A potpourri of reviews

A couple of quick reviews, simply because I’ve been lax and haven’t gotten to them (all links are to Amazon):

Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow. Okay folks, I’ve been seeing the io9 writers say they unexpectedly loved this film for a year, so I finally decided to trust their taste.  HOLY MERDE GUYS I AM SO GLAD I DID…. if for no other reason than that they came up with a real reason for Cruise’s character to be the single savior for the world. Okay, so they somehow forgot to explain why they’d shove a journalist officer into sophisticated tech he wasn’t trained on, but I’d rather they botch that than have him be the savior of the world because he’s the Special White Male. Blunt’s acting is top-notch, and there’s a dark sharp humor throughout that makes this far more than any of the trailers made it out to be.

Indelible Ink by Matt Betts: Matt’s writing is as sharp as always. He’s come up with an interesting and consistent world, and while the plot isn’t particularly surprising, it has enough twists and turns to make it a fun ride.

(Full disclosure: I published Matt’s collection of poetry and short fiction, See No Evil, Say No Evil because I liked it so much.)

Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig: Chuck’s writing is best when he puts his characters into horrible, but relatable situations… and then makes them squirm against both societal norms and their own impulses. Blackbirds serves this up in spades. Awful in the most delightful way.

Lock In by John Scalzi: This novel very definitely has a “big idea”, and doesn’t let you forget it. It’s probably a shame that I read this closely after re-reading Redshirts, simply because the former completely absorbed me despite the big ideas, whereas the Big Idea of the Lock In was so front and center here. That said, Scalzi is a masterful storyteller, so while I didn’t find this to be his best book, it was still a damn fine one.

War Stories, ed Jaym Gates & Andrew Liptak:  This Kickstarted anthology really hit me in the feels. Particularly with a topic like “war”, it’s hard to walk that line where you both convey the reality of the situation while not glorifying it or wandering into tropes. This anthology manages that balancing act well.

HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! and Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects, ed. John Joseph Adams: This Kickstarted anthology suffers from one flaw: the sheer number of stories that are told in the format of crowdfunding campaigns. It isn’t that the tales are repetitive, but the format is so restrictive that after reading several in a row that the delight starts to fade. The same thing happens with flash fiction, so while I recommend this book as well, I would suggest you dip your toe in every so often rather than try to binge on it.

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