The Wasp Factory

Posted April 27, 2013 by enpfhy
Categories: Uncategorized

I came across this sad news on Reddit a couple of weeks ago. Assuming you’ve clicked the link, then you know that author Iain Banks has inoperable cancer, and at best has maybe a year to live.

Prior to hearing this news, I had no idea who Iain Banks was. As a fan of the art of story telling, and the authors that tell them, I was saddened to read this. I only just found out this person exists, only to find that he’s dying.

As stupid as it sounds, I felt compelled to read one of his books and be able to rate and review it before he unfortunately passes. To someone that’s been writing tons of books for decades, and had such success, I know that my reading and rating one of his books is as insignificant as a gesture can possibly be.

I buy a lot of books on Amazon, or pick them up when they’re listed free. I have so many books on my Kindle waiting to be read, and I don’t even remember what it was about them that interested me in the first place. So when I went looking at all of Iain Banks books on Amazon, though I never knew who he was, I noticed The Wasp Factory, and the title sounded familiar. I checked, and I already had it on my Kindle.

It’s a strange thing to find that you have in your possession the 25+ year old award winning first book by an author you know nothing about except that he’s dying.

So I read it, and it was very unique and interesting, if a bit odd, in a good way. I’ll never find another book like it, and I’ll always remember it.

I discovered this book nearly three decades after it was written, and I imagine people will be discovering Iain Banks books decades from now. I hope that he takes at least a little satisfaction in knowing how many people he’s reached with his skill and love for story telling, and how many people he will still reach decades from now.

To be able to bring people joy and entertainment across the globe, and across time itself, is something special very few people will ever be able to do, and I look forward to reading more of his work over the years.

I hope that the time he has left is filled with as much love and happiness possible.

Amanda Hocking, please hire an editor.

Posted September 16, 2012 by enpfhy
Categories: My Book Reviews

I picked up Amanda Hocking’s Hollowland on Amazon because it’s 100% free, and I still feel like I paid too much. I know she’s an indie author (or was at the time) but the sheer amount of errors, mistakes and typos drove me crazy.

It’s hard to follow a book when you have to reread sentences to try and figure out what they mean, due to typos, and literally MISSING words. Sentences where one word is missing, and in its place the word previous to it is repeated by mistake.

More often than not she ends a characters statement with a coma, when it should be a period. I mean literally about 60% of the time.

She uses “and” and “but” extremely frequently and incorrectly. She seems to use them as though they are interchangeable in any sentence. An example of something she would say: “I was really hungry, and it was time to leave.” Instead of “I was really hungry, but it was time to leave.” It might seem like I’m being picky, but this book is absolutely full of the misuse of “and” and “but”. I mean every other page.

What I don’t understand is how someone writes a dozen books, but myself or any member of my family could correct a hundred errors with ease.

In addition to the typos, errors, and misuse of the English language, the story is just “OK”. I mean if you let the little things go, like referring to revolvers using “clips” of ammo, or the “bullets” the shotgun uses. Ignore her completely lack of understanding the things she writes about, and just look at the story itself.

Well, there’s really no attachment to any character. What makes them so important that we don’t want them to die? Uh, they have a name, that’s about it.

With how “simple” this book is written, and how it’s advertised as a “young adult” book, I really got the feeling it was more for teenagers. Young teenagers. I got this feeling about the time they ran into a zombie killing pet lion. This HAS to be a children’s book, with somewhat graphic, though unimaginative zombie slaying. And that would be just fine and everything. heck, my little sister might enjoy it. Oh, except for the GRAPHIC SEX SCENE.

I really don’t understand how this book has nearly 500 Amazon reviews, and the vast majority are positive.

I guess Amanda Hocking just isn’t for me. Maybe if English was my 2nd language, and I didn’t like character development, I’d be able to stand it enough to give the 2nd book in the series a shot. But no. I will never know where the series goes from here. I can’t make myself read another.

And just for the record, I love indie authors. I really do. I can accept that their work will be less polished, and that they may have a weaker vocabulary than I’m use to. But when you sign a book deal for two million dollars, I think you can afford to hire an editor.

In March 2011, Hocking signed her first conventional publishing contract for four books, at a price of two million dollars

Ready Player One

Posted July 19, 2012 by enpfhy
Categories: My Book Reviews

I’m so glad I read Janyaa’s review of Ready Player One. There is no way an avid gamer with even the slightest interest in sci-fi can read that review and NOT be compelled to read the book.

Having read that review my expectations were extremely high, and I’m happy to say I was not disappointed in the slightest.

Ernest Cline certainly has a talent for story telling. As his first novel, Ready Player One is quite impressive. Early on I felt like it was a little slow, but I quickly came to appreciate all the little details that immerse you in the world he created, and by the end I was happy with the pace and the amount of detail. Even the little things that help paint a picture of the world.

By now I’m assuming you’ve read Janyaa’s review, because you should, and because I can’t do the book the same justice. So I won’t go into great detail of the plot, because you should have read her review by now, but I will say that as a gamer I absolutely loved the world created in this book, and especially the OASIS. All the gaming references, the combat, the weapons, items, planets. The hunting of kobolds to level up reminded me of playing Ragnarok Online. The space ships and travel between planets reminded me of Entropia Universe, a game where in game money and USD were interchangeable. Where you bought clothes, weapons, gear, even space ships. You could rent out flights, and literally make money in this game by selling goods and services. I really appreciated that aspect of the OASIS, because believe it or not, that actually is based on current trends in gaming. The real money auction houses in games like Diablo 3 for example.

So as a gamer who’s played a dozen games that all come together to remind me of the OASIS, I was fascinated by this book the entire time. I really enjoyed the level of immersion in the OASIS and thought it was masterfully created. And that’s not even to mention the actual plot of the book, and the exciting hunt for the egg.

I loved this book and I would recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in sci-fi, but especially to any gamer.

If there was one thing that annoyed me though it was the character Art3mis. HOVER OVER FOR SPOILER 
I almost feel like it’s an injustice to have anything negative to say. I don’t want to give the impression that this book is lacking in any way, or that it’s not absolutely fantastic and worth reading, because it is.

So I heard a tapping on my window…

Posted July 5, 2012 by enpfhy
Categories: My stories, fact or fiction, past and present.

I hate it when it’s about midnight and I hear a tap on my window. The blinds are closed so I can’t see what it is, but i think “maybe it was just a bug”. Like a moth or something, trying to get to my light. Then I hear it again. It’s too loud to be a moth.
It could be a burglar or murderer, tapping on my window, but what is the likelihood they’d tap on the window of a well lit room? Or maybe in the murdering burglar circle, this has become a popular tactic, because who would expect that right?

So moth is out, but murglar is still a possibility. Could be one of the little kids from next door. They lost their kittens earlier today, but then came over to show them off and tell us they found them. It’s the 4th of July, maybe the fireworks scared them off and they ran away. Maybe the neighbor kids saw a light on and wanted to come see if I’ve seen the kittens, or ask for help finding them.

Why do things have to be so complicated to the point where you’re not sure if there’s a murglar at your window, or concerned little kitten seeking children? (Yes firefox, “murglar” IS a word, add it to my dictionary please)

But maybe it’s neither a murglar nor little children. It could possibly be Scarlett Johansson. Perhaps lost on the way to or from some film location. Perhaps a flat tire. No place around to get it fixed at this time of night. Maybe my light caught her eye and she thought she’d seek help by tapping on my window. Hot celebrities get flat tires too.

I could ignore it and possibly not get murgled, not save kittens, or not meet Scarlett Johansson, who I’d probably end up talking to and totally hit it off. There’s at least a 30% chance we’d end up getting married, or at the very least she’d help start my acting career as the love interest in a film or two of hers.

I’m pretty sure I’ve narrowed down the possibilities to these three. So I’ve got a 33% chance of being murgled, which is not cool, but on the other hand, there’s a 33% chance some little kids need help, and a 33% chance Scarlett Johansson wants my babies. So that’s a 66% chance of something good, and only a 33% chance of death or dismemberment… I’ve got to check…

I grab my flashlight and pocket knife and pull up the blinds completely. I can’t see anything but my own reflection. I quickly slide the window open and stand back, out of murglar grabbing range. And that’s when the God damn bat flew in. Didn’t even look anything like Scarlett Johansson :-(

John Dies at the End

Posted June 26, 2012 by enpfhy
Categories: My Book Reviews

I must be the only person on the internet that did not like this book at all. What am I missing?

 

It had its silly comical moments, but those were few and far between, mixed in with an endless supply of dick jokes.

 

Sure, the author has some creativity, but for the most part, for me, it was a chore to read. It started out weird, then got mildly interesting, only in that I thought it had potential and was really going to get good, but it never made it there.

 

I thought it was bizarre, when normally that kind of book would be right up my alley. It went from one time and place to another, seemingly with no segue.

 

Maybe the book had just lost my interest too much by this point, but *MASSIVE SPOILER AHEAD* the story was being told as an interview, to a reported. David Wong relating events to the reporting. When the reporter DIED, David continued to tell the story, but to whom? Did I completely miss something? It annoyed me the entire rest of the way. The ENTIRE book was a story being told to the reporter, and after he died, the story continued being told, as if still giving the interview to the dead man.

 

I also thought most of the conversation was relayed in a very annoying fashion. It made sense, I guess, because it was events being recounted in an interview. It wasn’t mean to read like a book, but rather like a story being retold to a person. I understood that, and it made sense, except, once again, for the part where the person being spoken to DIED and the story continued being told.

 

I was waiting the entire book for it to get interesting, or to climax at some point, but it never came. It just ended in a very boring and weird way.

 

I must just not get it. So many people highly recommend this point. It has fantastic reviews, yet to me, it’s garbage. Maybe I just don’t get it.

 

Strangely enough, the movie trailer actually looks like it could be good. Go figure.

My first knife

Posted April 30, 2012 by enpfhy
Categories: My stories, fact or fiction, past and present.

I think my first knife is an appropriate story for my first real post.

 

For as long as I can remember I had a fascination with knives. What boy didn’t? When I was six or seven years old, I would play with screw drivers and pretend they were knives. Or I would steal my moms butter knives and use those for playing in the dirt and sand.  That quickly became outlawed.  Eventually, when I was probably 8 or 9, my dad decided to buy me my first pocket knife. I was so excited.

 

We went to the sporting goods store–my dad, my 2 older sisters and I–at the local shopping center, which happened to be right next door to a Burger King. The 2 businesses shared a wall, to give you perspective of how close they were, which is semi relevant. We went inside and looked at the case full of knives. My dad let me pick the one I wanted. It was similar to a Swiss army knife. It was pretty small though. Just about as appropriate as you could get for a boys first knife.

 

My dad went over how important it is to be careful with it. how sharp it is, never cut towards yourself, careful you don’t close it on yourself, etc etc. He made sure I knew it was a responsibility not to be taken lightly. He made sure I knew how easily I could hurt myself. I assured him I understood all of these things and that I was ready. We bought the knife, and before we were out the door I cut my thumb pretty bad.

 

I had never hurt myself that bad before, so I was really freaking out. My dad sent my sisters next door to Burger King to get some napkins for my thumb while we remained inside the sporting goods store. That’s how bad it was, and how much I was freaking out, that I couldn’t even go right next door. We just waited.

 

My sisters came back about 15 minutes later with napkins and milkshakes in hand. They explained that the line was really long. of course they could have just taken napkins from one of about 7 different places throughout Burger King and just returned. but no, they figured while they were there they might as well get milkshakes. It should be noted that I did not get a milkshake.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Posted April 27, 2012 by enpfhy
Categories: My Book Reviews

I had my doubts about this book. to be honest I thought it sounded stupid. That seems to be the general consensus of my friends that haven’t read it. And that’s the point, they haven’t read it, and I hadn’t either at the time.

 

This book turned out to be fantastic. It’s told as a biography in a very interesting way. A mix of the author’s telling of Abe’s biography, with parts of Abe’s secret journal throughout the book, documenting his life long pursuit of vampires.

 

*SPOILERS* This book masterfully mixes real events and people from Abe’s life with fiction. Real deaths of loved ones attributed to vampires in very clever ways. Real life acquaintances turned ally in his vampire hunting. Ultimately his fight to abolish slavery is an attempt to drive vampires out of America. */SPOILERS*

 

Ultimately it’s a very cleverly written and satisfying book. I highly recommend it, and I’m not a big fan of vampires.

 

Overall: 8.5/10

Writing style: 9/10

Character progression: 8/10

 


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