JUST FINISHED: A Certain Magical Index (vol 1-3)

Certain Magical Index Cover

Certain Magical Index Cover

A Certain Magical Index is a series of light novels by  Kazuma Kamachi that tell all the strange happenings that one Tōma Kamijō, goes through after meeting a girl who has memorized 103,000 magical books and documents.  Set in a ficticious ultra technologically advanced section of Tokyo called Academy City, the series explores both the real world costs of science and technology, juxtaposed with the fall out of psychic powers and dynamic magic abilities.  If this sounds like an anime series, well there have been two, not to mention a manga, a spin off book series and a feature film.

For those unfamiliar with Light Novels, they are a Japanese version of the illustrated novel.  In length they are to be considered novellas and many tend to be collected serial chapters from fiction magazines.  A Certain Magical Index is illustrated by Kiyotaka Haimura. Due to the brevity of each volume, I decided that I’d review the first three volumes in one review, as a way to feel that I obtained enough character and plot information to give a full review.   NOTE: For those who have seen the anime, Wikipedia informs me that volumes 1-3 would be following up to episode 14, though I have yet to see the show so I don’t know how accurate this is. Continue reading

JUST FINISHED: Hugh Monn

Hugh Monn final coverI’ve read a decent amount of New Pulp in the last year and a half.  This has greatly been the bi-product of wanting to support writing fellows.  Of course it is also the genre that many anthologies my own writing has been included in for the last six to eight months or so.  And if there is one thing I’ve noticed is that  New Pulp feels less protean than Classic (OG, Real, the original, etc) Pulp in the types of stories that fall under its banner.    Most of what you get with New Pulp Novels is The ‘Man of Action’ type of stories.  And where this surely can be debated, as I’ve not read even close to the tremendous bulk of New Pulp Novels that seem to flow in a never ending stream; it’s not rare for me to feel déjà vu when I read something in the genre.  I often ask myself, where are the Psychotropic stories of creatures from other planes, where are the planet shuffling captains of space, Where are the gun slinging outlaws, Where are the soldiers cracking wise, and most importantly where are the steamy noir detectives?

When I opened up Hugh Monn, Private Detective by Lee Houston Jr and saw the cover art I instantly knew at least two of my favourite tropes of largely ignored subject matter was going to ready for me.  But surprisingly I got a bit more than that.  I got stories filled with real people, I loved and loathed.  Despite being set in a Philip K Dick-isque vision of life on another planet.

Hugh Monn is a collection of old Noir style Detective stories that have heart and human warmth that has been missing in just about any story in the genre I’ve read thus far.  An emotional transparency that lets you get past the flaws it does have and enjoy some good stories.  Read on if you’re interest is perked.

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JUST FINISHED: Dillon and the Voice of Odin

9780595299683_p0_v1_s260x420In order to give my thoughts on various bits of media, perhaps shedding a little light on my mind, or maybe it’s just the aching of my journalist backbone I routinely write reviews.   This time I’m reviewing Derrick Ferguson’s First Dillon Book, The Voice of Odin.

****

You really don’t need to have read any of the Dillon Books to get an idea of who this man is, and how any of his adventures roll along.  The novels really tend to be self-explanatory.  If you’ve ever read James Bond, Jason Bourne, Doc Savage or ‘Man of action’ style globetrotting hero for hire sort of book, then you know the sort of fair.  That is not to say Dillon is simply a carbon copy of these classic heroes.  But he’s ripped from same mold, but the substance is a little different.  But is Dillon different enough to deliver an enjoyable experience, or does The Voice of Odin, hit a sour note?   Read on.

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