I think I’m going to have to blame Thundarr the Barbarian for this one–it was one of my favorite cartoons when I was a kid, and in some ways was a very strong influence in what I like to read and write. Thundarr the Barbarian was an early eighties cartoon with a post-apocalyptic setting, an episodic adventure story content and main characters that even my dad suspected were Doing It. (He would pitch a fit if he caught me watching it, because he was convinced they were Shacking Up. To me, it was obvious they were a Couple, and because of this, I had assumed they were Married.) Ariel and Thundarr were the first couple that caught my interest plot-wise as a possible romantic pairing, (though honestly, there was never canon confirmation they were a romantic couple). Continue reading
Monthly Archives: October 2009
At first glance, Loveless is a deeply disturbing manga. At second and third glances, your perspective won’t and probably shouldn’t change.
The primary themes of Loveless involve child abuse, people with sociopathic tendencies, dysfunctional families and relationships–but this is not to say that the series is dark or grim (though there are some very grim and scary things going on in the story). There is also a certain sly humor, sarcasm, and themes of love and loyalty, friendship and surviving. Kouga Yun manages to weave these various themes together in a way that makes for a compelling story that pulls you right into the (very convoluted) plot. Given some of the darker themes and certain other details I was surprised by how quickly I was drawn into the story. Continue reading
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With first novels, there is often a feeling of awkwardness. The writer hasn’t quite found his or her voice yet, or hasn’t fully realized the world in which the novel is set. (“Incompletely realized world” would be true of a mainstream novel taking place in modern-day Los Angeles as it would be of a novel taking place on a not-quite-terraformed Mars. How I might perceive or write about Los Angeles if I were to visit would be completely different from the perception of someone who lived there, for instance. And no two people actually living in Los Angeles would have the exact same perception, even if they lived in the same neighborhood, on the same street.) The writer might or might not succumb to the meme that a story must have a great deal of sex and violence in order to be interesting. The writer might or might not decide that it’s Absolutely Necessary to have unlikable anti-heroes, because unlikable anti-heroes are a “must” for real literature. (The Holden Caulfield Effect, you might say.) Continue reading
Roc, 484 pgs.
Another book where they be changing the laws of physics, and magic is afoot. (Or at least science that is indistinguishable from magic.) This is the latest of Stirling’s Nantucket/Change books where the island of Nantucket is transposed into the past, (and the past version of Nantucket is now in the present) and the laws of physics are tinkered with in the present so that firearms and combustion engines don’t work anymore. And of course, stuff happens. Continue reading
Tor, 367 pgs.
Breaking the Wall:Thirteen Orphans is the start of a new series by Jane Lindskold, author of The Firekeeper Saga and Lord Demon (co-written with Roger Zelazny) among many other novels. It’s an urban fantasy of the “magic is known to be real to a select few” variety with “people from the universe next door” as protagonists. It’s using a primarily Chinese and other Asian mythologies, though it’s also clearly indicated that other magical systems/mythoi also exist. (Culture appears to define Perception of local forces or energies, which is a useful gimmick if you can do it without making everything look totally and obnoxiously homogenous. Lindskold has managed to do this very well, by the way.) Continue reading