The Martian Chronicles

13 06 2009

Ray-Bradbury-The-Martian-Chroniclesby Ray Bradbury
ISBN 978-0380973835 (William Morrow)
Hardback (2006 reprint of 1997 Avon Books edition)
story copyrights 1946,1948,1949,1950,1958,1972 with 1997 introduction by the author.

With Subterranean Press about to publish a special edition of Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles, and me not willing to part with US$300 for the privilege – especially now the the AUS$ has dropped from “near parity” to US$0.80ish – I grabbed a cheaper copy to renew the reading experience. I did have other copies in the past, but have given them away.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a copy before that delivered the works in chronological order from “Ylla” (first landing) thru to “The Million-Year Picnic”.

Timeline (stories) 2030-2057 [story list added 15/06/2009]
Rocket Summer
The Summer Night
The Earth Men
The Taxpayer
The Third Expedition
And The Moon Be Still As Bright
The Settlers
The Green Morning
The Locusts
Night Meeting
The Shore
The Fire Balloons
The Musicians
The Wilderness (c 1972)
The Naming of Names
Usher II
The Old Ones
The Martian
The Luggage Store
The Off Season
The Watchers
The Silent Towns
The Long Years
There Will Come Soft Rains
The Million-Year Picnic

Not all the stories are as good as I remembered, but it was good to re-live the series. I have other martian stories waiting on the shelves, from Bradbury contemporaries such as Leigh Brackett and Edmond Hamilton.

Ray-Bradbury-The-Martian-Chronicles-SPIf you are a Bradbury worshiper, order the forthcoming Subterranean Press edition. For more information, follow this  link..

The Martian Chronicles: The Complete Edition
By Ray Bradbury (to be published in late 2009)
Illustrated by Edward Miller
Introduction by John Scalzi
Limited: US$300
Lettered: US$900
keep an eye out for temporary price reductions.

Verdict: 4 stars – anything by Ray Bradbury is worth reading

The First Law Trilogy

7 06 2009

Abercrombie - First Law Trilogy

by Joe Abercrombie

1) The Blade Itself – ISBN 978-0575079793 (Gollancz)
2) Before They are Hanged – ISBN 978-0575082014 (Gollancz)
3) Last Argument of Kings – ISBN 978-0575084162 (Gollancz)

The final novel was nominated as a finalist for the David Gemmell Legend Award. Abercrombie is in fine company with Marillier, Sanderson, Sapkowski and Weeks also in the running.

I have seen reviews of this series that say each novel in the series just gets better. All I can say is they get fatter. The writing in all three novels was, IMO, even. No book better than another.

The story jumped around a bit too much, and lacked emotion (to me any way) – a bit flat. Maybe I have just read too much better fantasy lately (Brent Weeks, Fiona McIntosh & Karen Miller for example).

That said, the tale was very well constructed, consistent and no loose ends at the conclusion.

Verdict: 3 stars

Flinx Transcendent

7 06 2009

Foster - Flinx Trancendentby Alan Dean Foster
ISBN: 978-0345496072 (Del Rey)
Hardback, May 2009

A Novel of the (Humanx) Commonwealth
and the final Adventure of Pip & Flinx

In this novel, Foster gets to make a tidy ending of the series. Friends and enemies gather to achieve/thwart Flinx’s ambitions. Many entities from Foster’s “Humanx Commonwealth” novels, not just the “Flinx and Pip” adventures, meet to assist in the destruction of the “great approaching evil”.

Foster can’t let a novel go without disecting at least one civilization. This time it is the enemy of the Humanx Comonwealth, the bloodthirsty AAnn (a good way to round up the series). Flinx, again sidetacks from his task, sneaking onto the AAnn homeworld and making friends in the most unlikely places.

Ultimately, Flinx defeats his enemies and gets the girl!!… and boredom.

Verdict: A Great read – recommended (mostly for Pip & Flinx readers)

I would like to see more Flinx adventures. With the old thread brought to a tidy conclusion, perhaps there is scope for some standalone adventures. Even more Commonwealth stories would be welcomed.