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review 2017-11-14 10:13
Überbewertet
American Gods - Neil Gaiman

Mein erstes Date mit Neil Gaiman wollte ich ursprünglich mit „Neverwhere“ bestreiten. Jahrelang schlich ich um den populären Fantasy-Autor, der eng mit Terry Pratchett befreundet war, herum. Ich hatte Respekt vor seinem Ruf und traute mich einfach nicht, ihn kennenzulernen. Dann sahen der Lieblingsmensch und ich den Trailer zur Amazon-Serie „American Gods“. Ich wusste, dass es sich dabei um die Verfilmung von Gaimans gleichnamigen Roman handelt und als der Lieblingsmensch äußerte, dass er der Serie eine Chance geben wollte, entschied ich spontan, zuerst das Buch lesen zu wollen. Mein erstes Date mit Gaiman sollte nicht länger „Neverwhere“ sein. Es sollte „American Gods“ sein.

 

Nach 3 trostlosen Jahren im Gefängnis wünscht sich Shadow nur noch eines: er möchte nach Hause, zu seiner Ehefrau Laura. Als ihn der Gefängnisdirektor in sein Büro bestellt, ahnt er, dass ihn schlechte Nachrichten erwarten. Betäubt lauscht er den Worten des Direktors, der ihm mitteilt, dass Laura bei einem schrecklichen Autounfall ums Leben kam. Er wird verfrüht entlassen, um an ihrer Beerdigung teilnehmen zu können. Von einem surrealen Gefühl der Unwirklichkeit begleitet besteigt er ein Flugzeug, das ihn an einen Ort bringen soll, der nicht länger sein Zuhause ist. Neben ihm sitzt ein gut gekleideter älterer Herr. Er stellt sich als Mr. Wednesday vor. Obwohl sie sich gerade erst kennenlernen, weiß er Dinge über Shadow, die er unmöglich wissen kann und bietet ihm einen Job an. Shadow findet ihn seltsam, doch er hat kein Leben, zu dem er zurückkehren könnte. Er hat nichts zu verlieren. Er schlägt ein, unwissend, dass er schon bald in einen kosmischen Sturm hineingezogen werden wird. Um sich zu schützen, muss Shadow den Funken wiederfinden, der mit Laura starb: seinen Glauben.

 

Warum schreibt ein Brite ein Buch über die Götter der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, nachdem er zum Zeitpunkt dessen Erscheinens bereits selbst seit 9 Jahren in den USA lebte? Welche Mission verfolgt er? Welche Botschaft möchte er vermitteln? Ich denke nicht, dass ich „American Gods“ durchschaut habe, denn ich finde keine Antworten auf diese Fragen. Neil Gaiman wollte mir mit diesem Roman etwas sagen, dessen bin ich fest überzeugt. Er schrieb „American Gods“ nicht ausschließlich zur Unterhaltung seiner Leser_innen. Grübele ich über seine Motivation nach, taucht in meinem Kopf das Wort „Identität“ auf, doch es schwebt frei in meinen Gedanken herum, ohne Anker, ohne Begründung, ohne Erklärung. Ich vermute, dass es in der Tiefe dieses Buches um die Identität der USA geht, aber ich kann meinen Finger nicht darauflegen, welche Aussage Gaiman diesbezüglich tätigt. Ich empfand „American Gods“ als irritierend und verwirrend, weil ich all die kryptischen Untertöne der Geschichte nicht zu deuten wusste. Ich hatte das Gefühl, enorm viel zu verpassen und gar nicht allen Details die nötige Aufmerksamkeit schenken zu können. Ich fand nicht in den Rhythmus des Buches und musste mich nach jeder Lesepause wieder neu einfinden. Ich denke, worauf Neil Gaiman abzielte, ist ein Roman mehrerer sich überlappender Ebenen. Leider schätze ich, dass ich dessen Kern, die Ebene, die alle anderen verbindet, nicht begriffen habe. Daher begleitet mich seit der Lektüre ein Gefühl diffuser Ratlosigkeit, obwohl ich den offensichtlichen Grundgedanken der Geschichte durchaus interessant fand. Der sympathische Protagonist Shadow, dessen Funktion und Rolle undurchsichtig bleiben, gerät zwischen die Fronten eines Krieges der Götter um den Glauben des amerikanischen Volkes. Anhand von ergreifend geschilderten Einzelschicksalen, die betonen, dass Glaube und Leid Partner sind, erfahren die Leser_innen, dass die alten Götter von Siedlern verschiedener Epochen in die Neue Welt gebracht wurden. Der Glaube der Menschen belebte sie; Opfer, die in ihren Namen erbracht wurden, verliehen ihnen Macht und Substanz. Unglücklicherweise vergaßen die Gläubigen über die Jahrhunderte jedoch die Gebräuche ihrer alten Heimat, womit auch ihre Götter Macht einbüßten oder sogar ganz verschwanden. Nun kämpfen die Götter um die letzten religiösen Almosen, die die USA auszugeben bereit ist; erschleichen und ergaunern sich unbewusste Anbetungen und Preisungen. Aus allmächtigen Wesen wurden verblasste, bedauernswerte Bittsteller, die von der Schnelllebigkeit der Moderne überholt werden. Auf diese Weise beleuchtet Neil Gaiman die Beziehung zwischen Göttern und Menschen von einem spannenden Blickwinkel aus: die wahre Macht liegt nicht bei den Göttern. Sie liegt bei den Gläubigen. Was ist ein Gott ohne Anhänger_innen? Überflüssig. Ihre tragische Abhängigkeit von den Menschen zwingt sie, die Konfrontation zu suchen, weil die USA einfach nicht genug Raum für alle bieten. Ein Land abenteuerlicher geografischer Weite – doch spirituell ein Stecknadelkopf.

 

Meiner Ansicht nach ist „American Gods“ überbewertet. Es ist ein faszinierendes Buch, das eine ungewöhnliche Geschichte erzählt, aber das Meisterwerk, das mir von zahlreichen Lobpreisungen versprochen wurde, kann ich darin nicht erkennen. Das Konzept der vom Glauben abhängigen Götter war mir bereits durch niemand geringeren als Terry Pratchett bekannt, der sich weitaus früher mit diesem fesselnden Gedankenspiel auseinandersetzte. Neil Gaiman versäumte es, mir nachvollziehbar den größeren Rahmen seines Romans zu vermitteln, sodass ich für all die leisen Untertöne und Bedeutungen zwischen den Zeilen taub und blind blieb. Wahrscheinlich gingen viele Anspielungen unbeachtet an mir vorbei. Ich weiß einfach nicht, was er mir sagen wollte und wartete während der gesamten Lektüre auf die große Erleuchtung, die sich niemals einstellte. Ich empfinde ein Schulterzucken. Vielleicht habe ich mit der Serie mehr Glück. Vielleicht helfen mir bewegte Bilder, zu verstehen, worauf er hinauswollte. Vielleicht hätte ich aber auch meinem Entschluss, zuerst „Neverwhere“ zu lesen, treu bleiben sollen.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/neil-gaiman-american-gods
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review 2016-10-02 15:50
Book Review: Explorations: Through the Wormhole
Explorations: Through the Wormhole - Shellie Horst,Rosie Oilver,PJ Strebor,PP Corcoran,Jo Zebedee,Josh Hayes,Chris Guillory,Ralph Kern,Thaddeus White,Jacob Cooper,Charlie Pulsipher,Richard Fox,Stephen Palmer,Stephen Moss

*I was offered a copy of this book from the author or publisher for review.

A book full of wormhole stories. Each is different in the worlds they create and characters that interact. There is a story here for everyone.

After each story is a quick interview with the author. One question is on where they got the spark of an idea for the story. Nice to meet the authors this way in the book. Especially if they are new to you.

The Challenge by Ralph Kern
Captain Elaine Harmon-Sykes flies the Olympus through the newly appeared wormhole, the first to investigate. Working to learn more of the worlds and the wormhole from the other side, the wormhole starts to fade. Will they make it out in time?

This story feels relatable to what we have in the way of technology now, not like Star Trek or super advanced technologies. Which makes it easy to understand and visualize things.

The story was good. I liked that we also got to see 400 years later. This future vision gave the story the feel of conclusion.


Through Glassy Eyes by P.P. Corcoran
Professor Chris Kane is working back on Earth, after the wormhole closed. He's made a great discovery that could rocket human and machine interface into existence. Wetware.

This story gives us a glimpse of over two years of meetings with Chris on his creation and launch of Wetware. And there is a complication in the end.

This was a good story but not what I expected in this book, especially with the title. I had thought all stories would be about space and adventures on the other side of the wormhole. This one was not about going through a wormhole. It's only connection was to the first story, and the wormhole closing on the Earth side, then it dove into a story on human technology that's the next evolution in human and machine interfacing.

Here, Then, Forever by Chris Guillory
Aliza volunteered for this mission. It's a one way mission, to fire the item into Khonsu, the wormhole, to keep it stable and from closing.

I really liked this one. The beginning caught my attention, though the transition to memory felt unclear until after I read it. Where Aliza ends up feels like a science fiction fantasy story. And was something I totally enjoyed!

In a wide rounded way it felt as a reminder of Alice in Wonderland.


AI Deniers by Rosie Oliver
Melrika headed out into space to fix the droid, but upon touching it found herself in the future and a different part of space. Through an unknown wormhole she had gone.

When Melrika is found and brought back to the world she learns she's rich, and many want her money. People will work for her or kidnap her for it. But the wildest thing is the way of the world now. She recovers in the hospital then sent to a recovery center to gradually bring her into the world of technology and living now. Things have drastically changed since her time. The recovery center had me thinking of a rotating stage of eras she would move through to gradually get use to the technology as it expands. Though some people never move past certain years.

While in the hospital and at her recovery center she sees snipits of the news, which we get to read, on the Al Denier.

There is a reason she has so much money, and why someone attempts to kidnap her. That we learn in the end.

I felt like there was a lot to this story and world and this short format was too compact with information. To much in one place.


Flawed Perspective by PJ Strebor
His ship comes out of the wormhole 64,000 light years away. They expected to only be 20,000 light years from Earth when entered the wormhole. The mission, find a planet suitable to sustain human habitation.

Oh how easily someone's views and ideas start to sway from the path with events and options before them. I really liked this take on this story. Captain Stonehaven is on a peace mission, but becomes the policing of peace in space when he hears of a bullying race. But could he become the bully with his reactions?

I liked this stories format. We have movement and reason to the characters, and a dilemma to get through. The type of technology here reminds me of the Star Trek feel, which I do enjoy.


The Lost Colony by Josh Hayes
Unscheduled use of wormholes carry a hefty fine with the STA, if you are caught. Captain Hale plans to not get caught. He has a passenger who's paid him to jump. Captain Hale's ship is pulled further than expected, to discover the key to the wormholes.

Off the bat I enjoyed Ears and Captain Hale's chatting, more banter. Even Kenzie and Lincoln too! There was great chemistry with the characters on this ship. The technology and connection between tech in body and the ship and how it works is a cool addition that makes this story and plot.

I was left wondering, what if Earth was the colony... Well done.


The Aeon Incident by Richard Fox
Lyon and his crew are sent through the wormhole to inspect the observation shuttle that was watching over Aeon, and now are all dead. What happened from a race that's not far into technology yet can get to a shuttle?

This is sort of like a little mystery and action story. Lyon finds the doctor from the station is alive and held captive. He's determined to get the doctor back, and find out what happened here.

I liked the story. Lyon acts differently than expected in a crucial moment, but it seems to work!


The Doors of the Temple by Jo Zebedee
The war has left Earth battered and destroyed. A new wormhole opens. But it's different, one way in, two ways out. Coulter volunteered for this mission.

This story has a mythical feel to the reasoning for going through the wormhole. What they find on the other side explains, as does the passenger from Trinity College in Dublin. To save those left on Earth.

This felt like a fast read. There is a reason to the wormhole and something more to the world than some expected.


Dead Weight by Thaddeus White
Guan will not surrender his ship. Even though they are damaged and limping along, he finds a way to make it to the wormhole and escape. But when he comes out on the other side, the ship is in need of desperate repairs. They have to stop to fix it, and may not have enough supplies for all aboard.

We start in with action. The crew interact under stress and personalities shine. I like the daring and determined action, but in being this there are deadly consequences too. It's a story that kept me reading.

It seems there could be someone on the ship killing people, so they can survive longer...


Webbed Prisms by Charlie Pulsipher
T'en has powers he shouldn't with being of a slave stature. But he sees the ripples of the Nexus from his world, and watches it nightly.

After 19 years of applications at Omniscient, AJ's dream of working with wormholes comes true. His synthetic arm making the job a bit easier as he's already wired to the interface of Omniscient's technology. Kendra works with AJ and create a strong bond together.

This is a bit different in how AJ is able to travel into space. It's interesting. And he has a bit of a different way in which he works "with" the wormhole, like going through it.

This is a blend of computer science fiction tech and wormholes.

We get this story from two sides of the wormhole, AJ and T'en. We see where AJ and Kendra are coming from and where they are going.


Anathema by Jacob Cooper
A supply run through the wormhole. Through the wormhole, to the station, then home. However when they come through there is debris everywhere and hitting their ship.

This story has many elements to it. We have haulers coming through behind Everson's ship that need protected from the floating debris. Then we get a signal that they need to investigate. Possible survivors? But we also have some elements that feel supernatural in a sense, though it's done by technology. One example is the elemental, he's of science fiction creation but has a paranormal feel to him. Even the Captains "knowing".

The characters all feel like a crew. They have their connections and dislikes in each other but keep working. It all works together to create the environment.

This story works the story and characters to the end. I enjoyed it.


When the Skies Open by Shellie Horst
I ended up giving up on this one. There are hints to the world and characters, but I found it harder to keep it all in line and pieced together. Others might like this, but the style didn't work for me.


A Second Infection by Stephen Palmer
I think my interpretation of this story was wrong. I just couldn't visualize what Seneschal Smith went through. I passed onto the next story.


Personal Growth by Stephen Moss
The wormhole was thought to be normal. The crew was thought by citizens to never return, like others in different wormholes. This one turns out special, it grows in size as they near it, but now they can't turn around. They will find the works of the wormholes on the other side.

This is the longest story in the book.

This is different. I like it but sometimes I struggled understanding the world or way of things to adapt to space needs. Once we get through the wormhole though, things iron out and I understood clearly what's happening.

I enjoyed the ending of this one. Neat. It might be a one way trip, but seems worth it.

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review 2016-08-30 10:10
Winner Takes All (Champion Valley) - Erin Kern

Awwww!!!

 

I really enjoyed this clean romance. It's "clean" in the sense that there are no love scenes, only kissing, but bad words are perfectly sprinkled throughout, which makes the narration and dialogue very realistic.

 

Although, I will say, those kissing scenes really sizzled!

 

The book deals with some pretty heavy issues that many people face every day, and reading how Annabelle helped Blake work through his was very endearing.

 

I liked Blake from the beginning. He was brooding and had a tough outer shell that he used to try to push people away.

 

Good thing Annabelle is about as stubborn as they come. Their interactions were very entertaining, and the tension that built between them was absolutely delicious!

 

I flew through this book. It was well-written and a very easy and enjoyable read. I'd love to read more books by Erin Kern!

 

***I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***

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review 2016-08-30 08:48
Book Review: Winner Takes All by Erin Kern
Winner Takes All (Champion Valley) - Erin Kern

Blake Carpenter has fallen from grace. Previously at the top of his game, a drug scandal and busted knee quickly ended his professional football career and sent him packing to a Colorado town. There he must try to build back up the public image he lost and coach a losing high school football team to the play offs. With everything riding on whether he can lead his new team to victory, Blake doesn’t have time for distractions. In particular, a distraction named Annabelle Turner.

 

Annabelle is a physical therapist and must have everything her way. She’s headstrong and passionate, especially about the team that she works with. When the new coach arrives and is pushing the boys to new levels, her concern for the team is heightened, along with the feelings she’d swore she’d never feel for anyone again. Though she is attracted to Blake, she knows that nothing will come from the heat that she feels when she is near him. He doesn’t do serious relationships, and she doesn’t do casual flings.

 

What I absolutely loved about this book was that instead of rushing into a relationship, the characters waited. The author enhances the characters with each passing chapter, chipping away at the superficial elements and adding to their true selves rather than shoving them into bed. It allowed me to get to know the characters and I was invested in them and eager to see where they would go, whether that was down the same path or on individual journeys.

 

Winner Takes All is a true must read romance novel with heart.

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review 2016-08-02 02:11
Winner Takes All
Winner Takes All (Champion Valley) - Erin Kern

Blake is looking to finally have his second chance.  He has struggled with how his promising football career came to an end, but now he is ready to start living a little more.  And that means taking on the task of coaching the football team that hasn't seen the playoffs, much less a winning season, since he was a high school senior.  The pressure is on since not everyone is on board with a disgraced former player coaching teenagers.

 

Annabelle is dedicated, loyal, and selflessly giving.  She also needs to be in control and has no problem with telling others what they should be doing.  She's determined to take care of her mom and protect her heart after her divorce.  As a physical therapist, she pushes her clients to do what is best for their health regardless of what they want.

 

While Annabelle and Blake strike enough sparks off each other that everyone notices, Blake is not willing to allow anyone else to have say in how he coaches his players.  As the teams' physical therapist, Annabelle refuses to back down and challenges Blake as often as she needs to, on and off the field.  They challenge each other as they see more than the other is comfortable with.  Even though they want different things out of a relationship, they can't stay away from each other, nor do they really want to.

 

Winner Takes All is a fun, flirty, sexy romance.  Erin Kern created engaging characters and built an interesting world in Champion Valley.  Ms. Kern has a great start to a new series with sexy, alpha males, strong women, and some eccentric secondary characters.  Fans of Shannon Stacey would enjoy Winner Takes All.

 

*Advanced copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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