Monthly Archives: May 2012

I love a professional wiseass (This month’s Indie Find)

Unfortunately, I don’t get to BE a professional wiseass in my day job and I try to avoid it during my online classroom activities, but I can write about them. And on a good day, there’s a new one to read.

My friend Opal, aka the akamai reader suggested I take a look at Chris Strange’s book, The Man Who Crossed WorldsShe also mentioned that the author gives a hat tip to Jim Butcher’s The Dresdent Files. So I gave it a shot.

Bluegate is a city that is on the last legs of a downward spiral. Our hero, one Miles Franco, has a special talent of being able to tunnel through time and space to another world, one known as Heaven where the rules of our petty earthbound physics simply don’t apply. Reality is bendable, twistable, you can make a pretzel out of it. It’s populated by a humanoid race called the Vei, and Miles makes an off-the-books living occasionally smuggling Vei to earth.

There are gangsters, good cops, innocents, plots, counterpolots, implied romances, conspiracies, a great deal of wiseassery and the trials and tribulations of a smart and talented guy who got in over his head when he tries to do the right thing. I don’t want to say more because I’ll spoil the plot, but if you’re at all an urban fantasy person (and especially if you’re right tired of vampires), pick it up. It’s a hell of a ride.

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What I’m not reading

You may have noticed, even if you were trying not to pay attention to it, the hubub around a couple of trilogies, mainly The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey.

 I have a number of friends who have read the former, many of them liked it. I’ve seen various reviews that talk about what a strong woman the protagonist is. Then a couple other friends read and said just the opposite. That if you pay careful attention to Katniss, she really doesn’t make any decisions on her own. She gets carried along by circumstances or the god in the machine.  I still may read the trilogy, because sometimes I get curious as what all the fuss is about and make my own decision, but it may not be for a while, as I have a quite a backlog.

I won’t be reading Fifty Shades of Grey for a number of reasons. Foremost, I read an excerpt and I was not impressed with the characterization or the writing style. Ana is supposed to be charming in her clumsiness, but I found her insecurity to be off-putting. Then there’s that theoretical instant chemistry with Christian. Ho-hum. I didn’t find myself curious about Christian at all. He struck me as just another arrogant, good-looking man who happened to have a lot of money. Where’s the hook?

If I want a story of sexual obsession, I’ll dig up a copy of 9 and 1/2 Weeks. At the time it was released, I was in college and experimenting with my own sexuality. It was fascinating and erotic and fun, and then got scary and I won’t spoil the ending. Mickey Rourke in his heyday is fantastically sexy and yet untouchable and Basinger puts on a fantastic performance.

And I think there are better stories about BDSM. Ann Rice, under the name Ann Rampling wrote a trilogy about Sleeping Beauty full of both pleasure and pain that I found fascinating even while I found some of the sex acts repelling. I’m not going to get into my sexual preferences, that’s between me and the boyfriend and the dining room table.

If you like your erotica and BDSM sex with a touch of fantasy, I recommend Jacqeline Carey’s Kushiel books. Plenty of all kinds of sex and unlike some porn erotica (oh hell, it’s in the mind of the beholder), plenty of plot and character development. There’s court politics, war and adventure as well, which I think make for an overall more satisfying experience.

I don’t automatically discount a book or movie because it’s popular. I remember working a bookstore in the 80’s and there were just as many people who would line up and demand the latest Lawrence Sanders as there were the Danielle Steele. If you want a look into the most sordid parts of human nature, Sanders did a fabulous job.

I’ll get into what I’m reading and what’s being edited in the next Bloody Murder book in my next post. Thank you for reading!

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