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text 2017-05-17 10:27
17th May 2017
Lord Byron: The Major Works - George Gordon Byron,Jerome J. McGann

In secret we met
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.

 

George Gordon Byron

 

May 17, 1824: Before dying in Greece, Lord Byron entrusted a friend with his memoirs. Other friends, worried that the memoirs would be scandalous, fought to destroy the manuscript—190 years ago today, they succeeded, tearing it up and burning it in the office of Byron's publisher.

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review 2017-01-14 14:35
Robin 3000 (Elseworlds: R3K #2)
Robin 3000 #2 - P. Craig Russell,Byron Preiss

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Robin 3000

Series: Elseworlds: Robin 3000 #2

Author: Byron Preiss, et al

Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Comic

Pages: 53

Format: Digital Scan

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Tom Wayne begins chasing down some of his robot clones to prove to the rebellion that he isn't collaborating with the Skulp. During the process he allows himself and his group to be captured by the head honcho of the Skulp intellligence. Who has a time machine.

 

Tom escapes, visits just desserts upon the head skulp, gets visited by a robot Robin from Earth [which has been teleporting around the galaxy looking for Tom] who convinces him to take on the costume of Robin and continue the fight against the Skulp.

 

The End. Or is it?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

Ok, I knew going in this was going to be a mess. Vol 1 was a great disappointment and this did no better. Once again, this was not a Robin story. This was a Super Smart Science'y guy has adventures, In Space! Tom just jets around, as Tom, and does things and what not.

 

The way things were presented on the back covers was cool and made it sound like this would be a kick butt action comic. But it isn't.

 

And the stupid Robin robot teleporting all over the galaxy looking for Tom just to give him the costume? That made NO sense nor did Tom's taking of the costume. He's the last Wayne. He should be taking on the Batman mythos.

 

But nothing about this 2 part series really made sense. And that "or is it?" ending. That reeked of desperation to get this turned into a regular series. Thank goodness it failed and we weren't subjected to more of this pablum.

 

Ugh.

 

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review 2017-01-07 22:45
Robin 3000 (Elseworlds: R3K #1)
Robin 3000 #1 - Byron Preiss,P. Craig Russell

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.
Title: Robin 3000
Series: Elseworlds: Robin 3000 #1
Author: Byron Preiss, et al
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 59
Format: Digital scan



 

 

Synopsis:


It is the year 2999, Earth has been taken over by the Skulp and Bruce Wayne's descendant continues the fight for freedom using the Batman mythos. Unable to escape the Skulp, Wayne passes on the torch to his nephew and assistant, Tom Wayne, aka Robin.

Escaping from the Skulp, Tom must hook up with the resistance. The Skulp however, have created a cyborg of Tom and have it publicly collaborating with them and decrying the Wayne name.

My Thoughts:

 

 

This was a big disappointment. Batman the 30 eleventieth talks for  2 pages about being a martyr, then gets blown up. But he has enough time safely set Tom down.

Tom is not Robin. He gets a cyborg hand part way through this volume, but he's not a detective, he's not martial and he certainly hasn't been trained by a Batman, any Batman. He's just the Wayne heir. And no costume.
This was simplistic in the bad way. Things just happened, because. Meeting the scientist who gave him his new hand was the perfect example.

Tom's pilot friend:"My friend needs a new hand, here's our crashed spaceship in payment."
Dr: "Ok"
Tom upon awakening: "I am Tom Wayne, I can figure this hand out easily".
Dr: "Drat, a Wayne. But don't worry, I won't turn you in to the Skulp, because I don't feel like it."

That is a slight exaggeration, but not much and the whole tone of the book felt like a Hardy Boys in space. And no costume.
There are 2 volumes to this little Elseworld story, but after making it through this volume, I need a week before I want to tackle the next volume.  I'm disappointed in the simplicity of the story [with all the attendant weaknesses and lack of full bodied thinking] and the fact that "Robin" doesn't show up in his phracking costume!
Even this guy would have been better:

 

 

 

 

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review 2016-12-16 00:00
Boats
Boats - Byron Barton Boats - Byron Barton Boardbook for toddlers. Simple pictures and phrases.
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review 2016-12-12 20:17
Lady Byron and Her Daughters by Julia Markus
Lady Byron and Her Daughters - Julia Markus

This post is in two parts. The first part is my personal reaction to reading this book, and the second part is a rumination on history and who tells it. They bleed together; it’s true that the personal is political, but it’s equally true that the political is personal. I am thinking about history and biography because of my personal reaction, and vice versa. However, for the purposes of structuring this review, two parts it is.

****

I have an ongoing interest in women’s stories, which is only intensifying as I grow older, crabbier, and more feminist. I also have a specific interest in Ada Byron Lovelace* and read Sydney Padua’s lovely The Thrilling Adventures of Babbage and Lovelace last year. Then this year my librarian book club, which is the best book club, decided to read Padua’s book together. Lady Byron, Ada’s mother, is a shadowy figure throughout the book and in the middle of rereading I decided to see if there was a biography of her; there was. I put it on hold and read it in about two days straight, with lots of burning anger towards Lord Byron and tears for everyone else.

Annabella Milbanke Byron is a fascinating, complex figure, and Markus does a great job of treating her with respect while also not overlooking her flaws. Rather than either put her on a pedestal or vilify her, Markus attempts to paint a picture of a woman who was both progressive and conservative, both generous and selfish. At the same time, she uses this particular case to make some well-deserved points about who we decide is worthy of praise and remembrance.

I also just flat out cried quarts and quarts, particularly but not limited to the part of the book dealing with Ada’s final illness and death. I am getting teary THINKING about it. It seems like something out of a novel: a deathbed reconciliation between the brilliant, troubled child and the stern, loving mother. But it’s also a scene that modern readers may distrust, and Markus handles it carefully, with care for both Ada and Annabella.

Also, let me tell you how many feelings I had about this: “Lady Byron was a woman who had many close female friends, a loyal band, actually…” (SO MANY. Ladies being friends forever!) Lady Byron is presented throughout the book as a woman who cared a great deal about other women, who had complex and thorny relationships with several of them, and who spent much of her life engaging with their concerns and activities.

Fundamentally, I think, this is a biography that I loved, because it’s a biography written for readers like me. Readers who are interested in the stories we tell and who they’re about, who are interested in women’s stories. We think and talk about this a lot with regards to fiction, but it is just as important, if not more so, when we discuss biographies.

****

Several times during this book, I thought about one of my favorite lines from Hamilton: “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” This is a book that is significantly about who tells your story, because Lady Byron’s story has been told largely, both during and after her life, by men. By men who assume that male geniuses must be right, and that women telling a different story must be wrong. Not only wrong. They must be discounted and discredited.

In the Foreword, Markus writes: “The good she did, however, lies interred under the barrage of Lord Byron’s brilliant poetic spite and later critics’ overwhelming devotion to male genius.” She later quotes several times from older biographies, both of Lord Byron and of Lady Byron herself, which paint her in the worst possible light, wholesale repeating outright slander from Lord Byron. Who, of course, can hardly be supposed to be in any way an objective source, and yet for some reason is considered entirely trustworthy.

But in fact, as Markus lays out in the beginning of the book, Byron was not only extremely untrustworthy and biased. He was also a terrible person, an abusive husband (mentally, emotionally, and possibly physically), and a manipulative jerk. (I am not objective on the subject of Lord Byron.) He passionately hated Annabella, especially after the end of their marriage. And yet, because he is a Great (Male) Poet, he must be right.

Oddly enough, it was Harriet Beecher Stowe who mounted one of the earliest and most strident defenses of Lady Byron. Stowe points out that “The world may finally forgive the man of genius anything; but for a woman there is no mercy and no redemption.” (Dorothy Sayers would echo this almost a century later: “Women geniuses don’t get coddled…so they learn not to expect it.” Which is all too apt when we consider, for instance, Ada Byron Lovelace herself.) For her pains, Stowe’s reputation was torn to shreds.

This biography itself is not objective, but it is also not meant to be. It is meant to be a revelation and defense of Lady Byron, asking us to revisit the old assumptions and look at the evidence with fresh eyes, and also an excoriation of the older biographers who were so little able to see past those assumptions. It is partisan, but it is also open about being partisan, rather than pretending to being unbiased. If it’s a choice between Markus and, say, Malcolm Elwin, I know who I would pick.

****

Markus ends with a short paean to Lady Byron, which I don’t think I could possibly top: “Lady Byron took her own advice. She made no attempt to censure records and never attempted to shape her life in order to find favor with the world. She was herself. She remained herself.” I am very glad that this biography exists, and that it shines a light on a woman who was complex, brilliant, flawed, and utterly human.

* not in actual fact her name, but the one by which she’s most recognized

Source: bysinginglight.wordpress.com/2016/08/12/lady-byron-and-her-daughters-by-julia-markus
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