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review 2018-09-16 21:21
Relics and Curios Square
The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett

The first time I read this book,  I thought it was okay.  Not the best Discworld, but okay.


But each time I re-read it, I like it  more.


I mean, there is the Pern parody that is great.  There is the kick ass daughter who inherits.  There are the riffs on heroes.


And yet, there is the fact that we are all Rincewind.  I know, I know, I'm an American, so I should be Twoflower.  But Rincewind is what we would all be if we were in LOTR.

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review 2018-09-16 21:12
Doomsday Square
Muse of Fire - Dan Simmons

For me, Simmons is a historical horror or sci-fi horror writer first, and then a straight forward Sci-Fi writer.  But this book is about stories, poetry, and religion


A group of performers is forced to perform Shakespeare's greatest plays and if they fail, the human race is  doomed.  Doomed, doomed, doomed.  Wiped out.


Simmons does a wonderful job capturing the fear and stress of the needed performances.  But the world building is good as well and the various levels of aliens as well as the space ships provide reasons for a look at religion.  


What I really enjoyed was how he captured all the ins and outs of the personal lives of the performers as well as rivialries but without making anyone into a trophe or sterotype.

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review 2018-09-16 18:00
13 Square
The Guest Cat - Takashi Hiraide,Eric Selland

 This is more a series of short stories/essays about more than one cat. The narrator and his wife are not cat people and slowly become so.

It is not particularly gripping, but it is a good cat story. So if you like cats, it is worth reading. Just be warned - pet death.



I also read Lucky Cat #1 for the 13 square.  That is a very short story, 13 pages, about  a stolen black cat.  No pet death in that one.  It was sweet.

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review 2018-09-16 17:55
Horror Square
House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski
I'm not quite sure what I just read.

On one hand, this is a haunted house mystery. On the other hand, it is a family drama. On a third hand (or on a foot), it is a story by two men(?) who may be losing it.

But parts of it are quite scary. 

Do not read in ebook format.

It takes a bit to get into. But once you let yourself get into the book, it does take you away. 

It is very, very, very, very, very male driven.

But what I enjoyed best about wasn't the horror or the plot. It was the mocking of literary and film criticism. That is really the most brilliant part of the book, especially the interview section. Parts of the book scare you half to death, and then you burst into laughter.

Either way, you stand a good chance of peeing youself. Fair warning.


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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-09-16 17:38
Am. sleuth square
The Con Artist - Tom Fowler,Fred Van Lente


                A mystery sent at a Comic Con, sign me up.


                The best-selling point of this novel are the inside jokes about culture – the LOTR references, Star Wars, Cosplay.  There are even some interesting points about how it is a Comic Con but most people seem to think that comics are no longer being published.  A convention to celebrate something and that thing gets pushed to the margins.


                Mike Mason is a comic artist who makes his living by going to cons.  He is currently unemployed by a publisher.  At the most recent con, he finds himself a quasi-suspect in the murder of his sort of romantic rival who also was a harasser.  Mason then sets out to solve the mystery and save the job of a friend, who as a woman artist is in danger of being replaced on the Batman like book.


                And along the way, you have rants about everything that is wrong in the comic industry.


                Which is fine.  The mystery is workable, there are some funny jokes.  But, but,


                But but.



                First the romantic lead is totally added on and feels so false.  Second, we have the stereotypical noir of good girl= blonde, bad girl = dark hair, which pisses me off because I have dark hair. 


                But the main problem for me, and one that isn’t at first obvious, is that despite being a partial critique/send up of comic cons, it still hues to some of the problems of fandom and its treatment of women.


                In this book, there are four women of note– the ex-wife Mason still has a thing for and who isn’t an angel; the Pedi-cab driver who is a nice, caring blonde, Mason’s biggest fan who has a pretty good cosplay, and Mason’s artist friend who helped get her start.


                The cosplayer is eventually revealed to have mental issues, so female fans are at risk of being crazy; the artist needs to have her job saved and only Mason can do it.  See, she’s about to give birth, and her husband has some shit going out his job.  Which, quite frankly, jerked me out of the book because the description of her husband’s adjunct life makes very little sense, and I say this as an adjunct.  For one, most adjuncts teach in at least colleges/universities.  But I digression.  The ex-wife is revealed to be a baddie and gets murdered.  So that leaves with the romantic interest of a Pedi-cab driver, who really isn’t into the whole con thing and just makes money.  She is on the margins, and she is the only woman without problems or in need of saving.


                So, women don’t belong in fandom is being showcased whether that was Van Lente’s intention or not.  And to be fair, I don’t think it was.  He doesn’t describe women by their tits.


                Perhaps I am too sensitive to it because I feel like I am always on the fringes of fandom.  I tend to prefer the books over the media.  I tend to play more attention to plot.  I have a decidedly feminist bent to how I look at sci-fi and fantasy.


                But still, especially with the treatment of the woman fan, this book just re-enforces the idea of women and fandom not mixing.

                Nice artwork, however.

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