A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Targeting Bond

Last year I gave myself a little project: to read all of Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels.  There were seven to cover, and it was pretty easy because I read some and did a few others on audio. I enjoyed the project and will probably write a little more about the series before all is said and done (I wrote a handful of reviews already).

This year's project will be a little more about pure entertainment than the entertainment/educational vibe of last year's assignment.  That's because this year I'm going to read all the James Bond novels that were written by John Gardner in the 1980's and early 1990's.  There are fifteen or so of them, and the project will be do-able because the lion's share of them were recently released on audio by Audible.com.

I'm going to read my old copies of the first two books, License Renewed and For Special Services, as those are two of the titles not yet available on audio, then listen to the next several entries. Incidentally, I had read the first five or six of the Gardner Bonds back in the day, but for whatever reason drifted away from the series.  Remembering that I liked the ones I read, I'm now looking forward to shooting through the whole series this year.

Anyway, I'll shortly go into more detail about why I'm picking these books now to read or reread, probably in the forthcoming reviews of the individual titles as I post them. For now I'll just say that these were fun books that came along at a fun time in my life and I thought it would be, well, fun to revisit the good times I had with them.

And, what the heck, I think I'll also listen to a few of the original Ian Fleming Bonds this year, too, as I really enjoyed revisiting Fleming's first Bond novel, Casino Royale, near the end of last year, when Audible offered it at a special sale price. Might as well jump in with both feet, right?

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Ms. Marvel: No Normal is an entertaining, well-crafted audio adaptation of the first five issues of Marvel's new Ms. Marvel comic book, which features a Muslim-American teenager who gains superpowers after being exposed to a strange mist and- possibly- some strange alien beings.

This two-CD audio is done as a full-cast dramatization, and it's all very polished and involving, with top-notch acting and sound effects. It also helps that the friendly, perky Kamala Khan is an endearing, likable main character, making us care what happens to her in the wake of attaining her strange powers, which includes an ability to shape shift into practically anything.

The lack of a narrator, to quickly tell us what's happening, is a minor quibble here, as we have to rely solely on the dialogue and sound effects to picture exactly what's going on. But, while it may sometimes take a few extra seconds to piece together exactly what we're hearing, I wouldn't say things ever get outright confusing.

And while this entertaining, fun story is not political at all, I have to think that the likable, "normal American kid" vibe of young Muslim Kamala Khan, and the likable, non-threatening nature of her family, are entirely intentional. Good for Marvel for going against the grain of today's knee-jerk reactionaries.

I usually listen to audiobooks that simply feature a narrator reading a novel, but sometimes these full-cast productions with music and sound effects can be a nice change of pace. I enjoyed Ms Marvel: No Normal enough that I just might seek out the comic book series, written by G. Willow Wilson and drawn by Adrian Alphona, to experience the work in its original form.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

All aboard...

For those of you wondering when this blog is going to get back in gear and feature more regular posting, I present the following observation:

A train station is where the train stops.  A bus station is where the bus stops.  Next to my desk, I have a work station...

But seriously, folks, there will be a bunch of interesting, entertaining stuff going up shortly.  Really.