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Search tags: humor-satire
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review 2020-06-02 22:24
Verily, a Great Entertainment
William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope - Jonathan Davis,Marc Thompson,Daniel Davis,January LaVoy,Ian Doescher

"CHORUS:
As our scene to space, so deep and dark,
O’er your imagination we’ll hold sway.
For neither players nor the stage can mark
The great and mighty scene they must portray.
We ask you, let your keen mind’s eye be chief –
Think when we talk of starships, there they be."

 

"LUKE:
Friends, rebels, starfighters, lend me your ears
Wish not we had a single fighter more,
If we are mark’d to die, we are enough
To make our planets proud. But should we win,
We fewer rebels share the greater fame.
We have all sacrific’d unto this cause.
[...]
For with the Force and bravery we win.
O! Great shall be the triumph of that hour
When Empire haughty, vast and powerful
Is fell’d by simple hands of rebels base,
Is shown the might of our good company!
And citizens in Bespin now abed,
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here.
For never shall rebellion see a time
More glori’us then our strong attack today!"

Well, of course Doescher channels the Bard's great speeches, but this is not just parody (of either Shakespeare or Star Wars); it's a cleverly-executed synthesis, transposing the complete screenplay(s) into Shakespearean iambic pentameter -- and somehow managing to remain faithful to both.

 

I am glad that I opted for the audio version, though: Just as Shakespeare's plays are best experienced in performance (and, well, George Lukas wrote movie scripts, not novels), Doescher's synthesis of the two really comes to life when performed.  And I have to give huge kudos to the actors who, while they are clearly having more fun than should be permitted, take the work seriously and give it their full attention, all the way from R2-D2's "beep, squeak, squeeeaak"s (Death of Rats, anyone?) and Han Solo's "hey, I'm just here for the money" attitude to the weightier interactions between Obi-Wan, Luke, Leia, and Darth Vader.  (Interestingly, the total length of Doescher's text also falls squarely within the average range of that of a Shakespearean play.)   I'm not one of those who can do Star Wars marathons, nor will I typically watch more than one play by the Bard at a time, so I don't see myself bingeing on Doescher's syntheses of the two sources. But I'm glad there is more than one of these -- they just may turn out to be the things to turn to when my life needs a bit of brightening up.

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review 2020-04-29 08:38
The Man that Got Away (Constable Twitten Mystery, #2)
The Man That Got Away - Lynne Truss

I'm not an expert, but to me this book and its predecessor is just quintessentially English.  I've been a fan of Truss' non-fiction for years, and always found her writing and wit excellent, and I genuinely enjoyed her first Constable Twitten book A Shot in the Dark. So I snapped up this sequel as soon as I heard about it.  

 

If you've ever watched Yes, Minster, or Black Adder, or even Benny Hill, and laughed, you may enjoy this mystery series.  But you absolutely have to suspend disbelief because there's a lot of silliness and dry mockery; the reward is not only the chance to be amused in a time of little amusement, but an impressive, intricately plotted mystery.  There were so many balls in the air, and Truss kept them all up there without any apparent effort or stumbling.  It started slow for me, but it gained momentum as this complexity revealed itself.  

 

A lot of fun and I remain a big fan of Truss.  

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review 2019-12-31 06:35
Look Alive Twenty-five (Stephanie Plum, #25)
Look Alive Twenty-Five - Janet Evanovich

I knew my slump was abysmal when it took me two weeks to finish this book.  I'm still slumping big time, but at least I managed to finish it before the end of the year.  I'm marking this as an accomplishment, as my attention span is worse than Lula's at the moment.

 

Speaking of Lula, she was my only irritant in this book; her sandwich making 'genius' stretched the boundaries of believability more than her wardrobe usually does, and speaking of her wardrobe, kudos to Evanovich for making me laugh out loud - hard - with the scene in the deli where Lula's fashion choices prove incompatible with waitressing.  I haven't laughed that hard since Grandma Mazur shot the turkey.

 

Otherwise, it was a standard Plum novel, albeit with more Ranger time, which I appreciated.  Wulf from the between the numbers novels played a weird cameo part, and the book ended in something of a cliffhanger/lead-in to book 26, which is something new for Evanovich's novels.  I tend to dislike these in general, though not enough to get het up about it.

 

Sad to say this will realistically be my last read for the year 2019, ::sniffle::.

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review 2019-12-26 09:39
Owl be Home for Christmas (Meg Langslow, #26)
Owl Be Home For Christmas - Donna Andrews

This was the only Christmas story I read this year, and I started it just as everything started going pear shaped in RL, so it took me forever to read it.  I know this is a 'me' problem, but the longer it takes me to finish a book, the more scattered the story feels to me, so this entry by one of my favorite current authors got short shrift from me this year.  Still, it was good; the mystery was well constructed and the holiday spirit was high.  The Christmas dinner almost made me misty eyed and made me love Donna Andrews as an author just a little bit more than I already did.

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review 2019-12-25 16:18
Bloody Stupid Johnson
Hogfather (Discworld, #20) - Terry Pratchett

"'It's a bathroom,' said Ridcully.  'You are all acting as if it's some kind of a torture chamber.'

'A bathroom,' said the Dean, 'designed by Bloody Stupid Johnson.  Archchancellor Weatherwax only used it once and then had it sealed up!  Mustrum, I beg you to reconsider!  It's a Johnson!'

There was something of a pause, because even Ridcully had to adjust his mind around this.

The late (or at least severely delayed) Bergholt Stuttley Johnson was generally recognized as the worst inventor in the world, yet in a very specialized sense.  Merely bad inventors made things that failed to operate.  He wasn't among these small fry.  Any fool could make something that did absolutely nothing when you pressed the button.  He scorned such fumble-fingered amateurs.  Everything he built worked.  It just didn't do what it said on the box.  If you wanted a small ground-to-air missile, you asked Johnson to design an ornamental fountain.  It amounted to pretty much the same thing.  But this never discouraged him, or the morbid curiosity of his clients.  Music, landscape, gardening, architecture -- there was no start to his talents.

Nevertheless, it was a little bit  surprising to find that Bloody Stupid had turned to bathroom design.  But, as Ridcully said, it was known that he had designed and built several large musical organs and, when you got right down to it, it was all just plumbing, wasn't it?"

Somehow, this read slightly differently this year.  I mean, I know it's supposed to be punning Leonardo da Vinci, but please ... B.S. Johnson?!

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