Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Sam-Wasson
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-10-12 03:38
11/22/63 (Audio) - Craig Wasson,Stephen King



The past is obdurate.


The past harmonizes with itself.


I saw the mini-series based on this book before reading/listening to the book, so I was spoiled on much of the major developments.  Still I enjoyed this book--probably not any less than I would have unspoiled.  (I can't know for sure since I can't go back in time and read the book before watching the show!)


In 2011, Jake Epping is a high-school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine.  He is living a fairly ordinary, orderly life until Al Templeton, proprietor of Al's Diner, introduces him to a seeming impossibility.  The pantry of the diner has a portal to one specific day in the past:  Tuesday, September 9, 1958.  Al has Jake experience this phenomenon for himself rather than try to convince him that it's true.  Al has been visiting the past regularly for years, for varying time spans.  His visits account for his alarmingly fast aging, since no matter how long the stay in the past, only two minutes will have passed in the "present" time frame upon returning.  Changes made in that past affect the future (or present, depending on one's perspective); however all those changes are erased if that portal to the past is used again.  Al explains this as a "reset."


The extended visits to the past have taken their toll on Al's health.  He is dying of lung cancer and urges Jake to take up a mission Al had attempted and failed to complete:  go back to 1958 and stay in the past long enough to prevent John F. Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963.  Jake, divorced and childless, doesn't feel particularly tethered to 2011.  But can he really prevent the assassination?  If he fails, he's five years older with nothing to show for it.


The two lines at the beginning of this review are lines our narrator repeats often during his mission to change the past.  It does not want to be changed.  Can you blame it?


While I was listening to and reading this book (I also got the hard cover from the library), I also watched to first two seasons of Twelve Monkeys.  I seem to be overdosing on time travel lately.  I guess I love this stuff.  If you do, too?  Read this book!

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-07-08 16:14
Full Dark, No Stars ★★★☆☆
Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King,Craig Wasson,Jessica Hecht

Four novellas/long short stories on a theme of secret second or inner lives: the horrible person under the affably smiling member of your family or community. Overall enjoyable, as SK always is, but it didn’t suck me in or stick with me later the way his best stuff does. Although, I got into a conversation with a friend, who was insisting that she believes she would recognize evil in a person, that she doesn’t believe it could be concealed. I pointed out that Ted Bundy fooled everyone he worked with in his “public persona” from law enforcement to professors to politicians, and even his many girlfriends, until it all fell apart and his secrets were out. But anyway, I did reference the stories in this book as we argued about it, so there’s that.


1922: Just weird, but with SK-style graphic goriness that makes it worth reading. One of the things I love about SK’s style is his use of all five senses in his descriptions of action, scenes, and characters. It’s really immersive.


Big Driver: Disturbing for sure. It's a revenge tale, and as the main character notes in her inner monologue, those are always a satisfying fantasy. But the ending is, well, not very satisfying. Not believable. Seems like a copout.


Fair Extension: Shorter than the others, but it's a fun little tale of revenge (again) but this time for perceived injustices, where Envy is thoroughly exercised to its logical conclusion. It's fun, and sort of funny.


A Good Marriage: I think this is the best of the four stories. It's creepy and plausible to start, because of course there have been killers whose mask is so good, even their close family and friends have no idea. The ending was less plausible and a little weak.


Audiobook, purchased via Audible. The performances by Craig Wasson and Jessica Hecht are excellent, especially Wasson’s. I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Adventureland 26: Read a book tagged genre Adventure or Thriller on GR.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
url 2015-11-02 12:51
The Fantasy Heroine of Today by Stephen Zimmer (with giveaway)
Heart of a Lion - Stephen Zimmer,Scott M. Sandridge,Bonnie Wasson

Today's book, television, game, and movie climate contains an abundance of fantasy heroines, with all kinds of styles and mannerisms.  The prevalence of female heroines is one of the biggest changes of the past couple of decades, as there have been heroines in the past who have been center stage in fantasy-driven tales.

In the area of sword and sorcery, or dark fantasy, there have certainly been some iconic ones such as Red Sonja in the book and comic book world (Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith's Red Sonja growing from the seed of a Robert E. Howard short story) , and Xena, the great warrior princess, in the television series named after her.  Though I find Rayden Valkyrie very different than these two characters, they both inspired me growing up in terms of depictions of fantasy heroines.   Both were strong and also protective, and courageous in facing daunting odds.

In developing the stories behind Rayden Valkyrie, and strong female characters in other works of mine, I have given a lot of thought to female characters and what constitutes the heroic . . .
Source: beauty-in-ruins.blogspot.ca/2015/11/the-fantasy-heroine-of-today-by-stephen.html
Like Reblog Comment
review 2013-06-10 00:00
11/22/63 - Stephen King, Craig Wasson
This is the first novel by Stephen King book I’ve read. I’ve never been interested in his work because I consciously avoid the horror genre, in both its literary and film incarnations. However, I picked up the audiobook version of this work because I liked what I'd heard about the plot.

The novel is about 35 year old Jake Epping, a high school English teacher living in Lisbon Falls, Maine. It’s 2011, Jake is newly divorced from his alcoholic wife and he allows himself to be talked into travelling to the past to prevent the assassination of President John F Kennedy. For reasons I won’t go into, this means that Jake has to hang around in the past from 1958 until 1963, soaking up the sights, sounds and second-hand cigarette smoke of late 1950s and early 1960s small town America. While waiting for his opportunity to change history, Jake gets to notice how good 1958 root beer tastes, how cool 1950s cars are to drive and how much cheaper stuff is in 1958 compared to 2011. He also gets to murder someone in cold blood, fall in love, teach English, direct high school drama productions, spy on Lee Harvey Oswald and make frequent observations about how the past resists being changed (in Jake-speak the past is “obdurate”) and how it contains all kinds of weird coincidences (in Jake-speak, the past “harmonizes”).

This is a very long book, so Jake’s love life, his teaching career and his observations mean that many hours of reading (or in my case listening) go by without much actually happening. Or at least, things happen, but they’re often the same things happening over and over again, the past thereby showing its obduracy and its tendency to harmonize. This in turn means that by the time I got to the business end of November 1963 I didn’t actually care very much what happened to JFK, to Jake or to anyone else for that matter. Moreover, while I didn’t predict everything that was going to happen, it wasn’t that difficult to work out that changing history was unlikely to be a Good Idea*.

I know this review sounds like I didn’t like the novel. It’s true that there are things I don’t like about it. Even though I generally love long novels – for example, I adore every melodramatic, overwrought moment of [b:The Count of Monte Cristo|7126|The Count of Monte Cristo|Alexandre Dumas|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1309203605s/7126.jpg|391568] – this one is too long and too repetitive. In addition, I struggled to find Jake credible, particularly when he seems to adapt to having committed a murder in cold blood with the same ease he adapts to driving a column-shift car and inhaling second-hand smoke. And Jake hardly ever notices the rampant racism and sexism of the period, which makes him not only lacking in credibility but just plain annoying.

On the other hand, the narrative kept my attention and there were a few genuinely suspenseful moments. And while I don’t feel nostalgic for 1950s small-town USA, I mostly liked King’s evocation of time and place even if it tended towards the anodyne. I also enjoyed what are the most clichéd and sentimental parts of the novel – the high school production of “Of Mice and Men” and the dancing – not from a literary point of view, but because I love student theatre and watching people dance.

I don’t regret the 30 hours I spent listening to this book. Mostly I enjoyed it, even if I’m glad I had useful things to do at the same time such as driving to work or going for a walk. The narration is good: not brilliant, but more than competent. The prose is good: again, not brilliant, but far from dreadful. The premise is interesting, notwithstanding the predictability of the outcome. I know lots of people love this novel, but I spent too much time rolling my eyes to give it anything more than a barely-scraping-in three stars.

*The fact that Jake didn’t know that before throwing himself through the time portal took me out of the story a bit. Surely, I thought to myself at various times, someone who’s 35 years old in 2011 would know about the dangers of changing the past from watching “Back to the Future” and/or a few episodes of “Doctor Who”.
Like Reblog Comment
review 2013-06-06 00:00
The End Was Not the End: Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy Tales
The End Was Not the End: Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy Tales - Joshua H Leet,Bonnie Wasson As intellectually stimulating as it is, I found The End Was Not the End to be emotionally hollow. Joshua H. Leet has done a masterful job of putting together a collection of Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy Tales . . . but that's precisely the problem.

Fantasy is, by it's very nature, a genre of hope and heroism. It's all about tales of grand adventure, noble quests, and epic battles. There's may be a darkness approaching, or even directly overhead, but there's always the knowledge that a glimmer of light exits somewhere just beyond the horizon. It's a genre the embraces the struggle to rise above ones oppressors, and to engage in the dogged pursuit of justice.

With The End Was Not the End there is little hope, and no valiant acts of heroism. Adventures and battles are doomed before they begin, and quests are a forgotten luxury of a bygone era. The darkness has come to stay, to settle upon the land, and to swallow all within it. There is no light upon the horizon. The only struggle that matters is that of basic survival, and if there are any dogged pursuits to be found outside that struggle, they are for vengeful retribution.

Artistically, this is a stellar collection, with some exceptionally well-told tales. On an intellectual level, I appreciated their telling, not to mention the creative hurdles required subvert the positive tropes of the genre. Emotionally, however, I found it hard to connect with any of the tales, and harder still to become invested in the characters or their fates.

The Halls of War was a great opener to the collection. Here, Deedee Davies subverts just about everything about the genre, presenting us with post-apocalyptic tale where even mankind's demon conquerors must suffer through the end. There's an aspect of anti-heroism here, and perhaps the brightest of the increasingly bleak endings to follow.

Blood and Fire quickly changes pace on us, presenting us with a story that originally seems to be borne of epic quests and heroic adventure sts, but which slowly reveals its bleak, hopeless, coldly calculated waste of human lives.

Make Way for Utopia changes things up again, giving us a more traditional tale, with a very clever twists upon the Arthurian legends. What Scott Sandridge says about the disposable nature of entire realities, and the pragmatic acceptance of risking the end of others, probably feels a bit more biting for the company, but I enjoyed the way this one developed.

Twenty Year Plan struck me as the cruelest of the lot, a coming-of-age story that concludes with a horrifying truth about the monsters around us. Nightmares and Dragonscapes offers an interesting take on the very real fear of what might happen to a world where dragons are neither rare not benevolent. The Stone-Sword is another subversion of the Arthurian legends, and one where the sword-in-the-stone is not a symbol of hope and renewal, but of tragedy and failure.

In the Hills Beyond Twilight, Blade of Fire, and Waist Deep are all very strange little stories, the kind of unusual fantasy tales that could only exist in a collection such as this. There is a little dark humor to be found in this batch, but it a guilty, creepy, awkward manner.

Ben was a difficult story to read, a very spiritual tale, and not necessarily an uplifting one. Darra L. Hofman offers up a future where a good boy brutally murders others out of love, and where the young woman signing Christian rock tunes tries to convince him it's all okay, because he has good intentions. I think I would have preferred a more ambiguous ending.

Story’s End wraps things up very nicely, offering up a very different take on gods than the story before it. Like the story that started it all, there is an element of heroism here, but against a very discouraging backdrop. It's a story of humanity, of casting aside all the pettiness that brought about our various ends, and getting back to the animals that we are.

Maybe it's the bleakness of it all, or maybe it's the pessimism that comes with knowing the end has already come, but this was a difficult collection to review, as much as I appreciated it. I found myself having to walk away after each story, unable - or perhaps unwilling - to subject myself to another grim, protracted demise. It's probably not all as grim and hopeless as I made it out to be, and I'm sure different readers will see something else within the stories, but there's no mistaking the fact that Joshua H. Leet succeeded in his goal of capturing the cycle of destiny.

Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?