Monthly Archives: October 2013
Profile: Science Fiction, Space Opera
After Action Report:
The Expanse has received a lot of attention, mostly from other authors, for being a fresh take on space-based science fiction. The books have also received high praise for their cinematic fight sequences and politically charged plot lines. The books are each fairly lengthy, sitting well over the 500 page mark, but manage to feel like much shorter novels thanks to brisk pacing and strong, dynamic characters.
In spite of the ‘space opera’ tag, the stories of The Expanse are really more like war stories, having more in common with John Scalzi than they do with Iain M. Banks or Alastair Reynolds. The scope of the setting is mostly limited to the solar system and there isn’t the same sense of wonder and discovery that has become associated with New Wave Space Opera. Instead, The Expanse feels like older styles of space opera that focused more on combat, and the brave actions of courageous soldiers against overwhelming odds and the threat of the unknown.
Profile: Comics, Fantasy, Pirates!
After Action Report:
Way back in June, I attended the Denver Comic Convention. In the process of browsing the expansive artist alleys, I came across a curious man with a nose ring doodling some incredibly intricate, scrimshaw-esque pictures. Next to him were copies of his book, Cursed Pirate Girl, bound in a distinctive light blue cover and filled with more of the same detailed black-and-white drawings. It was easily the most interesting thing I’d seen at the Con so far. I impulsively grabbed a copy. Two hours later, covered with the paper flakes of Pirate Girl’s beautiful faux-old ragged pages, I was in love.
Now, to be fair, I love fairy tales. And Cursed Pirate Girl is a fairy tale for people who love the idea of adventure on the high seas; being spirited away by a noble pirate captain and exploring forgotten ruins in search of treasure. It’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making with more water. And this is where the review comes off the rails, because I’m horribly biased towards this kind of storytelling, not only because it’s basically just a fairytale wrapped in salt-soaked ropes and topped with a talking parrot, but because it is a well-handled coming of age story that casts the girl as someone capable of anything. Congratulations Mr. Bastian, you’ve punched all of my buttons.