More Than Wordsmiths: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Foundryside cover detail

Golems from Jewish folklore have always fascinated me, with their heads full of instructions written on a life-giving scroll. A golem is both the creation myth in miniature and a way to codify magic, a sort of early computer programming where the processors are clay giants. It’s strangely comforting to imagine that human beings could control the world in such a fashion, while also terrifying to imagine the many ways it could go wrong.

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The Perfect Do-Over: Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

In Reincarnation Blues, Milo is the ultimate slacker. He’s lived thousands of lives, but he still hasn’t reached perfection. Instead, he just wants to spend his time in the afterlife with his girlfriend, Susie, who also happens to be one of the incarnations of death. They’ve been together for more than eight thousand years, give or take, and Milo’s primary goal in the afterlife is avoiding transcending to the oversoul so that he can spend eternity watching TV on a couch with Susie.

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A Detailed Mirage: Fata Morgana by Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney

Fata Morgana by Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney Published: June 13, 2017 Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc. Genre(s): Adventure, War, Science Fiction Format: Audiobook Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins I think what drew me to Fata Morgana was the promise of an old-fashioned adventure with a bit of romance: a WW2 bomber plane flies …

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10 PRINT “Heart of Code: The Impossible Fortress”

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak Published: February 7th, 2017 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Genre(s): Young Adult, Fiction, Coming-of-age Format: Audiobook Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins The Impossible Fortress hits the exact right notes of eighties nostalgia without turning into a catalog of bygone pop culture. It definitely opened a flood of memories …

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The Girl Who Wasn’t: LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

LIFEL1K3 is the rare book that I mostly enjoyed until the end soured me on the whole thing. It’s a mash-up of a lot of genres and tropes, which gives it a certain amount of madcap charm, but it squanders that good will with some draggy pacing, an overload of teenage angst, and a final twist that feels like a gotcha moment designed only for shock value. It’s also overstuffed with plot and world-building, so it’s almost impossible to summarize succinctly.

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Modernized Space Girl: Barbarella, Volume 1

First, some caveats about this review of the new Barbarella comic written by Mike Carey: I’ve never seen the Jane Fonda movie, so I watched the trailer to get a feel for it because it felt like a necessary entry point.

I also read the first volume of the classic comics by Jean-Claude Forest so that I’d have a baseline to compare against the rebooted series. From a writing standpoint, I’d say that the two versions of Barbarella are on close to equal footing, but the art in the modern version just does not do the character justice.

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The Little Death of Reality: Alt-Life

Alt-Life is the story of what happens when two horny French people volunteer as beta testers for an all-encompassing VR experience that lets them escape from the polluted, dying Earth. Once you’re inside the VR devices, which look like giant red eggs full of undulating cilia, the system integrates with your body and you live out the rest of your life on the inside.

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The Silliest Quest: Kill the Farm Boy

Kill the Farm Boy is a silly book that sends up and undermines some well-worn clichés of the fantasy genre’s hero narrative. It asks questions like “What does it mean to be the Chosen One?” and “Who deserves to be a protagonist?” and then unloads goat poop on them. This succeeds with varying results.

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Infinitely French: Infinity 8, Volume 1

If I didn’t already know that Infinity 8 is a French comic, reading it would make that crystal clear. It has a French feel about it, from the art reminiscent of Moebius, to the laconic dialogue scenes, to (most tellingly) the glimpse of casual nudity and the protagonist who wears a skin-tight spacesuit straight out of 1950s pinup illustrations.

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The Self-Made Detective: IQ by Joe Ide

Joe Ide’s debut novel, IQ, won’t revolutionize the detective genre, but it does tell an entertaining story about well-drawn and complex characters. It wasn’t the most exciting crime novel I’ve ever read, but I’d be happy to follow the future exploits of Isaiah Quintabe wherever they lead.

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