Review: The Martian

The Martian
The Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the better hard science fiction novels I’ve read, The Martian manages to maintain a level of suspense, and humor, even given the fact that 90% of the book has us looking at one character: Mark Watney, who was left for dead on Mars after an emergency forces the crew of the Ares-3 to evacuate. Whatney has little communication with the rest of the universe and is forced to fend for himself.

The only thing that I didn’t like about it was that if anyone could have been left alone on Mars, Watney was the only member of the crew that could’ve possibily survived such an ordeal, given is unique skills as handyman/engineer and botanist. I suppose the book might’ve been shorter with one of the other crewmembers, but Watney wouldn’t be quite such an secondhand superman – it often seems like he knows everything and anything he needs to know, and can somehow artifice anything from the limited supplies he has. The book reads as a sort of Red Planet Mars in reverse, or Gravity with a guy. The “techni-ness” of everything often drags things down a bit, as the author is teaching us the Martian basics rather than telling the story.

Even with those shortcomings, the book is an excellent and emotional story and definitely worth a read!

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Review: The Doom Patrol Archives, Vol. 3

The Doom Patrol Archives, Vol. 3
The Doom Patrol Archives, Vol. 3 by Arnold Drake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great entry in the DC Archives series, and one that I couldn’t put down. Usually I try to read these a few issues a night, just so they last longer. But the original Doom Patrol always draws a person in to their strange little world.

This volume features nothing but the art of Bruno Premiani and Bob Brown (covers and the Challengers issue). Arnold Drake really hit his stride in the stories in the one, as the Mento-Rita Farr romance turns to marriage, Mr. 103 returns twice, and Beast Boy makes his debut. Heck, even the elusive Super-Hip makes a cameo! How can you go wrong with that?

Recommended fun and weirdness!

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Review: The Same Old Story

The Same Old Story
The Same Old Story by Paul Kupperberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This novel is an excellent murder mystery set against the pre-code comic book era of the fifties, Paul (I Murdered Archie) Kupperberg interweaves real and fictional (and some barely-disguised) people from that volatile time in the industry in a very believable fashion.

This is a well-written story with some great characterization and a lot of attention to detail – any detective fiction or comic book fan will enjoy this realistic look into a bygone era. It is a very enjoyable and engaging story by any account – plenty of suspects, plenty of evidence, and no short-cuts to the solution!

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