The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted by Harry Harrison

Filed under:Adventure,Humor,Science Fiction — posted by Randolph on May 12, 2022 @ 10:41 am

This is on of the later books but set early in his career. The story opens with James DiGriz, prisoner, being shipped to some planet to face charges of bank robbing, after lamenting his misfortune he escapes from the pot into the fire.

James finds himself on a military planet and promptly gets drafted. He learns a nemesis of his, formerly Captain Garth, is now General Zennor, planning an invasion of an unknown planet and is enlisted by the League Navy to identify that planet – if he can’t kill General Zennor first.

The target planet turns out to be a utopian planet with no government and practicing a philosophy of Individual Mutualism, which seems to be a rather libertarian approach to life. There is no army, no police and no problems. On such a world, how do you defeat a heavily-armed invasion force?

As usual, he goes from one problem to another finding the most unusual solutions to problems in amusing ways and finds a most unusual solution to outwitting an invading army.

Hawkeye, Vol 1: My Life as My Weapon by Matt Fraction

Filed under:Fantasy,Humor — posted by Randolph on February 25, 2019 @ 6:11 pm

This was recommended by a friend and I was glad for the suggestion. The book consists of two short stories in the graphic novel. This is a collection of the first issues of Hawkeye comic books.

There are two protagonists in one persona, Hawkeye. The two are Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. The backstory is that Clint was one of the Avengers, with no special ability but an extraordinary talent with the bow. When he was presumed killed, Captain America passed the bow on to Kate, who possessed similar skills. The story works on the relationship between these to versions of Hawkman.

I found the characters and the stories are interesting. The artists, David Aja and Javier Pulido do a good job. I like the composition, both the scenes and the page layout. They make good use of color to delimit segments of different sequences within the story. Although I felt the pacing was too fast, a common issue with graphic novels in general.

The story is both exciting and funny. They way the two characters interact can draw you in and make you believe and like both characters. It is well worth a good read.

French for Cats by Henry Beard

Filed under:Humor — posted by Randolph on August 2, 2018 @ 5:37 pm

French for Cats by Henry Beard

This book takes the form of a normal phrasebook as intended for cats. Or at least what humans would expect a cat to say in various situations. It is a light and quick read and the French itself is accurte and useful, but knowing some French is useful, as a few of the “translations” are jokes in themselves.

Mon dieu! Un petit livre pour des chats! Maintenant il peut miauler en deux langues! Aucune paix pour l’homme.

Myth-ion Improbable by Robert Asprin

Filed under:Adventure,Fantasy,Humor,Series — posted by Randolph on April 1, 2017 @ 2:23 pm

Myth-ion Improbable by Robert Asprin

This books is set earlier than some of the recent books, following Myth Directions. In this adventure, Skeeve gets hold of a treasure map that leads to a golden cow. At the thought of treasure, Aahz loses his senses, with Tananda, they begin a grand adventure. .

Only, the map is magical and changes as the proceed. They meet some odd characters, some peculiar dimensions. Meeting vegetarian cowboys, odd cattle, and redundant towns on their way to find gold, they face odd obstacles and find humorous solutions.

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks

Filed under:Humor — posted by Randolph on March 5, 2017 @ 6:06 pm

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks

My initial impression of this book was unfavorable. The book opens in a Wooster-Jeeves role reversal. I had a hard time accepting this, but read on. It took a bit, but the book did pick up.

This doesn’t quite have the same feel of Woodhouse, but it is a respectable homage. Faulks is making his own style apparent, and is adding his own twist, with what I suspect is a promise of more books to come.

Bertie is up to his usual antics, trying to help his friends in their affairs and everything goes south. In this story, Jeeves seemed a bit less than his usual on-top-of-everything-and-in-control self, but in the end, he manages everything for the best.

Any fan of Woodhouse’s Jeeves will recognize and enjoy this story.

So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish by Douglas Adams

Filed under:Humor,Science Fiction — posted by Randolph on February 13, 2017 @ 10:13 am

So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish by Douglas Adams

The fourth book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series was a bit disappointing. That is not to say it was bad, but it didn’t seem to hold up to the previous books. Arthur is on the Earth 2, about 8 years after the destruction of the original version. The book was disappointing to me because the plot was weaker and many of the characters weren’t as interesting as in the series.

Arthur falls in love with a girl, that seems to be a major plot point, but doesn’t develop. The girl’s reactions didn’t seem reasonable to me at times.

Another plot point is discovering why the dolphins have disappeared. But this point is just dropped in favor of another plot point – discovering god’s final message.

On the positive side, Adams displays his peculiar brand of humor quite well. Each turn of events is pretty much unexpected and often funny.

The Long Road Home by G. B. Trudeau

Filed under:Humor,Series — posted by Randolph on April 3, 2016 @ 7:23 am

The Long Road Home by G. B. Trudeau

This is a collection of cartoons relating to B.D.s recovery from an RPG attack near Fallujah. It deals with recovery issues and the loss of a limb. It also tells the story of Fisher House, a recovery house for wounded vets. It not only addresses B.D’s and Boopsie’s recovery, but addresses some of their friends. But Trudeau keeps it light, there is a suggestion we might find out what his initials stand for, and Zonker can keep any subject light.

This collection keeps its distance from politics and the stronger political characters don’t make an appearance. The book really focusses on the recovery issues without any distracting side-stories.

Much Obliged, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Filed under:Humor — posted by Randolph on July 6, 2015 @ 8:48 pm

Much Obliged, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

This is a full novel, most Jeeves stories I’ve read were short stories. In this story, Bertie’s aunt is trying to get a donation from another gentleman. Bertie gets into his usual trouble, being accused of stealing from the same gentleman.

Bertie’s friend, Ginger is engaged to Bertie’s cousin Florence, who has encouraged him to run for the House of Commons. But Ginger later decides that he actually loves another, but he cannot walk out on a commitment.

Then Bertie is trying to help a young woman who has something in her eye. Her fiancĂ© walks in and threatens Bertie, who in his usual fashion, doesn’t understand. The young girl falls for Bertie, who wants nothing to do with her.

In comes Jeeves and solve all problems in one single action full of unforeseeable consequences and humor. The book is funny, in the typical style of Wodehouse. A good and moderately fast read.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Filed under:Fantasy,Humor — posted by Randolph on May 2, 2015 @ 8:54 am

It’s the end of the world, and things aren’t quite going as planned. The antichrist has been born into the world, unfortunately there was this mixup at the hospital. He is raised as a middle-class human only becoming aware of his powers.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, you know, War, Death, Famine, and Pollution. Their horses have become motorcycles, and they arrive with the intent of starting a nuclear war.

Now, Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon, aren’t happy with the end of the world. After 6000 years, they’ve grown accustom to it. So they team up to try and change the outcome.

Pratchett and Gaiman have teamed up to bring an excellent and unlikely story of the end of time. There are a lot of interesting character that help carry the book in various directions.

A fan of either author will enjoy this book. It is funny, light, and a fairly quick read.

You Want Proof? I’ll Give You Proof! by Sidney Harris

Filed under:Humor — posted by Randolph on April 25, 2015 @ 7:59 pm

You Want Proof? I'll Give You Proof! by Sidney Harris

This is a series of unrelated cartoons, mostly about science. Some basic understanding of science is helpful to understand some of them, but anyone can enjoy the book. It is a pretty fast read, worth a few giggles, but not much more. It is a different way of looking at science.

I did find it curious that a science-oriented book would neglect to include page numbers.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace