Archive for May, 2011

‘Loser’s Town’ by Daniel Depp

May 31, 2011

Another good one, by the brother of Johnny Depp, screenwriter Daniel Depp. A rather dark, pessimistic — but still very entertaining — crime novel, set in Hollywood’s movie business. I was a little shocked when a very likable central character was killed. I was also slightly disappointed in another way, because it seems like a substantial part of the novel played almost no role for the main plot, and some loose ends from that part were left dangling, too. Yet I’m looking forward to the sequel, Babylon Nights — maybe the loose ends are taken up there?

‘Gentlemen of the Road’ by Michael Chabon

May 26, 2011

This is what I needed! A well-written, funny, intelligent adventure story, set around the year 1000, featuring two jews with swords. Actually, one of them wields a Viking battle-axe, not a sword. And the other one’s sword is more like a rapier, not having a sharp blade. But that’s beside the point.

I have read two other books by Michael Chabon, and I liked those very much too: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (not so heavy on the adventure part – is that acceptable English?) and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (an alternate-history crime novel – so, alternate histories being a subgenre of science fiction, it is technically also SF). And I see there are quite a few other books by M.C. – good news. Guess I’d like to read The Mysteries of Pittsburgh next, his debut novel.

‘And Another Thing …’ by Eoin Colfer

May 7, 2011

This is the 6th book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy ‘trilogy’ by Douglas Adams. He died in 2001, and Eoin (pronounced like ‘Owen’, I learned from Wikipedia) Colfer wrote this sequel, I don’t know by whose initiative. (He’s the author of the Artemis Fowl books.) The book is okay, but I didn’t terribly enjoy it. In fact, I was a little bored after a while – although that also happened to me when I read Life, the Universe and Everything, the 3rd volume in the series: the style of the jokes and puns seemed somewhat repetitive. Nevertheless I read the books again, and also vols 4 and 5, when a cheap five-in-one hardcover edition appeared. That was years ago, so I don’t have a clear and distinct memory of vols 1–5 to compare with vol. 6. Therefore it doesn’t mean much when I say that I didn’t spot any stylistic difference in reading And Another Thing … Could be there are obvious differences, could be there are none.

Dyed-in-the-wool fans of HHGttG (or maybe the true fan writes ‘H2G2’?) will want to read And Another Thing … anyway, if only to denigrate it as a poor imitation. Others can live without the experience.

I liked Colfer’s Artemis Fowl novels – although these too became a bit tiresome after about three volumes; I got the feeling, I know this type of story … Still I read (and enjoyed) vols 4 and 5 as well. But I wasn’t that eager for them, nor for their successors (an 8th – and last – volume is to be published in 2012).