with all the trappings we know and love.


Guide Notes.  I think it’ll probably be a universal criticism of this book that the Guide Notes were over-played.  If I remember correctly, Adams phased them out and they did not appear in later novels.  I appreciate Colfer bringing them back, as it’s one of those distinctly Hitchhiker’s type of things, and the early Adams’ novels that used them were more popular with fans than the later ones that did not.  But they interrupted the flow of things way too much, and I really don’t remember any of them like I do about what happened to all the biros (ballpoint pens).  So I appreciate their use, but wished they had been used more sparingly.

Missing the Mark.  In addition to the Guide Notes, a few other things didn’t work for me.  It’s hard to say that Colfer should not have done this or that, as he shouldn’t try to imitate Adams.  But I found a few things distracting.  Names that are puns was one of them.  They didn’t really make me laugh, or groan.  More like just roll my eyes.  There were also a few too many references to previous things from Hitchhiker’s radio, TV, novels and so forth.  When you’re on Part Six, it’s hard not to mine that previous gold for more nuggets, and even Adams may have done the same if he were the author.  Not that I’d advocate getting rid of them all, but each reference used was an opportunity wasted to come up with something new and just as unique and fun.


To people unfamiliar with Hitchhiker’s, I’d say start at the beginning.  There’s too much history here to start at Part Six.  But for Hitchhiker’s fans, I would definitely recommend it.  There’s not much of a point in the story/plot, but is there ever in Hitchhiker’s?  If you go into it expecting Douglas Adams, you’ll find ways to be disappointed.  If you go into it expecting the essence of Douglas Adams, I think you will be entertained.  Colfer does know where his towel is.  And for Zark’s sake, listen to it read by Simon Jones!


Book Impressions: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

October 24, 2009


I jumped right from A Game of Thrones to A Clash of Kings, Book 2 of “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R. Martin.  Once again I listened to the unabridged 36+ hour audiobook read masterfully by Roy Dotrice.  The book unapologetically picks up right where the first book left off, with very little in the way of recap. What else would happen to the Starks, the Lannisters?  How would Daenerys and her newborn dragons play a part?  Or John Snow up in the frozen north?  Most improtantly…

…is it a worthly continuation of the series?

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Book Impressions: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

September 23, 2009

a-game-of-thronesI think I’ve mentioned that I’ve gotten some of my reading inspiration over the past year or more from the reading selections of The Sword and Laser group.  I don’t participate in their discussions very often, and I’m a pretty slow reader and am usually behind their pace, but I’ve read quite a few things I would not have looked twice at before because of the The Sword and Laser group.  One of those is A Game of Thrones, Book One of A Song of Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin.

It’s been made into a board game, a LCG, a CCG, an RPG, and soon an HBO pilot, but somehow it all slip past me.  So is the novel worthy of all the attention?

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Book Impressions: Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub

July 23, 2009

blackhousecoverHot on the heels of finishing The Talisman on audio, I started up the sequel, Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub, as my next audiobook selection.  Black House picks up the story of Jack Sawyer when he’s all grown up.  He’s now a retired copisman… err, cop who once solved  a murder in French Landing, Wisconsin, and decided to retire early and move there just prior to the start of child kidnappings and murders in the scenic, sleepy town.

So did this sequel, written by King and Straub 17 years after the first book was published, live up to the original?

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Book Impressions: UR by Stephen King

June 13, 2009

urThe very first book I bought for my Kindle 2 was Ur by Stephen King.  It is currently a Kindle exclusive, and being a sucker for all things King (a Constant Reader, if you will), I just had to pick it up.

The story revolves around college English professor Wesley Smith, who was chided by his former love as to why he can’t just “read off the computer like the rest of us.”  He orders a Kindle from Amazon, and is surprised when a pink one arrives overnight.  He soon discovers that not only can he download books from Amazon, but books from different Urs, alternate realities past and future.  When he discovers that he can also download newspapers that way…

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Book Impressions: World of Warcraft: Arthas – Rise of the Lich King

June 6, 2009

Arthas_CoverI never played any of the Warcraft PC games, but I’ve played World of Warcraft since November 2004.  I own all of the Warcraft novels, but have only gotten around to reading one of them (Warcraft: Day of the Dragon by Richard A. Knaak).  I was excited to read that Dick Hill had recorded 3 of the Warcraft books as audiobooks, only to be disappointed when their release was delayed indefinitely.  So when I saw that World of Warcraft: Arthas – Rise of the Lich King was coming out, I thought it might be a good opportunity to read one that was highly related to the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King expansion, without being tied to a three book series.  Downloaded it to my Kindle and gave it a whirl.

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