Showing posts from November, 2022

The World Swappers (1959)

by John Brunner Two powerful interstellar magnates vie for supremacy in  human-controlled space in this early John Brunner novel.   This is the only novel of Brunner's that I've read, but I have to assume that he improved considerably later since he produced two very highly regarded books, "The Sheep Look Up" and "Stand on Zanzibar."   This book is a bit of fluff that displays all of the worst traits of Golden Age science fiction--a na├»ve faith in the ability of extraordinary individuals (invariably scientists) to engineer the optimum human destiny and a maddening tendency toward endless exposition delivered through interminable conversations.   John Brunner The hero, Counce, subjects people to horrendous fates, including starvation and torture, all in the name of a greater good--and they love him for it later.   "The World Exchangers" (Portuguese)

Gifted (Astonishing X-Men #1) (2004)

Random Marvels Project Dipping my net into the ocean of Marvel and seeing what comes up. Whedon Cassaday                        Scott Summers assembles a team of (mostly) classic X-Men in a bid to win acceptance from the world by functioning like a more traditional group of superheroes…complete with costumes. The recall of Kitty Pryde and Logan to the campus and the opening of a new semester with Professor X away on sabbatical gives Joss Whedon the opportunity to reset the series for a new beginning. There are antagonisms both new… …and old. A new scientific discovery sets the stage for chaos. Given his track record for producing high quality genre fare for both the large and small screen, it is no surprise that this series gets off to such a strong start with dialogue, pacing, and cutting between scenes that feels more like a really good movie than a comic book. John Cassaday holds up his end with fantastic art and clear storytelling. Looking forward to what comes next.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (1990)

by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett The smooth completion of the apocalypse is complicated  by a number of factors, most notably a misplaced Antichrist and an Angel and Devil who rather enjoy their lives on Earth and have decided to protect it.   This book seems to be almost universally beloved, but it escapes me.   There’s an unrelenting stream of self-conscious whimsy that taints it for me.   There are some types of humor that work better in performance than on the page and I wonder if that is the case here since there are a number of scenes that don’t seem too far removed from Monty Python sketches—and I love the Pythons.   I have not seen the recent mini-series adaptation to test whether this is the case.   Since I have also been underwhelmed by American Gods and Stardust, two more Gaiman books that have huge fan bases, I may have to conclude that his stuff is not for me.   Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series has been on my TBR list for a long time, but I have to admit to having seco

This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

Director: Rob Reiner Writers: Christopher Guest & Michael McKean & Harry Shearer & Rob Reiner Stars: Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Tony Hendra, R.J. Parnell, David Kaff, June Chadwick Documentary filmmaker Marty DiBergi (rob Reiner)  chronicles the final US tour of the unappreciated heavy metal band Spinal Tap (Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer).  This hilarious parody of the rock scene is so good that it is often credited with starting an entire sub-genre of mock documentaries (although I seem to recall Eric Idle in a film about a fictional group "of no fixed hairstyle" called the Rutles back in the 70s).   Fans of 70s and 80s metal will catch many references that will slip by others.   The real miracle of this film is that it skewers its target so mercilessly, and yet avoids becoming cruel.  The enthusiasm of the Tap members for being rock stars is so pure and joyful, even after many years and despite the realit