vik_thor: (Pen)
Well, after about of month of trying to read The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson, I finally gave up on it a couple days ago.
I first checked it out from the library on 2 June, and renewed it once. I then loaded the ebook version from the Hugo packet onto my Kindle, and gave up at less than 50%. (At 672 pages, I think I gave it a more than fair shot @ ~45%)

Every chapter focuses on a different character than the one before it, and while there there are repeating characters, every character is involved with a different plot, it seems. I just pulled it up on my Kindle, I gave up after Chapter 59, of which there had been around 30 main/viewpoint characters, of which several of them have only on chapter so far. and 60 introduces yet another viewpoint character. Chapter 59 had introduced a viewpoint character, and her next chapter is 139, the last one in the book. (The chapters are named after the main character in the chapter.) That's not saying that they are brand new characters. They've been introduced previously in previous chapters, interacting with that chapter's character…

I will say that several of the characters do seem to have been featured in Mr. Anderson's previous 7(!) book series, The Saga of Seven Suns (Each of which is ~500 pages), so maybe we got to know them there…

I have not yet decided if I will vote for No Award before this or not.
vik_thor: (Pen)
Well, I finally finished Ancillary Sword, after getting (and reading) Ancillary Justice by mistake first. (Though since Ancillary Justice did win the Hugo last year, not as big a mistake as I first thought.) They are the first 2 books in the Imperial Radch trilogy by Ann Leckie.

I haven't been reading a lot of new Science Fiction / Fantasy lately, just rereading older stuff, or getting used books. So I hadn't heard of her before, even though she lives here in Saint Louis.

I will say, I am a bit surprised that Ancillary Justice won the Hugo last year, though that may be a bit unfair, without reading the other nominees. I had some trouble getting through it, because of the structure. It is written in two time periods, the present and ~ 20 years BP, with occasional glimpses to ~1000 years BP. It wasn't bad, per se, just occasionally confusing.

Ancillary Sword is a standard style novel, and I was able to get through it quicker. I did enjoy it, and am looking forward to the third book in the series, Ancillary Mercy.

It is a space opera style series.

The main concept/idea behind the universe is that AIs that control the worships of the Radch Empire use bodies of conquered people as mobile units, or ancillaries. This is played with in Justice, when the ship Justice of Toren gives multiple viewpoints all while using I. Each conquered planet has to give so many of its citizens to be ancillaries. These are adults who are stuck in suspended animation until needed, then revived and implanted with the needed hardware. Justice of Toren is the main character, in the body of One Esk Nineteen now known as Breq.
The Radch Empire is ruled by a 3,000 year old multiple clone who uses the same technology.

Another interesting aspect of the book, the Radch do not distinguish people by gender. Mrs. Leckie uses the female personal pronouns throughout which definitely gives a different flavor to it. In Justice, one of the characters is described (in another language) as a male/him, but in every other reference in the books her/she is used.

In general, they are enjoyable reads. I give Justice 5 out of 10, and Sword 7 out of 10.

Is Ancillary Sword good enough to win Ann Lecke the Best Novel Hugo two years in a row for the same series? Before reading the other nominees, I will say that the others are going to have to be truly bad for me to vote Sword in first place.

(And yes, I know I need to work on my reviewing. :)
vik_thor: (Pen)
Bought because I am a Legion fan, and they were appearing.
I should have waited for it to come out in trade, and read it in library.

It is not often that I think I have wasted money on something with the Legion, but this, yeah… This may be the worst Legion crossover. I don't follow any of the "mainstream" DC titles (Superman/Batman/Justice League…) so some of this may be standard stuff there.
Some nitpicky stuff: When did J'onn J'onzz start having the frills on the side of his head? Very odd looking. Green Arrow is specifically called out as Mr. Queen, but looks more like Connor Hawke? When did Ollie get rid of his goatee?

I looked @ Justice League United #5 when it came out. The only Legion involvement was in the very last panel. You would think on a story like this, the whole thing would be plotted out and ready to go: not so.
Assuming JLU5 had title of The Infinitus Saga: Part 1 of 5
JLU6 had title of The Infinitus Saga: Part 2 of 5
JLU7 had title The Infinitus Saga: Part 3 of 5
JLU8 had title The Infinitus Saga: Part 4 of 6 (suddenly it's going to take another issue to finish the story)
JLU9 had title The Infinitus Saga: Part 5 of 6
and JLU10 is The Infinitus Saga: Conclusion
That is probably a bad sign there, that they hadn't actually worked out the story before they started writing/publishing. I don't know far far in advance they work, but…

Legion Nitpickiness:
Tellus is being drawn more and more humanoid. I do not like the latest look. His species is aquatic, and uses telekinesis for most manipulation. His arms were more support, and legs were not quite vestigial, and tail had fins.
I don't think this would fit in any normal Legion continuity. Issue 8, the first part takes place in the 31st Century (the Legion's home time) Pages 10 and 11 have characters from different Legion continuities together. Kinetix and Monstress are from the reboot Legion (after Zero Hour. Whereas most of the team seems to be from the more recent appearances, which is the preZero Hour, Tellus, Tyroc. Gates and XS are understandable, they 'moved' in the Legion of Three Worlds, but Monstress died several years before that, and she didn't make any appearances.
In the flashbacks, Saturn Girl is shown with the 'current' buzz cut, but she had long blonde hair throughout most of the history, so any flashbacks should have long hair.
Page 10, Dream Girl says that Shadow Lass is in Medical Stasis on Mars. Yet 3 pages later, she is one of the Legionares popping out of the "Time Bubble".
The Roll Call of issue 8: Colossal Lad, really? Can't they even get the names right? Quislet and Sensor Girl make no appearances in the story at all. Shadow Lass I've already mentioned. Matter Eater Lad is the reboot (Zero Hour) version. In the double page spread of them coming out of the time bubble, there is someone who looks like Andromeda (another Zero Hour), and Ferro makes several prominent appearances (Zero Hour). The White Witch (preZero Hour) was usually shown as having white skin, not caucasian pink, and most of her powerful spells she was shown as having to prepare for them.. (though one could just say that her "Amplification Spell" is one of the ones she keeps prepared as standard practice.) Dawnstar's gushing over Miyabin: Dawnstar did not grow up on Earth, she is from StarHaven, a colony planet settled by Native American (Aboriginal) people.
Brainy talking about what will happen between him and Kara (supergirl). That throws such kinks in the timing of this. She specifically states in an earlier issue she is sixteen. Braniac looks like he is ~25-30 here. Their (Pre Crisis on Infinite Earth's) romance occurred (when she was a member of the Legion, which I don't think the current Supergirl will be) when they were probably about 20 or so. And of course, she died in that Crisis.

A couple of things I did like: Animal Man and Timber Wolf bonding. Gates!

Overall, I would have to give it 2 out of 10.
vik_thor: (Main)

I LOVE this show!
A lot of TV shows that I like, are just that. I like them.
Commander in Chief goes beyond this. I will actually change plans to see this.

I love one of the quotes from last weeks show. (Maybe not exact, but the spirit is correct.) this is Mackenzie talking to the general she's wanting as her VP.
"I know I won't get elected as an Independent. What I'm going to do for the next 2 years? I'm NOT going to be campaigning. I'm going to run this country the best I can."


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