It’s been a good year for books so far. I’ve somehow managed to read three (well, five, I suppose, as one is a trilogy – although another is as long-running comic series, comprising ten trades…let’s just forget the numbers), all of which have all leaped quickly into my ‘all-time favourites’ list.
His Dark Materials
I received these for Christmas – Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Surprisingly, I can’t help but think the American title of The Golden Compass is more fitting for the first book, slotting in nicely with the ‘objects of power’ theme in the other titles.
Having been deemed slightly too old to read them when they were first released, they’d gone rather beneath my radar. My mum, who worked in the school library at the time, certainly seemed impressed with them, but I knew little else. It was only when the movie was nearing release and the denser end of the religious spectrum started trumpeting that I paid attention. If there’s one thing that’ll encourage me to investigate something, it’s if reactionary religious evangelists dislike it.
Great stuff, as everyone knows, although the ending really did leave me with a rather gaping hole in the heart. Yes, it’s important for events this epic to have resonance and consequences (I’ve always thought LotR’s main flaw is that everyone gets off rather lightly…). Yes, it makes for a more memorable story. But…couldn’t they all have just lived happily ever after?
p.s. I also thought the movie was good, though covered with dirty studio-meddling fingerprints.
Rendezvous With Rama
That it’s taken me nearly 28 years to read this is rather unforgiveable. Despite loving good ol’ hard sci-fi, loving Asimov as a kid and then Kim Stanley Robinson as a ‘young adult’, for some reason I never really discovered Arthur C Clarke.
I read a collection of his short stories a while back and then zipped through Earthlight while in hospital in 200…5? Rendezvous With Rama is one of the biggies, though, and thankfully it didn’t disappoint. Clarke’s power to describe something completely alien and bring it to vivid life is really quite enviable – I feel like I’ve been to Rama, like I know exactly what it looks like, in all its massive scale. I have memories of traversing the staircase and staring up at the sky/ground and the circular sea.
Y: The Last Man
Finally, I just this evening finished the last issue of Y: The Last Man. I am now in a mission to hunt down everything else written by Brian K Vaughan. I’m quite glad that I read the series over the last couple of years in the trades, rather than issue-by-issue since 2002. If I’d been invested for that long, the ending would really have been too difficult to bear. Not because it’s sad (though it is, in some ways), but because it means there’s no more.
No more tales of Yorick’s bumbling foolery, no more ass kicking (and repressed feelings) from 355, no more disapproving glances from Dr Mann. No more poo throwing from Ampersand.
There’s only one solution really: I’ll just have to start re-reading the whole thing from the beginning.