Archive for December, 2008

Food as Art

I’ve come across this site of gingerbread sculptures.  Mostly I’m going “Wow!”, with a bit of “What is that?” and “Did they eat it?” thrown in.  Check it out!

I’m going down the coast for a day or so, I don’t think there is any internet access, so no posts for a little while.

Have a good New Year!


Sagan’s Diary is a novella that takes place between The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony.  I felt it was poetic and gave interesting insights into Jane Sagans’ character, along with meditations on death, killing, love and identity.

It is not necessary to read Sagan’s Diary before reading The Last Colony, it is more of a extra for those who love the series.  It is available to read on-line, from Subterranean Press

Other books I have reviewed by John Scalzi: Old Man’s War, The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony

I’ve previously read most of Shannon Hale’s books, they are mostly YA fantasy,and really enjoyed them. When I saw she had written a graphic novel with her husband, I had to buy it.

Rapunzel’s Revenge is an entertaining and lighthearted retelling of the fairy tale, set in a fantasy version of the Wild West.  I felt there were a few clumsy moments, and the depth that I had expected from reading Shannon’s previous work was not there, but overall, I enjoyed this book.

The illustrations, by Nathan (no relation) Hale, were lovely.  My only quibble is with the colouring of some of the characters, I guess they were supposed to be olive coloured , but I thought their skin made them look a bit like zombies.  It was a little disconcernting!

I already own this book and I feel it is a good addition to my sub-genres of humorous fantasy and retold fairy tales.  If Shannon and Dean publish another graphic novel, I’ll be sure to buy it.

Other books by Shannon Hale that I have reviewed: Princess Academy

For My Sister

Who asked if I was only going to post about weird books that she would never read.
No, I will also post about cool bookmarks to use inside the weird books!

I had a ten dollar voucher to use at the gift store down the road and this set of calendar bookmarks was the only thing I liked.  They are perforated so you can remove the calendar part and just have the image.  I’ve already done this and now have 12 new bookmarks to use instead of folded bits of library receipt!  12 bookmarks is a few too many, even given my current habit of stopping in the middle of one book and starting another.  I’m going to give some of the bookmarks away to friends. (The ones I don’t like as much of course – which are mostly the wintery images, probably because I’m living in Queensland.)

This is one I do like:

(the image was cropped to make the bookmark)

The guy who did  all the illustrations was Charley Harper, who specialised in “minimial realism”.  I’ve never heard of him before, but I’m very impressed by his work and will be looking out for it.

The Ghost Brigades is not a direct sequel to Old Man’s War; some of the minor characters from Old Man’s War are present as is Jane Sagan, but mostly we are following the story of Jared Dirac. Jared is created as a modified clone of a traitor so the army can attempt to transfer a recording ofthe traitor’s consciousness.  The experiment fails so Jared is sent off to be a solider in the Ghost Brigades.  As  his brain grows in experience, the traitor’s memories begin to surface.

The Ghost Brigades deals with how the brain works, memory, consciousness and the importance of individual choice.  It doesn’t get bogged down in this, and can be read on the surface level as an attempt to prevent three races from forming an alliance against humanity, and tracking down the traitor who is helping them.  There is a moment in the middle of the book where I was sickened (along with the soldiers performing the task) at what they were asked to do.  Towards the end of The Ghost Brigades there is speculation about the true motives of the army, with the implication that the political situation is a lot more complicated than we (and the characters) have assumed so far.

There is a novella, Sagan’s Diary, that is a lead up to the next book The Last Colony.  This is available on-line so should tide me over until I can get The Last Colony from the library.

Other books I have reviewed by John Scalzi: Old Man’s War, Sagan’s Diary, The Last Colony

I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, and I’m even less likely to read military sci-fi but I really enjoyed this book.
I read John Scalzi’s Agent to the Stars in it’s on-line form last Saturday. It was funny, well-thought out and even sad in places. I was so impressed I decided that even if this guy wrote military sci-fi, I’d give it a try.
Old Man’s War starts off with John Perry enlisting for the army on his 75th birthday. He’ll be defending Earth’s Colonies from ravening aliens and will not allowed to return to Earth when his time is up. Transferred into a highly modified body, this is an entertaining account of his first year or so in the army. I found this novel had a subtle humour stemming from Perry’s personality, and real heart with Perry missing his dead wife and dealing with the constant death of his friends and collegues.
I got The Ghost Brigades from the library at the same time so I’m reading that next.

Other books I have reviewed by John Scalzi: The Ghost Brigades, Sagan’s Diary, The Last Colony

Christmas on Chiron Beta Prime

Merry Christmas!
I hope you are having a wonderful day (and if you’re not, then I hope that your day gets better.)
Here’s a Christmas song that should put a smile on your face : )
Chiron Beta Prime

It looks like I’m posting a day early, but I’m in Australia, we get Christmas first!  (Well, not really first, that would be New Zealand, but we get Christmas second sounds silly.)

Still Learning…

I’m still finding my way around WordPress, and slowly learning how to do what I want to do. With my time off at Christmas (2 four day weekends) I should have plenty of time to figure it all out – maybe!

Hello world!

I have just started this blog.  It will be a learning curve to getting this set up the way I’d like and it may even turn out to be a passing fancy.  Hopefully it will will stay fun and be a useful place to collect all the interesting stuff I find on the web in one place.