The blog of the highly opinionated Sgt. Octopus

Archive for July, 2012

Superman: Red Sun by Mark Millar

160 pages / February 2004 / Add on Goodreads

The concept got me reading and the art kept me from putting it down, but the story was a bit lacking.

A comic that answers the question of what if Superman had landed in soviet Russia instead of Smallville, Kansas?

This is my first real Superman comic, to be honest I was a bit disappointed with the story. I feel like they could have gone much farther than they did.

I was most disappointed with the character of Superman. It frustrated me how American he felt despite growing up with communist parents. I was expecting a

view on communism that was slightly positive, not in a way that the author agreed with it but in the way that Superman was a true image of it rather than a man who went to far and discovered the errors of his ways.

Because of this I think the story really fell flat in several places, unfortunately. It was an interesting enough story, it just didn’t hold my attention or make me want to know how it all ended.

However, can we take a moment to talk about the gloriousness of Batman’s hat? Truly it is with the artists reinterpretations of our beloved superheroes thatmakes this comic shine in my eyes. Especially when it comes to Batman, I mean, just look at his hat. So epic. I wants one.

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

372 pages / August 2011 / Add on Goodreads

The amounts of nerd put into this book made it a worthy read for any who enjoy a bit of nerd culture.

Ready Player One is the story of Wade Watts, a young treasure hunter in a virtual world called OASIS, as he searches for the ultimate treasure left behind by the game’s designer.

I picked this book up solely because of Wil Wheaton. Through his appearances on the Guild and Big Bang Theory and this epic game of Dungeons and Dragons I watched on YouTube one time, I have become a big fan of his geeky works. So when I found out he read the audiobook for Ready Player One, I decided I had to listen to it. And I’m honestly glad I did!

Ready Player Oneis not the best book ever written, but it is a highly entertaining one. It is really the plot of the book where it fully shines, though it is not overly original or spectacularly made. Cline seems to have just taken some great elements of stories and meshed them together into one, creating a rather entertaining novel though not really ground breaking.

Despite the horrendous amount of info dumps, I really don’t have much to complain about when it comes to the writing. It was a pretty straight forward prose. In many ways, I’d have to say the info dumping kind of added to the main character, which feels super weird to say because I hate info dumps more than anything. At least Cline had a knack for writing them and it seemed to fit well with a rambling geek of a character who probably could have spent twice as long talking about any of the subjects that were brought up in the info dumps. It really doesn’t create for the most interesting narrative, but it does create a real character and I was rarely ever bored through them.

Another aspect of that saved the info dumps was Wil Wheaton. I don’t think a better voice could have been chosen to read this novel. He made it easy to imagine the novel as a character telling people of his exploits a couple years after the events happened. The audiobook, in a sense, made it feel more like I was listening to an epic autobiography rather than a work of fiction.

This book also had a rather unique way to make a lot of really weird stuff happen without it seeming out of place, after all anything is possible in a virtual world. I think the author did a good job of showing how having a life in the virtual world can really effect who you are irl. He probably could have gone deeper into it, but that really wasn’t what the story was about so it never seemed to have mattered.

It seems to me that a lot of people focus on the 80s pop culture mentioned in the book, when to me that just became an added a dose of realism to the world created. Ready Player One was simply a great adventure of a book, that really just put me in the mood to play wow and classic video games… which in retrospect probably counteracts the message it was trying to give.

Oh well.