Friday, October 24, 2008

Enslaved by Ducks by Bob Tarte

Enslaved by Ducks
Bob Tarte
2003, 2004, Algonquin, Chapel Hill

Bob Tarte is a writer who one day decides to get a rabbit. That one rabbit eventually becomes parrots, geese, turkeys, ducks, more rabbits, and an assortment of other birds. This books tells of their adventures and misadventures.

I really enjoyed the read. A lot of books about pet owners are glossy, cutesy books with overly-crafted scenarios, emotional highs and lows. But this book is excruciatingly honest. The animals are all psycho, and the clueless humans are neurotic and not ashamed to admit it

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Life Without Limits by Helen O'Neill

Life Without Limits
Helen O'Neill
2003, Random, Milsons Point

This is the story of David Pescud, whose severe dyslexia means that he can neither read nor write. He was the skipper of the first Sydney to Hobart yacht manned entirely by people with disabilities. The first half is a typical biography, telling of his struggles with school and life, and the second half turns into a real adventure story of the treacherous 1998 Sydney to Hobart race.

Pescud's is an amazing story. He overcame such great obstacles to become an enabling inspiration to disabled people. The book does not make me want to sail!

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Alien by Alan Dean Foster

Alan Dean Foster
1979, 1993, Warner Books, London

This is the novel based on the movie of the same name, printed in an omnibus edition along with Aliens and Alien 3. The crew of the cargo ship Nostromo are awoken from cryosleep by a distress call emanating from a planetary system they pass though. When they arrive, they discover a deserted ship on the surface of the planet, which is hiding a horrific surprise.

I've never seen the movie, which is shameful, as this is one of the seminal science fiction movies, and one of the only few to have a female hero. I will have to go see the movie now because the story is brilliant. Sure it's predictable, but it's a wild ride.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Jog Rummage by Grahame Wright

Jog Rummage
Grahame Wright
1974, Pan Books, London

This is a fantasy story about the Jogs and the Rats - sworn enemies until a common threat unites them. Jog Rummage is the brave Jog with the vision and courage to face this new foe.

I absolutely adored this book. The prose is so beautiful, though a little vague at the start. But as the reader continues through the story, it becomes clear that the vagueness is a device designed to keep us from knowing what it truly going on until the author wants us to know. It is superbly crafted.

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman
1996, 2003, Perennial, New York

Richard Mayhew has a normal life in London until he stops to help a young girl bleeding on the streets. She is Door, an opener from London Underground, a fantastical and terrifying place hidden beneath our own world.

This is a very well written fantasy novel. It is set in a place not too far removed from reality which is a clever devise not seen much in the fantasy genre. The characters are all memorable, I especially like Mr. Vandermar and Mr. Croup (reminded me of Mr. Kit and Mr. Wind from James Bond). The prose is image-laden, and the action horrific. It had a tendency to be a bit uneven, but that did not detract too much.

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