I Just Read: Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Sourcery Terry Pratchett

Sadly I got into Discworld just a few months before Terry Pratchett died.  I had heard of it for a long time, but didn’t bite the bullet until earlier this year.  I regret not experiencing the adventures of Rincewind and his colorful friends while the author lived.  Maybe I could have enjoyed the experience of reading each new book as it came out.  Either way, I was just getting into this magical series when I heard the news of his passing.  Weird and sad all at once.

But that hasn’t deterred me from pressing on.  There are over 40 books in the series, a massive achievement for any writer.  Sourcery is the 5th in the series.  I won’t bother going over the earlier ones.  They’re great in varied and special ways.  Go and check them out if you wanna.

A part of me feels like Discworld is the series Tolkien would have written had he grown up in the 60’s.  There is strong satirical vein throughout it, a obvious jab at the fantasy troupes we fanboys and fangirls know inside and out.  But there is also a true love for the genre, a love that seemed to grow with every book (I’ll say right now that so far, my fav book in the series is Equal Rites, but enough about that).  Discworld is the kind of high fantasy you’ll be ready for once you’ve gorged yourself on LoTR and Harry Potter and have graduated onto something smarter.  And smart it is.

That being said I had a hard time enjoying Sourcery.  It’s not a bad book.  It’s probably a great book.  But the way in which Pratchett lays waste to the Discworld, as the unstoppable boy sourcerer destroys everything in his path, even trapping the gods themselves, thus releasing frost giants to finish the job, was disillusioning.  It almost felt that five books in, the author was trying to destroy his own creation.  Or aiming at a soft reboot of sorts.  But these books are always looking for ways to rewrite the rules the last one established.  It makes sense, if you “get” this kind of story.  Irreverence even unto itself.  It’s entertaining and refreshing, but it can devolve into meaningless cynicism rapidly.

It don’t think Sourcery is cynical in any way.  Cynicism is a modern day poison that kills creativity.  But it does teeter on the edge a few times, almost going to such a point that you feel the stakes are meaningless and life in Discworld doesn’t matter.  But I believe Pratchett had too much heart to push us over.  He always pulls us back in time, saving the day once again.

The Discworld series is an amazing journey.  It’s unlike most fantasy you’ll ever read, but it has it’s highs and lows.  You need to adjust your expectations in order to appreciate the humor and rhythm.  Once you do it’s a series worth losing your afternoons in.  Sourcery may  have had a few bumps for my taste, but it was gold where it counted.

TL,DR: Check out Discworld, once you get tired of D&D and Harry Potter.

Comics Worth Reading: All-Star Superman

comics_header_supes

Comics Worth Reading is where I highlight a series, graphic novel, or single comic issue that I feel is so good, it must be read by every comic fan. This week I’m going to talk about the modern classic All Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely.

By now most of you regular comic book readers have heard about All Star Superman, but I’m sure there are plenty out there who are unaware of this series. It’s been published, republished, repackaged and re-released in many formats. You can hunt down the original 12 magazine versions, buy the trade paperbacks, or break your bank on the massive Absolute hardback gigantic version for around $100 (I managed to snag this version for half price years ago when it first came out, thanks to a now defunct discount website called Thwipster). Warner Bros even adapted it into an animated movie that was released on Blu-ray and Netflix. Why is this series so popular? Why after six years since its first release is this series frequently re-released, mentioned and referred to?

There’s a very simple reason: it’s Superman at his finest.

Read On

Comics Worth Reading: The Hobbit Graphic Novel

Comics Worth Reading

Comics Worth Reading is a new segment for the site, where I will highlight a series, graphic novel, or single comic issue that I feel is so good, it must be read by every comic fan. This week I wanted to start out strong, so I’m going with the 1989 graphic novelization of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Adapted from the original text by Charles Dixon and illustrated by David Wenzel.

 

Read On

A book you should be reading: Scott Pilgrim

BlogScott PilgrimUsually my recommendations are for traditional novels, works of profound high fantasy–or whatever.  But lately I’ve been on a comic book kick and thought I’d plug something awesome.  A week or so ago I wrote on my impressions of “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” movie.  Immediately after seeing it I ordered the books.  After several painful days they arrived.  And blew my mind.

Scott Pilgrim is a 6-part graphic novel series, written and illustrated by Brian Lee O’Malley.  Styled much like Japanese manga, the series follows the life of 23 year old Scott, a Toronto native.  I won’t bog you down with too many details–much of it has been discussed online already.  Suffice it to say, Scott is compelled to battle the 7 evil exes of his new girl, Ramona Flowers.

Why should you read these books?  If you visit my site, you’re probably already a fan of comics, so it shouldn’t be strange for you to read some more (its Wednesday by the way, new comic book day).  Scott Pilgrim is quirky and hilarious.  The story plays off of many manga/comic/video game themes in a way that is fun and original.  The quick banter between Scott and his pals immediately pulls you into their relationships.  You feel like you’re part of the gang, going to shows, hanging at the pizza place, or sitting on Young Neil’s bed.

The story grows deeper with each book.  Although O’Malley maintains the light-hearted and sometimes unexpected humor, there is an underlying complexity unfolding.  We see into the characters’ pasts, the jumbled web of their relationships, and the confusion we can all relate to as we figure out what to do with our lives.  O’Malley leans heavily on the drama of relationships (in this series and in his earlier book).  It is a hook that makes any story–when done right–unquestionably addictive.  Pick up copies of this series and you’ll–like me–burn through them in a matter of days.

News has it that a special box set is on tap for November, with a special poster… or something.