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review 2017-11-23 12:57
Captives of the Flame
Captives of the Flame (The Fall of the Towers, #1) - Samuel R. Delany

by Samuel R. Delany

 

Typical early 1960s science fiction.

 

"The Empire of Toromon had finally declared war. The attacks on its planes had been nothing compared to the final insult—the kidnapping of the Crown Prince. The enemy must be dealt with, and when they were, Toromon would be able to get back on its economic feet."

 

Add to this a radiation barrier that leaves a people isolated and an enemy called the Lord of the Flames and you're set up for epic battles and other fun geeky stuff.

 

This is considered the first of a trilogy, but quite honestly it didn't impress me enough to continue. None of the characters stood out for me and apart from an interesting contrast between the rich and the poor, the plot was fairly generic. There's also a mock-Arthurian Fantasy element in the young prince being kidnapped to be trained among the forest guardians to be a good king so the elements of a good story are there, but I found my mind wandering as I read. Somehow it just didn't grip me.

 

Very much a thing of its time.

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review 2017-11-18 16:09
Too much Jargon plus a rape plot.
Mars Girls - Mary A. Turzillo

I got this book from Apex via their Apex Minions program in trade for an honest review

Diversity: Kapera is black as is her parents. There are a few side character that are Asian? Maybe. It's hard to tell their true culture as the author seems to have mashed this culture with that culture.

The first thing that put me off to this book is the piles of jargon they dump on you. We have hab-rat, mears, cuys, kweez and a ton others. While there is some explanation for some of them, you forget it by the time the next one has come up.

Another thing that majorly put me off was the rape part later on in the book. It's basically "we have to rape you to repopulate stuff". This is due to the Facer religion who have "face bindis" on their heads. Not sure if it's cultural appropriation however it made me face palm. A face bindi is a tiny face on the head that usually shows the true emotions of the wearer.
So these Facers basically want to go back to Earth and start some colony or something, I was confused about where they were going but it was going to take 100 years to get there.

So of course Nanoannie, one of our heroes, has to be forcibly married to someone so he can rape her and she can get pregnant. Fortunately she's married to a guy that doesn't have an interest in her as she has no interest in him. However it implies both with the men leering at the unwilling women in the church and later with just mentioning the other women, that they are raped.
I should mention that Nanoannie is around 14 years old. Yeah.

Next is Kapera. She has leukemia so a good portion of the book she is unconscious. The only black character with a major speaking part is devoiced for a good portion of the book. I rally can't recall why she's important to the book other than having a micro disc and her relationship to her parents who are the research scientists.
She's also not "African" but the jargon term "Kiafrican" which is not explained how that came about.

Overall I'm not really sure what the major plot is as the duo is kidnapped and escapes capture many times.  It really isn't until the middle of the book the plot seems to appear. Given the many names and corporation name drops it's really hard to follow who is with who.

What really killed any final interest in this is when Nanoannie has Kapera wrist-com and types out in bad phoneticish words. It was hard to read, and with the "hic" when she has hiccups in the cuy ball every line,I just stopped caring.

It doesn't really strongly establish it's characters from the start so trying to remember what's going on is hard. It also like to borrow and mash up different cultures and has a good portion that is a rape plot.

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text 2017-11-12 19:41
Square 16: I've read 9%.
Captives of the Flame (The Fall of the Towers, #1) - Samuel R. Delany

"Read a book written by an author of African descent"

 

 

I don't usually note the racial group or ethnicity of an author. So, after checking books I already planned to read and looking at author pages, I actually Googled authors of African descent. Lucky for me, this author had been recommended in a science fiction group and I was able to get a copy from gutenberg. So far the book seems typical of the era. Not bad really.

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-09 11:58
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 1 - Calan Gaeaf: Nemo Granny & Greebo Impune Lacessit*
Carpe Jugulum (Discworld, #23) - Terry Pratchett

Well, I guess that's what happens if you p*$$ off Granny Weatherwax (however unintentionally) and make her take to a cave in the Lancrastian mountains ... next thing you know, you have vampires moving into the castle, and into the kingdom as such.  And since they were foolishly invited in to begin with, they're near impossible to get rid of again; and let's face it, Nanny Ogg, Magrat and Agnes between them might be witches; they might even meet the requirements of a proper coven now that Magrat is a mother, but they aren't Granny, not even with all their forces combined.  (Perdita, now ...) 

So all of Lancre and the reader have to jointly suffer for well over half a book before Granny decides she's let things go on for long enough and finally makes an appearance.  And of course she ultimately saves the day, even if only by the skin of her neck and with the assistance of inner voices, a few drops of blood, the general and specific allure of tea, and a meak priest discovering his inner Brutha just in time.  (Of course it also comes in handy that somebody thought of bringing a double-edged axe, and that some vampires of the older generation still have a sense of tradition left.)

(spoiler show)

 

Nice going, at any rate, on the debunking of what "everybody knows who knows anything about vampires" (including the vampires themselves, who however just don't learn ... or didn't until this new breed came around, that is), and big grins all around for the co-starring Wee Free Men.  My favorite moment, however, came courtesy of Greebo -- who by the way also has decidedly too little stage time -- with the incidental appearance of an otherwise entirely negligable vampire named Vargo:

"As the eye of narrative drew back from the coffin on its stand, two things happened.  One happened comparatively slowly, and this was Vargo's realization that he never recalled the coffin having a pillow before.

 

The other was Greebo deciding that he was as mad as hell and wasn't going to take it any more.  He'd been shaken around in the wheely thing, and then sat on by Nanny, and he was angry about that because he knew, in a dim, animal way, that scratching Nanny might be the single most stupid thing he could do in the whole world, since no one else was prepared to feed him.  This hadn't helped his temper.

 

Then he'd encountered a dog, which had triled to lick him.  He'd scratched and bitten it a few times, but this had had no effect apart from encouraging it to try to be more friendly.

 

He'd finally found a comfy resting place and had curled up into a ball, and now someone was using him as a cushion --

 

There wasn't a great deal of noise.  The coffin rocked a few times, and then pivoted around.

 

Greebo sheathed his claws and went back to sleep."

(I think someone else included this in their review recently, too, but it's just too good not to do it again -- all the more since Greebo, overall, really is as woefully long absent as Granny in this one.)

 

Read for Square 1 of the 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, Calan Gaeaf: "Read any of your planned Halloween Bingo books that you didn’t end up reading after all, involving witches, hags, or various types of witchcraft."

 

* "Don't mess with Granny and Greebo."  Or somewhat more literally: "Nobody messes with Granny and Greebo unpunished."

 

Merken

Merken

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photo 2017-11-09 03:17
Imaginary Friends...
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