Wednesday, June 04, 2014

cross-breeding books

hello there

it does seem, dear reader, to have become a bit of a "thing" for me to only review books that i have read on the bus as and when i have completed three such books. since today i completed reading the third of such three, it is time, is it not, to deliver some more class review action for you.



yeah, that's a selfie showing how i look when i am reading but not reading, instead looking at the blueberry camera thing to see what i am doing. but you get the general sort of idea, i would imagine.

ok, so moving to the books, the first two, or if you like couple, up for comment are Bible Of The Dead by the lesser known Tom Knox, and Killshot by the somewhat better known Elmore Leonard, or if you like the Leonard of Elmore. i have put some of them amazon links there for you if you wish to look at these books but want as little as possible to do with my blog.

for those of you who have stuck with me, then, here are the covers of the books.



where to begin with reviewing them? well, if we assume for the moment that the three books together as a whole are 99% (1% lost due to them copyright warnings no one has read in the front of books ever since the photocopier was invented), then i must warn you that - and this was not by design or plan - 66% of that features a good deal of cross-breeding.

not, as it happens, nice, pleasant and wonderful cross-breeding all the time. quite nasty in the case of the first book up for review. but first, for you more sensitive types,

*** SPOILERS QUITE POSSIBLE AHEAD ***

you all saw the warning, yeah? good, let us move on.


Bible Of The Dead may well be, in truth, one of the most ghastly, torrid, awful and pointless books i have ever read. but yes, i read it all. the story and that was all ghastly, torrid, awful and pointless. but it was written reasonably well, enough to keep me engaged on the bus, at the least.

the author, or possibly the editor, gets quite excited about using italics all over the place, which i have tried to recreate for you up there in the previous paragraph. you're welcome.

what's it about? tough call to say. mostly about drilling holes in people's heads, which had a fancy name in the novel - was it trepanning? - and efforts by the French, no less, to cross-breed monkeys and humans in, of all places, Cambodia during those brown flared days of the 70s. and not in a scientific, clinical or frankly nice way either, so you have been warned. Mr Knox, suffice to say, has a rather interesting idea of what does and what does not constitute as "natural" breeding actions.

there's a compelling case to say avoid this book, but then again some people quite like the twisted and deranged sort of ridiculous plot. also, when it is not being offensive and stupid, it is rather funny in places. at times Mr Knox is rather too generous in praising France for being the "home of art", but it does at one stage allow a character to provide the rather funny line of suggesting someone leave France to return to Canada, where they have history of their own in the form of "post offices that must be at least 30 years old".

the single dumbest, nonsensical element of Bible Of The Dead is its name. it has no relation at all to the novel, and only gets mentioned in a contrived, seemingly forced way about two pages off of the end.



Killshot, provided to me by the kindness of someone enthusiastically endorsing my love of reading whilst upon the bus, was much better.

there is a real danger, when reading Leonard of Elmore, to ponder what a film version may be like of it. one always hopes that one day they will make a movie of a Leonard novel as class as Get Shorty, but alas thus far that has not happened. this i thought might make a half decent film, possibly with that Javier Badem (or whatever, him off of that last Bond film) as the theoretical protagonist Blackbird. as it turns out, there is in fact a film version of this, but featuring Mickey Rourke as an Indian, or if you like Native American. oh.

this was pretty much "standard Leonard" then. contrived, entertaining moments put together with that classical American feel, with an awful lot of plot points resolved easily with a shotgun or some other form of suitable firearm appropriate to the circumstances. and why not, as they say.

oddly, if anything it's all a good deal more linear than other books of his, and pretty much avoids distracting itself with multiple plots. so if you've never read the works of Elmore Leonard before and had your interest in doing so by the awesome Get Shorty, then there are worse places to start than this one.




by the way, the reason the film version of Get Shorty worked was because of amazing performances by Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito and, in particular, the late, great Dennis Farina. Travolta being less dick-like helped, too.

oh yeah, that funny light thing on Bessie might have been warning me/us that she was about to engage in spewing water all over the place. she be at the menders, look you see, to see what vexes it so.

no, there was not any cross-breeding as such in Killshot that i noticed, so the other 33% of that must feature in the last of the three books. again, this was a gift that was an act of kindness from someone endorsing my love of reading dans le bus.


strangely, i do not read all that much science fiction, but as it was a gift i decided to have a go at this Manta's Gift business.

hmn, i seem to get an error message every now and then as i am writing this. i wonder if it means i am lucky enough to be getting my account hacked once again?

anyway, Manta's Gift. or rather my special edition of it which has been annotated and personalised, which is nice. even if it does prevent me from donating it for another to read.

the plot involves sending a crippled / disabled chap to a distant planet (Jupiter, or one of them like that) where he is merged and cross-bred with one of the whale / manta-ray / fish of the sea things living there in the hope that the humans of earth can get their hands on something that exists on that planet. all this a mere 4 or so years prior to James Cameron delivering the same plot in the highly original, celebrated load of rubbish that was Avatar. so maybe it was not just Smurfs and Ferngully that inspired him, Dan Brown style, to come up with his class idea after all.

oddly, it was rather good, in truth. not the greatest book i have ever read, but not the worst. and remarkably easy to follow despite its science fiction thing.

i quite like science fiction, yes. but sometimes science fiction books can be utter, utter drivel written in the most incomprehensible of ways. when they stick to terms of reference you can follow and understand, it's class. when, however, they load it with impenetrable nonsense; i.e. start off with something like "if the third era of Rassdondsdlywl of the fourth quardant of Gadrthenania", i simply put the book down.

by the way, the bloke who wrote Manta's Gift, Timothy Zahn, also wrote what was, in 2002 at least, the biggest ever selling Star Wars spin off book. i am telling you this as the publishers seem rather keen for this to be known, considering it is mentioned no less than three times in the jacket and bio bits.



Manta's Gift is then a pretty decent science fiction novel that is of course, by nature, far fetched, but not as stupid or as impossible to get into as some books of the fiction of science are. if you are all excited and interested in science fiction books, then, and have run out of volumes of Dune or whatever, then this is a viable option for you, i suppose.

what to read next, then? well, here, for no reason other than i have "upped" it, is another look at the cover for that Manta's Gift book i mentioned a moment or two ago.



i picked up a few more, and indeed kindness saw other posted to me too, so i have four to choose from. i think i will leave Book Of The Dead alone for now, in case it turns out to be a bit like Bible Of The Dead. there's one of them James Herbert or Herbet ones here too, mind - that will probably do.

right, it's late, but it is still light outside, and yet i am tired. some class dynamics there; let me see what i can do about them.

nice one of these reviews were of any use to anyone!




be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Post a Comment