21
Sep
15

No! You Must Not Read From the Score! A short review of Charles Stross’ “The Annihilation Score”

The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6)The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love The Laundry novels. I’ve been hooked since I read the first one, and The Jennifer Morgue remains one of my favourite novels of all time. While I liked The Rhesus Chart I was a bit disappointed with it, only in comparison with the high tide mark of TJM. I was concerned that Stross had run out of steam with this series.

My fears were unfounded. The Annihilation Score is a wonderful return to form for The Laundry, despite the fact that this time it is Bob’s wife Mo who is the POV protagonist. Many long time readers of the series are upset at this change, but I find it refreshing to have a different perspective on the world of The Laundry. The plot of TAS begins on the same night as the apocalyptic events at the end of TRC and launches Mo into a world of despair, marital separation, out of body experiences, superheroes, super villains and some particularly chilling musical scores.

I am a huge fan of Lovecraft, and here, Stross brings in one of my most loved aspects of the Lovecraft Mythos. To say more would be to add spoilers about the plot, so I won’t. Rest assured that the Lovecraft connection (and connections to other authors’ works subsumed into the Mythos) is solid and well handled.

At times the superhero motif is worn a bit thin or induces the occasional eye-roll. I would have liked for Stross to subvert the superhero genre a bit more than he does, but his satire is spot on. My biggest complaint is the ending. The novel just stops; no denouement, no epilogue, to real resolution is to be had. The crisis is solved and tied up neatly, however, Stross leaves many questions completely unanswered and a short few pages would have made the novel a more satisfying read. You’ll know exactly what I mean when you are finished.

All in all, The Annihilation Score breathes new life into a franchise that was in danger of becoming stale and overworked. The combination of genre subversion, satire, Lovecraft and bureaucracy is renewed with a new POV protagonist and an entirely different light is cast on The Laundry and it’s war. A must read for fans of The Laundry and a much needed return to form by Stross.

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10
Apr
15

A short review of Shotguns v. Cthulhu

Shotguns v. Cthulhu

Shotguns v. Cthulhu by Robin D. Laws

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fairly interesting collection of Lovecraft inspired tales where the theme is somewhat different from most anthologies of this type. Instead of the typical Lovecraft hero, here we have those who fight against the decayed tide of Cthulhu not with books or spells, but firearms, axes and steel. Some good stuff here, particularly the Mamatas, who seems to be the rising star of Lovecraftiana, as well as Fifer and Lackey (the minds behind The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast).

A nice addition to the collection of any Lovecraft fan.

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27
Feb
15

Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy dies at 83

Raise a glass of Romulan Ale.

BBC News – Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy dies at 83

24
Feb
15

A short review of Jack McDevitt’s Coming Home

Coming Home (Alex Benedict, #7)Coming Home by Jack McDevitt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not the best entry in the Alex Benedict series. Both the main plots are somewhat bland and uninteresting and both resolutions are anti-climatic. Not what I expect from McDevitt. Coming Home and the newest Priscilla Hutchins novel Starhawk show, I think, the weariness of the author with the characters and settings of these long running series. Both are disappointing in comparison to the high points of The Devil’s Eye and Deepsix.

While I very much enjoy McDevitt’s writing and both the Benedict and Hutchins novels, I hope that if he does continue either series, he can recapture the thrill of the previous books.

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24
Feb
15

A short review of Cthulhu Lives!

Cthulhu Lives! An Eldritch Tribute to H. P. LovecraftCthulhu Lives! An Eldritch Tribute to H. P. Lovecraft by Salomé Jones

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An uneven collection of modern Lovecraftian tales. While a few of the stories included in this anthology (“Highland Air”, “The Thing in the Printer”, “1884” and “On the Banks of the River Jordan”) most miss the mark. Particularly missing is the Lovecraftian cosmicism. For a collection of Lovecraftian stories, cosmicism is a prerequisite. Only the best of the collection is worthy.

If you can find a copy used or for a discounted price, pick it up for those particular stories mentioned above, otherwise your time is better spent on something else.

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19
Feb
15

Alien’s Resurrection

Tor.com reports that the rumoured Neill Blomkamp Alien sequel is official. Given how the franchise died, I think Blomkamp is probably the best director to attempt its resurrection. I really, really liked District 9 despite some of its flaws, and despite the negative buzz about Elysium I enjoyed it as well. I’m of two minds about Chappie but Blomkamp’s genre credentials are solid and having seen some of his production art for the Alien sequel that he released on-line, I think this will be a good fit.

On a side note, I recently got the chance to watch the original Alien on the big screen in a digitally remastered version. It was magnificent. Alien remains to this day my second favourite film of all time. Having the opportunity to see it on a big screen with big sound (Lambert’s scream was soul chilling) was glorious.

Christmas Came Early! We’re Getting a Neill Blomkamp Alien Sequel! | Tor.com

22
Jan
15

Babylon 5 creator heads back to TV to write the Red Mars series

Yay! The writer of one of my favourite television shows is going to write a television adaptation of one of my favourite books!

Babylon 5 creator heads back to TV to write the Red Mars series | Blastr




KOSMOS-954: Soapboxin’ about Science Fiction

KOSMOS-954

mouldy squid proudly reads: BROODHOLLOW

What part of ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn, didn't you understand?

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