Maybe Tomorrow

I'd start a revolution

If I could get up in the morning

 

~Aimee Allen

My Little Pony: Pony Tales Volume 1 (My Little Pony - Brenda Hickley, Ryan Lindsay, Tony Fleecs, Andy Price, Thom Zahler, Bobby Curnow, Ben Bates, Amy Mebberson, Ted Anderson, Katie Cook, Barbara Kesel I did say I wanted more Pinkie Pie and I definitely got lots with an entire story dedicated just to her - along with stories spotlighting each of the mane (lol) team. The moral of each story comes down to friendship, as per the apparent requirements of a series with "friendship is magic" as the subtitle. Unlike the other MLP comics I've read with the girls, the ponies don't use magical friendship to solve these problems. They use actual friendship, from Rarity helping out the hippies to Twilight Sparkle inspiring a recluse.

Once again a fun time spent reading this with my daughters. The MLP comics have proven to be fun for all three of us.
East of West, Vol. 1: The Promise - Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta The horsemen of the apocalypse are reborn only to find that one of their number is missing. Where oh where could Death be? Well, he's busy wreaking unholy vengeance on those who wronged him of course! But this isn't simply a tale of brutal violence. Death has a very valid purpose to his onslaught, and the revelation and the heights that revelation takes the story to is one of the amazing things about this graphic novel. Meanwhile, the remaining horsemen, in the form of very frightening children, are searching for him, and the Chosen are working to bring about the end of the world, as promised in The Message.

This is an alternate history that deviates 'round about the US civil war because of The Message and its contents. Initially, things are wonderfully unclear, with the mystery slowly teased out with some truly shocking reveals, none of which I could possibly expect. Needless to say, I am in definite need of more...
Spera Volume 3 - Josh Tierney Spera began as an online comic that is now on its third volume. It tells the story of two exiled princesses, Lono and Pira, who've escaped into the world of Spera. Working as adventurers, the friends and their companions, a cat, a fire spirit and Adel, go where adventure takes them! Adventure involves being trailed by members of Lono's court who blame her for betraying and abandoning her people in the face of war, and later, in trying to reignite a fire spirit.

The princesses initially seem like the typical princess and the princess who wants to defy the princess stereotypes, but there is so much more to them. My daughters and I were smitten/grossed out when the princesses attempted to eat bugs and anything else they could find like proper adventurers. Their quests play on RPGs and the entire main story is filled with a lot of quirkiness and heart. The girls and I really enjoyed reading this and think this would make a fascinating cartoon.
Rebels: Star Wars - Martha Wells Speculation continues to fly as news and rumours permeate the internet about the new Star Wars trilogy. Meanwhile, the books and comics have suspiciously returned to the past. The Star Wars expanded universe is vaaaaaaast, yet, surprisingly, very little of it has explored the ins and outs around the original trilogy.

Razor's Edge takes place shortly after A New Hope with the rebels in desperate need of a new secret base. Leaked information puts their attempt to set up on Hoth in peril, and we find Leia and Han in just such a situation at the beginning of the book when their ship is attacked by Imperials. But there is more to the aftermath of A New Hope that this book addresses: Remember that planet Darth Vader and Moff Tarkin blew up in A New Hope? Well that was Leia Organa's home and she has taken its destruction entirely onto her own shoulders. And there happen to be other survivors who deal with the destruction of their world in various ways.

That isn't to say this entire story is about Leia and the displaced Alderaanians going to PTSD meetings, but the weight of their despair remains a strong aspect of the story that the movies didn't have time to address. Leia is more than irked when she discovers an Alderaanian ship has opted to go pirate rather than join the Alliance and is drawn into conflict with its captain, Metara.

With Leia as the focus, we are reminded of just how strong of a character she is. She is more than just a symbol to her people. She is a born leader and it's implied that she sometimes has to fight harder with the higher ups to be allowed to lead as opposed to simply being the Alliance poster girl. Proving herself to them means all the more to a perfectionist who hates making mistakes. Her wisdom, intelligence, sense of responsibility, courage and stoicism sometimes make it difficult to remember that she's barely into her twenties.

Wells introduces some interesting new species, something I expected after reading her world and culture building talents in [b:The Cloud Roads|9461562|The Cloud Roads (Books of the Raksura, #1)|Martha Wells|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1317017378s/9461562.jpg|14346450]. She also introduces several new characters, but they are not much more than devices - red shirts, if you will - who mostly serve as targets for Han's snark. Even Luke, Chewie and the droids play only a minor role. This isn't a bad thing though, with the focus so heavily on Leia and subsequently Han. These two are my original OTP so I was quite happy to spend all this time with them and enjoyed their attempts to not admit their mutual attraction.

Beyond or underlying all of the above is typical good old fashioned Star Wars adventure that should please fans.

With thanks to NetGalley and Del Rey Spectra for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Bandette, Volume 1: Presto! - Colleen Coover, Paul Tobin, Brendan Wright Bandette is a fun, charming Robin Hood-esque criminal who is as much a bane to the police as to the criminals she sometimes helps them apprehend. Bandette is a cat burglar with a love for art and literature but her heart lies with her "urchins," various groups of young people within the city whom she can summon to her aid as the perfect distractions. Everyone but the bad guys and the inspector she continuously foils loves Bandette, including the handsome Danny, whom she elegantly strings along.

This was a cute and campy read that continuously brought a smile to my face. Her banter was cute and I especially appreciated the technical pages at the end describing the process from word to image.
Cyborg 009 - F.J. DeSanto, Bradley Cramp, Shotaro Ishinomori, Stephen Christy, Marcus To, Ian Herring This is a re-imagining of Shotaro Ishinomori's original manga classic. I have not read the original, but this re-imagining seems to hold to the simplistic roots, while updating the story with more modern and mature art. This is about a cyborg named Joe to find his body worked over with technology and no memories of his past. His first test is to kill his predecessors, 001 through 008, but they have plans of their own and take him along on their escape from the evil company seeking to dominate the world with cyborg super soldiers.

This was a good introduction to the major players and plot of good versus evil, adding a bit of emotion and motivation by way of Joe pursuing his life after his memories return. It sets up for a promising story, while paying homage to its source.
Wool Omnibus (Wool, #1-5) - Hugh Howey Wool Omnibus is a collection of novellas that began as a short story that quietly became more popular than the author expected. Since then, Howey has followed through with further stories about the people of this distant, post-apocalyptic dystopia with Shift and finally, Dust. Initially available only in ebook format on Amazon, Wool is now available in print and audiobook, is part of Kindle Worlds and apparently has even been optioned for film. I’m sure some credit goes to Wool #1 being in the right place at the right time and a lot goes to the author’s excellent storytelling and character building. But overall, Wool should serve as motivation for all writers to get on out there and tell your story. You never know what might happen!

Wool begins with the resigned death walk of Sheriff Holston, who is heading outside the silo for “cleaning.” This is the punishment for all those who harbour thoughts of the outside. Ironically, cleaning takes place outside, meaning the criminals actually get their wish. Wrapped in suits that can only protect them from the harsh elements for so long, cleaners are tasked with cleaning the screens to the outside world, reminding everyone inside of its horrors and why no one should ever want to leave the safety of the silo.

I can see why this initial short story captured people’s attention. It is a compelling read filled with questions and emotions and a clear backstory that makes a reader demand more. Fortunately, listening to the complete omnibus meant I didn’t have to wait to meet the other people living within the silo and eventually learn the reason behind Holston’s punishment and that of his wife before him.

One of the really striking things about the Silo Saga is that, unlike many of the other post-apocalyptic stories that I’ve read, it takes place so far into the future that the people within the silo have no idea that there ever was a world outside of their home in the immense underground structure. I liked the way Howey made this evident through little things that we take for granted. Phrases such as “a bull in a China shop” hold immediate meaning for us now, but to the people of the silo, a bull is practically a mythical creature and a china shop would not exist at all. This is symptomatic of the ignorance that the people are kept in in order to protect them from the outside world and subsequently prevent uprisings. Inevitably, information will slip out here and there, and an idea will start to fester and grow.

Hoslton’s death leaves the position of sheriff open and in the next story, the mayor and deputy go on a mission to find the right candidate for the job. Jahns and Marnes are a lovely, elderly couple who are honest and good folk who care for their people and want to do their job well. I loved the way their journey through the many floors brings them closer together, while simultaneously introducing the intricate layers of the silo, complete with its politics, mechanical functions and the lives of the people who live there. Howey has a gift for character building, endearing important characters to you before moving on.

Following the selection of Juliette as the new sheriff, the story settles in with her as the main character as she susses out Holston’s mystery. This inevitably leads to trouble that dominates the rest of the series. Here the focus gradually moves away from the more personal character developments to deal with the new struggles. Other characters and their point of views are introduced, though I didn’t come to care for these characters as much as I did with the previously introduced ones.

By the end of Wool, a whole world is opened up, while the mystery of the past remains, enticing me to learn all there is to know through Shift and Dust.

Finally, In terms of the audiobook, Amanda Sayle did a reasonably good job, however, I had a hard time dealing with her male voices. Some were very annoying and did not do the particular characters justice.

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The Plague Forge - Jason M. Hough The second book of the Dire Earth Cycle, [b:The Exodus Towers|17262145|The Exodus Towers (Dire Earth Cycle, #2)|Jason M. Hough|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1363837314s/17262145.jpg|23858943], ended with a slow, tense burn that continues into The Plague Forge. Skyler Luiken, the main character, now shares the spotlight with Tania Sharma and Samantha Rinn and all are on separate missions to retrieve the last three alien artifacts to complete the puzzle on the alien “Builders” Key Ship. Tania and Skyler’s teams deal with the ever present threat of subhumans and the SUBS disease, while Samantha, within Darwin, must steal the blue artifact from the cold and deadly Grillo and his Jacobites.

Initially, I appreciated the way the Jacobites, a cult based on Jacob’s Ladder, were unobtrusively incorporated into the story. I’m not fond of religious cults as authors often allow them to take up a lot of the plot with preaching and indoctrination. In the previous book, they did play a prominent role, which continued here as the official Big BadTM, but Hough did not bog the story down with their zealotry. The Jacobites and their leader, Grillo, existed as our heroes’ foil, and, while they did attempt to indoctrinate a few people here and there, it was not their prominent function within the plot.

Similarly, the characters of Pablo and Vanessa, Skyler’s new crewmates, served their plot function as efficient soldiers in Skyler’s new crew, but as actual characters, I would have liked to see them be more fleshed out. I never gained a connection with them as I had with Skyler’s original crew, no matter how often Skyler referenced them as “his crew.”

Otherwise, I really liked a lot of Hough’s characters, including some that were not meant to be liked, such as the deplorable Russell Blackfield. I’ve really enjoyed the insight into his character. When he was first introduced, he was the evil despot, but I loved that Hough allowed us to see more of him as the trilogy progressed without merely turning into a bad guy to be destroyed or redeemed. I respect that all the characters were very much flawed and the heroes weren’t necessary likable, while the evil despots weren’t necessarily bad, considering the circumstances. And I loved that Hough was not afraid to kill his babies. No one died needlessly, but it certainly raised the stakes to realize that any of them could die at any time.

As this was the final book in the trilogy, it meant that we finally get the answer to the question that hung over the entire story: What the hell do the Builders want?? Of course the heroes would obtain the three artifacts and of course they would put the puzzle together and meet the Builders, who were already on their way. But when I finally got to the answer, I was shocked by it and by the pithy perfection of its delivery. It offered the closure I needed, while opening an entirely exciting new door. Don’t walk into this expecting any sort of happy ending, considering the devastation the Builders have caused, but Hough left me with a bittersweet offer of hope and forgiveness that surprised me and left me in 2am tears.

With thanks to Netgalley and Del Rey Spectra for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book.

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Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon - Matt Fraction, David Aja, Javier Pulido The best part about this superhero story is that it's not a superhero story. This is about what Clint Barton gets up to when he’s not on the Avengers clock. The opening scene immediately sets the tone with Clint falling from a building, sardonically noting that, unlike almost every one of his teammates, he has no unusual powers or devices that will make such a fall easier to handle. As a result, he ends up severely wounded and the story takes up shortly after, when he is released from the hospital.

There are two reasons to like this book. The first is Hawkeye. This is the perfect introduction to a character I know little about beyond his stoic and limited movie appearance and his fabulous modelling career on the internet. Turns out Barton is a very nice, funny, self-deprecating guy. At one point, he implies that, outside of Captain America’s influence, he might not be as nice as he seems, but his actions throughout speak otherwise, especially in the first issue, which focuses on his recovery, a new pet and his neighbours. Despite his hefty Avengers salary, he lives in a rundown apartment building and frequently hangs out with his neighbours, half-heartedly proclaiming that he is not an Avenger (which is difficult to deny when the helicarrier shows up to give him a lift).

The second reason to like this book is Hawkeye. That is, Kate Bishop, who also claims the moniker as a Young Avenger, granted the title by Captain America himself. After their initial encounter, which is depicted in the issue of Young Avengers Presents included within this volume, the two Hawkeyes become fast friends and Kate appears regularly within the pages. Their relationship is that of a casual dynamic duo where, despite Bishop’s youth, she sometimes seems to be the much older and wiser one, while Barton displays an amusing and endearing recklessness that unsurprisingly gets them both into a lot of trouble. They make a great team and their back and forth banter gave me a lot of smiles.

This volume combines issues one to five of the Hawkeye series, and includes issue six of Young Avengers Presents. I really enjoyed the first three issues and give them five stars, but was a bit disappointed when the art changed for the 2-part story arc called The Tape. Javier Pulido’s art, while good and somewhat similar in style, lacked the more subtle lines and muted feel and colours of David Aja’s issues. There was not nearly enough mauve. The first three issues also featured, in the letters page, suggested listening to enhance your reading pleasure. When I noticed this in the first issue, I made sure to skip to the end of the next to find out what I should be listening to as I enjoyed the story. This feature sadly did not continue.

I was also disappointed in "The Tape" storyline because Maria Hill, Captain America and Nick Fury showed up and sent Barton on a mission. While the story was good and Bishop was involved, it lacked the intimacy and unpredictability that had developed in the first three issues. The appearance of the Avengers felt like an unwelcome intrusion on the private, downtime world of Barton and Bishop.

Finally, the Young Avengers issue served as a useful introduction to the character’s relationship, but I felt it was an unnecessary inclusion that once again intruded on the characters and stories I’d cuddled up with at the beginning of my reading session.

Despite these disappointments, I will still say that I really enjoyed this read and have a whole new appreciation for both characters. I’m sure I can get over these quirks in order to continue with the series.

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Mister Monday  - Garth Nix Twice I picked this book up from the library, and twice I returned it, unable to get much further than Arthur Penhaligon’s step into the mysterious house. However, because I did like the concept behind the Keys to the Kingdom series, I took advantage of the audiobook and finally managed to get through it. As a result, I can’t say I’m overly impressed, but I am intrigued and am not opposed to continuing the series through the full “week.”

This is a story about The Will of the Architect and its attempt to free itself from the hold of the seven days, each of whom hold a key that binds it. When Mister Monday attempts to exploit a loophole in the Will by giving his key to a dying Arthur, his plans are foiled because, with the help of The Will, Arthur does not succumb to his severe asthma after all. Now the keeper of the lesser key, Arthur becomes a target of Monday’s minions and his neighbourhood falls victim to a strange illness. Arthur must venture into the world of The Will to retrieve the greater key from Monday and get rid of the illness.

Nix has many wonderful and unique ways of presenting magic and technology in his stories. In his [b:Abhorsen|334643|Abhorsen (Abhorsen, #3)|Garth Nix|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1266527332s/334643.jpg|2339177] Trilogy, which is where I first came to know the author, necromantic powers were connected to a series of bells. [b:Shade's Children|47626|Shade's Children|Garth Nix|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347024315s/47626.jpg|411263] is technology-based, and [b:A Confusion of Princes|13458013|A Confusion of Princes|Garth Nix|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1336795819s/13458013.jpg|2998126] combines technology and various psionic abilities. In The Keys to the Kingdom, magic is based on time and words have power. In fact, The Will initially appears as words magically printed in the air and the kingdom beyond is heavily focused on anything and everything to do with writing.

This is all very unique, but Nix sometimes goes too far with it by making it too easy for the characters to solve problems with conveniently written in magical plot devices. The deus ex machina mentality is troubling for me as an adult, but as this is aimed at a much younger audience, I can appreciate and accept the fun results.

So why did I have such trouble getting into the book? Perhaps Arthur was the problem. He’s not a particularly interesting character and his motivations are not keenly defined beyond the typical “no I don’t want to be keeper of the key” and “I’m only doing this to save my family etc.” Perhaps my problem had to do with the fact that a number of interesting characters were introduced that seemed poised to accompany Arthur on his journey, but were repeatedly left behind. Dorothy is a pretty dull character on her own. She needed her entourage for support and I think that was my problem here. Too much Arthur, too much Arthur escaping seemingly dire situations with easy magic, and not enough of the interesting supporting characters.

Still, as I said, the concept of the series in interesting and I’ve grown rather curious about what the other days of the week have in store...

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Elfland (Aetherial Tales) - Freda Warrington It’s hard not to judge a book by its cover when the cover is as beautiful as this. Especially when, as you read along, you discover that the imagery isn’t just there merely for aesthetic value, but actually does reflect the story itself.

For me, slipping into Elfland was like overhearing bits of an intriguing conversation. I sort of knew what the conversation was about, and was enticed to learn more as Warrington allowed me into this secret world of Aetherials – fae creatures living along side us in the human world.

The story centres around the Fox family whose lives are intertwined with the cold, sometimes violent members of the Wilder family. Every seven years, the Aetherials gather at Freya’s Crown to re-enter and reconnect with the Spiral on the other side of the Great Gates, but Lawrence Wilder refuses them entry this time, warning them of a great and deadly foe from whom he, as the chosen Gatekeeper, must protect them. Sealing the gates serves as the underlying conflict of the story, with the adult Aetherials angry at Lawrence’s decision, while the younger ones lose their opportunity to truly understand their heritage since they are not allowed to participate in the ritual until they are sixteen. The broken connection to the Spiral also means that the Aetherials will eventually lose their powers and even their memories of being Aetherials at all.

Warrington takes the reader through the lives of these families, mainly seen through Rosie Fox, the main character, but with occasional points of view from others, including her younger brother Lucas and the troubled Wilder boys, Jon and Sam. I really liked the smooth transition through time, beginning with the children at a young age, travelling through to adulthood and all the strange and very human issues they all deal with along the way. Their Aetherial natures play a part through the story, but it is almost secondary. I became so wrapped up in their lives that when the Gates were inevitably opened three quarters of the way in and we get to see the other side, I was a bit upset because I wanted their normal human lives back, crazy emotional conflicts and dysfunctions and all! I managed to get over this and was then swept away in the beauty and magic of Elfland and may have shed a few tears over the wonderful, not quite fairytale ending.

My only disappointment is a minor one over all. It involves the human characters whose depiction and motivations are a bit shallow. One human in particular serves merely as a plot device with obvious outcomes and the character becomes somewhat unjustifiably vilified because of it. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the second, which I already own because… just look at that pretty cover…

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Adventure Time Vol. 1 - Branden Lamb, Shelli Paroline, Ryan North I didn't feel that the characters and antics translated well enough into this format, but my daughters liked it well enough.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Volume 2 (My Little Pony - Heather Nuhfer, Amy Mebberson If you're new to the new My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, or are disturbed by all that talk of bronies, check out my review of volume one for an explanation of why you should be watching and/or reading this.

Volume two of the comic book series does not pick up where the last volume left off. Much like the show, the volumes contain completely separate story arcs, however, like the show, they do build on the overall lore being formed within the series.

In this case, the powers of Nightmare we met in season one are back, attacking Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy in their dreams by presenting them with their greatest fears. Rarity succumbs to her fear and is kidnapped to the moon.

Princess Celestia and her sister Luna, come to Ponyville to help stop the bad guys, but Luna, formerly known as Nightmare Moon who destroyed Ponyville under the influence of Nightmare, is very uncertain about her contribution to the efforts. But true to form, the ponies put their faith in her and show her that friendship truly is magic as they set out to save Rarity.

I really enjoy reading MLP to my daughters (7 and 5) because I love doing the voices and they love hearing it. They both gave this volume two thumbs and two big toes up, however, I didn't find this one quite as memorable as the previous volume, which the girls still quote regularly. There wasn't quite enough of the ponies doing there thing, or maybe there just wasn't enough Pinkie Pie. Pinkie Pie is like cowbell. You can never have enough.

Spike did get more airtime, though, since it is his beloved Rarity that's been kidnapped and he must use his wits to rescue her and the other ponies. Meanwhile, Luna has to learn to forgive herself and accept the friendship of the others, rather than let Nightmare intimidate her.

My five year old has had trouble with nightmares, lately, so this was a perfectly timed encouragement for the "nightmares aren't real," mantra we've been working on.

With thanks to NetGalley and IDW Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this graphic novel.

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Children of Fire - Drew Karpyshyn Four unique children are born under a portent omen, each touched by Chaos in some way. Initially, the story moves through the lives of all four, leaping through time as they grow and deal with varied situations that shape them towards their destiny. Their paths cross in various ways until they reach adulthood and then dark forces are unleashed...

I've played the Bioware games Karpyshyn has been heavily involved in as a writer and I have read one of his Star Wars books, as well as his Mass Effect books. With those, I found that his writing was not as strong as the ideas and characters behind it and concluded that Karpyshyn works best when his ideas and characters can be visually brought to life. Perhaps he'd do a better job with the comic book stories.

However, Children of Fire is Karpyshyn's first novel of his own creation, and I'm always curious to see what a creator can do when freed from the constraints of an established franchise. So far, I'm very pleased. I don't feel this book is a strong entry into the epic fantasy genre, however, it has a lot of potential.

Actually, considering how I feel about epic fantasy classics like Eye of the World, Children of Fire is very good. The characters are strong, unique and memorable, and there's little time wasted on too much exposition. I was worried at first, with the format of travelling through the children's lives as they aged, but Karpyshyn did a good job of telling only what was needed at each given point in their lives.

There are some typical fantasy tropes used, such as talismans, chosen ones, dark lords, fellowships and seemingly evil ruling bodies. I liked the latter two items though, because they did not quite follow the conventional 'rules.' When the four children cross paths, their interaction is not predictable, and the Order, who seeks out people who wield Chaos magic, does so for a good reason.

I did enjoy the magical aspect of the story. There is a lot of lore behind it and varying opinions on those with magical abilities, but I liked that Karpyshyn doesn't use the magic as a crutch to easily get his characters out of situations. In fact, the moments when magic is used serves to advance the plot and develop the characters themselves.

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Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Volume 1 - David Gaider, Ben Gelinas, Mike Laidlaw, Dave Marshall, Various I'm a sucker for art books and it took all my will not to tell Labyrinth Books to shut up and take my money when I stopped at their row upon row of shelves at Fan Expo last weekend. My bank account wouldn't have been happy, so I wisely opted to get only this, since it was far more than an art book dedicated to a game series that I love.

The World of Thedas is just that. Think of it as a wiki on beautiful, beautiful crack. There definitely is artwork included. Every page is covered in it. But I'm all about the lore and there is no shortage of that here, from Andraste to Zazikel and everything in between.

Favourite characters do appear, with a brief comment on their relevance to a particular entry (eg Isabela is placed within the Rivain section), but the focus is on the world itself. Countries, timelines, politics, religion, and of course, magic.

As a big fan of the Dragon Age series, this is a must have for me. It will keep me content while I patiently wait for Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Patiently....

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Metatropolis

Metatropolis - Scott Brick, John Scalzi,  Jay Lake,  Tobias Buckell,  Elizabeth Bear,  Karl Schroeder,  Michael Hogan,  Kandyse McClure,  Alessandro Juliani,  Stefan Rudnicki METAtropolis is a collection of short stories by several science fiction authors who decided that, rather than simply doing a collection of stories based on a specific theme, they would create a world together, and write stories within that world. I really liked this concept, as well as the fact that three of the audiobook narrators are actors from Battlestar Galactica, one of my favourite television shows.

John Scalzi is the editor of the book and introduces each story. He also wrote the only short story within the book that I truly enjoyed. His story, wonderfully narrated by Alessandro Juliani, employed Scalzi’s usual sense of humour and, as he explains, fills the gap in the METAtropolis left by the other authors because it is a story about people who actually live reasonably happily within the major cities. The story somewhat addresses something that really bothered me when I started reading this. I realized that I couldn’t recall any depiction of humanity’s future that doesn’t feature a dystopia where our flaws and hubris have destroyed everything, or a utopia that is too inhuman to be true and must be destroyed. METAtropolis made me realize just how little we think of humanity and our future.

METAtropolis is a typical world where the less fortunate and the disillusioned live outside the gated communities of the rich, thinking up ways to bring anarchy to the lives of the better off. There is no shortage of lecturing the reader in various ways over how human nature has led to this current state of affairs and, outside of Scalzi’s story, we get to be privy to the greed and desperation of not-quite starving people who seek to survive and to balance the scales through overzealous protests.

As I said, I only found Scalzi’s entry to be interesting, with memorable characters and events. As his story takes place within the same world, he didn’t neglect the anarchists in his account, but he did turn their beliefs upside down a bit by not merely making them the downtrodden who must obviously be good in comparison to the rich people who must obviously be bad because of their blissful ignorance.

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