Showing posts from June, 2023

Trapped on Titan! (Captain Marvel #27) (1973)

  Marvel Events and Crossovers Project Taking a broad historical overview of the Marvel Universe by reading through the major events and crossover events in order. (Thanks to The Marvel Event Timeline at and Marvel Unlimited) Script: Mike Friedrich  Plot/Art: Jim Starlin Inks: Pablo Marcos Having gleaned needed information about the location of the Cosmic Cube from the unconscious mind of Rick Jones, Thanos departs Titan for Earth, leaving the Super Skrull in command. Rick is rescued by fugitives Mentor and Starfox, who reveal the full scope of the damage caused by Thanos’s depredations. Action ensues, as Thanos arrives on Earth… …only to find the Destroyer waiting,… …Rick’s girlfriend Lou-Ann arrives at Avengers Mansion with a warning,… …and Captain Marvel leads the charge against the Super Skrull and his minions. The Super Skrull’s fate resonates with current news about authoritarians and the lackeys who curry favor with them

Fallen Heroes (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) (1994)

by Dafydd ab Hugh When Quark inadvertently activates an alien signal device,  invaders infiltrate DS9 and slaughter ensues.   "Fallen Heroes" (Czech) Although poorly written, this book features a tight, creative plot that would have made a fine episode (albeit a very bloody one).  I can forgive sloppy prose in a Trek novel, but it's important for the author to get the dialogue right, and Dafydd ab Hugh succeeds for the most part.  The central characters are Quark and Odo; their interaction is handled well.  At this point in the series, Odo's nature and backstory had not been developed very well, so ab Hugh has him doing some things that don't quite jibe with the way he would be developed later, but that's forgivable.  In particular, the climax requires him to withstand some impossibly harsh environmental conditions.  All in all, though, it's a good read if you like Trek.

Seven Contemporary Chinese Women Writers (1982)

edited by Gladys Yang This collection of short stories presents an interesting picture of life in the China of about 40 years ago.  The stories are mostly concerned with the legacy of Mao's Cultural Revolution, so readers interested in the tension between tradition and the country's then-new-fangled hybrid of state-controlled capitalism might want to look elsewhere.  Cultural interest aside, I found some of the stories a bit too sentimental, almost maudlin at times.  Nevertheless, it held my interest and it provides that most valuable service of translated literature: it shows us that people in all cultures are more alike than unlike.  Unfortunately, the people who really need to learn that lesson will never pick up a book like this.

Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party (1980)

by Graham Greene A man falls in love with the daughter of a cynical  millionaire who hosts humiliating dinners for a select group of wealthy diners with the aim of finding out whether there is any limit to their greed.   As always, Graham Greene's prose is elegant and insightful.   Graham Greene Although the gluttonous rich characters are stereotypical figures, the primary character is a richly nuanced creation.   Through him, Greene writes movingly of happiness, the joy of an unexpected romance, and the tragedy of loss.   The author must have been in a rather dark period of his life when he wrote this bleak allegory.  Those who are looking for an uplifting read should not choose this book, but if you can be moved by the plight of a decent man trying to make sense of the sad lives around him, you may find much value here. "Dr. Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party" (Portuguese) "Dr. Fischer from Geneva" (French) "Banquet" (Persian) "Doctor Fischer o

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Director: Sergio Leone Writers: Sergio Donati & Sergio Leone, from a story by Dario Argento & Bernardo Bertolucci & Sergio Leone Stars: Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Claudia Cardinale, Gabrielle Ferzetti, Paolo Stoppa, Woody Strode, Jack Elam Three gunfighters (Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, and Jason Robards)  and a former prostitute (Claudia Cardinale) become entangled in a web of greed and revenge when a powerful railroad magnate (Gabriele Ferzetti) tries to take over a strategic piece of land.   Sergio Leone’s classic Western certainly takes its time with carefully constructed sequences such as the 10-minute scene at the beginning in which three gunfighters await our hero’s arrival on the afternoon train.   It’s a masterful construction of sound and visuals as small details accumulate to build tension and a deep sense of place, and there are several similar sequences throughout the film.  It will test your patience if you aren’t into this type of storytell