Wednesday, June 03, 2009

More books I've read in 2009

For a while when I was trying to figure out how to get published in Fantasy and Science Fiction I used to review every story in every issue. Here is my review of a Paul DiFilippo story from the February 2000 issue:
Stink Lines by Paul DiFilippo. A wonderful tribute to the good duck artist. An inventor named Gyro Gearloose creates a fog that makes word balloons, speed lines – and less popularly – readable thought balloons. A living comic book. It’s supposed to be confined to the Barksian amusement park Duckburg but is loosed upon the outside world. Gearloose – with help from his assistant L’il Bulb – eventually figures out a way to solve the problem while creating a much bigger one. A love story – all this was to impress a girl named Ginger Barks – that is laugh-out loud funny. A+
And most other stories I've read by Filippo got similar raves. So why was I reluctant to read Top Ten: Beyond the Farthest Precinct? Because I just don't believe there's anybody who can fill Alan Moore's shoes. So I had to wait a suitable length of time till I could be sure I was judging it on its own strengths and weaknesses and not comparing it (much) to Moore. DiFilippo's Top Ten is more lighthearted than . . . uh, that other guy's. The plot is incomprehensible --- something about robots gaining access to some cosmic time-stream mcGuffin, but the fun is in picking out background characters -- everybody from Snoopy to Tintin to Wonder Woman shows up in Neopolis. As it turned out I had no problem with the writer. DiFilippo was a worthy successor to what's his name, but I did have an unexpected problem with the art. Jerry Ordway's workmanlike art was just no match for the memory of Gene Ha and Zander Cannon.As you may recalll, I didn't love Tom Robbins's new book "B is For Beer" but I loved it enough to want to read more Robbins. So I picked this one up. I swear I think when Tom Robbins decides it's time to write a book he just sits down and starts talking to himself with a keyboard about whatever it is that's on his mind -- in this case what was on his mind was tanukis, tightrope walkers, soldiers missing in action -- and of course sex and religion. And that's a good thing, cuz it is always a joy to follow Robbins's mind as it meanders.

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