Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Mars Trilogy

I saw the John Carter movie (1/3 awesome, 2/3 slow,sappy,dumb/hard-to-follow) and wanted to revisit the original novel, mostly to see if there was quite as much time spent on the Earth backstory (answer: not by a long shot). But after reading A Princess of Mars I realized the John Carter film incorporated several major plotContinue reading “Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Mars Trilogy”

Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Girl from Farris’s

I don’t usually write about short fiction, but Burrough’s The Girl from Farris’s is almost novel-length, and it packs in at least a novel’s worth of plot, with intrigues, betrayals, and skullduggery to spare. I read gobs of Burroughs in my adolescence — John Carter of Mars, Carson of Venus, et al — but thisContinue reading “Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Girl from Farris’s”

Libba Bray : Going Bovine

At the outset of Going Bovine, Cameron Smith, a quintessential teenage underachiever, finds out he’s under an unusual death sentence: he’s contracted Mad Cow disease. With some supernatural aid, he breaks himself out of the hospital and goes on a whacky road-trip to save both himself and the universe — or then again, maybe heContinue reading “Libba Bray : Going Bovine”

Greg Conti : Googling Security – How Much Does Google Know About You?

I can’t remember where I saw Googling Security reviewed*, but the review made a strong impression. It exposed at least a couple of the provocative tidbits in the book, like that even if you personally refuse to use Google’s Gmail service on privacy grounds, as soon as a friend sends you a message with Gmail,Continue reading “Greg Conti : Googling Security – How Much Does Google Know About You?”

Tim Gunn (with Ada Calhoun): Gunn’s Golden Rules

I’m probably waaay over thinking my reaction to Gunn’s Golden Rules. I was entertained and amused, even a little bit edified. But it still strikes me as an odd, even inconsistent book. Presumably the draw for most fans of Project Runway‘s congenial but incisive mentor figure Tim Gunn (certainly for me) is the promise ofContinue reading “Tim Gunn (with Ada Calhoun): Gunn’s Golden Rules”

Larry Doyle: Go, Mutants!

Go, Mutants! has a lot going on. It’s set a genaration after pretty much every 50’s sci-fi/horror flick ever made actually happened. J!m, the son of a prominent but disgraced and deceased alien invader, is in high school, struggling with high school issues like how to fend off bullies and get a girl to goContinue reading “Larry Doyle: Go, Mutants!”

Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The key to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo appears almost at the end: Berger thought that the book was the best thing Blomkvist had ever written. It was uneven stylistically, and in places the writing was actually rather poor — there had been no time for any fine polishing — but the book wasContinue reading “Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Ann Aguirre: Grimspace

Grimspace is a fast-moving space opera that melds an impressive array of tropes and plot devices — the emotionally damaged protagonist, the corrupt interstellar megacorporation, the incrementally revealed backstory, and a plethora of captures, escapes, and firefights among others — into a surprisingly cohesive whole. The overall vibe, with a small crew of misfits onContinue reading “Ann Aguirre: Grimspace”

A.J. Jacobs: The Guinea Pig Diaries

In his introduction, Jacobs lays asserts that his participatory journalism draws on the tradition of writers like Nellie Bly and John Howard Griffin (the author of Black Like Me). But I would assert that he also belongs somewhere along the continuum of writers like Dave Barry and Mark Leyner, who blur the lines between theContinue reading “A.J. Jacobs: The Guinea Pig Diaries”

Daniel Waters: Generation Dead

I think the combination of the current young adult publishing climate and the packaging of Generation Dead do Daniel Waters’ novel a disservice. For better or worse, in the wake of Twilight‘s success (not to mention Harry Potter’s, Buffy’s and the more explicit books of Hamilton’s, Harris’s, et al) there’s a lot of supernaturally-themed youngContinue reading “Daniel Waters: Generation Dead”