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text 2017-09-04 21:10
August wrap up
What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything - Sarah Rees Brennan,Cassandra Clare
The Last Stand of the New York Institute - Maureen Johnson,Sarah Rees Brennan,Cassandra Clare

3 books

The fall of hotel dumort

3 audio

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text 2017-09-03 18:26
"After The Apocalypse" by Maureen McHugh
After the Apocalypse - Maureen F. McHugh

After The Apocalypse" is a collection of nine short stories that look at events in different near-futures after a disaster of some kind.

 

As you'd expect with Maureen McHugh, the stories tell us as much about the world we live in as the possible future being described.

 

She has a flair for looking at the world through the eyes of the disadvantaged, the marginalized and the at risk and an impressive ability to build future worlds and believable characters using very few words. Almost every story describes a near-future that stimulates, surprises and convinces and populates it with characters that I recognize and care about.

 

If you're not familiar with Maureen McHugh's work, this is a good introduction. If you're already a fan then these stories are a treat not to be missed.

 

I've given short comments on each story below to give you a flavour of the collection. Some of them are available on line if you want to sample them but to get them all, you'll need to buy the book.

 

The Naturalist

This is dark, surprising and not at all your average zombie story. In this tale of a Zombie Preserve being used as a prison compound cum death-by-zombie execution sentence, the walking dead are not the thing you should be afraid of.  I enjoyed the way this story makes the Rational Observer, so beloved of many science fiction stories, into something quite chilling.

 

Special Economics

This near future story is set in a post-plague China, faced with a scarcity of workers for the first time. It describes a brand of Corporate Slavery that was once common in the US and is now rumoured to be used when the US outsources work to less regulated nations.  It appealed to me because it showed how ordinary people will find a way to overcome the economic obstacles in their way.

 

Useless Things

This is one of the simplest and most powerful stories in the book. It is permeated with a sense of threat, of the real possibility of imminent loss. It captures the quiet desperation of living a life on the edge of an unstoppable slide into poverty and homelessness; of wanting to help others but being afraid that they will do you harm; of having little control and less hope; of having enough to lose to cause worry but not enough wealth to buy security. It's the perfect tale for Trump's America.

 

The Lost Boy: A Reporter at Large

This one didn't engage me. It felt like an essay on disassociative states and what they imply about identity. It was interesting but it didn't hook my emotions.

 

The Kingdom of the Blind

This is the most plausible story about the possible emergence of an AI "awareness" that I've read. It's mercifully free of anthropomorphization. There are also so nice points made about women in the coding world that made me think of the recent Google embarrassment.

 

Going to France

This is the shortest story and the most bizarre. I felt its pull but it was just a little too far out for me.

 

Honeymoon

I loved the first line of this:

 

"I was an aggravated bride."

 

It got me straight inside the head of the woman telling the story. She's a forceful working class woman, who's been working in McDonald's plus two other jobs that paid for her wedding. At first, it seems that she's leading a relatively unexplored life but as the story progresses and she faces some abnormal events, it becomes clear that she is making informed, even philosophical choices because that's the kind of person she is.

 

The Effect of Centrifugal Forces

This is told from multiple points of view. Unfortunately, the narrator didn't demonstrate this very well and I got confused from time to time. It's focused on people under pressure who can't hold themselves or their lives together.

 

After the Apocalypse

This is the strongest story in the collection. It showcases Maureen McHugh's ability to help us see the people in the situation and then help us to see the situation differently.

We've been saturated with post-apocalyptic worlds where we revert to something less than we used to be in order to survive. We've been fed tropes about tough survivalists and ruthless raiders and the crumbling remnants of an order that doesn't know it's already extinct. It's like we're practising for something that we expect to happen soon so that we'll know what to expect and what choices to make.

 

We've been saturated with post-apocalyptic worlds where we revert to something less than we used to be in order to survive. We've been fed tropes about tough survivalists and ruthless raiders and the crumbling remnants of an order that doesn't know it's already extinct. It's like we're practising for something that we expect to happen soon so that we'll know what to expect and what choices to make.

 

The achievement of this short story is that it humanises the tropes we've been taught. It shows us that, in other parts of the world, the apocalypse has already arrived and that the flood of refugees we are so used to seeing on the media could one day be us.

 

The story is told from the point of view of a woman on the road with her daughter, heading through an America without electricity or fuel or clean water or food or any of the things that Americans take for granted.

 

As they travel, the woman slowly comes to realise that everything she knew is gone. That even though she's an American, she's now just another refugee. Then she decides what to do about it.

 

Her situation, her reactions and her final choice seemed very real to me. After the apocalypse, we're still there, only the future we assumed we were entitled to is missing. Dealing with that realisation would tell each of us a great deal about who we have always been.

 

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review 2017-08-27 02:47
An adventure
[ 13 Little Blue Envelopes By Johnson, Maureen ( Author ) Paperback 2010 ] - Maureen Johnson

This book sat on my shelf unread for far too long. This is a great adventure story of coming of age, getting out of one's comfort zone and the beginnings of love and loss. I tore through 13 Little Blue Envelopes as if I was on the adventure myself.

Having just taken a vacation I found this book refreshing. I felt adventurous and as if nothing can stop you from seeing or doing anything. Is the kind of book that helps you realize that your restraints of your own making. 

Ginny makes for a good main character. She is likable and relatively easy to relate to. In the beginning of the novel she is a bit shy and inexperienced, but the adventure that envelopes sent her on help her grow and the experience really changes her. 

I can understand why Ginny likes Keith. He is exciting and different, and at times a little weird. He is up for adventure so it is easy to like him. He's the kind of guy that makes you think anything is possible. I could see myself dating someone like Keith because it is a relationship that is filled with excitement. 

The ending of the book happens at the perfect time. This isn't the type of book that I would pick up the rest of the series. After an adventure like this one returning to normal life would seem dull. However I did really enjoy the story, so I would pick up another book by Maureen Johnson. I was surprised to see that she did make a series out of this one.

I really enjoyed reading this novel as I found myself relating to Ginny (I would have hated traveling with the Knapp's). My only regret is that I didn't pick this one up sooner. I would suggest this novel for fans of YA or for anyone starting a new beginning.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-17 00:12
Book Review : The last stand of the new york institute Cassandra Clare
The Last Stand of the New York Institute - Cassandra Clare,Sarah Rees Brennan,Maureen Johnson

August 4-16

Magnus meets Valentine in battle as the Circle attacks the Downworlders of New York City.

In the time of the Uprising, Valentine’s Circle goes after Downworlders in New York...and the Shadowhunters of the Institute must decide whether to join him, or fight with Magnus and his kind. This is the first time Magnus sees Jocelyn, Luke, and Stephen—but not the last. It is not long before Jocelyn seeks him out

Review : This story was really interesting this is when valentines's circle started out and valentine takes this werewolf family and there was a lot of death that day . Tessa was in this story and Jocelyn comes to magnus with Clary to remove her to see shadowhunter world I really enjoyed this story .

Quotes:
Maryse: I am fighting for a better world for myself and my son.
Magnus: I have no interest in the world you want or in your doubteless repellent brat, I might add.” 

I don't remember ordering the bride of an evil maniac," said Magnus. "It was definitely beef and broccoli. What about you, Tessa? Did you order the bride of an evil maniac?” 

“You are interfering in my business, warlock." 
Magnus spat blood into his face. "You are torturing a child in my city, Shadowhunter. [...] I thought we were playing a game where we said what the other person was and what we were doing." Magnus told him. "Did I get it wrong? Can I guess again? are you breaking your own sacred Laws, asshole?”

“If you don't want them to find you, changing your last name seems a fairly elementary first step. Trust me, I'm an expert. I've watched a lot of spy movies.

Jocelyn and Clary Fray,” said Magnus. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“you realize that by standing as you are, everyone will think we are kissing. And that is terribly embarrassing for me. I have much better taste in men.

“I am," said Tessa. "I am Theresa Gray, daughter of a Greater Demon and Elizabeth Gray, who was born Adele Starkweather, one of your kind. I was the wife of William Herondale, who was the head of the London Institute, and I was the mother of James and Lucie Herondale. Will and I raised our Shadowhunter children to protect by the Laws of the Clave and Covenant, and to keep to the Accords.”

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-02 00:26
Book review : The fall of hotel durmort Cassandra clare
The Fall of the Hotel Dumort - Cassandra Clare,Maureen Johnson

July 6-august 1

Magnus Bane watches the once-glamorous Hotel Dumort become something else altogether in 1970s New York City.

Fifty years after the Jazz Age rise of the Hotel Dumort, immortal warlock Magnus Bane knows the Manhattan landmark is on the decline. The once-beautiful Hotel Dumort has fallen into a decayed thing, a ruin, as dead as a place can be. But the vampires don't mind...

review : I didn't like this one as much I hate Camille Magnus cares to much for this crazy vampire . Magnus returns to NYC and there is something wrong with the vampires they are sick they get addicted to blood laced with drugs and then the vampires go insane and start killing people like 
crazy and the werewolves want to take care of them but Magnus thinks he can stop Camille . but she promises it won't happen again after all said and done Magnus calls a friend to make him forget this event .

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