Review: Superman: Last Son of Krypton

Superman: Last Son of Krypton
Superman: Last Son of Krypton by Elliot S. Maggin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m pretty sure this was the very first super-hero novel I ever read. I’m not counting the first Phantom or Flash Gordon books that were out a few years earlier, since they were comic strip characters. Soon after this, I started reading the more plentiful Marvel Comics novels that were out for a few years and then dried up as interest waned. But this was the first for me. And a good novel by any point of view.

Elliot S. Maggin was a perfect choice as author, being the prolific comic book writer that he is; All the characters are captured perfectly from their comic book incarnations. Even the retroactive addition that Maggin makes to the Superman mythos is handled smoothly, and makes you wish that writers of his caliber were still handling the Man of Steel’s comic books today. And that this particular Man of Tomorrow was still actually being written about.

Last Son of Krypton is an interesting look at Superman’s origins, as well as being a very readable mystery/science fiction tale. Definitely worth an afternoon of your time!

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Review: Mission to Horatius

Mission to Horatius
Mission to Horatius by Mack Reynolds
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Except for some erstwhile comic bits, this novel, a children’s book, was pretty much Third Season in quality. It was also, technically, the very first Star Trek tie-in novel.

The Enterprise has been on a VERY long mission and is called to respond to a distress signal from a star system that hadn’t been properly explored by the Federation. McCoy, however, is more concerned about the overworked crew suffering from “space cafard” from the monotonous routine of this particular mission.

Luckily, the author managed to get Kirk, Spock, and McCoy’s personalities down pretty well. Uhura is also a lot like the TV show, though Scotty, Sulu and Chekov are all over the place. The story is a bit of a combination of the episodes “Omega Glory”, “Patterns of Force”, “Bread and Circuses”, and a bit of “Friday’s Child” – decidedly lesser concepts all in the Star Trek firmament.

Trekkers and trekkies will probably enjoy this, but otherwise unless you’re a kid, I wouldn’t bother with it.

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Review: Steely Dan: Reelin’ in the Years

Steely Dan: Reelin' in the Years
Steely Dan: Reelin’ in the Years by Brian Sweet
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent work on a great musical act. Considering their success, it is really amazing how unsure of their actual performing abilities Donald Fagen and Walter Becker were, at least according to this book. Reality does seem to tally with what’s inside, considering the amount of actual touring Steely Dan did as an official group back in the day.

It’s hard to believe the number of hits Steely Dan had; or at least the number of songs that have gotten serious airplay over the years. While reading this book, I went back and started listening to my albums and there was a couple times on every one where I’d go “Whoa! They did that one, too?” This book really gets into the strange and elongated method that Fagen and Becker had for creating those early masterworks; at times they make Frank Zappa look simplistic in comparison.

This book is a fine look back at a great rock group, two great personalities, and the recording industry of the seventies. Definitely recommended!

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