Friday, October 25, 2013

A Review of 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: Dust to Dust, Book 1" by Chris Roberson

"The hunt is on.

New York Times bestselling author Chris Roberson (Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love, iZombie, Stan Lee's Starborn) write the prequel to legendary sci-fi author Philip K. Disk's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?," this inspiration for Blade Runner and one of the greatest science fiction novels ever published!

Who hunted androids before Rick Deckard?  Just two men: Malcolm Reed, the only "special" human with the ability to discern man from machine, and Charlie Victor, who, because of his past, is the perfect man for the job... Or is he?  Journey through a world returning from the brink of destruction as Malcolm and Charlie hunt down six rogue androids that need to be 'retired.'"

I think that I'm developing a taste for graphic novels.  I'm slowly getting used to reading them.  You'd think they'd be easier to read because there are pictures whereas a traditional novel is a wall of text, but it's actually very different.  You need to take in the dialogue and the visuals all at the same time.  In this way, it's kind of like reading a movie.

I haven't read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? just yet (although I currently have it in my possession, ready to read as soon as Pride and Prejudice stops kicking my butt).  But this is the prequel to that series.  This book and the next prequel book do a wonderful job of setting up the world of Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? which is a dark and frankly frightening place.

In my World Englishes topics class, we've been talking about the caste system in India (since it is still fairly prevalent outside of the big cities) and this world sort of reminds me of that.  It's different in that the androids aren't forbidden from touching sacred works and they have good jobs, but I can't help but think of the fact that they resemble Untouchables or Dalits because they are treated as outsiders and if they do something they're not supposed to do (such as rebel, as they are doing in the two prequel books) they are killed or "retired."  Perhaps this connection is a stretch...

This particular graphic novel is mainly character driven.  You're compelled to figure out what's going on and how the characters fit into this situation, but as far as plot, there isn't a lot that happens.  Regardless, this was still a very interesting read.  It made me want to pick up the second book right away, which I did (but that's for another review).

This book is good if you're interested in reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? because it sets you up quite nicely and draws you into this dark and devastating world.  I think this would also make a great book for a philosophy course as it asks the question, "What does it mean to be human?"

I give Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: Dust to Dust, Book 1:
Thanks for Reading!


Monday, October 14, 2013

A Review of 'Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk' by David Sedaris

"If animals were more like us,
if mice kept pets and toads could cuss,
if dogs had wives and chipmunks dated,
sheep sat still and meditated,
then in the forest, field, and dairy
you might find this bestiary,
read by storks, by rats and kitties,
skimmed by cows with milk-stained titties.
"I found the book to be most droll,"
might quip the bear, the owl, the mole.  
Others, though, would be more coarse. 
"Bull," could sat the pig and the horse.
As to the scribe, they'd quote the hen:
"Trust me, he's no La Fontaine."

While perusing my local Half Price Books, I stumbled upon this gem.  I have no prior experience with the writing of David Sedaris, but after reading "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk" I'm definitely going to look into more of his books.

This is a book of short stories.  Each short story is about an animal in some kind of situation with associate with being human.  Chipmunks and squirrels go on uncomfortable dates, a dog is married to and cheats on a curmudgeon of a wife, an owl mourns the loss of the mate she was supposed to spend the rest of her life with... the list goes on and on.

Besides the fact that these stories are completely relate-able, I found them to be quite witty and charming.  I haven't read a book that made me giggle out loud for a really long time, so this was a treat!  Plus, the illustrations are interesting (and sometimes disturbing).  It sort of feels like this book was made for me-- it's wonderful!

I would recommend this book to anyone who has trouble getting into short stories or to someone who is looking for a good laugh.

I give 'Squirrel Meets Chipmunk':
Thanks for Reading!


Monday, October 7, 2013

A Review of 'Across the Universe' by Beth Revis (Audio Book)

"A love out of time.  A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future.  Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction.  Someone-- one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-- tried to kill her.  And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's secrets.  But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming."

After hearing mixed reviews and not really being drawn in by the synopsis, I finally cracked and I borrowed this audio book from my digital library (by the way, my digital library is a life-saver, as are audio books.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned that before).

I liked that there were two people playing Elder and Amy.  It felt more like a performance that way (as opposed to just a book that was being read).  I will say that I liked the voice actor for Elder better, however.  Amy's voice was dreamy and for her cryogenicly frozen state, I think that worked, but then she didn't seem to have very many other tones.  Elder was much more interesting to hear, mostly because he's so involved in the world and Amy is so unfamiliar with it.  I find it more exciting to experience what Amy could be experiencing than to be told by Amy what it's like to go through what she's going through.  Basically, as a reader, I like not knowing and having a chance to discover this world that is so unlike my own.  I like having a chance to figure out what's going on.  With Amy around, that experience is taken away from me.

This is a very plot-driven book, but unfortunately, the book moves at too slow of a pace.  The characters are discovering things at different times and experiencing things that the other isn't, but the book still felt very slow... I haven't read the other books in this trilogy, nor have I started them, but I bet you could fit at least one of those books into this one.  I feel obligated to finish the series now, so perhaps I'll begin reading and it'll pick up pace and it'll be clear why three books are necessary.

The cover, on the other hand, is beautiful.  That's what drew me in in the first place, I think. 

Overall, this book is good if you need your hand to be held throughout the book, but it's also good if you want an intriguing futuristic read.

I give 'Across the Universe':
Thanks for Reading!