Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cannonball Read #2- Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt

Zombie. Spaceship. Wasteland. Which one of these archetypal personalities are you? I am a Wasteland much like the book's author, Patton Oswalt. While the title is important in this book, its not the only fun thing you will read. Patton's writing is witty and poignant and very reminiscent of his stand up. If you are not familiar with Mr. Oswalt's stand up, I suggest you check him out. Most non-hipster people will recognize him as Spencer from The King of Queens or as the voice of Remy in Disney's Ratatouille. Patton has been touring since the mid 90s which a few stories are recounted in the book. Though other comedians have written funny books, Patton stands out that its not a lot of rehackneyed jokes from their own routines. Even a comedy God, George Carlin, recycled jokes in his book. Patton is at home writing stories and epic poems as he is behind the mic. Yes I said Epic Poems!

The book opens up with the story, Ticket Booth, which recounts his days as a cinema worker in a warn down shit hole known as the Towncenter 3. If you want to know why Patton is Patton, this well laid out story pretty much explains it all. From his obsession with REM's Fables of Reconstruction to selling half stubs, his word play is a fascinating journey into the psyche of a budding genius.

Patton's layout of the book reminds me of a personal favorite author of mine, Chuck Klosterman. Weaving weird short lists, or fake wine lists, between the chapters makes for an awesome chucklefest. Some of the weirder things include a short graphic novel about vampires in New Orleans and my personal favorite part of the book, The Song of Ulvaak.

Now dear reader you are asking yourself who the fuck is Ulvaak? Is he some obscure Finish Prime Minister? Was he a German folkhero? Nope he was one of the greatest D and D characters created by Patton Oswalt ever. Ulvaak was a Half-Orc Fighter who kicked some major ass and then sacrificed himself by killing a Lord of a Plane thus negating all existence ala Azrael, Loki, and Bartleby's plan in Dogma sort of! This makes no sense to your non nerds but all you nerds are understanding whats going on. Patton's Epic Poem would make one hell of a death metal song if Brian Posehn hasn't claimed dibs to do it yet. Ulvaak was most likely a Wasteland as well. One well armed bad ass wasteland with a bit of zombie thrown in.

The three archetypes presented list out what the requirements to fit into that category are. Go read the book and tell me what your archetype is!

I highly recommend this book to any Star Wars Fan, Patton Oswalt Fan, Fan of Nerds, Star Trek Fan whatever. If you have glasses and a graphic calculator and listen to Weird Al Yankovich, this is for you. This book rates a 95% on the funny scale and a 97% overall. Now go queue up your Amazon wishlist.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cannonball Read 3 Review #1- Neuropath by R. Scott Bakker

I picked up this book because the cover looked cool and the name sounded good. I read the back brief and it sounded like a Criminal Minds type book. As I absolutely adore Criminal Minds, I decided to buy it from Mercer Island Books. The cover tagline is "You are not what you think you are." This book absolutely passed popcorn Serial Killer Criminal Minds reading. The setting of the book was interesting as it promoted Speculative Science and was set in a mixture of Philip K Dick's Minority Report universe with a bit of Back to the Future II. Unfortunately even in this story there are no hoverboards! The year is 2011. Why can't we have Hoverboards. Anyway, end rant.

The story starts with Professor Thomas Bible being questioned by the FBI. Thomas Bible is a psychology professor in the near future. His best friend Neil Cassidy, former school chum is wanted by the FBI in a series of connected murders. Neil is mixed up in some weird ass Mind Control experiments on terrorists. That is just the beginning. Thomas's children and his ex wife all get caught up in Thomas's troubles. He is originally suspected to be an accomplice of Neil.

The whole book is posited on a philosophical argument between the protagonist and antagonist. They dubbed it "The Argument". The Argument for all purposes is that there is no free will or soul. Our brain is just a highly powered machine and we are just experiencing inputs and outputs like a computer. This is what sucked me in. I am a sucker for philosophy especially surrounding free will. I think that is a big driving force in my own philosophy. I think thats why this book Mindfucked me. It made me think more than I thought was going to happen.
The Argument itself screws with every major character in the book. This book is a must read for those who like futuristic crime novels, cyberafficianados, futurewhores, etc. It makes you think more than it would lead you to believe.

R Scott Bakker has a way with words and weaves in a secondary story about another serial killer dubbed the Chiropractor who is taking all the press while Neil is also being investigated for his crimes. His universal future is fraught with potential hazards of real life including Global Climate Change issues including making Moscow pretty much a wasteland and fires all across Europe. His future also includes a severe issue with Big Brother type government which pretty much is what Neil enjoyed being able to work for. He also posits about the first post porn generation where everyone grew up with internet porn and extremes so no one is really taboo about it.

This book has everything an Orwell, Huxley, Dick, or Gibson fan could want. I recommend it for anyone looking for a fast paced Mindfuck. I rate it around an 85%.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Begining

I started this blog to do Cannonball Read 3 but will also use it to review movies, tv shows, cds, etc along with the books I will be reading. I should have reviews up for The Fighter, season 2 of United States Of Tara and my first book for CBR3, Neuropath by R Scott Bakker. I will try to be snarky, sweet, and wildly inappropriate and maybe sometimes serious. I hope my readers enjoy what I write because I know I will. That's the true test of yourself, if you love your work.