Wednesday, June 20, 2012

#26: Blood Mesa by James Reasoner

A loner, who survived a near-death experience only to be rewarded with an ability to see evil all around him, ends up as a handyman at a college's archaeological dig; but in short order they dig up something that should have remained buried in James Reasoner's Blood Mesa, from the "Dead Man" ebook series.

I got interested in seeing what this series was about via Twitter and decided to start with a contribution from the always-steady James Reasoner.  The Dead Man series in general follows our haunted protagonist as he drifts from place to place either trying to find, or being stalked by, a satanic figure called Mr. Dark.

Reading summaries of the other novels in the series makes me think that the series has pieces and parts from a little of everything across the map, but in this particular edition it adds up to a pleasing, if not particularly strenuous, whole.

I bought a collected volume of these for my beloved Kindle and am interested enough to read another.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

#25: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

A man finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars, and quickly becomes involved in various civil wars and bidding for the hand of a martian princess in Edgar Rice Burroughs' first Mars novel A Princess of Mars.

I was a devoted Tarzan fan as a teen but never (at least in my memory) dipped into these Mars novels.  I found this on audio book at the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library and decided to give it a go after seeing (what I thought) was a pretty underrated film version in John Carter.

Part travelogue and part Men's Adventure, A Princess of Mars is a brisk, enjoyable sci-fi adventure that holds up pretty well despite being written almost a century ago.  I would recommend it for anyone who enjoyed the film version, or enjoys Golden Age pulp writing.

Monday, June 18, 2012

#24: Trullion: Alastor 2262 by Jack Vance

A spacefarer returns home, longing for family and hearth, only to meet up with mysterious cults, aquatic beasts, space pirates, robbery, and treachery in Jack Vance's whacked-out sci-fi Trullion.

As I have gotten older I have started liking hotter and rarer foods as well as what I used to disparagingly call hippie-fi, science fiction of the 60s and 70s (I was more a lantern-jawed 40s and 50s reader for most of my youth).  Although not as philosophically resonant as Philip K. Dick or Samuel R. Delany, Jack Vance's novel gets credit for plenty of crazy ideas and out-of-the-box thinking, and I ended up enjoying it quite a bit.

Some of the out-of-the-box thinking focuses on our protagonist playing Hussade, a complicated sport with water tanks, trapezes, and virgins that is extremely popular on the planet and part of several plot developments.  Bonus points for having a Hussade opponent named Denzel Warhound.

This was the first book loaned to me for my beloved Kindle as part of their new book-borrowing program, and I read it quickly.  Recommended for fans of psychedelic sci-fi.