Magazines & Anthologies
Rampant Loon Media LLC
Our Beloved Founder and Editor-in-Chief

Follow us on Facebook!


Read them free on Kindle Unlimited!





Thursday, February 24, 2011

Critical Thinking: Reviews

Book Review

So, I’ve had My Precious for two months now. It’s still pretty cool. What am I saying? It’s very cool. It comes with a dictionary feature where you can place the curser right before a word and the definition of that word pops up. But wait, there’s more! I was reading a story with a Hispanic character from Arizona who sometimes spoke in Spanish. I downloaded a for-Kindle Spanish dictionary, changed the defaults, and all of a sudden, I got English translations. Of most of her words. It didn’t do well with slang.

The book I was reading was Charles de Lint’s Forests of the Heart. In it, de Lint keeps the Native American and Irish supernatural inhabitants, but adds Catholicism and southwestern magic. You see, way back when the Irish came to America, they brought their fey folk with them. But many fairy creatures are land-based—they need a home. The Irish fairies could adapt well enough to the cities, and share territory with humans, but they’d like to branch out into the less-developed areas. Problem being, the land not populated by humans is populated by native spirits. Bettina San Miguel learns this when she moves from her native Arizona to the mythical town of Newford, which is someplace around Chicago or Ohio or Toronto. Like all the de Lint books I’ve read, Forests of the Heart has a lot of characters and a ton of story lines that somehow come together at the end.

The other de Lint book I got was Spirits in the Wires. He had already created a rich other-world where European and Native spirits can travel, and where everyone has a heart-home. Here, he ponders what would happen if that world was combined with the technological fantasy land of the internet. Could a website develop sentience? If so, where would it live? In a way, the concept is cyberpunk, as things like viruses materialize as sickly forests. But the book also delves into the reverse—if the internet could be actualized in the fairy world, could the internet send beings into the real world? And, if so, if they were created with all the false memories of a real human, what would they be? Human? Programs?

Another book I downloaded was The Children of Odin; The Book of Northern Myths by Padraic Colum. I studied Greek mythology on my own in grade school, but I haven’t had much exposure to Norse mythology. I don’t know how many liberties Colum took with the stories, but I have to say, the Norse gods came out looking better than the Greeks. Odin was all right. The only malicious god wasn’t even really a god—it was Loki, the trickster. (Loki, Coyote—how did two such similar characters show up on opposite sides of the world?) It was a very good read, and I learned a lot. For one thing, I’d read that Tolkien adapted Norse stories to create a mythology for the Brits, but—holy cats—did he ever.

I also downloaded a bunch of Oscar Wilde, although I’ve only read The Picture of Dorian Gray. All I knew about Dorian Gray was what I saw in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It was not at all what I expected. It’s about idolatry and a dangerous book; an undiscerning young man and a magic wish. And the power behind choosing what you want to believe instead of seeking out the truth. Plus, it’s a good read.

And now for absolute fluff. The Parasol Protectorate is a series of steampunk novels by Gail Carriger. The protagonist is an English-Italian woman who has no soul. Because of this, if she touches the skin of any of her vampire or werewolf friends, they temporarily lose their…vampireness or werewolfoscity. The writing is delightfully distracting, the set-ups are ridiculous, and the heroine believes not even a rogue vampire attack is an excuse for not providing a good tea.

Oh, and I also downloaded and read Rudyard Kipling’s Puck of Pook’s Hill. Well, reread. And then I discovered there’s a movie out about the very wall that features in the book. You can get tons of classics, including a lot of Kipling, for free on the Kindle. I have 20 classics and 9 sci fi/fantasy classics that were all free—and I haven’t even scratched the surface.

I think we might see a shift with these ereaders. I think people may start to read more of the old stuff. I could be wrong, but it could get interesting. I wonder how society would be different if people were actually educated about the literary past and not just the movies based on the old stories.

In other news, if you like, I’m still willing to tear apart short stories. Of course, all critiquing is my own opinion, but if you have a short story you’d like me to look at, post it to the Yahoo Group, and let me know at kersley.fitz at yahoo.
blog comments powered by Disqus