No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy.   Great book and great movie. A small part of me wished I’d read the book first, or that I would have at least waited a few weeks before reading the book after seeing the movie. This way I could have imagined the characters myself rather than picturing the three main leads from the Cohen Brothers film. That being said, the three main actors are excellent, and perfect in their roles. There is a glimmer of hope in the novel. Only in the sense that though we can’t do a thing about the evil in the world, we can at least hold each others’ hands feeling each others’ love and warmth while either suffering through or observing the evils going on around us. There is no hope in the movie. The story is of three men: A good guy, the Sheriff, a mostly good though greedy guy, Moss, and the angel of death, Chigurh. This movie could have been called: The Good, The Greedy, and The Angel of Death. The good guy gets beat down in spite of himself. The greedy man looses because of himself. The Angel of Death succeeds because he is the Angel of Death. The movie centers around the chase. The book revolves around the Sheriff and his own internal quest for redemption. Neither would be a story without the bad decisions Moss makes. This story is biblical in its reach, and I’m talking Old Testament here. God is a vengeful motherfucker. I’m blown away by the writing, how McCarthy capture the vastness of West Texas, and...
Last post on 2017 Locus Award novella finalist. PART III

Last post on 2017 Locus Award novella finalist. PART III

Finally, I’ve made it through these ten novellas! It’s been a lot of fun, discovering all these new worlds and their authors, however I have to say that I’m glad to be moving on. I usually don’t take on a required ten-book reading list at once. That’s insane. I like to go from book to book, often on a whim I decide to read new authors, and reread old ones. I’m glad I did, though. And I hope you’ve enjoyed what I had to say about these books. The winners for the 2017 Locus Awards have been announced, and the book who won the Novella Award isn’t the one I would have chosen, however it was one of my top picks. If you want to know more, go check out the Locus Website. Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw. This is so Hard Boil, that at first it is a parody of Hard Boil, but then, as the story becomes a bit more serious, a little bit of Noir settles in and balances it out a bit. I enjoyed this book, and can’t wait to read more from this author. Tough guys, plenty of gore, weird creatures growing out of people’s necks, a little bit more gore, and plenty of black magic. What’s not to like? The writing is good. The imagery is perverse. The rhythm is fast. This is a good fun read, with plenty of real world nastiness that will continue to lurk in your subconscious long after you’re done. The Iron Tactician by Alastair Reynolds. I thought this was more of a long short story than...
Hollow: A Novel by Owen Egerton

Hollow: A Novel by Owen Egerton

Hollow: A Novel, by Owen Egerton Hardcover: 240 pages Publisher: Soft Skull Press (July 11, 2017) ISBN-13: 978-1619029408 Book People Indiebound Amazon Barnes And Noble Hollow: A Novel, by Owen Egerton was waiting for me in my mailbox. It was inside a mangled USPS Priority Mail cardboard envelope barely held together by a rubber band. Half the book and most of the envelope were waterlogged. Though I was upset, this was somehow perfect. After reading this sad and extraordinary story of persistence, shutting down, reaffirming yourself, and living through all of it coming out not necessarily on top, but wining by the shear force of life, the waterlogged book was a perfect metaphor for the the sadness of the tale inside the book. I loved this book. At times, though, I had to put it down. Several times, actually. I had to shut it and put it aside for a few minutes. Then it would call to me, and even though it had just made me cry, and had dug right inside my own heart and exposed some of my own demons to me, I had to go back, pick it back up, and start reading again. With every sentence, Egerton builds his tale, and pushes his narrative forward. With every sentence, Egerton packs one emotion on top of another, and releases them, sometimes all at once with just a word, sometimes by peeling them away slowly… and all of it with a magical sense of humor which keeps you completely captivated. Egerton is a funny man, and he’s never been afraid of shock just for the sake of...
2017 Locus Award novella finalist PART II

2017 Locus Award novella finalist PART II

Most of the books have been read at least once, except I think for one. Some of them I read before deciding to review every single one of them, so I’ll probably have to go back through them. In this post, I review my absolute favorite book in this list, and my absolute least favorite of the selection. I don’t usually review, and definitely do not ever post reviews of books I do not like, unless I’ve gotten paid to write the review or the review is part of some kind of exchange, and then, well, it is what it is. The reason is that I know how hard it is to write a book, get it published, and then get people to buy it. I felt here that I have to review every single book on this list because I said that I would. The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle. I liked this book so much, I read it twice. The first time, it just kept blowing me away. The second time I could actually concentrate on what I was reading. This story grabs you from the start. Not one word too many. It’s not necessarily minimal, except when it needs to be. The writing not only pushes the narrative forward with every single word, it also directs the reader in how to read the book. To me, that’s amazing writing. False simplicity, in a way. It’s so easy to read you think it must be simplistic, but it’s not. Quite the opposite. The rhythms are on point, guiding you through the narrative and the moods...
2017 Locus Award novella finalist PART I

2017 Locus Award novella finalist PART I

A few weeks ago, I saw a Tweet by John Scalzi, an author I follow. He linked to the 2017 Locus Awards novella finalists, where he has a title. I bought three of the titles, then eventually bought all of them. I am now writing short reviews for each novella. It’s been a great deal of fun being introduced to so many completely different universes and such varied ways of thinking and telling stories. Many of these authors I had never heard of, though most of them if not all are accomplished successful writers. Here are three reviews picked from the ten in no particular order: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire took me into its world within a few pages of reading. At first, I didn’t know what I was getting into, then it opened up to me, and I fell back into my childhood of hidden worlds inside of closets and behind mirrors. What a lovely ride. This is a child’s world of worlds. Even the “adults” portrayed are adults imagined by a child. The “real” adults, those who worry about taxes, rent, going to work, and watching the evening news, don’t appear in this novella. They are sometime talked about, but are never the center of any scene, and are only mentioned when they are needed for context. The murder mystery is a bit too easy, sure, however that didn’t take away from the enchantment of the story. Thoroughly enjoyable. I’ll be looking for more stories from McGuire. The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson took me on a fascinating journey through hell of...