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review 2017-05-20 20:17
Redshirts by John Scalzi
Redshirts - John Scalzi

Redshirts stars Ensign Andrew Dahl, newly assigned to the starship Intrepid. It doesn’t take long for him to notice that something weird is going on. Everyone reacts strangely to any mention of away missions, and the Intrepid’s crew has a much higher than normal mortality rate. In an effort to avoid a dramatic and untimely death, Dahl works together with several other new crew members and discovers things that seem too impossible and bizarre to be true.

I went into this book expecting it to be a combination black comedy and Star Trek parody. It started off that way, but then it morphed into something that packed more of an emotional punch than I expected.

This is the third book by Scalzi that I’ve read, and I think it’s the best of the bunch. The premise was interesting and fun, even though the characters themselves admitted it wasn’t terribly original. As with Scalzi’s other books, I felt that the characterization was very thin - I kept forgetting who certain characters were and had to flip back to their introductions for reminders - but even if I had trouble caring about them as individuals I was still riveted by their situation. Was a solution even possible? I couldn’t stop reading because I just had to find out.

I spent most of this book approaching it like a weird adventure, which is part of the reason why the “ending” threw me off so much. My copy of the book was 317 pages long, and the story’s apparent ending happened on page 230. Honestly, readers could technically stop at that point. It’d leave a few questions unanswered, but the result would be an okay sci-fi adventure with a reasonably happy ending. (The brief fake-out pissed me off. I wish Scalzi hadn’t done that - it was upsetting and annoying.)

I vaguely remembered hearing about the Three Codas but, since I’d read reviews ages ago and hadn’t bothered to look any up prior to starting the book, they still took me by surprise. They dug a bit deeper into characters I hadn’t expected Scalzi to spend much time on, and answered a few questions I had thought Scalzi would avoid dealing with. Then again, I’d also thought he’d avoid any direct mention of Star Trek and the Enterprise, and I was wrong about that too.

I can’t say too much about the codas without including major spoilers, so please excuse the vagueness from here on out. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about them. I enjoyed them, I think, but aspects of them also annoyed me. The first one was my favorite, because it answered one of the questions that had been foremost in my mind. The answer the character arrived at in order to keep functioning and moving forward didn’t quite work for me, but it was better than “he quit” or “these discoveries had zero effect on his emotions or behavior.”

All three of the codas had some amount of emotional manipulation in common, but the second and third codas were the most obvious about it. I was relatively okay with the second one, because it at least gave me a peek at how one aspect of the big plan had worked out. The third one struck me as being more forced. This woman had a complete stranger show up on her doorstep, give her something that was either highly creepy (if she viewed it as coming from a deeply obsessed fan) or impossible (if she believed it), and then leave without an explanation. She handled it all way better than I felt was believable.

One thing in particular that bugged me about the second and third codas (and here I get into “unavoidable spoilers” territory): the way they

emphasized that the connection between the characters and their actors went deeper than surface level. I don’t have the words to fully explain why it bugged me, but the idea that the characters and their actors were essentially the same person didn’t sit well with me.

(spoiler show)


All in all, I liked this book a lot more than I had expected I would. Although I’ve seen quite a bit of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager, and Deep Space Nine, I don’t consider myself to be a Trekkie and was worried that that would impede my ability to enjoy this book. Happily, that wasn’t the case.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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photo 2017-05-19 02:26

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review 2017-05-19 02:06
Rich Peoples Problems
Rich People Problems: A Novel - Kevin Kwan

Title:  Rich People Problems

Author:  Kevin Kwan

Publisher:  Doubleday

Series:  Crazy Rich Asians # 3

Reviewed By:  Arlena Dean

Rating: Four

Review:

 

"Rich People Problems" by Kevin Kwan

 

My Thoughts...

 

This author gives the reader in this third book in the Crazy Rich Asians series a read of great drama, some hilarious laughs with some characters, wonderful vacations spots, entertainment and scenic descriptions[clothing and jewelry] that will really have you thinking you are looking at a movie right in front of you.  What wacky antics that this large family seems to have that will keep you turning the pages to its conclusion to a hilarious series. Be prepared to read of a 'dysfunctional, paranoid, social climbing crazies with some ridiculous fun.' This will be one intriguing, incredible and entertaining read that I would recommend to the readers.

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review 2017-05-19 00:42
Night Watch (Discworld #29, Watch #6)
Night Watch (Discworld, #29) - Terry Pratchett

The past and future of Ankh-Morpork revolve around the efforts of His Grace Sir Sam Vimes, Commander of the City Watch, and he doesn’t like it one bit.  Night Watch, the sixth book focusing on the City Watch and twenty-ninth overall book of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series finds Vimes dealing with his wife about to give birth, the deaths of two of his two officers and chasing the man responsible, then finding himself in the past playing the mentor to his younger self during a time of revolution.

 

Sam Vimes loves being a copper, but not so much His Grace when things have to be official, but after a magical “accident” caused by the Monks of History to send him 30 years into the past Vimes must make sure history happens like it did when he was a 17-year old newbie.  Becoming his mentor Sergeant John Keel and second-in-command at his old Watch House, Vimes attempts to bring about the past he remembers so his “present” remains the same.  Unfortunately for Vimes, a genius yet insane killer Carcer was brought back with him and has his own agenda—chaos and murder.  Add in a revolution hitting Ankh-Morpork and Vimes is in for some very stressful days.

 

This isn’t the first time that Pratchett has done a little time travel in a Discworld novel, but it was the first in which it was the primary element in one.  Vimes becoming the heroic mentor to his younger self, is somewhat cliché but Pratchett uses Vimes own grim view of the world to an advantage as starts to become imprinted on young Sam.  Yet, Vimes existential fretting about messing up his future does get tiresome after him doing it so many times in the book that it almost seems that Pratchett was finding ways to take up page space.

 

Night Watch is an action-packed installment in the Discworld series that Pratchett writes fantastically with Sam Vimes as the protagonist, even with the overused existential fretting.  Once again I’ve found a Watch book bringing out the best of Pratchett and the entire Discworld setting, I can only hope the other two books of the subseries will be the same.

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review 2017-05-18 10:58
Filmspiriert: Schr├Ąger als Fiktion

Filmspiriert: Schräger als Fiktion

Schon vor ein paar Jahren hatte ich mir vorgenommen einen Film zu besprechen, den ich zufällig entdeckt und gleich für großartig befunden hatte. Irgendwie ist das Vorhaben dann aber immer wieder in Vergessenheit geraten, obwohl ich den Film zu meinen Lieblingen zähle und finde, dass er völlig zu unrecht so wenig bekannt ist. Die Rede ist von Schräger als Fiktion aus dem Jahr 2006. Ein Film der auf jeden Fall wie für Schreiberlinge und Leseratten gemacht ist. Denn es wird meta, meine Damen und Herren!

 

Worum geht es?
Harold Crick ist ein staubtrockener Steuerfahnder. Er hat keine Leidenschaften, keine echten Freunde, ganz zu schweigen von Familie, keine Haustiere und nicht einmal ein Hobby. Sein ganzes Leben besteht aus Zahlen und bis ins kleinste Detail ausgearbeiteten Abläufen, die sich Tag für Tag wiederholen. Doch eines Tages steht Harold wie jeden Abend vor dem Spiegel und putzt sich die Zähne, als er plötzlich die Stimme hört. Die Stimme beschreibt jede seiner Bewegungen, jeden Putzzug. Macht Harold eine Pause, macht auch die Stimme eine Pause. Geht Harold einen Schritt vorwärts, beschreibt die Stimme wie er geht. Schon bald findet Harold heraus, dass er die Stimme einer Autorin hört, deren neue Hauptfigur er offenbar geworden ist. Was für Harold zunächst nur eine nervige Angelegenheit ist wird zu einem Weckruf, als er erfährt wie das Buch enden soll: mit seinem Tod.

 

 

Schräger als Fiktion ist ein etwas schrulliger, charmanter und bittersüßer Film der in die Metaebene des Erzählens abtaucht. Gleichzeitig melancholisch und witzig, verwischt in diesem Film die Grenze zwischen Realität und Fiktion. Man folgt zunächst Harold durch den Alltag und hört die Stimme, die plötzlich anfängt jede seiner Handlungen zu beschreiben. Wer eine Leseratte mit ganzem Herzen ist, der muss sich diesen Film wirklich ansehen.

 

Damals, als ich Schräger als Fiktion das erste Mal eingeschaltet habe, war ich skeptisch, denn Will Ferrell, der die Rolle des Harold Crick spielt, kannte ich bis dahin nur aus irgendwelchen flachen Klamaukkomödien, mit denen ich bis heute herzlich wenig anfangen kann. In Schräger als Fiktion aber spielt er diese leise, ernste und irgendwie bedauernswert naive Figur, die keine Ahnung hat, wie man das Leben genießt, bis sie mit dem bevorstehenden Tod konfrontiert wird. Gerade weil Will Ferrell auf den ersten Blick die völlig falsche Wahl für diesen ganz anderen Film ist, passt er irgendwie perfekt hinein und haucht seiner Rolle als Harold Crick eine glaubhafte Nuance des Sonderlings ein. Ähnlich überrascht wie hier, war ich bisher nur noch bei Jim Carrey in der Truman Show. Auch hier spielte ein Darsteller, der für seine albernen Komödien bekannt war, plötzlich diesen tragischen Helden und ich sah es genau deswegen nicht kommen.

 

Wer noch nicht überzeugt ist, dass Schräger als Fiktion etwas taugt, dem hilft vielleicht die Information, dass auch solche Kaliber wie Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal und Dustin Hoffman mit von der Partie sind. Emma Thompson verkörpert hierbei Karen Eiffel, eine zynisch-bissige Autorin mit Schreibblockade. Ich mag eigentlich alle Figuren in diesem Film, aber Karen Eiffel ist nochmal einen Ticken großartiger, weil sie exzentrisch und ein bisschen morbide ist.

 

Von mir gibt es für Schräger als Fiktion die volle Punktzahl und ich hoffe ein paar von euch trauen sich ihm eine Chance zu geben. Vielleicht kennt ihn auch schon jemand?

Source: moyasbuchgewimmel.de/schraeger-als-fiktion
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