Despite everything, I have been able to get a bit of reading done. Below are some brief reviews:
We Can Fix It!: A Time Travel Memoir by Jess Fink. I didn’t finish this. A woman time travels back to see her younger self. She ends up having sex with her younger self. Repeat. Repeat. And it’s not even sexy. No time travel paradoxes are even mentioned. From the part I read, there was no real point. It seems more like a masturbatory fantasy in graphic novel form than anything else.
The Property by Rutu Modan. Another graphic novel–a good read about a family that travels back to the old country to attempt to reclaim a property that was lost when the family had to flee Europe during WWII. Well-drawn, solid story.
Gris Grimly’s Wicked Nursery Rhymes. This wants to be Gorey and Gaiman. It’s not.
Batman Incorporated by Grant Morrison. Batman begins to start franchising himself so more cities have his trademark protection. Fine idea and all, but I’m just not into it enough to keep going.
When David Lost His Voice by Judith Vanistendael. I couldn’t finish this one either. It’s described as a “tone poem”–those are tricky enough to get through sometimes when they aren’t in graphic novel form.
The Middleman and Other Stories by Bharati Mukherjee. I picked this up recently because I’d read and enjoyed “The Management of Grief,” about people who gather after their relatives’ plane has gone down near a foreign small town. I like the beginning of another story here, “A Wife’s Story,” which begins with an Indian woman watching Glengarry Glen Ross and having a bit of a fit about the characters’ casual racism. But then something happens common to most of the collection–richly described characters experience angst. They are just about to do something that will shift their lives, and then the story ends. We don’t get to see whether they’re lives get shifted, how it feels to have sex with that stranger, to quit the job, etc. I felt empty at the end of almost every tale.
The Surrogates by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele. Another graphic novel–this time presupposing a world in which surrogate bodies have mostly replaced ours. We send our avatars (younger, fitter) out in to the world to have sex with our husbands, to catch criminals, etc. (Crime is actually down because hurting the avatar is only property damage.) Yet there’s rebellion from those who believe we should encounter the world in flesh. Will we be ready to if they win?
Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie. This is a collection of classic and new stories. I love Alexie and find his short fiction often superior to his novels. Perfection.
Gail Carriger’s series: The Parasol Protectorate and The Finishing School. I had unfortunately tried to read the second book in the Parasol series, not realizing I had book 2, some years ago. Reading both series in the right order has been wonderful. It’s steampunk fiction. Parasol is for adults–set in Victorian England–in which our smart heroine must deal with a world in which steam power reigns and in which vampires and werewolves live alongside the sometimes inhospitable humans. The writing is light and sexy (especially in the first book). Our heroine’s moments of panic are usually both because someone is trying to kill her and because fleeing might expose an ankle. The Finishing School series is for young adults and is set in a finishing school for female spies and assassins. It serves as a prequel to the Parasol series, as some of our young ladies have grown up for Parasol. So good.