Monthly Archives: February 2015
Profile: Modern Fantasy, Urban, Middle Eastern, Graphic Novel
After Action Report:
Cairo is, in many ways, a prototype for G. Willow Wilson’s later novel, Alif the Unseen. They are stories of clashing cultures. Both the complex internal clash between Islamic hardliners and the culturally diverse youth of the Middle East, and the more external, if no less complex conflict between encroaching western culture and the entrenched lifestyles of Muslims. By necessity, Cairo is more spare, crashing through a much simpler plot at breakneck pace, but it manages to hit the same powerful notes that Alif does.
The comic starts as the story of Ashraf, an Egyptian drug smuggler who makes regular runs across the border into Israel. On one such run, he wrecks his car on a stoned camel (exactly as funny as it sounds), loses his shipment and ends up stealing a hookah from his employer to make some fast cash. But the hookah is home to a jinn, Shams, a beneficent creature who owns a box that could give control of the entire Middle East to anyone who possesses it.
Profile: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Pop Culture, Adventure!
After Action Report:
Ready Player One is one of those books that’s been sitting on the shelves at Barnes and Nobel taunting me with nearly universal acclaim for longer than I care to think about. Not only that, but it falls clearly into my ‘near future, speculative fiction’ bailiwick and even focuses on video game culture, so I really have no excuse as to why I’m only just now adding it to my library. And that’s a shame, because it really is quite good.
Any returning readers will recall that I intensely dislike reading books with good press or recommendations, mostly because it means that I’m suddenly holding the author (and the book) to much higher standards than are reasonable, but also because it messes with the way that I think about writing these reviews. I feel pressure to generate ‘original’ criticism, which puts my tendency to nitpick into overdrive.