Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tales of High Hallack Vol. 1: The Collected Short Stories of Andre Norton

Author:  Andre Norton

First Publication:  2014

Source:  Netgalley

From Goodreads:
For the first time, the Grand Dame of science fiction—Andre Norton—has her short stories gathered for her fans’ reading pleasure. Tales reach back to the 1930s, as fresh and relevant today as they were when she wrote them . . . such was Andre’s skill. High fantasy, fables, science fiction, coming of age stories, and more fill three volumes. This impressive, must-have collection includes stories of Witch World. There are cats sprinkled here and there, as Andre treasured them so. And there is magic in the writing, unequaled prose to delight readers of all ages.

Andre Norton quickly became a favorite of mine when i first discovered science fiction and fantasy.  Many of her books were available in our school library.  Her novels were fascinating glimpses into what it would be like to live "out there".  At the same time I was reading the Heinlein juveniles and her work was every bit as good as those classics.  Over time, her science fiction seemed to fade into obscurity but in recent years it seems like many bloggers have started talking about them.  Unfortunately, I never seemed to read her short fiction.  I believe the only one I read appeared in "The DAW SF Reader" edited by Donald A. Wollheim.  The announcement of this series of collections was good news for me.  It gives me the chance to go back and experience many new adventures with this author.

Of the many good stories in this book, I found that "The Last Spell" captured my imagination.  It is a different look at Merlin and Nimue.  Any stories I read with these characters will be impacted by Norton's interpretation.  She makes you think about events from Nimue's point of view.  

"Eastborn:  A Witch World Story" was a fun trip back to the Witch World series.  It is similar to meeting someone who grew up in your home town but that you never knew.

For fans of the Crystal Gryphon books, "Sword of Unbelief" is a pleasant surprise.

The rest of the stories range from science fiction to reworkings of legends.

Overall, I would rate this as a very good collection and a good introduction to the writing of Andre Norton.  I know that I will be looking forward to the next two volumes in this series.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Graphic Novel 1: Masks

Author:  Chris Roberson
Artists:  Alex Ross, Dennis Calero
Publisher:  Dynamite Comics

  I enjoyed this team up of many of the classic pulp characters. Most of my early pulp reading was in the Doc Savage universe but I also read some of the Shadow reprints with the Jim Steranko covers. This series brought back fond memories of those books. The villain was a surprise to me. I am anxious to start reading Roberson's "The Shadow" in that character's regular series. Recommended.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Doctor Who Time Trips: Into the Nowhere

Author:  Jenny T. Colgan

First Publication:  2014

Source:  Netgalley

First off, let me say that I have been a huge fan of Doctor Who since the reboot by Russell T. Davies.  The latest Doctor and his companion Clara have been some of my favorites.  When I had the chance to read and review this title, I could not pass it up.

This is a rare case of the Doctor and the T.A.R.D.I.S. landing on a planet that neither one can identify.  The planet appears to be a giant death trap with large snakes, walking skeletons, and other deadly surprises.  

The author does a great job of capturing the voices of the characters.  When I was reading their lines, it sounded like the actors were saying them.  The Doctor was spot on.  Clara seemed a little more afraid than usual but then I remembered that this was mainly told from her point of view.  Usually we did not see that in the television series.

Unless I missed something at the end, we were never told the answer to one of the big mysteries.  Due to that omission I would not rate this book as high as I thought I would when reading most of it.  It is still highly entertaining and worth the read but this is a case of the journey being better than the resolution.  In typical Doctor Who fashion, the resolution was not scientific but was brought about by human emotion.  We have seen this in the television show so it is a traditional ending in some respects.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

State of the Blog Address

As regular followers of this blog can tell, I have been "off the grid".  Due to arthritis in my hands it has been hard to type in the evenings.  Does this mean I quit reading and following other blogs?  No.  It just meant that by the time I was through working, it was difficult spending my evenings on the keyboard.

It now seems like my hands are doing better so I will be back to posting on a regular basis.  In the near future I will be posting reviews of a couple of television shows I have been enjoying ("Orphan Black" and "Continuum") as well as novels ("World Without Stars" by Poul Anderson) and some short stories.  I am looking forward to my return to blogging.