Tuesday, September 20, 2016

#39: Super Extra Grande by Yoss

A veterinarian who specializes in gigantic alien animals is tasked with rescuing two former love interests (who have been inconveniently swallowed by a huge creature) in Super Extra Grande by Yoss.

Super Extra Grande, by a Cuban sci-fi writer and rock star, is a nutty romp, part raunchy Fantastic Voyage and part Spanglish Gulliver's Travels

It is a slender but engaging story speculating on a future where a handful of alien races have achieved interstellar travel and have turned the galaxy into a pan-sexual, polyglot stew.  Funny, especially if you like reading about people getting pooped out of oversized aliens.

A bought this with an Amazon gift card I got for my birthday and read it quickly.  Enjoyable.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

#38: Little Green by Walter Mosley

L.A. private eye Easy Rawlins heads to the Sunset Strip at the height of the psychedelic 60s to find a missing young man, only to run afoul of angry hippies, murderous drug dealers, and other dangerous characters in Walter Mosley's Little Green.

Mosley's Easy Rawlins series is a great achievement in contemporary detective fiction, as Mosley has charted Rawlins' life from post-World War II California through the Cold War 50s to the late 60s counterculture, creating a rich accounting of various characters and events along the way. 

I continue to enjoy this series as the character grows and changes (having survived what appeared to be a fatal car wreck at the end of the last novel) along with a dynamic supporting cast of various friends, family, lowlifes, and cops.

Michael Boatman did a great read of this novel on audiobook, which I heard on loan from the New Castle-Henry County Memorial Library in New Castle, Indiana.

Friday, September 9, 2016

#37: The Assimilated Cuban's Guide to Quantum Santeria by Carlos Hernandez

The Assimilated Cuban's Guide to Quantum Santeria by Carlos Hernandez is a neat batch of contemporary science fiction and fantasy stories that feature everything from robot pandas to ghosts lodged in false teeth and pianos to dangerous reality show hijinks. 

The title of the collection gives away the general hook for each story, which feature Cuban characters and culture either prominently or implicitly. 

The title is certainly eye-catching--and the main reason I nabbed Hernandez's work for my beloved Kindle--but the stories are solid of their own accord for any fans of sci-fi and fantasy.

I liked Hernandez's voice throughout and will look for more from this author.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

#36: The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda

A string of grisly homicides lead a young female cop towards a mysterious website--but she has to fight against the rigid political and social structure of Tokyo's police world all the while--in Tetsuya Honda's The Silent Dead.

This is the first English translation in Honda's popular police procedural series, which has also found its way to movies and television in Japan. 

Despite some gory trappings, the characters and relationships are easily digestible and television-ready.  The story is not overly demanding, but of more interest to readers who want a glimpse of contemporary Japanese culture.

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana and read it quickly.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

#35: The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

Upon the accidental death of his father, a slave child falls in with abolitionist John Brown, becoming an often unwilling witness to history in James McBride's The Good Lord Bird.

With its sometimes comedic first-person narration (with the protagonist as an elderly man looking backwards), vivid real-life historic figures (also including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Jeb Stuart, and Robert E. Lee, among many others) and offbeat takes on historic narratives, McBride's novel reminds me a bit of True Grit and a lot of Little Big Man.  Fans of both of those novels, or even the films, will find a lot to enjoy here.

The Good Lord Bird is on one hand a big, brawling western-flavored story, but on the other filled with small, interesting character interactions--especially how the narrator, Onion, ended up living several years as a little girl and not a little boy, and the towering madness of John Brown.

This was a very enjoyable novel made more so by a very good narration on audio book by Michael Boatman. 

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana.

Friday, September 2, 2016

#34: Moonstone by Sjón

A gay teen in early twentieth century Iceland finds escape in movies, as the real world--in the form of World War, pandemic flu, and even an active volcano--creeps in on his life in Sjón's slender, lyrical tale Moonstone.

Sjón is an interesting feature in Icelandic culture as he writes novels, poetry, stage plays, and works with musicians, among other things. 

Whether the reader knows Sjón's celebrity status or not won't diminish the power of this often provocative work.  Although seemingly slight, the images and emotions in the storytelling will resonate after the last page, for discerning readers.

I checked this out from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library in New Castle, Indiana and read it quickly.