Summing up that readathon.

As expected, I didn‘t get a lot of reading done today. I slept for about seven hours. And spent about eight more hours at a birthday party. One and a half hours at a friend‘s place before the party, some time spent looking after my tomatoes and baking bread…

In the end I only managed to read for 3 hours and 30 minutes.

And now… good night! I am going to sleep in tomorrow morning and hopefully I will make some more serious progress with my current reads.

Dewey‘s Reverse Readathon

I just signed up for Dewey‘s Reverse Readathon. Spontaneously and rather foolishly. It will start in a little less than 3 hours, at 2 a.m. my time. When I will most likely be in bed, I am really tired already! Well, maybe…. I just started a batch of sourdough bread and need to do another two stretch-and-folds. Anyway… I can read a bit in the morning. In the afternoon I am at a birthday party and I might be there quite a long time. Maybe more reading in the last hours of the readathon. I will definitely not be around a lot for this one. We‘ll see!

More about this readathon here: WHAT IS DEWEY’S 24-HOUR READ-A-THON? | Important Links

I feel a little lost, actually, as I haven‘t done any of the preppy things. Oh well, I will check in when I can. And I will set up my timer to keep at least some kind of track of my reading. There is a bingo card for updates to Instagram…

Current bookstack:

Paper: Tietjen auf Tour: Warum Camping mich glücklich macht by Bettina TietjenYes, we camp! Well, I don‘t actually. But I like the author, a German TV journalist and talk show host.

Audio #1: Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse, #6) by James S.A. Corey — re-read of the Expanse series.

Audio #2: Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann Leckie — re-read

eBook #1: Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora (ebook) by Zelda Knight

eBook #2: Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin #1) by Jordan L. Hawk

Graphic novel: Gideon Falls, Vol. 1: The Black Barn (Kindle Edition) by Jeff Lemire

Top Ten Tuesday and what made me want to read those books…

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/top-ten-tuesday/

 This week‘s topic / August 3: Titles or Covers That Made Want to Read/Buy the Book

Tricky. I mainly pick up books that are recommended to me by my reading buddies. Or books by favourite authors, never mind the cover or title. But I will have a look at my want-to-read list and see if I can recall what triggered my interest.

And What Can We Offer You Tonight by Premee Mohamed

I picked up this novella on Netgalley. I honestly can‘t remember why I chose it, but assume that the cover pulled me in and then the title. Because the blurb is not grabbing me right now.

In a far future city, where you can fall to a government cull for a single mistake, And What Can We Offer You Tonight tells the story of Jewel, established courtesan in a luxurious House. Jewel’s world is shaken when her friend is murdered by a client, but somehow comes back to life. To get revenge, they will both have to confront the limits of loyalty, guilt, and justice.

Sentient by Jeff Lemire

I went looking for comics written by Jeff Lemire, because I like him and want to work on his backlist. Here the title drew me in. I like SF about AI and this title suggest that something slightly unusual might have reached sentience and that offers unusual options…

When a separatist attack kills the adults on board a colony ship in deep space, the on-board A.I. VALARIE must help the ship’s children survive the perils of space.

Nemo Vol. 1: Heart of Ice by Alan Moore

Here I was looking for comics set underwater. I have a thing for anything underwater, from documentaries about the deep sea to cheesy creature features involving Megalodon. I definitely picked this one for the title. Captain Nemo is a classic. I don‘t expect this to follow Jules Verne, but who knows.

It’s 1925, fifteen years after the death of Captain Nemo, when his daughter Janni Dakkar launches a grand Antarctic expedition to lay the old man’s burdensome legacy to rest.

Oh yes, I have a thing for cheesy creature features set in Antarctica as well. Or adventure novels. That clinched the deal.

Goldilocks by Laura Lam

Definitely the title. A planet in the Goldilocks Zone is in a distance to the sun, where conditions are just right for human habitation. So, an SF about colonization? Or finding a new home for humanity… Instant winner.

This is The Martian by way of The Handmaid’s Tale – a bold and thought-provoking new high-concept thriller

Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Granted, I added this to my list, because it‘s Adrien Tchaikovsky. But isn‘t the cover pretty? And doesn‘t the title remind you of some awesome MMORPG?

In Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Elder Race, a junior anthropologist on a distant planet must help the locals he has sworn to study to save a planet from an unbeatable foe.

Below by Ryan Lockwood

Title again. I did mention my fascination with all things underwater and creature features, right?

Now, off the coast of California, something is rising from the deep–and multiplying. Voracious, unstoppable, and migrating north, an ungodly life form trailed by a gruesome wake of corpses. 

The Audacity of Sara Grayson by Joani Elliott

Title again. I seem to be a title person. How audacious of me!

What happens when the world’s greatest literary icon dies before she finishes the final book in her best-selling series?
 
And what happens when she leaves that book in the hands of her unstable, neurotic daughter, who swears she’s not a real writer?

Sounds like fun, right?

The Night Marchers and Other Oceanian Stories by Kel McDonald

Another comic. And… yes, there‘s an ocean in the title…

Ghostly warriors, angry gods, and monstrous tyrants? That’s just the start of this collection of folklore from the Pacific, retold in comics! 

We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen

This really was a recommendation by someone in my buddy reading group. The title piqued my interest and the cover sealed the deal. It‘s simple at fist glance, but very stylish. And then you notice those rock spires curving in, looking like claws. Hm…

This psychological sci-fi thriller from a debut author follows one doctor who must discover the source of her crew’s madness… or risk succumbing to it herself.

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain (The Singing Hills Cycle, #2) by Nghi Vo

Not sure how I ended up with this one, but I imagine that the cover drew me in… plus it has a very lyrical title.

The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover—a woman of courage, intelligence, and beauty—and discover how truth can survive becoming history.

So, that was more or less the last 10 books and comics that I added to my list and haven‘t actually read yet. Does anything here tempt you?

Wrap-up July

My July was of middling success. I really enjoyed Shards of Earth, it‘s one of my favourite reads of the year so far. I decided to DNF One Last Stop and Left Hand of Darkness for now, as I really couldn‘t work up any motivation to continue with either of them. Reading Volumes 2 and 3 of Ascender by Jeff Lemire was a lot of fun. The artwork is still stellar and the plot was enjoyable. And I watched some good movies in July.

Novels read in July:

Shards of Earth (facilitator), ebook, ★★★★★ Great fun!
Questland, ebook, Netgalley, ★★★¼☆ LitRPG, Tolkien meets Jurassic Park, not terribly exciting.
– The Voyage Of The Beagle, ebook, ★★¾☆☆, mostly skimmed through this.
One Last Stop (author of Red, White & Royal Blue), ebook, DNF at 19%, ★★¾☆☆, not interested enough to finish…
– Nightstalkers, ebook, ★★☆☆☆ Sharkweek. Bring on the crazy!
The Left Hand of Darkness, ebook, TBR pile, DNF at 20%, ★¾☆☆☆

Comics: (Mostly single issues of 25-30 pages each)
– Snow Angels #1Snow Angels #2Snow Angels #3Snow Angels #4Snow Angels Season Two #1, KU, ★★★☆☆, family in an ice trench. Dystopia. Hunting, blood, fighting and feeling…
– Ascender #8Ascender #9Ascender #10 ★★★★★+, TBR pile, fabulous conclusion to Vol. 2! 
– Ascender #11Ascender #12Ascender #13Ascender #14 ★★★★☆, fairly predictable ending.
– Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Vol. 2: Avengers of the New World, TBR pile, #ReadBIPOC2021, ★½ ☆☆☆ DNF at 68 pages, 23%. Missing a read thread and homogenous narrative.

Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Vol. 2 Avengers of the New World by Ta-Nehisi Coates Shards of Earth (The Final Architects Trilogy, #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky Snow Angels #1 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Snow Angels #2 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Snow Angels #3 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Snow Angels #4 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Snow Angels Season Two #1 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Ascender #8 by Jeff Lemire Ascender #9 by Jeff Lemire Ascender #10 by Jeff Lemire 
Ascender #11 by Jeff Lemire Nightstalkers (Meg #5) by Steve Alten The Voyage Of The Beagle (Illustrated) by Charles Darwin Ascender #12 by Jeff Lemire Ascender #13 by Jeff Lemire Questland by Carrie Vaughn Ascender #14 by Jeff Lemire One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin 

Movies watched:
– A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood ★★★★★ Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers.
– Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ★★★★★ Quentin Tarantino is a god.
– The Homesman ★★★★¾ Hilary Swank / Tommy Lee Jones, Western
– Blood Red Sky ★★★★☆ Unusual horror movie, vampires on a plane.
– Playing with Sharks ★★★★☆ National Geographic documentary
– The Tomorrow War ★★★½☆ Military SF, aliens conquering Earth, Chris Pratt does a good job in a CGI slosh-fest. Not brilliant, but entertaining.

2021 Eisner Awards: The Nominees and the Winners

SUPERMAN SMASHES THE KLAN (DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults, paper, $16.99) The big news for the 2021 Eisner Awards at Comic-Con in San Diego is …

2021 Eisner Awards: The Nominees and the Winners

I don‘t follow award lists on a regular basis, but I will probably have a closer look at anything by Lemire on the Eisner Awards 2021 list. I‘ve been thinking about getting Sapiens by Harari and Parable of the Sower by Butler is tempting.

Best Continuing Series
Bitter Root, by David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene (Image)
Daredevil, by Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto (Marvel)
The Department of Truth, by James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds (Image)
Gideon Falls, by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino (Image)
Stillwater, by Chip Zdarsky and Ramón K Pérez (Image/Skybound)
WINNER: Usagi Yojimbo, by Stan Sakai (IDW) 

Best Limited Series
Barbalien: Red Planet, by Jeff Lemire, Tate Brombal, and Gabriel Hernandez Walta (Dark Horse)
Decorum, by Jonathan Hickman and Mike Huddleston (Image)
Far Sector, by N. K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell (DC)
Strange Adventures, by Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Evan “Doc” Shaner (DC Black Label)
WINNER: Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber (DC)
We Live, by Inaki Miranda and Roy Miranda (AfterShock)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint
Black Hammer Library Edition, vol. 2, by Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormstom, Emi Lenox, and Rich Tommaso (Dark Horse)
Criminal Deluxe Edition, vol. 3, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)
Eight-Lane Runaways, by Henry McCausland (Fantagraphics)
Fante Bukowski: The Complete Works, by Noah Van Sciver (Fantagraphics)
Herobear and the Kid: The Heritage, by Mike Kunkel (Astonish Factory)
WINNER: Seeds and Stems, by Simon Hanselmann (Fantagraphics)

Best Adaptation from Another Medium
Constitution Illustrated, by R. Sikoryak (Drawn & Quarterly)
Parable of the Sower: The Graphic Novel Adaptation, by Octavia E. Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings (Abrams)
Sapiens: A Graphic History: The Birth of Humankind, vol. 1, adapted by Yuval Noah Harari, David Vandermeulen and Daniel Casanave (Harper Perennial)
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, adapted by Ryan North and Albert Monteys (Archaia/BOOM!)
WINNER: Superman Smashes the Klan, adapted by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru (DC)

Best Writer
Ed Brubaker, Pulp, Reckless (Image); Friday (Panel Syndicate)
Matt Fraction, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (DC); Adventureman, November vols. 2–3, Sex Criminals (Image)
Jonathan Hickman, Decorum (Image); Giant-Size X-Men, X-Men (Marvel)
Jeff Lemire, Barbalien, Black Hammer, Colonel Weird: Cosmagog (Dark Horse); The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage (DC Black Label); Family Tree, Gideon Falls (Image)
WINNER: James Tynion IV, Something Is Killing the Children, Wynd (BOOM! Studios); Batman (DC); The Department of Truth (Image); Razorblades (Tiny Onion)
Chip Zdarsky, Stillwater (Image/Skybound), Daredevil, Fantastic Four/X-Men (Marvel)

(Follow the link at the top for the full list) 

As a first step I finally downloaded Gideon Falls, Vol. 1: The Black Barn (Kindle Edition) by Jeff Lemire through Kindle Unlimited. I‘ll see how I like it and if I‘ll continue the series…

The plot thickens!

Ascender #13 by Jeff Lemire (author), Dustin Nguyen (cover art, artist)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The beginning of this one is told from Mila‘s perspective.

Mother‘s story continues, we go on a detour to Gnish and I spotted something that looked suspiciously similar to a light saber… Oh, an Telsa takes us to a really interesting place at the end of this issue! The plot thickens! One more issue in this story arc and volume…

Going places

Ascender #12 by Jeff Lemire (author), Dustin Nguyen (cover art, artist)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

An in-between issue. Andy fights vampires, the story of Mother is taken another step forward and we meet another character from Descender, who was not such a surprising surprise. He had to show up eventually.

If you are interested in this series, you should start with the first Descender volume:

Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A boy wakes up in a place where everybody else is dead. He has been asleep for 10 years. Turns out he‘s not a kid, but a robot companion. 

Gorgeous watercolour artwork.

There are some pretty strong Star Wars vibes. That flashback was a throwback to Tatooine. All that was missing was R2D2 and C3P0. Plenty of potentially interesting planets and (hopefully to come) complex world building.

Tim, Driller and the yappy bot are great characters. The humans and otherwise biologic entities are a colourful bunch. Shocking violence! I screamed like a girl. Well, once… the bad guys are nasty. And the potentially nice guy is flawed. I liked the story of robots being the hunted underdogs.

The original post of my 2019 review is here: Think AI and Star Wars.

Driller is back!

Ascender #11 by Jeff Lemire (author), Dustin Nguyen (cover art, artist)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The cover gives it away, so I am happy to say without spoiler… Driller is back! And Driller is a real vamp killer! Yay!

Mother is facing some serious challenges. Which is ok, because we don‘t like her. Right?

Aaaand…. Have I mentioned it yet? Driller is back! Personalities clash…

Some of the frames are a little hard to decipher in this one, but the artwork is still exceptionally good.