Started and Finished reading on Jul 2, 2020.
Batman: Last Knight on Earth by an author ( )

Twenty years in the future, Bruce Wayne wakes up in Arkham Asylum. Young. Sane. And…heโ€™s never been Batman. So begins this sprawling tale of the Dark Knight as he embarks on a quest through a devastated DC landscape, featuring a massive cast of familiar faces from the DC Universe. As Batman tries to piece together the mystery of his past, he must unravel the cause of this terrible future and track down the unspeakable force that destroyed the world as he knew it…

From the powerhouse creative team of writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, the team that reinvented Batman from the emotional depths of Batman: Court of Owls to the epic power of Dark Nights: Metal, DC presents what could be the last Batman story ever told! Collects Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1-3.

Started and Finished reading on June 29, 2020

Well, I was expecting something as good as the Batman:Year One. I was disappointed in this. The Superman Earth One novels were a better retelling of Superman’s initial years.

Superman: Year One ( )

From legendary writer Frank Miller comes a groundbreaking, definitive treatment of Superman’s classic origin story, with art by John Romita Jr.

From the collapsing spires of Krypton to the bucolic fields of Kansas, from the submerged splendors of Atlantis to the chaotic energy of the Daily Planet, the story of Clark Kent, last son of the House of El, is the stuff of legend. Now, two of comics’ greatest creators join forces to bring a bold new vision of the Man of Steel’s origin to life.

With Superman: Year One, writer Frank Miller (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Ronin, Sin City), and artist, John Romita Jr. (Iron Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, Kick-Ass) bring their renowned storytelling talents to bear as they reimagine the formative trials that young Clark must undergo to claim his place I our world.

As he learns to balance the grave responsibilities of his powers against their limitless possibilities, Clark must also build his humanity just like everybody else-one relationship at a time. Greater than a super-powered adventure, more powerful than a coming-of-age tale, Superman: Year One is a visceral exploration of the fundamental importance of choice in this American icon’s journey into heroism.

I liked this lovely collection of stories, some of them particularly frightening.

Since Max wanted some horror stories, I repurposed Dark Carousel, Faun, and In the Tall Grass as bedtime stories for him.

I also watched In the Tall Grass on Netflix after reading the story.

June 7, 2020 โ€“ Started Reading
June 28, 2020 โ€“ Finished Reading

Full Throttle by an author ( )

Thirteen relentless tales of supernatural suspense, including โ€œIn the Tall Grass,โ€ one of two stories cowritten with Stephen King and the basis for the terrifying feature film from Netflix.

A little door that opens to a world of fairy-tale wonders becomes the blood-drenched stomping ground for a gang of hunters in โ€œFaun.โ€ A grief-stricken librarian climbs behind the wheel of an antique Bookmobile to deliver fresh reads to the dead in โ€œLate Returns.โ€

In โ€œBy the Silver Water of Lake Champlainโ€โ€”now an episode on Shudder TVโ€™s Creepshowโ€”two young friends stumble on the corpse of a plesiosaur at the waterโ€™s edge, a discovery that forces them to confront the inescapable truth of their own mortality. And tension shimmers in the sweltering heat of the Nevada desert as a faceless trucker finds himself caught in a sinister dance with a tribe of motorcycle outlaws in โ€œThrottle,โ€ cowritten with Stephen King.

Replete with shocking chillers, including two previously unpublished stories written expressly for this volume (โ€œMumsโ€ and โ€œLate Returnsโ€) and another appearing in print for the first time (โ€œDark Carouselโ€), Full Throttle is a darkly imagined odyssey through the complexities of the human psyche. Hypnotic and disquieting, it mines our tormented secrets, hidden vulnerabilities, and basest fears, and demonstrates this exceptional talent at his very best.

May 27, 2020 โ€“ Started Reading
May 31, 2020 โ€“ Finished Reading

Quillifer the Knight by an author ( )

Quilliferโ€”now a member of the nobilityโ€”finds himself further immersed in court politics as the outcast princess Floria is suddenly in a position of power with a rebellion stoked by a certain brilliant tactician, in this thrilling sequel to Quillifer.

Rogue. Joker. Lover. Reluctant conspirator.

The ambitious young Quillifer was been knighted for services to the crown, but was then banished from court by a queen who finds him obnoxious. Now, after a two-year voyage to improve his fortunes, Quillifer returns to court and is plunged immediately into a maelstrom of intrigue that triggers duels, plots, amours, and rollicking adventure. Bounding back and forth from the high councils of state to the warm bed of his mistress, Quillifer must exert every ounce of seductive charm and low cunning in order to survive.

Queen Berlaudaโ€™s foreign husband brings war in his wake, along with a clutch of officials who enforce the royal will with violence, torture, and judicial murder. A dragon menaces the realm, and political conspiracy threatens the life of Quilliferโ€™s young patroness, Princess Floria. Itโ€™s the traditional job of a knight to fight dragons and rescue princesses, but Quillifer is hardly a traditional knight, and he brings to the job an array of unorthodox skills that dazzles his swarm of rivals, seduces their wives, and threatens the realm.

But thereโ€™s a greater menace to Quillifer than deadly political intrigue, for once again he finds himself hunted by the cruel, beautiful, and vengeful goddess Orlanda.

Fast-paced and reminded me of the Querencia sequence of Peter F Hamilton’s Void trilogy… Next up is Quillifer the Knight.

May 25, 2020 โ€“ Started Reading
May 26, 2020 โ€“ Finished Reading

Quillifer by an author ( )

Rogue. Joker. Lover. Reluctant soldier.

Quillifer is a young man, serially in love and studying law, when a family tragedy throws him into the world to seek his fortune. A charmer rather than a fighter, he soon finds himself embroiled with a bandit gang, caught up in vicious court intrigues, and the plaything of an angry, beautiful, and very jealous goddess. While he struggles to establish himself in the capital, the country finds itself pitched into a civil war, and Quillifer, a unwilling soldier at best, finds himself caught up in the action, and able to tip the scales of fortune.

Quillifer, with its engaging hero and his exploits with lovers, brawlers, warriors, and privateers, is a book that bursts with life. Itโ€™s the first volume in a new epic fantasy by bestselling and award-winning author Walter Jon Williams.

As always, the Constant Reader will be delighted with these four stories.

May 13, 2020 โ€“ Started Reading
May 19, 2020 โ€“ Finished Reading

If It Bleeds by an author ( )

This extraordinary collection includes four new and compelling novellas โ€”Mr. Harriganโ€™s Phone, The Life of Chuck, Rat, and the title story If It Bleedsโ€” each pulling readers into intriguing and frightening places.

News people have a saying: ‘If it bleeds, it leads’. And a bomb at Albert Macready Middle School is guaranteed to lead any bulletin.

Holly Gibney of the Finders Keepers detective agency is working on the case of a missing dog – and on her own need to be more assertive – when she sees the footage on TV. But when she tunes in again, to the late-night report, she realizes there is something not quite right about the correspondent who was first on the scene. So begins ‘If It Bleeds’, a stand-alone sequel to the No. 1 bestselling The Outsider featuring the incomparable Holly on her first solo case – and also the riveting title story in Stephen King’s brilliant new collection.

Dancing alongside are three more wonderful long stories – ‘Mr Harrigan’s Phone’, ‘The Life of Chuck’ and ‘Rat’. All four display the richness of King’s storytelling with grace, humor, horror and breathtaking suspense. A fascinating Author’s Note gives us a wonderful insight into the origin of each story and the writer’s unparalleled imagination.

I’ve been a fan of Randall Munroe for a long time. I believe he is one of the best explainers of science. And How To is an excellent book if you ever want to try out something outrageous like taking your house off the grid.

Continue reading “๐Ÿ“š How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe”

How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by an author ( )

The world’s most entertaining and useless self-help guide, from the brilliant mind behind the wildly popular webcomic xkcd and the million-selling
What If? and Thing Explainer

For any task you might want to do, there’s a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally bad that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It’s full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole.

Bestselling author and cartoonist Randall Munroe explains how to predict the weather by analyzing the pixels of your Facebook photos. He teaches you how to tell if you’re a baby boomer or a millennial by measuring the radioactivity of your teeth. He offers tips for taking a selfie with a telescope, crossing a river by boiling it, and getting to your appointments on time by destroying the moon. And if you want to get rid of this book once you’re done with it, he walks you through your options for proper disposal, including dissolving it in the ocean, converting it to a vapour, using tectonic plates to subduct it into the Earth’s mantle, or launching it into the sun.

By exploring the most complicated ways to do simple tasks, Munroe doesn’t just make things difficult for himself and his readers. As he did so brilliantly in What If?, he invites us to explore the most absurd reaches of the possible. Full of clever infographics and amusing illustrations, How To is a delightfully mind-bending way to better understand the science and technology underlying the things we do every day.

May 3, 2020 โ€“ Started Reading
May 8, 2020 โ€“ Finished Reading
Cibola Burn by an author

The gates have opened the way to a thousand new worlds and the rush to colonize has begun. Settlers looking for a new life stream out from humanityโ€™s home planets. Ilus, the first human colony on this vast new frontier, is being born in blood and fire.
Independent settlers stand against the overwhelming power of a corporate colony ship with only their determination, courage, and the skills learned in the long wars of home. Innocent scientists are slaughtered as they try to survey a new and alien world. The struggle on Ilus threatens to spread all the way back to Earth.
James Holden and the crew of his one small ship are sent to make peace in the midst of war and sense in the midst of chaos. But the more he looks at it, the more Holden thinks the mission was meant to fail.
And the whispers of a dead man remind him that the great galactic civilization that once stood on this land is gone. And that something killed it.

Novellas included:

  • The Things We Do for Love
  • Downfall of the Gods
  • The Last Witness
  • The Devil You Know
  • I Met a Man Who Wasnโ€™t There
  • Heaven Thunders the Truth
  • Message in a Bottle
  • Rules
  • Safe House
  • The Dragonslayer of Merebarton
  • Told by an Idiot
  • No Peace for the Wicked

Written mostly in the first person, each narrator is cynically convincing and brings to each tale their own perspective of what it means to be good or bad. Or is everyone a shade of grey?

The Father of Lies by an author ( )

Bringing together KJ Parkerโ€™s recent novellas and novelettes, totaling over 500 pages of wry, twisty fiction, Father of Lies delves into the arcane as never before. Set amid the world of Parkerโ€™s critically acclaimed novels and award winning stories, as well as our own, this volume reveals a side rarely glimpsed in his other works. Contained herein are the tales of creatures that pluck the strings of existence, exposing the seedy underbelly of ultimate power as only Parker can.

It begins with love, as it often does. In All the Things We Do for Love, Parker demonstrates the age old proverb โ€˜be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.โ€™ It continues with a fall from grace, in Downfall of the Gods, where a daughter of heaven unwittingly pits herself against her divine family. Demonic pacts are everywhere, in The Devil You Know, where Parker returns to Saloninus, his iconic character who will finish what he started so many years ago. It ends with a beginning, in No Peace for the Wicked, as a New Pope is chosen to push back the darkness.

Filled with Parkerโ€™s hallmark wit and biting humor, Father of Lies is an essential collection, not just for the dedicated fantasist, but for anyone committed to a great story well told. Like all of KJ Parker’s brilliant fiction, these stories whisper the truth.

Just ask yourself, can you trust the Father of Lies?