Friday, December 2, 2011


 Ignore the blonde wig, tiara, and skirt, and especially ignore the goofy expression- this is one rip-roaring tale. As with all of Burroughs' books, it's full of amazing coincidences, big battles, interrupted reveals, beautiful women who fall instantly in love with the Hero, strong men who meet as enemies and become friends, and cliff-hangers. The Gods of Mars is Good Stuff.

 One of the nice things about reading a series nearly 100 years after it was first published, is that I can plunge right into the next book without waiting. And it's a good thing that I had The Warlord of Mars waiting on the Kindle Fire (in the audio section) because The Gods of Mars left a whole lot undone.

And another reason that it's good to come to a series late? You can still be just in time for the movie.

I enjoyed Christopher Moore's Lamb, but maybe not quite as much as others did. Given that my religious leanings are pretty much nonexistent, I didn't feel any delicious naughtiness when Moore took gentle liberties with the story of Jesus's life. That said, it was fun and funny and sad and really, quite good. It's interesting that with no conscious selection on my part, several of my recently read books have featured angels.

 I discovered Heck, Where The Bad Kids Go, while playing on the Kindle Fire with Bee Girl (who used her own money to buy one). This story of a recently deceased, moderately naughty sister and her mostly innocent brother came up while BG and I were surfing the Kindle Store. I was sufficiently intrigued to buy the book. I read a few chapters, and while it's fun, and I think kids will really love it, it wasn't quite up my alley. I'll finish reading it eventually, but I probably won't read the rest of the books in the series, though I'll have no problem buying them for the young readers in my life.

 11/22/63, however, was exactly up my alley. I am on record as loving Stephen King. I am also on record as a fan of his story-telling and his stories, without always being a fan of his endings. In this book, he gets the story of love and time travel right, all the way through. So right, in fact, that I barely came up for air. This one is making it to the upper tier of my Best books of 2011.

It's an odd coincidence that immediately after 11/22/63, I started reading Robert McCammon's Swan Song, given that the book has often been compared to The Stand. And truly, the similarities are pretty amazing- both are books about the ending of civilization as we know it. Both books follow a series of characters as they learn to navigate the new world. Both books have magical characters, and nearly-all-powerful Forces of Evil. There are differences too- Swan's Song apocalypse is of the nuclear variety, so much of the infrastructure and most of the food, is gone (not to mention a drastic change in weather), while in The Stand, most of the buildings and terrain remain intact. But maybe the biggest difference is that Swan Song just isn't as good as The Stand (a purely subjective assessment, but there it is)- the story is certainly interesting, but the characters haven't grabbed me in the way that King's did (it's not a coincidence that two of the characters in my Delphi series are named Nick and Stu).

It seems unlikely that Swan Song can have even a mildly hopeful ending. I'll get back to you on that.

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