Monday, February 6, 2012

"Turn Left"

I finished a couple three books recently. In order of amount of time it took me to finish them, from least to most:
Infinite Kung Fu by Kagan Mcleod. A think graphic novel, published in 2011. This is a Canadian writer and illustrator who tells an ancient tale of eight immortal masters, their students, the treachery of those students, steampunk style constructs, zombie outbreaks, and a modern city full of funky 70s era African Americans in the middle of ancient China, waved off as "you've probably never seen us, we keep to ourselves". The book is a hell of a lot of fun, tells a story that rings true as old, yet incorporates a lot of more modern aspects of Kung Fu movies. It is a loving pastiche of all eras of movies. There's the simple soldier elevated to lead the armies of light, the training in a Shaolin temple, the black Kung Fu guy, the travelogue portion, cris-crossing the country to find magical artifacts, the group splitting up to do what they can to stop the bad guys, then coming together in a big final part at the end. That part felt like a G.I. Joe special. In a good way. Anyway, if you like Kung Fu movies you should check it out. If you don't, I'm sorry. You have missed something. It took me a two beer lunch to finish. I should have taken more time with it, but I read comics too damn fast.

Sir Terry Pratchett, one of the great living humorists working in novels, used to write about one book every 18 months. When he heard he had early onset Alzheimer's he decided to write faster. His latest book in the Discworld series is called Snuff. It's a classic Busman's Holiday detective story but set in the sword and sorcery setting of The Disc. City police chief heads to the country and discovers a murder, cover-up, and worse on an old country estate. It's not my favorite Pratchett novel, but it's good. The beginning and middle is a little leisurely and slow, and the ending is a little rushed, but that's not my biggest issue with it. Sam Vimes, the main character and holder of dozens of titles is a normal man in an unusual world. He's a policeman who is always on duty. He's like Batman, a well trained man with no powers. But... in this one he gets powers, so I don't really care for that. Anytime you change the basic premise of a primary character I'm not sure about that, but he's a world renown author and I write a few blogs, so there you go.

The book that took me the longest was The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter. Which is a series of emails between Doctor Who show runner, producer and lead writer Russel T. Davies and Doctor Who Magazine writer Benjamin Cook. I really liked the book, but it took a long while to get through it. There is an extraordinary amount of detail in the book, following the last two years of Davies on the show; all the scripts he wrote, all the trials of getting three different shows produced. It was a really great boost to read when I was feeling down on my own writing to hear all the trouble that Davies has when he's writing. I'm in Florida now, and already read one of the books I brought with me, so I had to get this up, so that when I get back I can write about the books I finish down here.

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