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review 2016-04-13 05:11
Vanishing Point by Michaela Roessner
Vanishing Point - Michaela Roessner

Vanishing Point was originally published in 1993.  This new publication comes at a time when dystopian novels have become the rage.  


It’s been 30 years since a huge percentage of the population just Vanished.  No trace was left behind.  The Vanished took nothing with them and there were no bodies.  Those who were alive back then lost many loved ones and trying to rebuild their lives has not been easy.  A lot of them live their lives in fear; not knowing if it will happen again, wondering if their loved ones will ever return to them.


The population has split into many cult-type communities.  The Homers refuse to leave the home they lived in at the time of the Vanishing, thinking their loved ones may come back in The Return.  The Watchers spend their time taking shifts to watch over each other in case another Vanishing takes place.  The Hackers spend all of their time researching the source of the Vanishing, looking for anomalies that might reveal the early warning signs of another such happening.  The Penitents are busy making amends so they aren’t left behind if it happens again.  These are just some of the cult-like groups that have formed. 


The main focus is on a group who has taken up residence in the Winchester Mystery House, a well-known tourist mansion in San Jose, California.  Those who live there call it The Home.  Legend has it that the old woman who owned the Home was visited by spirits, who told her to keep building on to the house.  It is thought that these spirits may have been preparing the way for those who live there now, giving them a safe haven in which to rebuild their future.


The Home now includes a couple of generations born after the Vanishing.  The first generation, those approaching 30 years old, were all born with a metallic sheen to their hair.  They can see an aurora in the skies that the older generation can’t see.  They have been raised without modern conveniences and taught strong survival skills.   Although their children were not born with metallic hair and better vision, they are somehow different too.  These children speak in a strange slang, they seem more intuitive and they call the Homers “ghosts.”


As in any world, the peaceful societies are threatened by those who have a different agenda.  In this case, the threat comes from those known as the ‘Bounders, or the Heaven Bound.  The ‘Bounders believe that everyone who Vanished has ascended to Heaven, and that anyone who got left behind must have done or not done something, that excluded them.  They also believe that no one person will be allowed to ascend to Heaven, until all have faith and live their lives accordingly.  It’s everybody or nobody, and they disapprove of those planning for an earthly future. 


When the ‘Bounders become more dangerous with threats of war upon those who stand in the way of their salvation, the other groups must band together to fight back and save what they have built.


Vanishing Point is not fresh material in the heyday of dystopian books, but it probably was at the time it was written, making it somewhat of a classic read.  I liked the characters.  The main character Renzie, is a tough, independent woman with a bit of hidden loneliness.  Nesta is a middle-aged researcher who lived through the Vanishing, and works with the hackers to figure out what caused it.  Of course, a lot of the research includes physics, but not too much and nothing that you can’t follow along with or learn from.  Interesting premises abound, everything from theories you might have heard about on “Aliens Among Us”, to a time warp, the Left Behind theory…....


No, I won’t give away what it really was!  I recommend that you read and find out for yourself!  This is a tightly woven story in which the author paints a broad picture and ties up all the loose ends, leaving us with no unanswered questions.


I want to thank the publisher (Endeavor Press) for providing me with the ARC through Netgalley for an honest review.

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review 2014-08-02 00:00
Tune: Vanishing Point
Tune: Vanishing Point - Derek Kirk Kim Tune was a story I originally read as a Webcomic a couple of years ago. For some reason, I stumbled across this story a couple of weeks ago and decided I wanted to catch up with what was going on in that story. A quick search on Half.com later, and I was just waiting to get the books so I could catch up.

The bad news is that the two volumes already available comprise exactly what's available freely on the Web. I'm not disappointed about that (I have all of the Penny Arcade collections, and several Sheldon collections just because), but considering that the entire story ends on a cliffhanger sort of ending means that I have to wait even longer to find out what happens from here.

For those unfamiliar, Tune is about Andy Go, and art school dropout who's secretly in love with one of his classmates, who has to go out and get a real job when his parents get tired of supporting him. Andy is self-centered and self-absorbed, and he's convinced that his art skills are enough to get him whatever job he wants, but when life intervenes, he finds himself applying for any and all positions that have "no experience required" attached to the description. What he gets, though, is something a little more unusual and unexpected.

Still LifeThe story here is good, and the writing is very tight. There's a casual style to Kim's narrative, which is told from Andy's perspective, with voice-over narration making up a large part of it. The artwork has a manga look to it, which tends to give it a lighter feel, making us take things a little less seriously, but the story, despite its humor and offbeat style, is heavy. It's an odd dichotomy to see the cartoony artwork with the gravitas of certain parts of the story, but Kim (and, in the second volume, McClaine) makes it work. Jud Winick's Pedro and Me had sort of the same issue, but there, Winick's cartoony style worked against him; here, Kim manages to get them to work together just perfectly.

I'd recommend the series to anyone who enjoys manga, graphic novels, good stories (fans of Gene Luen Yang should pay close attention to it), and good writing. Even if you only like one of those things, I'd still recommend it. I'm hoping that the story will be developed and/or concluded soon, because I'm very interested in seeing where it goes. It feels like the series could be about halfway through, but I could even see it going on a bit longer, if necessary. Either way, I'm on board for wherever it goes next.
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text 2014-04-03 20:27
Perspective: The Start
Vanishing Point: Perspective for Comics from the Ground Up - Jason Cheeseman-meyer

I'm using this book to do self-study in perspective. It has always been one of my weaknesses and I intend to tackle it full force. So far i've just learned some new terms and simple stuff but will tackle the exercises soon.


I'm excited to tackle this book and other material I'm going to find to supplement it. I want to be able to draw and design architecture and properly setup a scene with proper perspective.



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review 2013-05-21 00:00
The Vanishing Point - Val McDermid,Antonia Beamish
I've been reading Val McDermid since the early 1990s, when I was introduced to her Kate Brannigan series. While I haven't loved all of her novels, I've considered her to be a reliable crime fiction writer with a range extending from quirky private detective stories, to solid police procedurals, to more gruesome psychological thrillers.

This is McDermid’s most recent stand-alone thriller. It starts out well, if implausibly. Five year old Jimmy Higgins is abducted from O’Hare Airport while his guardian, ghost writer Stephanie Harker, is waiting for a security pat-down, necessitated by a metal plate in her leg setting off the metal detector. By the time the authorities realise what’s happened, Jimmy and his kidnapper have disappeared. Stephanie is interviewed by an FBI agent and tells the agent how she came to be Jimmy’s guardian after the death of his mother, reality television star Scarlett Higgins*. Stephanie’s first person narrative is alternated with a third person narrative concerning the investigation into Jimmy’s disappearance.

Stephanie’s long-winded story is one of the many problems I have with this novel. Not so much the story itself, which may have been interesting if it had been a memoir, but the fact that it’s supposed to be the record of an interview following the abduction of a child. As such, it is totally unconvincing. So much so, that I wondered for a while whether McDermid was going to do an Ian McEwan and pull off a piece of meta-fictional prestidigitation. But I was wrong. At the risk of disclosing a spoiler, Stephanie’s story is an interview and the investigation is an investigation.

Another problem I have with the work are the relentless references to popular culture. References to books, films, television programs and social media saturate the narrative in a way that will only date the work. McDermid also felt obliged to include a discussion of “Issues”. A discussion of personal and celebrity stalking, for example, runs through the plot, without adding much to it. And then there’s the ending. I don’t have a problem with implausibility in crime fiction. But there’s not-very-believable-but-still-satisfying and there’s just plain silly. For me, this was one of those silly endings. Suspending disbelief was just too much of an effort. My eyes rolled clear to the back of my head.

It would be wrong to say that the novel has nothing going for it. McDermid writes good prose and in spite of everything, I wanted to find out what happened. There are red herrings and misdirection, but there are also clues pointing to the solution. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Antonia Beamish, who did an excellent job. But it’s a poor effort, particularly when compared to some of McDermid’s better works, such as [b:A Place Of Execution|91487|A Place Of Execution|Val McDermid|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1311971779s/91487.jpg|1179513].

*Who is clearly inspired by English reality television star Jade Goody.
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review 2013-05-06 00:00
Tune: Vanishing Point - Derek Kirk Kim Completely missed that this was a volume 1 and not a stand alone, and it ends on a cliffhanger right when the story gets interesting. Figures! (You guys can thank me, I just added the series info and "Book 1" to the title so you're not duped like I was.)Not bad but kind of annoying that this is going to be one of those "boy finds out girl's true feelings through reading something he was told not to" which of course is going to piss her off when she finds out and then there will be that conflict to work through.I like that this is science fiction though, that was a nice surprise. (I just grabbed this at the library and didn't read the synopsis.) Not the best formatting though, lots and lots and lots of black space instead of, you know ... drawings and story. The drawings are cute and I was enjoying the story, but I wanted more of it. This was more like a couple of issues of comics than a full graphic novel. Kind of a cheap move and I'm glad I didn't buy it. I want to read the rest though so I'll check out the next one when it's out in ... 6 months. Sigh.I just wish I could keep going and finish. (That's what she said, heh.)Oh well. Just have to wait.
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