All posts by SciFiChick

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The Thirteenth Tale

Completing my first book in the October Reading Challenge, I read The Thirteenth Tale , by Diane Setterfield.

It seems like everyone and their brother has read and reviewed this book, but I’ll give my two cents as well. I purposefully didn’t read any details on The Thirteenth Tale, wanting to have a fresh take on it.

It was a perfect read for this Halloween season, spooky and mysterious. The story was so beautifully written, that I was captivated from the start and never once wanted to put it down. Setterfield wove a brilliant web of stories within stories, revealing parts at different times, as everything came together at the end.

I do have a few criticisms. One, I didn’t care for Margaret’s constant complaining about her dead twin that she had never known. Yes, it’s sad, but she’s now an adult and needs counseling if she’s still that wrapped up in the ghosts of her past. I guess I don’t have a lot of sympathy for such week women portrayed in books. That’s why I thought it hilarious when the doctor prescribed for her to read Sherlock Holmes, instead of her usual Jane Eyre.

My other major complaint is that Setterfield took so long to wrap everything up at the end. The end seemed to drag (the only part in the book that did). And the explaining what happened to everyone was overkill. Why would we care what happened to Judith and Maurice? I don’t remember who Maurice even was! I believe he was referred to once or twice in the story.

But overall this was a fun novel that I’d recommend to anyone who loves a good, spooky mystery.


And of course, I have to comment on last night’s Heroes episode.
We finally got to see Niki’s “Mr. Hyde” persona. And I have a new theory on Peter. (And I’m sure I’m not the only one). I think maybe he has the ability to adopt anyone’s powers when he’s near them. This would explain why he could fly only near his brother. (Remember he was falling the first time he tried to fly, until he was close to Nathan in the air.) It would make for a cool twist. And it would also mean that Peter could match Sylar’s abilities, making him the only one who could possibly take him down. Since it seems that Sylar has multiple powers: mind control, healing, flight, super strength, freezing ability, etc.

Comic Meme

I saw this meme on a random blog and thought it too fitting.

Comic Book Geeks Unite:

1. Which comic company is your favorite?
Marvel. No question. X-Men, Spider-Man, and Runaways have some of the best stories. While I love a lot of the DC characters, I just can’t put the stories and villains on the same level.
2. Whose is your favorite character(s) and why?
X-Men. There is a vast assortment of mutants with various powers, so there are always new and fresh stories to tell. And some of my favorite are the most unique mutants such as Nightcrawler, who looks like a demon but actually is a strong Christian. The best example to judge someone by their appearance.
3. Do you prefer villains or heroes?
Heroes definitely. Though great villains help to make great heroes.
4. If you could be any comic book character who would you be?
Wonder Woman. I grew up idolizing her, telling people in the nursery that my name was Diana Prince. I now say that at least I reached her height!
5. Comic Books to Movies: Do you prefer it when the movie sticks to the comic story line or strays off with their own creative license?
I much prefer when the movie sticks to the comic cannon. Same with any other book made into a movie.

Thursday Thirteen

Last night I had to draw giant comic strips for a backdrop in the sanctuary for the upcoming series we’re doing in church labeled “Heroes.” When I heard this, I of course got extremely excited, ideas whizzing through my mind. The rest of the Creative Team just sat there, while I (the only woman) was spewing out ideas and obviously giddy. One of the guys asked me how I knew so much about super heroes. Yeah. It’s kind of sad. And yet, I felt more sorry for him not knowing, since the super hero sub genre of science fiction may be my favorite aspect. And one of the reasons I love the new show Heroes (and The 4400) so much… ordinary people having extraordinary abilities.

Anyway, this got me thinking about…
Thirteen Reasons Why I love Super Heroes:

1. Super Powers and Special Abilities. What’s a super hero without cool powers? (No, Batman doesn’t have super powers, but he does have a powerful mind and cool gadgets.) My favorite powers are usually the most useful ones like flight, telekinesis, or teleportation.
2. Fun Adventures and Fights. What good are heroes without a story?
3. Character and Morals. People joke that Superman is a Boy Scout, but he’s the ultimate role model. Some people may like super heroes that are fallible, but I want my heroes to have a higher moral code.
4. Ordinary People with a Higher Calling. At the heart of each hero, they’re still just people. And each as chosen to help people instead of using their gift in a selfish way. This really hits home with me. I need to be using my gifts for other instead of focusing on myself so much.
5. Costumes. Come on. What’s a super hero without a cheesy costume?
6. Secret Identity. A lot of heroes don’t have one, but I find it gives the hero a more human quality. And it gives them a feeling of safety when enemies are around.
7. Super Villains. The more powerful the bad guy, the more exciting the situations become.
8. Immortality. In the world of super heroes (and most of science fiction), no one stays dead forever.
9. Love Interests. Mary Jane, Lois Lane, Steve Trevor… most great stories have a great romance. And who can’t admit to having a crush on a super hero?
10. Origin Story. Every story has a beginning. And the origin stories are what shape the hero into who they become, and why they do what they do.
11. Theme Song. Spider-Man, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (heheh)… theme songs always give me a sense of excitement, as well as a feeling of nostalgia.
12. Merchandise. From t-shirts, posters, and novels, I have to admit… I crave it sometimes.
13. Attractive. That’s right. Just about every super hero is attractive and at peak physical condition. I mean, who would want to watch a slovenly, old man running around in tights? Not me. I’ll take Colossus and his bulging biceps any day.

What do you love about super heroes? And which is your favorite?

October Challenge

Sassymonkey issued an October Reading Challenge.
So I figured I’d do this one too, since I just finished the RIP Challenge with the following books:

1. Winter Moon , by Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee, and C.E. Murphy
2. The Reluctant Miss Van Helsing , by Minda Webber
3. Death Splits a Hair, by Nancy Bell
4. Magic Street, by Orson Scott Card
5. Everybody Comes to the Nightside (3-in-1), by Simon R. Green

My October reading list will be:
1. The Thirteenth Tale , by Diane Setterfield – Yep, since everyone else is doing it…

2. The Artifact , by Kevin J Anderson – He’s one of my favorite authors, so I’m excited about this one.

3. Nephilim, by L.A. Marzulli – One I’ve started but abandoned.

Bonus Book: I’m also hoping to start Dean and Me: (A Love Story), by Jerry Lewis and James Kaplan.

And I need to get going on some drawings. I’ve slacked off for over a month. Next project is for a friend of mine’s husband (Christmas present), a portrait of Ben Browder from Farscape. And I always get an influx of people asking for portraits and such to give as gifts right before Christmas, so I need to get as many done now as I can. But then, there’s nothing like waiting till the last minute.

Everybody Comes to the Nightside

I just finished my last RIP book. Thanks to Carl for the great idea!

Everybody Comes to the Nightside, by Simon R. Green is actually a Science Fiction Book Club 3-in-1 book including originally published: Something From the Nightside, Agents of Light and Darkness, and Nightingale’s Lament.

The Nightside books center on John Taylor, a private investigator who has special abilities that help him find things in a dark, magical place called the Nightside. My favorite passage that pretty much sums it up is from the forward in Nightingale’s Lament:
“My name is John Taylor. I’ve made that a name to be respected and feared, but it’s also made me a target my whole life.
I operate as a private eye, in a world where gods and monsters are real. The Nightside: the sick, secret magical heart of London. A place where dreams come true, whether you want them to or not. It’s not easy to find a way in, and it can be even harder to find a way out.
I can find anything, solve any mystery. Except the answers to the dark and deadly secrets of my own past.
My name is John Taylor. And if you’ve come looking for me, either you’re in trouble, or you’re bound to be.”

In the first book, Something From the Nightside, a woman comes to John to ask him to find her daughter. They must travel to the dark and magical world of the Nightside, from where John has fled. The story incorporates dark humor, suspense, and horror, all wrapped up in an eerie mystery. This is my favorite in the series so far, simply because the Nightside is such a mystery and the slow reveal is great because it’s such a new and different place.

In the second book, Agents of Light and Darkness, the Nightside is already exposed to us, so Green can concentrate more on the plot, meanwhile still introducing new, creepy places within the city. A mysterious monk comes to John to ask him to find the Unholy Grail. Angels, demons, and everyone else dangerous seems to be searching for it as well. John teams up with Shotgun Suzie, a deadly assassin who once tried to kill him, for this disturbing tale.

In Nightingale’s Lament, the third book, Taylor is hired to find a famous singer in the Nightside whose audience seems to be committing suicide after her shows. Many more creepy (and yet fun) characters are introduced in this story that either aid or try to kill Taylor along the way.

This was a perfect choice as a final RIP Challenge book. I can probably attribute some of my disturbing dreams lately to the stories in this novella. I love how it’s written in a sort of classic pulp fiction detective novel, yet very fresh and fun.

_____
Speaking of creepy, disturbing things, I was on the edge of my seat several times last night watching Heroes! Each episode keeps getting better!

Don’t forget to read the online comic!

Halloween Meme

Taken from Carl’s Halloween meme: 

1. What is your favorite work of horror fiction?
The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova.  See my review here.

2. What is your favorite work of science fiction/fantasy?
This one is hard as science fiction is my favorite genre. I’ll have to list several:

Area 51 series, Robert Doherty (Bob Mayer)

Rogue Angel: Destiny, by Alex Archer

Noble Dead series, by Barb and J.C. Hendee 

-Most of the Star Trek: TNG books by Michael Jan Friedman, Peter David, etc.

3. Who is your favorite monster?
Dracula. I’ve always loved books and movies about vampires.

4. What horror movie gives you the most chills?
I don’t watch a lot of horror, but The Ring was the scariest movie I’ve seen.

5. Freddy versus Jason?
No thanks.

6. What is your favorite Halloween treat?
Most candy that comes in chocolate form.

7. Ghosts or goblins?
Ghosts. Nothing better than a creepy ghost story, especially this time of year.

8. What is your scariest encounter with the paranormal?
None. Though after watching The Ring with some friends and being left at my house alone, I had to watch Angels in the Outfield to get my mind on something feel-good instead of demonic.

9. Do you believe in ghosts?
Nope. Though I do like watching Ghost Hunters and haunted house shows on the travel channel.

10. Favorite Halloween costume?
That I’ve worn in the past: Rogue and Supergirl.

That would be fun to wear in the future: