Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Reading Osamu Tezuka's 8 volume masterpiece Buddha is amazing. Mixing fiction with history Tezuka has written an outstanding account of the life of one of the worlds great religious figures. The black and white illustrations can look simple, but convey a lot of information and show why Tezuka is one of the masters of the comic world.
Tezuka isn't preaching in this collection, he isn't trying to convert people to Buddhism, but he is investigating how Buddhism came about, and what were the influences on the life of Buddha. The collection looks at the caste system, philosophy, the role of violence in the world, and why people suffer.

Overall this is a great read, and I'm looking forward to reading all 8 volumes. Highly recommended.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Walking Dead

Robert Kirkman is adding his own chapter to zombie lore with The Walking Dead series of comics. Following a band of survivors after the majority of the population of the USA is turned into zombies, we watch people placed under incredible strain. The survivors stumble onto a prison which provides the perfect sanctuary from the hordes outside the walls, but also creates its own problems inside as personalities start to crack and relationships strain under the exceptional circumstances everyone finds themselves in. At times the books asks what would you do in similar circumstances? What rules would you enforce, and which would you let slide?
Well worth reading, I found the start to be slow but once the story picked up I found myself caring about the characters and what happens to them.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Guardian List

The Guardian released a list of 1000 novels everyone must read, and here are the 131 science fiction and fantasy books that were selected. Titles in bold are ones I have read. Interesting list and has led to much debate about what made it and what didn't.

1. Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
2. Brian W Aldiss: Non-Stop (1958)
3. Isaac Asimov: Foundation (1951)
4. Margaret Atwood: The Blind Assassin (2000)
5. Paul Auster: In the Country of Last Things (1987)
6. JG Ballard: The Drowned World (1962)
7. JG Ballard: Crash (1973)
8. Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory (1984)
9. Iain M Banks: Consider Phlebas (1987)
10. Clive Barker: Weaveworld (1987)
11. Nicola Barker: Darkmans (2007)
12. Stephen Baxter: The Time Ships (1995)
13. Greg Bear: Darwin's Radio (1999)
14. Alfred Bester: The Stars My Destination (1956)
15. Poppy Z Brite: Lost Souls (1992)
16. Algis Budrys: Rogue Moon (1960)
17. Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita (1966)
18. Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Coming Race (1871)
19. Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange (1960)
20. Anthony Burgess: The End of the World News (1982)
21. Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Princess of Mars (1912)
22. William Burroughs: Naked Lunch (1959)
23. Octavia Butler: Kindred (1979)
24. Samuel Butler: Erewhon (1872)
25. Italo Calvino: The Baron in the Trees (1957)
26. Ramsey Campbell: The Influence (1988)
27. Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
28. Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871)
29. Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus (1984)
30. Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000)
31. Arthur C Clarke: Childhood's End (1953)
32. GK Chesterton: The Man Who Was Thursday (1908)
33. Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004)
34. Michael G Coney: Hello Summer, Goodbye (1975)
35. Douglas Coupland: Girlfriend in a Coma (1998)
36. Mark Danielewski: House of Leaves (2000)
37. Marie Darrieussecq: Pig Tales (1996)
38. Samuel R Delaney: The Einstein Intersection (1967)
39. Philip K Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
40. Philip K Dick: The Man in the High Castle (1962)
41. Umberto Eco: Foucault's Pendulum (1988)
42. Michel Faber: Under the Skin (2000)
43. John Fowles: The Magus (1966)
44. Neil Gaiman: American Gods (2001)
45. Alan Garner: Red Shift (1973)
46. William Gibson: Neuromancer (1984)
47. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Herland (1915)
48. William Golding: Lord of the Flies (1954)
49. Joe Haldeman The Forever War
50. M John Harrison: Light (2002)
51. Robert A Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)
52. Frank Herbert: Dune (1965)
53. Hermann Hesse: The Glass Bead Game (1943)
54. Russell Hoban: Riddley Walker (1980)
55. James Hogg: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824)
56. Michel Houellebecq: Atomised (1998)
57. Aldous Huxley: Brave New World (1932)
58. Kazuo Ishiguro: The Unconsoled (1995)
59. Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House (1959)
60. Henry James: The Turn of the Screw (1898)
61. PD James: The Children of Men (1992)
62. Richard Jefferies: After London; Or, Wild England (1885)
63. Gwyneth Jones: Bold as Love (2001)
64. Franz Kafka: The Trial (1925)
65. Daniel Keyes: Flowers for Algernon (1966)
66. Stephen King: The Shining (1977)
67. Marghanita Laski: The Victorian Chaise-longue (1953)
68. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu: Uncle Silas (1864)
69. Stanislaw Lem: Solaris (1961)
70. Doris Lessing: Memoirs of a Survivor (1974)
71. David Lindsay: A Voyage to Arcturus (1920)
72. Ken MacLeod: The Night Sessions (2008)
73. C.S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia (1950-56)
74. Hilary Mantel: Beyond Black (2005)
75. Michael Marshall Smith: Only Forward (1994)
76. Richard Matheson: I Am Legend (1954)
77. Charles Maturin: Melmoth the Wanderer (1820)
78. Patrick McCabe: The Butcher Boy (1992)
79. Cormac McCarthy: The Road (2006)
80. Jed Mercurio: Ascent (2007)
81. China Miéville:
The Scar (2002)
82. Andrew Miller: Ingenious Pain (1997)
83. Walter M Miller Jr: A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960)
84. David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas (2004)
85. Michael Moorcock: Mother London (1988)
86. William Morris: News From Nowhere (1890)
87. Toni Morrison: Beloved (1987)
88. Haruki Murakami: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (1995)
89. Vladimir Nabokov: Ada or Ardor (1969)
90. Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler's Wife (2003)
91. Larry Niven: Ringworld (1970)
92. Jeff Noon: Vurt (1993)
93. Flann O'Brien: The Third Policeman (1967)
94. Ben Okri: The Famished Road (1991)
95. Chuck Palahniuk: Fight Club (1996)
96. Thomas Love Peacock: Nightmare Abbey (1818)
97. Mervyn Peake: Titus Groan (1946)
98. John Cowper Powys: A Glastonbury Romance (1932)
99. Terry Pratchett: The Discworld Series (1983- )
100. Christopher Priest: The Prestige (1995)
101. Phillip Pullman: His Dark Materials (1995-2000)
102. François Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532-34)
103. Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)
104. Alastair Reynolds: Revelation Space (2000)
105. Kim Stanley Robinson: The Years of Rice and Salt (2002)
106. JK Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997)
107. Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses (1988)
108. Antoine de Sainte-Exupéry: The Little Prince (1943)
109. José Saramago: Blindness (1995)
110. Will Self: How the Dead Live (2000)
111. Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (1818)
112. Dan Simmons: Hyperion (1989)
113. Olaf Stapledon: Star Maker (1937)
114. Neal Stephenson:
Snow Crash (1992)
115. Robert Louis Stevenson: The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
116. Bram Stoker: Dracula (1897)
117. Rupert Thomson: The Insult (1996)
118. JRR Tolkien: The Hobbit (1937)
119. JRR Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings (1954-55)
120. Mark Twain: A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court (1889)
121. Kurt Vonnegut: Sirens of Titan (1959)
122. Robert Walser: Institute Benjamenta (1909)
123. Sylvia Townsend Warner: Lolly Willowes (1926)
124. Sarah Waters: Affinity (1999)
125. HG Wells: The Time Machine (1895)
126. HG Wells: The War of the Worlds (1898)
127. TH White:
The Sword in the Stone (1938)
128. Gene Wolfe: The Book of the New Sun (1980-83)
129. John Wyndham: Day of the Triffids (1951)
130. John Wyndham: The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)
131. Yevgeny Zamyatin: We (1924)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Grant Morrison's Batman

I have been following Grant Morrison's run on Batman with interest. He always writes a great story, even if you can't always follow it the first time. Now that we have reached the end of Batman RIP we can look at the run as a whole, and admire the work that Morrison has managed to put into this run. Anyone who can write Batmite into a story is to be commended.
Sure at times Morrison's invention is hard to follow, but as a whole the story is fairly mind blowing. Sure DC were never going to allow Batman to be to changed by the end, but Morrison sure took him on a roller-coaster ride to get there.

I encourage people to read this run and sit back and just enjoy the ride. Morrison will not let you down.