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review 2020-01-30 12:04
A heart-warming, fun, and light sci-fi novel, with fabulous characters
The Earthling's Brother - Earik Beann

I am writing this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team, and I thank her and the author for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

I have read two other books by Beann, one a science-fiction novel and the other a non-fiction book, enjoyed both, and loved the cover and the premise of his new book, and I’m pleased to say that I wholeheartedly recommend it as well.

The book reminded me of yesteryear science-fiction movies, but with a touch of self-awareness, humour, and diversity that made it thoroughly modern. It made me think of The Day the Earth Stood Still, Starman (the movie) and, to a certain extent, Terminator, especially the beginning, although here we have a bit of a twist, and more than one being from outer space (but I’ll try not to spoil the story).

The story is not hard science-fiction, and I suspect lovers of detailed scientific explanations and high-tech might find this book too light, but the setting is very compelling, there are plenty of adventures, and lots of fun to be had. And the characters are all winners.

Maria Rodriguez is a great protagonist. She works hard, loves her sick nephew and tries her best to help him get better, looks after everybody, and she is willing to help, no matter what. She gives “Sam” the benefit of the doubt, even if she thinks he is under the influence of some drug or other and a bit weird, and she ends up being pulled into an adventure that we’d all love to find ourselves in. Sam is another great character, like a grown-up child, and allows us to see ourselves from a completely fresh perspective. What would somebody from another world think about us? Mustafa… Well, I won’t tell you anything about Mustafa, other than he’s amazing, and we also have a proper villain (I’m talking about you, Sanders), and some other not very nice characters, although they don’t get off lightly. I particularly liked “Mother”, which is quite a special character but shows a great deal of insight into the workings of the world, despite her limitations, and Pepe… I think all readers will love Pepe.

The story has a bit of everything: there are some quasi-magical elements about it (be careful what you wish for!); we have police persecutions and interrogations; we have references to migration policies and to asylum hearings (this is priceless!); we have alien civilizations intent on destroying the world as we know it; trips to Las Vegas and big winnings at the casinos; a road-trip; flying secret planes; a stand-off between USA and Canadian soldiers, and even a little bit of romance thrown in.

The writing style is smooth, easy-to-read, and there are plenty of action scenes, humour, suspense, and some pretty scary moments as well. Although there is destruction, mayhem, and violence, it is not very extreme or explicit, and most of it is only referred to in passing. All these elements, and the story, that has an all-around feel-good happy ending, make this book perfect for YA readers, in my opinion, and I think older children might enjoy it as well, although I’d recommend parents to check it out beforehand.

In sum, this is a joy of a book. It can be read as a fun and light sci-fi adventure book, although it does deal in topics that are serious, current, and it has a message that humanity would do well to listen to. It suits all ages, and it leaves readers smiling. What else should we ask for? (Oh, and I especially recommend it to any Canadians out there!)

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review 2018-11-17 17:33
Binary Equivalents: "Starman Jones" by Robert A. Heinlein
Starman Jones - Robert A. Heinlein

(Original Review, 1980-07-24)

Random rumblings on our inability to predict the future.

Pop-up display screens and visual aiming (guiding a missile by looking at the target) for fighter pilots is discussed in the recent fiction paperback "FoxFire.'' The technology for visual aiming is actually quite old. It is derived from the device (I'm not sure what it is called) used by psychologists to measure eye movements.
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.


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text 2017-05-04 20:40
Today's daily deal on Audible...
Starman Jones - Robert A. Heinlein,Paul Michael Garcia




It might be YA but Heinlein is a classic no matter who he is writing for.

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review 2015-04-02 00:00
Starman - Stormy Glenn This was pretty good. An interesting story, I just wish the author had time to give us more details. I dunno if there is a sequel, but I hope so, so that we can learn more about the war, the planet Eresmi and what Bobby and Angela are going to do on a new planet. Plus I want to know if Kyrinen holds true to his promise of making Haq carry their next child!
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review 2014-12-22 17:54
The Starman Omnibus Vol. 1 - James Robinson

I dunno...where am I going with this review?  You know I loved this, cuz I gave it 4 and a half stars, man, and ma'am.  I dunno: I guess this was sort-of like Ray Bradbury and Doug Moench getting asked to work up a Greatest American Hero premise--Ray brings the total love of nostalgia/memorabilia/and yeah, ephemera; glued to Moench's bittersweet prose style at its (mostly) best (um, okay, see Moon Knight #14 from early 80s, and read the John Lennon laments and, well, the whole thing, and see if it don't compare nicely to what James Robinson does)--where was I...uh, okay, Moench and Bradbury doing a Greatest American Hero type of premise and then at the last minute getting to ditch the corny costume.  Oh, and scratch the typical gorgeous girlfriend, and replace with disappointed father (who used to actually wear the bad costume).


I thought tacking all the graphic novels mentioned in the recent magazine called The 100 All-Time Greatest Comics (SciFi News) would be this great thrill that made me return to my childhood.  Instead...well, its more like catching up on what I didn't read during my childhood (okay, and beyond; I've been reading comics a long time), and what I should have read during my childhood.  Kind of an...alternate childhood.  I mean, I remember seeing, and passing on, issues of Starman, in the 1990s--but at the same time noticing that, hey, there must be something to that title, because it keeps goin' and goin'!  And this crap I'm addicted to instead keeps getting cancelled.  I'm reading wrong.  Claremont's X-Men, and I'm off reading Machine Man--WTF, Tigus??!! Teen Titans all the rage, and I'm into Night Force!?  Oh good golly, man, get some taste. 


Playing catch up with the so-called "100 Best", as of now, and as you can see by my Blacksad reaction, plus Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl?, and of course this Starman thing, it's all going well.  The Tony Harris artwork took a bit of getting used to--he'll never be my favorite penciller--but I did get won over.  Unique style is certainly the way to describe it.  And the fictional Opal City does this gradual-breathtaking thing.


James Robinson, comic-book writer, likes to yak via Forewards and Afterwards, and here's a kind of honesty I love, that can only come from former assholes who know they were assholes: in his Afterword, he actually slags Tony Harris's artwork in the first few issues.   I mean, this is so refreshing; I'm so tired of gushy, unadulterated praise, when a writer or an artist does commentary as they look back at their defining run on such and such a series.  I was having the same reaction to Tony Harris's pencils for issues #0-3 (yes, there's an issue #0), and the writer and I are on exactly the same wavelength when it comes to the exact pages where Harris's art turned a corner and flew--yah, that graveyard scene where Starman chats with his (deceased) brother.  I literally thought "okay, these are gorgeous pages, and something cool just happened--this guy just got way good...").


It's a father and sons tale; it's, uh, it's cool; it's reluctant hero stuff--I won't even wear the costume stuff, I'll just grab some doodads from my memorabilia shop's burnt-out remains and fake a costume stuff, and I'll have to use an inferior power-rod now cuz I lost the good one my first time out (soooo Ralph Hinkley!).  It's an anti-Superhero approach without being a pompous, know-it-all drag after 15 pages.  And who the hell mentions the Peckinpah film The Killer Elite in their Afterword, instead of mentioning The Wild Bunch or Straw Dogs?!  Only from-the-gut, honest former asshole (he said it, not me!) James Robinson.


Here's a quote I can't stand, from 100 All-Time Greatest Comics, regarding Starman Omnibus Vol. 1, page 40: "This is the sweetest book on the list".  Whaaaaaat?!  Not "sweetest".  Sweetest?  This is not Little Orphan Annie, or My Little Pony comics.  This is the most exuberant book on the list.  Maybe.  Sue me, me I haven't read them all yet.  But you should read Robinson's Starman and do what he does: collect cool stuff, and, uh, yah, watch The Killer Elite (1975).



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