Micro Reviews

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January 2010

Galileo’s Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson – This is the story of the life of Galileo Galilei.  One sees what drives the first modern scientist.  People from the future take Galileo one thousand years into the future to the Galilean moons.  There are factions in the future who feel that the real Galileo would support their cause.  It is interesting to see Galileo doing his research.  One is given great details into Galileo's work and his legal and personal problems.  The future parts do have that sense of wonder but the reasons bringing Galileo into the future are a bit muddled.  

The Lovely Bones (Theatrical Film) – Reviewed in February 2010 Event Horizon.

Demons (TV Series) – Some of the effect looked like they were done with The Mills B-team.  It was interesting seeing Gleinster doing an American accent.  Ruby and Mina were great.  A good Buffy copy.

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan (TV Movie) – Showing the first two years of the show from Cylon eyes was a great idea.  It is interesting seeing the Galactica’s Cavil’s plans constantly foiled due to his comrades emotions.  It clears up one mystery from the first year. 

Caprica (TV Series) – This looks the first successful prequel on television.  Though we see what is coming, its an interesting journey getting there.  Seeing the trial and tribulations of the Adamas and the Graystone with the rise of Cylons seems like an interesting story.

Daybreakers (Theatrical Film) - Reviewed in February 2010 Event Horizon.

February 2010

Survivors (TV Series) -  An interesting apocalyptic series.  A good cast.  Now I am curious to see how they did sow in the 70s.

Steal Across the Sky by Nancy Kress – Reviewed in the March 2010 Event Horizon

The Wolf Man (Theatrical Film) - Reviewed in the March 2010 Event Horizon.

The Adventures of Rangergirl by Tim Pratt – Marzi McCarty is working at a coffee house at night and writes and draws comic book , The Adventures of Rangergirl, during the day.  The coffee house, the Genius Loci, has murals done by Garamond Ray.  Jonathan, a grad student, has come to Santa Cruz to do a paper on Ray.  Jonathan and Marzi start a relationship.  Strange things are going on in Santa Cruz.  The villain from Marzi’s comic, the Outlaw, has come to life and is recruiting followers.  Can Marzi, Jonathan and Marzi’s friends Lindsey stop the Outlaw.  This is a nice story about fiction and the classic heroes journey tale.  Marzi imagination may save the day.  The characters and setting are well thought out.  A great first novel.

Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford – Jane Austen is a vampire and living in upstate New York.  She is running a book store and trying to get a new book published.  After years of rejection a publisher buys the book.  Jane finds herself in the modern day publishing world.  She is also falling in love with a local carpenter.  At the same time Lord Byron, the vampire who converted Jane, comes back into her life.  There is some nice jabs about classic literature and pop culture.  There are tow more books in the series. Hopefully they are just as fun.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (Direct to DVD Movie) - Reviewed in the March 2010 Event Horizon.

The Hunger Games  and Catching Fire  by Suzanne Collins (Readers Group Choice) – In post-apocalyptic world the nation of Panem (set in North America) is divided districts based on good those districts produce. The central government is authoritarian and quelled a rebellion seventy years ago.  In order to demoralize the populace, each district is forced to sent their children to fight to the death in a mandatory television show.   The competition is called the Hunger Games.  Katniss lives in District 12 which produces coal.  Katniss is a clandestine hunter to help her mother and sister.  When her younger sister for the Hunger Games, Katniss takes her place.  Katniss is taken to the capitol to prepare for the games.  Can Katniss survive?  This government is perverse.  Katniss understands this and eventually figures out a way to fight back.  This is one of the best science fiction YA novels to come out.

March 2010

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Readers’ Group Choice) – In a post apocalyptic world, a man and his son try to find safe haven while traveling on a road.  Very bleak.  McCarthy uses the furniture of science fiction to tell a story of father and son.  There is nothing new done with the genre.  The fact the mother kills herself before the book starts come of as sexist.  Still it was interesting.

Sabrieal by Garth Nix – Sabrieal searches for her father in an ancient land.  She will have to take up his mantle as a necromancer in order to stop a powerful threat.  An interesting world where the modern and the magical live side by side comfortably.  Sabrieal is kind and resourceful and meets the challenges she faces. 

Repo Men (Theatrical Film) – The film starts of a great premise but it ends in a way which feels like a cheat.  The design of the future is OK.  I have a trouble with one of the character's motivation.

Ugly Americans – Funny at times but I am tired of the well meaning progressive individual being undermined by his co workers and friends.

Repossession Mambo by Eric Garcia – This is better than the film (Repo Men).  The lead character is developed better.  The ending is more satisfying.  I have problems with one character's motivation.

 

April 2010

Julian Comstock: A Story of the 22nd-Century America (Hugo Nominee) – In the future America becomes an authoritarian dictatorship ruling with the help of the Dominion of Jesus Christ.  The Presidency has almost become a heredity job.  Julian Comstock is the nephew of the current President.  The President, who executed Julian’s father, sees Julian as a potential threat.  With war brewing in Canada, Julian and his friend Adam Hazzard try to escape the draft but are unsuccessful.  Julian under an alias becomes a war hero and becomes a bigger threat to his uncle.  It is an interesting future.  Technology is restricted and under the control of the government.  Hazzard is a great narrator.  Hazzard is a success in his own right. He becomes Julian’s chronicler and a writer.  A very good read.

The Secret of Kells (Theatrical Movie) – I like the fact that Abbot Cellach is a three dimensional instead of being a two dimensional authority figure.  He is trying to protect the people he is responsible for but loses sight of what is worth protecting.  The art is great.  I think the story works with the characters in caricature.  This really works well for the fairy world.

Flawed Dogs: The Shocking Raid on Westminster by Berke Breathed (Readers’ Group Choice) – Sam is a dachshund who has found a home with Heidy.  Unfortunately he is set up by a jealous poodle, Cassius.  He losses his home and a leg.  Sam befriends other abandoned dogs and plans to stop Cassius at Westminster.  This is a lovely story.  Sam and his friends are great dogs.  Makes me regret never dancing with my dachshund.

The City and the City by China Miéville (Hugo Nominee) -  There are two cities, Besźel al Ul Qoma, occupying the same space at the same time.  Parts of the cities overlap. The natives of each cities know what to ignore in this unusual set up.  People can crossover into the other city.  Inspector Tyador Borlú of Besźel’s Extreme Crime Squad is investigating the murder of a young graduate student.  The murder becomes complicated when there are ties to Ul Coma.  Borlú hopes the case is passed on to the Breach, an mysterious agency which covers unauthorized interactions between the two cities.  What happens is that Borlú has to work with a Ul Coma officer on a joint investigation.  Can they uncover the crime which could change the understanding of the two cities.  This is a great detective story.  Mieville does a great job explaining the set up.  He shows rather than tells.  The ending is great.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Theatrical Film) -  This was a nice atmospheric mystery.  It was well set up and has a great solution.  The action is intense.  There is a ton of catharsis.   Lisbeth and the actress who plays her is great.  Hopefully we can get the two sequels soon.

Waking Sleeping Beauty (Theatrical Film) – The story of Disney Animation survived the 80s and thrived in the 90s.  The use of voice overs and old footage rather than interviews made it seem more genuine.

K-20: The Fiend of Twenty Faces (Theatrical Film) – Reviewed in the May 2010 Event Horizon.

Drones (Theatrical Film) – A mix of The Office and The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.  A bad office romance may lead to the end of the world.  Can they come up with Power Point to save the planet?  This was a nice mellow comedy.

Space Tourist -  Reviewed in the May 2010 Event Horizon.

Boneshaker  by Cherie Priest (Hugo Nominee) -  In an alternate history, Seattle was more populated in the 1860s.  There was a rush to develop a tool to find oil in the Alaskan ice.  A machine called Boneshaker designed by Leviticus Blue was built for that purpose.  It malfunctions and causes havoc in the city.  It releases a gas which turns people into zombie like monsters.  A wall is built around Seattle to contain the gas.  Blue is presumed killed in the city.  Sixteen years later, Blue’s widow Briar Wilkes and her son Zeke are living near Seattle.  Zeke goes into the city to find evidence clearing his father of the disaster.  Briar goes into the city after him.  Can they find each other before the forces in the city kills them?  The plot is good and keeps moving.  I just cannot buy the idea of the Civil War lasting for 20 years.  This is necessary to explain Seattle’s lack of support from the federal government.  Still interesting enough for me to read the sequel.

 

May 2010

Venus by Ben Bova (Readers' Group Author) - Van Humphries goes to Venus to find the remains of his older brother Alex. He hopes to win a bounty from his estranged father. Van is a little naive but an OK guy. On Venus, Van will meet many challenges. Bova tells an interesting story and does a good job describing Venus. He postulates what kind of life could exist in one of the most extreme environments of the Solar System.

Saturn by Ben Bova (Readers' Group Author) - 10,000 scientists are sent to Saturn to study the planet. The vehicle is the space habitat Goddard. On the journey, Malcolm Eberly tries to take control of the Goddard for fundamentalist forces on Earth. Eberly methods are subtle and he has time before the Goddard is at Saturn. At the same time scientists make some interesting discoveries in Saturn's rings. This is more of a politically thriller. One hopes that Eberly will be stopped rather than the Goddard being as authoritative as Earth is in the Grand Tour series. Again the science aspects of this story are great.

Mercury by Ben Bova (Readers' Group Author) - Saito Yamagata hopes to make a station to power starships on Mercury. Biologist Victor Molina hopes to find evidence of life on Mercury. Bishop Eliot Danvers monitors Molina's work to insure it does conflict with the New Morality's interests. Unknown to these three men, Mance Bracknell is the head of the base on Mercury. Bracknell life was ruined because of Eliot, Molina and indirectly by Yamagata. Bracknell plans his revenge to ruin these men. Its The Count of Monte Cristo set in the future. The outcome is unexpected. Another fun exploration of another part of the solar system with lots of action and intrigue.

Iron Man 2 (Theatrical Film) - A fun film. It is a good balance of action and character. I like the parts where Stark is functioning like an engineer. Yes the science is questionable but seeing Stark in his workshop is always fun. I like Mickey Rourke's villain though it would have been better to make him into a Crimson Dynamo-like villain rather than Whiplash.

Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente (Hugo Nominee) - Palimpsest is beautiful, seductive world. Entry may be gained by physical intimacy by people who have been there. People who have been to Palimpsest have tattoos of the map of Palimpsest on their body. When you first enter the city one is bonded with three other people. The only way to achieve permanent residence to come with these three other people. This is the story of such a quartet. November is a beekeeper. Oleg is a locksmith who sees his dead sister. Sei is fascinated by trains. Ludovico is a book binder. Life is not really good for them in our world. Can they find each other in order to live in Palimpsest. Valente makes Palimpsest a very attractive place. It make sense her characters want to stay there. It is a beautiful book.

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Hugo Nominee)- Reviewed in the July 2010 Event Horizon.

WWW: Wake by Robert J. Sawyer (Hugo Nominee) - Blind teenager, Caitlin Decter, get a device which may help restore her sight. At the same time a new time of life emerges from the Internet. Caitlin device is network and assists this life form insight to the outside world. This is a good first novel in a trilogy. The characterization is pretty good. I wish the novel had gone a bit more but that is what the sequel is for.

June 2010

The Third Claw of God by Adam-Troy Castro - On her way to meet with the wealthy Bettelhine family, Andrea Cort is attacked in the space port. After that she takes a private space elevator with members of Bettelhine family and their staff to meet the head of the family. The elevator mysteriously stops and one of the passengers is murdered. Can Andrea find the culprit or culprits before they kill again. This was fun. A locked room mystery in space. Andrea is one of the most fascinating protognists out in science fiction today. Hopefully the third book will have an English edition.

The Good Guys (TV Series) - This was a pleasant surprise. It is amazing how Bradley Whitford transforms himself to the disheveled Dan Stark. It is great to use Dallas as a setting. The backwards storytelling is fun.

Toy Story 3 (Theatrical Film) - This is what a sequel should be. This a well thought out story. It is about growing up and moving on. Best American animated film of the year.

American Graffiti (Theatrical Film revival) - It is great to see this film in its proper format, unedited. It captures a time long gone by.

July 2010

For the Win by Cory Doctorow – Reviewed in the August 2010 Event Horizon.

This is Spinal Tap (Readers’ Group Event) – The classic mocumentary.  It is fun and from what I heard exposes some sad truths of the music industry.

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Theatrical Film) – Lisbeth Salander rules.  The story is given plenty of time to cook.  When the action happens, it is intense.  This is a great series.  Now I have till October for the next part.

The Manual of Detection by Jebediah Berry – Charles Unwin, a clerk for a detective Agency, is suddenly promoted to detective.  He is assigned to find Travis Sivart, a detective he clerked for.  Unwin is thrown in a very nourish mystery.  Unwin’s only guide is following the advice of the agency’s handbook The Manual of Detection.  This is a fun story.  Unwin is out of his depth but rises to the occasion.  It is like a mystery from the 40s mixed with a sinister chronicle and the ability to manipulate one dreams.

Inception (Theatrical Film) -   Reviewed in the August 2010 Event Horizon.

Young Frankenstein (Readers’ Group Event) – There are some really good laughs in this.  Everybody was great in this.   Great seeing a classic like this on the big screen.

August 2010

Suck It, Wonder Woman: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek by Olivia Munn with Mac Montandon - This was fun. This should be required reading for all the males in fandom.

Batman: Under the Red Hood (Direct DVD Movie) - Another great story from DC Animated. I was not too keen on resurrecting Jason Todd but they made it work here. John DiMaggio does a very good Joker here.

Salt (Theatrical Film) - This was OK. I went to see it because David Edlelstein, CBS Sunday Morning movie reviewer, recommended it. Angelian Jolie is OK. The film keeps you guessing who side Salt is really on. I did not like how they filmed some of the action sequences.

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal - In England's Regency period, Jane Ellsworth is a amateur glamour artist. Glamour is form of magic which is used to make illusions. Unfortunately for Jane it does not help in the romance department which she feel her sister Melody is more suited for. Jane tries to gain the approval of the mysterious Mr. Vincent, a very talented glamour artist. It is a Jane Austen type story with a an element of fantasy. Kowal thought out the magic structure in this world. One cares about Jane and her family.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Theatrical Film) - This was so much fun. The dialogue and the action was just great. Need to check out the source material.

The Invention of Lying (Theatrical Film) - An interesting idea. It is funny most of the time. Jennifer Gardner is the perfect ingénue. What I find funny is no one else catches on to the lying concept. This world is well design but sad since it lacks the idea of imagination.

Shrek Forever After (Theatrical Film) - A great way to end a series. I like Shrek trying to win Fiona back.

The Runways (Theatrical Film) - A great rockumenatry. Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning were great at their respective roles.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris - Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress in a small town. She is also a telepath. This makes relationships a bit tough. Vampires are now in the public eye since a blood substitute has created. Vampires no longer to attack humans anymore. Bill Compton, a vampire, moves into his family's house. Sookie cannot read his mind. Sookie starts dating Bill. Unfortunately this gets her involved with the intricacies of the Vampire World. Around the time Bill arrives, one of Sookie's coworkers is killed. Who is behind this? This is an interesting world. The relationship with normal and paranormal elements are interesting. The small town atmosphere is fun.

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris - Sookie is asked to help out the vampires in Dallas. One of them is missing and they hope she can use her telepathy to find him. Things get complicated real fast. The book has a vampire questioning his own mortality.

Wall Street (Theatrical Film) - I finally got around to seeing this. For painful reasons the film still feels relevant.

September 2010

The Event (TV Series) - This has potential. If the the production team has a plan of where the series is going, then this could work. I am curious to see what happens next.

Hawaii Five-O (TV Series) - A fluff show. A fun fluff show. I do hope the tone down the antagonist attitudes between McGarrett and Danno. It could get old after awhile.

Sym-Bionic Titan (TV Series) - This is a great homage to the old school giant robot shows. I like the alternating art styles. The characters are great. We got the hero, the princess, robot companion, the mysterious government agent, and the hard ass general.

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire - Private Investigator and fairy (changeling) October "Toby" Daye is turned into a fish for 15 years while on a case. She tries to readjust to the times. A curse compels her to find a friend's murderer. The case will take her to the realms of fairies in the San Francisco area. Can Toby find the murderer before the curse kills her? This was great. McGuire sets up an interesting world. I like Toby. She is smart and feisty. She is a good friend and ally. I will checkout the rest of the series.

Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen - Someone is killing tourists in Miami. Private Investigator and former reporter Brian Keyes gets involved in the case. An old friend of Brian is connected with the murderers. It is part of a scheme to drive the tourists out of Florida. The next target is the queen of the Orange Bowl parade. Can Brian stop this plan before more people get hurt. This is a good story. An intelligent but ultimately insane villain. The villain wants to save Florida from all the human predators by any means necessary. I like the fact that Hiaasen goes for an smart and sassy beauty queen rather than a spoiled princess.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - Katniss and her family has survived the bombing of their home. Now they are with the resistance in District 13. Katniss must decide how she will work with rebel forces. District 13 is going on the offensive. Peeta is captured by the Capitol and is being used as a hostage against Katniss. A satisfactory conclusion to the series. The book shows that war can get complicated and hard decisions have to made.

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris - Bill has disappeared. Sookie finds out he has been in Mississippi and has been kidnapped. Eric ask her help find Bill. She goes to Jackson wail Alcide, a local werewolf. There they go to local vampire club and start their search. This was a good plot. I like that they complicate the relationships.

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris - Eric is found in the woods without his memory. It seems that a coven of witches are trying to take over Eric's territory. Sookie and the rest of the local paranormals of the area try to band together to stop the coven. Good integration of new group of paranormals. Some nice twists.

Easy A (Theatrical Film) - This was a very good homage to the John Hughes film. The story, characters and music all contribute to the tribute. A new teen film classic for the 21st century.

No Good From a Corpse by Leigh Brackett - Edmond Clive is private investigator. Upon returning from a trip he gets involved with a case involving a very powerful family. A young woman is killed and their list of suspects is long. This is a great noir novel. There are some surprises.

The Final Solution: A Story of Detection by Michael Chabon - In 1944, a man is murdered in England. He was murdered apparently for a parrot. The parrot belongs to mute boy, a refugee from Europe. A retired detective decides to investigate the case. This is great homage to Sherlock Holmes. I like to believe Holmes, who here is 89, would keep still be able to play the consulting detective.

October 2010

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin – Phoebe and Mallory have been friends since 7th grade.   Phoebe does not know that Mallory is a fairy who has been assigned to Phoebe by the Faerie Queen.  Years later Mallory’s half brother Ryland comes to assist Mallory with her task.  Phoebe, a descendent of the Rothschild family, has a crucial role in Faerie.  Ryland and Mallory (although reluctantly) must manipulate and hurt Phoebe in order to achieve their goal.  What is the Rothschild connection to Faerie?  Can Phoebe survive the fate that faerie has in store for her?  This was great book about friendship and family relationships.  There are some nice moments with Phoebe and her family and with Phoebe and Mallory.  The resolution to the big problem was great.

Social Network (Theatrical Film) – This is a good docudrama.  It is great to see a non physical conflict on the screen. 

Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi – Thomas Stein is an agent in Hollywood.  His boss asks him to represent a new client.  The clients are the Yherjak, an alien race who wish to make first contact with Earth.  This is a fun take on first contact.  It is an interesting choice to use a Hollywood agent to help with making first contact.  It is fun to look at first contact from a public relations point of view.  The Yherjak are great aliens.

A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Toby Daye is asked to investigate a nearby fairy province. Its leader is the niece to Toby’s lord and has not communicated with her uncle for months.  When she arrives mysterious deaths start occurring.  This was an interesting mystery.  The fairies here are shown to run a software company.  It is fun to see a mix between magic and technology.

Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume One (1907-1948): Learning Curve by William Patterson Jr. – A fascinating look at one the great pioneers of science fiction.  Patterson did painstaking research for this biography.  The research is well documented.  We learn how Heinlein was influenced by his times.  The next volume cannot come soon enough.

Disappearing Nightly by Laura Resnick – Actress Esther Diamond is in an off Broadway show.  The show involves a magician disappearing act.  The shows leading lady disappears and does not come back.  Esther finds out that other women have been disappearing and not returning.  Esther, with the help of local wizard, tries to find out what happen to these women.  Having an actress as leading character of an urban fantasy series is interesting.  Esther is smart and sassy.  There are some funny bits.  I will check out the rest of the series.

Double Whammy by Carl Hiaasen – Private detective RJ Decker is asked to look into cheating in bass fishing competitions.  Bass fishermen are dying under mysterious circumstances.  Decker gets blamed for one of them.  Can figure out what is going on before he is arrested or killed.  He is helped by a state trooper and a mysterious hermit Skink.  Hiaasen was able to make bass fishing interesting.  He makes meaningful commentary on Florida politics. 

Tower Prep (TV Series) – This is a high school drama inspired by The Prisoner.  This has possibilities.

Emphyrio by Jack Vance Ghyl grows up on the world Halma.  Halma is a feudal world ruled by lords who as for 1.18% income tax from the people.  Ghyl and his father are carvers.  Ghyl wants more out of life.  He becomes fascinate by the legend of Emphyrio, a martyred hero.  Ghyl wants to find the truth about Emphyrio.  He eventually gets off planet and finds a means to fulfill his goal.  Vance does a great job building this world.  We see it through Ghyl’s eyes.  The story starts when he is a child and ends as adult.  We learn about his society as he does.  Halma is an interesting combination of modern and feudalism. 

November 2010

Dopplegangster by Laura Resnick - While Esther is waitressing, a powerful underworld leader is killed. She is caught up in the investigation. Somehow some people are showing up in two different places at the same time. Who is creating these Doppelganger? Esther and her friends have to figure it out before a full out gang war breaks out. It was fun. The ending bothers me a bit, but it works.

An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire - Someone is taking human and fairy children. Toby Daye is sent to find them. They are prisoners of an ancient power. If Toby must rescue them before they are lost forever. There are some real scary bits in this one. One wonders how Toby is going to solve this one. The answer works.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe by Charles Yu - People can live in any universe they want to. A young man repairs time machines for a living He has a dog, who is a paradox, and an AI. He gets caught in a temporal loop which will mean his death. As he contemplates his fate, he also faces his relationship with his father. It is a book which uses classic science fiction tropes to tell a very human story about a father and son. It shows great respect to the genre.

Nowhere Boy (Theatrical Film) - The early years of John Lennon. We see his school days, his first band, and his relationship with his aunt and mother. It is a great look at this part of Lennon's life. It is literally a prequel to Backbeat which covers Lennon's days in Hamburg.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest - This film was great for all the reasons its detractors used to criticize it. I like the fact that film creates tension with having to resort to an explosion or a chase every minute. Naomi Raplace dominates the screen. When the bad guys get their just rewards one feels fulfilled.

Skin Tight by Carl Hiaasen - Mick Stranahan, a former state investigator, has become a target for crooked plastic surgeon Rudy Graveline. Graveline send a mindless giant against Stranahan in order to prevent him to reinvestigate a missing persons case. Graveline and Stranahan are also dogged by a sensational television reporter. It is incredible how believable and stupid Graveline is. He continues to dig himself into a deeper hole with every move. He is more a pathetic than menacing. Stranahan is smart and is usually one step ahead of his enemies. I also like the send up for tabloid TV.

Native Tongue by Carl Hiaasen - Some steals two rare blue tongued mango voles from the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills theme park in North Key Largo. Frances X. Kingsbury, the park's owner, faces more problems. Any angry radical environmentalist wants to thwart Kingsbury's real estate plans which would destroy some pristine Florida land. Joe Winder quits his job at the park as public relations writer and tries to sabotage the park. Throw in an ex-governor turned hermit, two bumbling burglars and a crazy security chief and it really goes wild. Again crooks make more and more mistakes until their plans and life self destruct. Fortunately the good guys and can out think the bad guys.

Strip Tease by Carl Hiaasen - Erin Grant is a divorced woman trying to get custody of her daughter. She lost her good job due to her then husband's arrest and now must dance and a local strip club to make ends meet. While at her job she is witness to an incident involving a Congressman. This incident leads to the murder of a fan of Erin. Can Erin and her friends find out what happens before anyone else get hurt. Erin is great. She is smart and can handle herself. The only mistake she made was marrying the wrong man. The novel capture really nasty misogynist aspects of American culture and certain unpleasant double standards.

Let Me In (Theatrical Film) - An American remake of Let the Right One In. They did a good job of changing the setting to the US. The capture the 1980s. They reuse most of the same shots. This is good because it captures the original film subtle style.

December 2010

Starbound by Joe Haldeman - A team from Earth head out to deep space to meet the aliens who almost destroyed the Earth. The team hopes to come to accord with the aliens aka The Others. Joe does a good job depicting a long star voyage. We get an idea of what motivates the characters on this trip. The Others and the Martians are very alien. I cannot wait to read the next installment.

Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen - A hurricane hits South Florida. It does not slow down the Florida sleaze. There are crooks and shifty contractors trying to make a fast buck during the disaster. Unfortunately for them they face the wrath of a former governor. It is a bit disturbing to see Skink's idea of behavioral modification techniques but the person deserves it.

Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen - JoLayne Lucks has a winning lottery ticket. She plans to use the money to buy a piece of land and save from being developed into a mall. Two would be militia men have also have a winning lottery ticket. They steal JoLayne's ticket in order to fund their militia. JoLayne is helped by reporter Tom Krome. Can they get the ticket back before the land is sold? Hiaasen does a send of the militia movement. They crooks are more pathetic than scary.

Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen - Jack Tagger is reporter exiled to the paper's obit page. He becomes a bit obsessed with death. When rocker Jimmy Stoma dies, Tagger senses that it was not an accident. While working the story with his editor Emma, Jack has to save his paper from taking over by hostile interests. This novel focuses on the problems professional journalism is facing today. Tagger wants to make sure the press hold the powers that be feet to the fire while others feel that type of journalism is bad for business.

Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen - Joey Perrone is thrown overboard from a cruise ship by her husband Chaz. Chaz was afraid that she found out about his corrupt dealings with a local farm magnate. Joey survives and with the help of Mick Stranahan plots her revenge against Chaz. The book main focus is the degradation of the Everglades from fertilizer run off from nearby farms. Chaz is pathetic. A biologist who hates science and the Everglades.

Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen - Honey Santana is irritated by telemarketers. She decides to invite one to her home in Florida and teach him a lesson. While doing this Honey is pursued by her ex boss. At the same time Sammy Tigertail is trying to sort himself out when Honey and her guests cross his path. If you have ever been annoyed by a telemarketer this is the book for you.

Star Island by Carl Hiaasen - Ana DeLusia is a stunt double for partying pop star Cherry Pye. Ana is kidnapped by a paparazzo who was stalking Cherry. Ana earlier meet Skink and helped him on one of his crusades. She able to call Skink for help. Can Skink and the Cherry team help Ana? This was a good send of the current celebrity train wreck culture.

Soulless, Changeless, and Blameless by Gail Carringer - Alexia Tarabotti is a Victorian lady who is half English and half Italian. She also has no soul. She can neutralize any supernatural being (vampire, werewolf or ghost) power. She often helps the Bureau of Unnatural Registery (BUR) and its head Lord Conall Maccon, a alpha werewolf. In this series Alexia faces supernatural threats while dealing with Victorian customs. The Victorian era is slightly different since the British have fully embraced the supernatural into its culture. It is exciting and fun. There is romance, action and steampunk gadgets. Alexia is quite smart despite her family.

Tron: Legacy (Theatrical Film) - Reviewed in the January 2011 Event Horizon.

Megamind (Theatrical Film) - A great take on the superhero story. What does the villain do if he wins. Great cast.

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