Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Project 40: November

I gave up on the novel at about 17,000 words of action-less crap that even I didn't want to read. I would rather read what other people have written. Maybe I should practice writing more...
“Doctor Who: Festival of Death” by Jonathan Morris
Now THIS was more like it. I’m glad to see that all Doctor Who books are not as boring as the first one I read. Right from the beginning, there’s action, danger, paradoxes, lives to be saved, and K-9! It involves the 4th Doctor (played by Tom Baker on the show) who’s really a goony absent-minded professor kind of hero (my kind of hero). The Doctor, K-9, and Romana have to save a ship of people from zombies created by “The Beautiful Death,” a tourist experience where participants actually die and then are brought back to life. Zombies, guys! There’s also some other weird timey-wimey stuff on account of the Doctor and Romana going back in time several times and bumping into their past selves. A+

“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K Dick

A friend of mine has read a lot of Philip K. Dick, so I thought I’d hit up the future on my sci-fi kick. Rogue androids in the future pose an apparent threat to humans, and they aren’t allowed on Earth (mass exodus to Mars, radioactive dust on Earth, that old story). The search for the missing androids didn’t interest me as much as the view of the future as a time when humanity is so difficult to define, and status is placed on people and things in such a strange way. Officer Deckard is a bounty hunter who wants to get the bounty for a bunch of androids so he can buy an animal in a world where real animals are status symbols. Deckard is afraid to admit that his sheep is electric because he doesn’t want anyone to look down on him. Isodore is a “chicken-head” who’s been brain damaged by the radiation and unable to flee with the rest to Mars. He tries to help the fugitive androids hiding from Deckard because he lives all alone and just wants companionship. I watched the movie Blade Runner, based on this book, right after I read it, and it left something to be desired because it didn’t even focus on some of my favorite things about the book. A-

“The Anubis Gates” by Tim Powers
This was another NaNo recommendation. An English professor is invited to speak to a group of high-paying time travelers who go back in time to see Samuel Colridge speak. Then when they go back to the site where they are supposed to make it back to the 21st Century, he is kidnapped and chased around by a sorcerer and his clown friend. It gets kind of hard to follow because there are a lot of new or body-switched characters coming in every few chapters. There wasn’t very much focus on the time travel aspect, just a bunch of weird stuff happening while everyone chases everyone else. I think it could have been more pulled together. C+

“The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells

This book was short and sweet and in that high style of writing that makes you feel like you’re reading something really important. The Time Traveler visits the future and sees what becomes of the human race after several thousand years: it splits into two species, the child-like people of the light, and the terrifying Molocks of the dark. All the Time Traveler wants to do is get his machine back! It’s short enough to read in a few days of bus rides, but I felt it was satisfying as a whole story. A-

That makes 39. I think I'm going to make it, kids!