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review 2017-06-18 08:30
Das Drama am Mount Everest
In eisige Höhen: Das Drama am Mount Everest - Jon Krakauer,Christian Brückner

1996 hat sich am Mount Everest eine Tragödie ereignet, die mehrere Todesopfer gefordert hat. Journalist und Bergsteiger Jon Krakauer war live dabei und verarbeitet in diesem Buch  seine traumatische Erfahrung. Er zeigt, dass nicht der Mount Everest von Bergsteigern sondern die Höhenbegeisterten nach wie vor vom Berg bezwungen werden.

Es handelt sich hierbei um ein Sachbuch mit subjektiven Tönen, weil Autor und Journalist Jon Krakauer die Ereignisse aus erster Hand schildert. Er beschreibt seine Erlebnisse, seine Sicht der Begebenheiten und geht auch darauf ein, dass es aufgrund des Sauerstoffmangels zu unterschiedlichen Wahrnehmungen der Ereignisse kommen kann. Daher ist es schwierig in diesem Zusammenhang von der einen absoluten Wahrheit zu sprechen.

Die Wahrheit ist, dass der Mount Everest als höchster Berg der Welt nicht nur die größte Herausforderung für geübte Bergsteiger ist, sondern bereits jahrzehntelang als kommerzielles Ziel für wohlhabende Touristen herhalten muss. Dieser Entwicklung und ihren Folgen gibt der Autor genauso viel Raum, wie den Ereignissen von 1996. Dabei geht er auf die Problematik ein, dass sich Expeditionsführer in einer Zwickmühle befinden. Einerseits kann es keine Garantie für die Eroberung des Gipfels geben, andrerseits möchten sie natürlich zufriedene Kunden haben, weil ihr wirtschaftliches Überleben davon abhängig ist. So wird manches Risiko vielleicht schneller eingegangen, als es vernünftig ist. Dabei darf man nicht vergessen, dass viele dieser Everest-Touristen keine versierten Bergsteiger sind.

Jon Krakauer hingegen sind Berge nicht fremd. Zwar hätte er nicht gedacht, dass er eines Tages am Everest stehen wird, dennoch bringt er Gipfelerfahrung mit. Dadurch hat er einen sachverständigen Blick auf den Ablauf und das Drama von 1996. Gleichzeitig geht er auf die Geschichte des Everest, große Namen und die Gier nach dem Gipfel ein, die kaum jemanden kurz vorm Ziel zur Umkehr bewegt.

Der Mount Everest ist eine Herausforderung, der man sich bestimmt nicht oft im Leben stellt. Den Gipfel der Welt zu erklimmen, ist für viele Bergsteiger ein Traum, den es sich hart zu erkämpfen gilt. Krakauer schildert minutiös welchen Strapazen der menschliche Körper ausgesetzt ist. Es ist nicht nur Muskelarbeit, die hier gefordert wird, sondern man muss sich als Ganzes auf die Höhenluft einstellen. Übelkeit, Erbrechen, Durchfallerkrankungen, schneidende Kälte, brütende Hitze, Schlaflosigkeit und permanenter Sauerstoffmangel sind nur einige Widrigkeiten, die es auf dem Weg zum Gipfel zu überwinden gilt. All dies beschreibt Jon Krakauer und geht anschließend auf die unglücklichen Umstände ein, die 1996 etliche Todesopfer am Mount Everest gefordert haben.

Einziger Kritikpunkt ist, dass Krakauer über Bergsteiger und -führer namentlich richtig herzieht. Er beschreibt sexuelle Eskapaden oder unnötige Luxusgüter, die von Sherpas mitgeschleppt werden müssen und geht auf - seiner Meinung nach - mangelnde Vorbereitung mancher Bergführer ein. Es ist vollkommen in Ordnung, Schuldzuweisungen und Mutmaßungen auszusprechen, allerdings hätte er etwas subtiler vorgehen können.

Sprecher Christian Brückner leiht auch Robert De Niro seine deutsche Stimme und so hatte ich das Bild dieses berühmten Schauspielers vor Augen, was doch recht passend ist. Die Tonqualität ist etwas merkwürdig, weil es klingt, als ob Jon Krakauer bei sich im Wohnzimmer sitzt und seine Erfahrungen auf Tonband spricht. Es hört sich wie eine alte Aufnahme auf Kassette an, was der Erzählung meiner Meinung nach hohe Authentizität verleiht.

Für mich ist „In eisige Höhen“ ein authentischer Blick auf den Mount Everest. Ich habe mit hohem Interesse und großer Faszination den Begebenheiten rund um Gipfelstürmern, dem Berg und letztendlich dem Drama von 1996 gelauscht, mir dabei die Sonne ins Gesicht scheinen lassen, die Scherpas bewundert und den Kopf über manch risikofreudigen Expeditionstrupp geschüttelt. 

Meiner Meinung nach ist es ein absolutes Must-Read-Buch für jeden, der sich für den Gipfel der Welt interessiert und aus erster Hand erfahren will, wie sich dieses Drama ereignet hat.

Source: zeit-fuer-neue-genres.blogspot.co.at
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review 2017-06-08 01:44
Perfect follow up to issue one
Black Bolt (2017-) #2 - Saladin Ahmed,Christian Ward

For those who don't remember, I questioned why Black Bolt would be muzzled given the revelations at the end, said I'd be disappointed if it wasn't dealt with, and said I was sure it would be given how much thought Saladin Ahmed had put into this book.   Well, it was dealt with in this issue.   I hadn't given it much thought, as I started to keep up and even had to catch up on my comics at some point this month.   That being said, I was pleased when I saw it mentioned in this comic: I still couldn't quite get why the muzzle had been used, and now I know.

 

A lot gets resolved: who Black Bolt is with, at least the ones I wasn't quite sure of, and why they're in this prison.   And yet, this prison is meant to be a secret, known only to the Royal Family of Attilan, and there are far more, and far more sinister questions, such as how other people knew about this prison.  I also suspect that Black Bolt will eventually have to deal with his prison being used as a dumping ground.   It was meant to be used for the worst of the worst, people who were considered not only lost causes but also incredibly dangerous.   (At least as far as I understand.  I also believe that Maximus is an extreme case, as remember that it was he, not Black Bolt, who was to be confined to this prison.  The royal family may have given Maximus more chances than others, because he was part of their family, and because Black Bolt caused Maximus' insanity.   Black Bolt also was responsible for his family's deaths, and Maximus is Black Bolt's brother.   Blinky, apparently a child, who stole just enough to feed herself dinner is confined to prison.   And yet, I can't help but think if some in high places have chosen to use this prison to weed out those who are found lacking, the poor, the needy, is it possible that the royal family has also used this prison in such a way, even if too a lesser degree.   Perhaps someone they could have helped, but, hey, this was more convenient.   It's not an easy thought; it's highly uncomfortable, especially since I like Black Bolt so much - and want to continue liking him.   I've always viewed him as making sometimes terrible choices, but as having two bad choices and him choosing the one that would cause the least harm to his people.   But now, this is subverting that, and making me question how I view him.   Not comfortable, but perhaps a necessary new, hard look.   Did he really need to expose the world to Terrigen?   Or was that, perhaps, the easiest solution that he thought wouldn't cause harm?   Would he send someone away to a tortuous existence, even if there was a possibility of rehabilitation, if it was easier for him?  I thought I knew; now I'm not sure I do.)

 

Then again, I think these are questions we should ask.   It's a timely question, as well, and while the links to current politics are more tenuous than some comics nowadays, there's still a link.   My idolization of Black Bolt?   It's not completely removed to how some people view politicians.   Yes, I'm thinking of one in particular, but it's true of anyone in power, or popular, or famous.   (And something I've done with other characters.  I loved Spike enough to excuse him for sexually assaulting Buffy, which I honestly still feel guilty about.   And I can use excuses: she told him no, yes, no, yes, yes, it didn't feel in character for either of them, etc, etc, and trust me, I used them all.   The point is we should hold everyone accountable, and that's hard to do when we like, and want to continue, liking them.  I was able to continue to like Spike because he not only realized what he'd done, but he took responsibility and tried to make himself a better man because of it, and what I should have taken from that storyline originally is that exact point.   Which ties back to Black Bolt because I'm hoping, if ugly things about him come to light, that he will take responsibility and try to make himself a better man because of it. But it also ties into Black Bolt, and I'm gonna come out and say Trump, because we can like Spike, Black Bolt, or, yeah, Trump all we want, but we should hold them accountable and question the decisions they make.)

 

It's not often that comic book series are this revelatory for me about specific characters.   They reveal more about their background, or their characters, or something.   They tell new stories.   Very rarely do they make me question what characters really are and how I look at them.   Robinson's Scarlet Witch did, and took a character I hated - for how she treated Vision a while - and made me adore her.   This is... revelatory in another way, that takes into account me and how I relate to my fiction.   It makes me want to continue adoring Black Bolt as much as I do, but also to hold him accountable, to make him a better man.   And as such, it makes me want to hold the people in the real world - myself included - accountable.   It's one of the reasons I'm telling the quite frankly humiliating way that I made excuses for Spike: it's part of my history, it's me holding myself responsible for my own actions, and wanting to make myself a better person.

 

And that's even rarer: a book that makes me reframe my own history and perspective, and informs who I want to be.  I'm not even sure this that this is what Ahmed was going for.   Did he want us to question if the royal family was perfect?   Did he want us to question the power dynamics used in real life?  I don't know.  What I do know is that some small moments, some really powerful small moments, made me think of all this.   I do believe that intent is very powerful when it comes to writing, and can be used exquisitely, but I also sometimes question intent versus interpretation.   In the end, sometimes what matters is what you get out of it, because perhaps this was subconsciously written in, perhaps it wasn't even something Ahmed thought of, at all.   But that doesn't change how powerful this message was to me when reading it: it's powerful, and in a way, it's hopeful.   Maybe we all make really boneheaded mistakes, but maybe how we react, how we make ourselves better - or not, or worse - is what's really important.   And maybe if that's true, there's hope for us all.   And maybe if that's true, it's worth trying to make things better, every single time. 

 

So, this sprawling, rambling review.   What it really wants to say is that there's more expanse: Black Bolt has gotten to the heart of the prison, and he not only meets, and fights, more people, but he finds out more about how the prison is being used, and what those prisoners plan to do about it all.   And this expanse comes with more light and color.   The first issue was bleaker: where is he, who he is, what's happening?   There were the ominous voices, and commands, and fighting and no real connection.   Black Bolt had to struggle to remember himself.  

 

Now that he knows the people, knows himself, knows more about this prison, this comic literally gets lighter and more color.   The first issue was muted, tense, fitting the scenario, the amnesia, the way Black Bolt was confined to a cell, and then a small part of the prison.  Ahmed opens up doorways, and Christian Ward responds by bringing in a larger color palette and lightening this up.  I wouldn't call the art happy, or lighthearted, by any means, but there's a definite correlation between the physical expansion and the expansion in color in my mind: brighter colored background, with yellow and greens the highlights.   (Although this trend started in issue one: it was dark, dark backgrounds with hints of color until Black Bolt met another prisoner from what I remember.  It definitely got brighter and more colorful towards the end, and I wonder if I'll see this trend continuing.   If not, then my theory was simply wrong, and I can deal with that: it happens often, and I've stopped trying to get too deep into these theories because I know I'm often wrong.   Still, fun to play around with before I know better!)

 

The art is fantastic.   I'd say there's less focus on Black Bolt's face - particularly his eyes. And this isn't a comment on Ward's skill, but rather something I suspected would happen.   Now that he's talking, those intense moments where you have to read his eyes are no longer necessary.   There's a pro and con to this, the pro being that Ward is freer to step back and focus on full scenes.   (In the same way that Ahmed is not confined to having to write scenes of intense eyes.)   The con is that I miss those intense eye panels.   There's something powerful in having to express oneself without speech, particularly in such a visual medium.   And Black Bolt himself spoke about that in Uncanny Inhumans, and I wish I had that particular comic with me.   He talked about the power that came from not speaking, and simply listening, and it's so much easier to portray that - writing wise and art wise - when you can't rely on him speaking.  You filter the information through what he hears, not what he says, and there's something powerful about telling a story like that, too.   Or at least reading one.  

 

I kind of miss that.   Black Bolt's main appeals were twofold: the mythic quality and the power of words.   I think of the blind/mad man in Greek myths.   Unable to see,  or to think clearly, they still had wisdom that held not only a great power, but was inaccessible to others.   Black Bolt was mute, but that burden came with a great power that was also inaccessible to others.   And of course, someone who can explode his enemies toys by saying the single word 'war' speaks to my heart.   After all, I love reading, I love words, and Black Bolt spoke to the power of words more than any other character I've known.   I miss that about him, and I hope that soon, Ahmed and Ward will find themselves restricted by Black Bolt's inability to speak without wreaking destruction.   Because as much as I adore this story - and I do - I think that this creative team in particular could do so, so much with what speaks to me about Black Bolt. 

 

And I just realized: my two favorite books came out the same day this month.   Black Bolt and Lost Light?   (Both of which I read on the beach, so this was really just the absolute perfect day.)

 

Yeah, right, so, this is how I read Black Bolt: 

 

 

Digging my toes into the sand, and basking in the sun, while I glanced up to eat, drink, and be merry to this sight.   Oh, yeah, absolutely the best day ever.   

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-06-06 19:01
High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

As the First World War rages, British Red Cross nurse Eve Marche keeps herself busy at a hospital in Brussels, Belgium during the day while helping out at her aunt and uncle’s café during the evenings, trying to put the heartbreak and guilt of the past behind her. The German occupation has thrust the country into chaos, and Eve helps to fight back by clandestinely serving in the underground resistance effort. The danger increases, however, when a downed British pilot ends up on her ward, toppling what little stability she’s built and forever changing her life.

Kate’s historical fiction never disappoints, and “High as the Heavens” is no exception. Meticulously researched, it plunges readers headfirst into the brutality and heartbreak of WWI while still offering hope and resilience. With an overarching theme of forgiveness, “High as the Heavens” probes the guilt and dilemmas facing German resisters, and the romance is poignant and unique. The characters rise from the pages and entwine themselves into the reader’s heart so that each alliance and each betrayal truly resonates. Prepare for an electrifying ride through this gritty but graceful novel, as the plot never relents but rather pushes ever forward toward a stunning climax.

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review 2017-05-29 00:58
Onto Volume 2. Immediately!
ODY-C, Vol. 1 - Christian Ward,Matt Fraction

I was pretty sure Christian Ward's artwork on Black Bolt was no fluke; it was too amazing for me not to love ODY-C.   And I love Matt Fraction's work, particularly on Hawkeye, and I'd heard amazing things about this series.  I also had it as part of a Humble Bundle, so this should have been a no-brainer.   But I wanted to read it on Comixology and it was so inexpensive, I bought it again.   Because I could also get volume two ridiculously cheap. 

 

And man, I shouldn't have waited this long.  I haven't read the Odyssey in a while, but the themes I remember are there: the pettiness of the gods, the long travel home, the weariness after war.    Except it has sci-fi elements and all kinds of weird shit.   Like total fuckery: a third sex, because Zues - a bearded goddess - got mad at children in general and got rid of men to stop all children, a leather bound man as a pet, and daddy-daughter incest - and killing ones daughters by the handful if they don't give you sons.   (I'm not quite sure how some dudes survived, but I'm rolling with it for now.   My mind has been so thoroughly fucked, it can't quite pick apart that question right now.)

 

Oh, also a multi-breasted she-Cyclops.   Seduction and betrayal.   Drugs.   Violence.   I feel like Fraction said 'fuck it, let's throw all that and a ship that's driven by dreams in there.'   Like I said, a while since I read the Odyssey, but this lines up with what I remember, as far as the obstacles in Odysseus' way in the original story.   (Odyssia, by the way, in this story.)    What's really impressive is how bizarre, and science fiction-y, this gets without straying too far from the original structure.   It blends the old and the new perfectly, creating something new and exciting from that fusion.   

 

But to be honest, I came here because Ward.   I know that Ward has said on Twitter that ODY-C landed him Black Bolt.   I was going to read Black Bolt no matter who wrote, or illustrated it, but I didn't expect to fall in love as fast and hard as I did.   Ward's art not only matched the story perfectly, but the story was amazing, thoughtful and thought provoking.   It's the same here: Fraction gave Ward something clever and weird and funny, and Ward just made everything work around that structure.   Knowing that an artist works well with one particular writer?   That's really awesome.   It's more awesome when they can work magic with more than one writer: it means that their next pairing will most likely be just as amazing.   (So long as the story has meat on its bones.   Fraction tells a much different story here than in Black Bolt - but they both give Ward a lot to work with, and he really works it hard.)

 

Black Bolt was, for the most part, muted.   (Yes, that's going to come up as a comparison a lot in this review.)   Both that aspect, and the highlights of color, made sense: it made it creepier, and lent a lot more to the more frightening aspect of that story.   This is the exact opposite: neon colors that make me appreciate why 'psychedelic' comes up so often when this is described.    And it's not just that art: the bizarre aspects feel just as trippy.   But this is what I'm talking about when I say that Ward can work with different artists, and writers.   The story calls for something, and Ward changes his style - somewhat, as some panels are more loose here than in Black Bolt - and palette to give the story what it needs rather than imposing his own will on the storyline.   The fact that Fraction's writing and Ward's storyline match up so well also makes this feel incredibly whole; a disparate style of writing and art can make a comic, or graphic novel, feel incredibly fractured.  I've only read two of Ward's illustrated works, but both times, he makes sure the story remains whole.   (By the way, I am both placing the burden and the majority of the praise on Ward's shoulder for one reason; the writing usually comes first when making comics.   The artist gets the script, and then illustrates.  I know people who work in tandem, or give general ideas and script tightly around the art, but this is not the case most times.  I'm assuming that this is how Ward works with both ODY-C and Black Bolt.   Which means that it's usually up the artist to mold the art to the story, so given my pretty reasonable assumption, Fraction gets kudos for the brilliant story  some cohesiveness and Ward gets kudos for both the brilliant art and most of the cohesiveness of the story.   Fraction gets the credit for some because I suspect Ward is a ihyperintelligent artist who reacts best to smart storylines, and Fraction gave him a lot of smart storylines to work with!)

 

I could rave and rave about this.   But instead, I'm going to keep this review relatively short.   This is naughty in a lot of ways, this is trippy, and most of all?   This is a lot of fun.   I hope Fraction and Ward has as much fun creating this as I had reading it, because it really only seems fair.   (And mabye likely?  There's a lot of love put into this work and that makes me feel like they really had fun doing this series.)

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review 2017-05-27 22:32
Review: Nothing But Trouble (PJ Sugar #1) by Susan May Warren
Nothing but Trouble - Susan May Warren

I borrowed this book from OverDrive after finishing that huge book because I needed something much lighter in tone and in subject matter. The book had some first-book syndrome going on in the beginning; lots of backstory and info-dumping. However, the first scene in the book hooked me and I settled into the story and in PJ's head fairly quickly. Once she was back in her hometown and the murder took place, then things got interesting - more than enough to have me borrowing the second book in the series. There is a hints at a love triangle, but at the end PJ decides on neither of the men and wants to work on herself. PJ is lovable, good-hearted without being overly weird like most cozy mystery amateur sleuths, but damn is she impulsive at times. She also had a lot of character development going on in this book; it is almost like it is part mystery, part chick lit. There is a lot of Christianity in this book, but it is authentic to PJ's character and never feels preachy - it is PJ who kept reminding herself of biblical verses to help her think through and calm down in some low points while investigating the murder. I even like the recurring side characters and they helped in world building as well as added to the plotline. Looking forward to reading book two next month.

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