Tag Archive for Science

Hellboy: Emerald Hell

It is not often that you can read the same character portrayed in more than one way.  If you read all the Dirk Pitt books by Clive Cussler, they all pretty much read the same.  Not to say they aren’t good reads, but a Dirk Pitt book is a Dirk Pitt book.  In the realms of Science Fiction and Fantasy, however, sometimes you can find a character who is written by several authors, and those authors can be very distinct in their styles.  Conan, for example, has been written by dozens of authors, and if you read enough of them, while Conan himself remains relatively the same throughout, his surroundings and the tales in which he is enmeshed change.

Hellboy falls in here also.  Many of the Hellboy books I’ve read and reviewed here are akin to superhero novels.  Hellboy and his band of misfits saving the world from one monstrosity or another.  Emerald Hell on the other hand is a much more sedate book by comparison.  More brooding.  More searching.

Within the pages we find Hellboy on his own, and after hearing some tales about the six silent daughters of Bliss Nail and the little Georgia swamp town of Enigma, he decides to check them out and see if something sinister is afoot.  Of course there is, but its not the potential world ending calamities of the other books.  Instead its about a pregnant girl who needs protecting from a misguided undead minister who murdered the girl’s mother.  More so than the other books, this one is all about mood and sorrow.

I don’t think I’d put this book at the top of my Hellboy pile, but I enjoyed it just the same.

The Atrocity Archives

I have a tendency to read slow when it comes to books.  Mostly this happens because of the manner in which I read.  As I plow through the prose, in my imagination I am building the book.  I don’t just read the words, I live them.  So when I come across a book that evokes within me extremely vivid visions, I actually read even more slowly as I crawl around in the world being constructed in my head.

This is what happened with Charles Stross’ The Atrocity Archives.  Imagine a world where all the horrors of Lovecraft exist just outside our reality and letting them in is a simple as figuring out the math and science needed to cross the barrier, which people do, all the time, and the only reason the world continues to exist is due to the efforts of government organizations around the globe who track and deal with these sorts of things.  That’s the world that Stross sets his story in, specifically within The Laundry, the Occult branch of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and Bob Howard, a computer hacker who works for them.

I’m a sucker for math, especially when its confusing enough to sound real and yet not concrete enough to punch holes in, like that TV show Numb3rs.  So when I found that essentially the book takes place in the world where there isn’t really “magic” per say, but instead that what many would see as magic is only advanced math and science and a deeper, less well known, understanding of the universe, I just had to give it a shot.  And I loved it.

I look forward to reading the other book in the series, but not until I’ve taken a break for a book or two.  If I get bogged down again, I’ll never make my 52 in 52.

All Those Moments

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.” -Roy Batty, Blade Runner (1982)

Quite literally, that is probably one of my favorite quotes in all of Science Fiction film. The moment in which it is uttered is perfect, and the lines are like poetry coming from the lips of a machine that probably does not understand the beauty of the words programmed into his brain. When I saw Blade Runner it was the second Rutger Hauer film I had seen. The first being The Hitcher one night when my parents weren’t paying attention and it was on Cinemax. I was probably 13 years old at the time, and both of those films have stuck with me.

I have always had a soft spot for Rutger’s films. Even when they are mildly cheesy, they are still good, and he always seems tailor made for the parts that he plays. So when I heard that he was putting out an autobiography, I was chomping at the bit to find a copy. Which I did. All Those Moments is a nice, fairly short, but finely detailed recounting of Rutger Hauer’s life, it jumps around a bit and not every single film he made is mentioned, but he tours the highlights, the things that he remembers best and the moments he is most proud of. It is interesting, funny, sometimes heartwarming, and told in a sort of conversational style that makes from easy breezing through the chapters.

He has had a pretty interesting career all around, and as a fan I really enjoyed it. Rutger is also donating all proceeds from the book to his Starfish organization for AIDS, so you get a good read and throw a few bucks at a good cause.