Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Earth X

by Jim Krueger, John Paul Leon, Bill Reinhold and Alex Ross

I usually don't bother to review the comic books or graphic novels that I read. Even though I read a great deal of the stuff, it's brain candy and not worth ruminating about. (What that tells you about me, I don't want to know.) But Earth X, a trade paperback reprint of the mini-series of the same name, struck a deeper chord. On the surface it looks like another "future tale" that has been a popular theme in the superhero genre for the past decade or so. More often than not, the heroes are old or somehow washed up and life generally sucks for everyone. They might win the conflict, but it rarely has left me with a good feeling. (The theme seems to be as "Yeah, you may have won, but you're still a schmuck.") As I started reading this book I thought it was more of the same and I started to skim ahead. The end, however, seemed to break the mold and I ended up returning to the beginning and reading the book in earnest. It did indeed break the mold and even captured, to an extent, the spirit of the comics from my youth. Victory snatched from the jaws of defeat. Light arising to banish the darkness. Redemption. Some of the good guys go out in a blaze of glory, but many are left standing. (I'd like to think that it's due to the story and they're not just being saved as cannon fodder for the sequels.) As a Christian, I believe, I know, that the good guys will win in the end. If that's the case in real life, I like to see it reflected in fiction as well. Anyway, I liked it. If you have any interest in Marvel comics, I would strongly suggest that you check it out. (Of course, I'm probably one of the last comics fans in the world to have read this, so it's probably silly advice.)

LibraryThing link


Sunday, August 19, 2001


edited by Rose Secrest

This has got to be the rarest book in my collection. In the mid to late 80s I was a memeber of the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F), a correspondence club for science fiction and fantasy fans. Rose Secrest, as she writes in her introduction, had joined the club in '84, hoping to find an outlet for her writing. There was none, so she made it, publishing Geep! a collection of poems, stories, an article and a play written by then-members of the N3F. (I've dropped out and I don't know the status of the featured writers.) I bought a copy more out of politeness than a desire to read the efforts of my fellow members. Now, rereading the book after almost 15 years, I realize that Rose had gathered some good stuff. George Phillies' "Who Slays Satan" was my favorite, while Rose's own "The Idiot's Visit to a Chinese Restaurant" (written with her husband Michael Peralta) was practically incomprehensible. That's probably because I've never read Dostoyevsky. Anyway, I'm keeping this treasure on my shelf. If you want to read it, I might be persuaded to lend you my copy, or perhaps you can track down Rose and see if she has any extras. A better bet would probably be to contact the N3F and see what talents the current membership has to offer.

LibraryThing link


Thursday, August 09, 2001

Everyman's Talmud

by Abraham Cohen

In the course of my theological studies (if I can dignify my readings with that term), I've occasionally attempted to read the sacred writings of other religions. I haven't fared too well. I read a big chunk of the Bhagavad Gita, but it was so dense and unfulfilling (I should say boring, but that term might be offensive) that I put it down. Similarly, I started the Book of Mormon and ended up skimming the second half of it. In both cases I read enough to satisfy myself that the books have nothing to say to me, and I didn't bother to expend the energy to finish them. Of course, I haven't learned my lesson, either, and still had half a mind to someday tackle the Quran and the Talmud. Well, I can safely scratch the Talmud off my list, thanks to this book that my wife discovered. Abraham Cohen has written an "introduction" to the Talmud -- a brief overview of what the Talmud has to say on various topics. (Brief in comparison to the Talmud itself, that is. Everyman's Talmud is over 400 pages.) It's not a replacement for the Talmud by any means, but it gives enough of Judaism's teachings to satisfy my curiosity. Like the Gita and BoM, I didn't quite agree with everything the book had to say. Unlike the other two, however, I found Cohen's book enjoyable. Perhaps it's because Judaism is so close to the truth, or maybe it's just that Cohen is an extremely skilled writier. I don't know. I do know that I'm going to keep Everyman's Talmud on my shelf. Now if I could only find someone to digest the Quran for me... 

LibraryThing link


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