Monday, January 28, 2019

Reader's Diary #2002- Mary Robinette Kowal: Evil Robot Monkey

I kind of love Mary Robinette Kowal's short story "Evil Robot Monkey" as it presents a bit of a twist from the Planet of the Apes scenario in which intelligent apes behave like humans. The chimp in this story has indeed undergone a procedure to increase his intelligence, but he ain't no human. This puts him in a bit of a no man's land between the two species and therefore quite a compelling story. There's even a bit of a friendship angle that's expertly developed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Reader's Diary #2001- William Shakespeare (writer), Julien Choy (art): Macbeth

Graphic novel adaptations of scripts seems like a match made in heaven. The dialogue is already there and the artist gets to create visuals that arguably couldn't even be accomplished on a stage.

For a Shakespeare adaptation that lends itself to adaptation that is likely better understood by readers. In this case the original and full text of Shakespeare is kept in tact, so I still wouldn't suggest it's easy, but the visuals by Julien Chan certainly help clarify much of what is going on. I cannot say that I was particularly fond of the character looks and skilled actors would certainly be better adept at conveying emotion, but I did quite like the backgrounds and scenes where metaphorical elements and allusions were drawn out.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Reader's Diary #2001- Matt Blackwood: Blink

Matt Blackwood's short story "Blink" deals with a reporter covering a protest and while it's an intense, fast scene, there's still time for him to have a bit of an existential, professional crisis. He's reflecting on what got him into the profession, the ethics, and then he has an epiphany which guides his next move.

Not being a reporter I cannot state whether or not it's an accurate reflection of the career, but it certainly felt real and of course, many of us even in other professions go through such doubts and moments of reflection.

It's a powerful, smartly paced piece.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Reader's Diary #2000- Shea Fontana (writer), Yancey Labat (artist): DC SuperHero Girls Search for Atlantis

Late last year I read and wasn't greatly impressed with Shea Fontana and Yancey's DC SuperHero Girls: Date with Disaster but I've given the series another shot with Search for Atlantis.

I still didn't love it but it was better. The story for one was tighter, more focused. This time around Atlantis has gone missing and the girls must find it while a subplot involving jealousy and friendship plays out. Once again I enjoyed reading about some characters I'm not greatly familiar with (Braniac, Raven, Beast Boy, and Miss Martian in particular) and, unfortunately, I haven't come around on Labat's Bratz-doll styled characters. It was entertaining though.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Reader's Post #1999- Arun Budhathoki: Fighting the Cold

Arun Budhathoki's short story "Fighting the Cold" begins on a very negative note: "This village makes me sick."

But it's powerful and a good indication of the strong voice employed throughout. Before long, however, we see scattered hints that this may not be his usual demeanour but rather a man spiraling down after a tragedy.

Thankfully(?) there is a reprieve toward the end.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Reader's Diary #1998- Peter J. Tomasi (writer), Sara Duvall (artist): The Bridge

I went to see and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge when I visited New York so it's maybe hypocritical of me to suppose that a book about the creators of the bridge would be boring. In the end, it wasn't so bad.

It certainly started off meeting my negative expectations but largely that was due to the original bridge designer's rather uptight personality and his restrained relationship with his son. However, once he died and his son took over and also married a woman who was a lot more personable, the book seemed to come alive a little more. There's some excitement and danger, especially when workers started dying or getting ill due to accidents and air pressure, but I've read books about mining, about the building of the Basilica in St. John's, and so the stories weren't completely unique or unexpected.

The art is bright and crisp, reminding me of 80s/90s era Disney or perhaps closer to home, Scott Chantler's work.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Reader's Diary #1997- Alan Doyle: Where I Belong

I found it remarkable reading Alan Doyle's memoir Where I Belong that I'd find the life of a Catholic, musician and hockey player so similar to my own. In some spots, I'd suggest that if I ever feel the need to write my own memoirs, for some chapters I can simply refer people to his book.

Most similarities came from the fact that we both lived in outport Newfoundland as children. He cut cod tongues, I cut cut cod tongues. He picked capelin, I picked capelin. His father would pseudo-scald him with his hot tea spoon, my father would pseudo-scald me with a hot tea spoon.

Of course similarities aside, it's also wonderful read and even those with remarkably different upbringings will likely find it engaging and enlightening. Doyle has a witty charm that would likely appeal to readers of all stripes.

Where I Belong, subtitled Small Town to Great Big Sea ends just as he's about to find success with the folk-rock band that made him famous. Given how much I enjoyed this one, I'll definitely give his follow-up A Newfoundlander in Canada a go.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Reader's Diary #1996- Jerome Stueart: For a Look at New Worlds

Jerome Stueart's short "For a Look at New Worlds" was an instantly engaging piece of sci-fi with a well-developed and entirely plausible world involving Mars colonization and holograms. Plus it has a rich emotional story preventing it from being all bells and whistles. I did wonder how others might feel about a character's comparison to her personal situation to the bombing of Hiroshima: is this akin to ill-advised comparison of unlikeable people to Hitler? Or is it fair game/ appropriate in this story?