Thursday, June 30, 2011

Failstate is coming!

It's official! Earlier this week, I signed a contract with the good folks at Marcher Lord Press. They will be publishing my Christian superhero novel, Failstate. The publication date is still to be determined at this time, but I'm really excited to see this process through.

If you're curious to see some of the "behind-the-scenes" stuff from writing the book, check out my Wordcount Wednesday posts from about a year ago. I'm sure I'll have more stuff to say about the next steps of bringing the book out to the public in the coming months.

The upshot? I can't wait for all of you to meet this guy:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cars 2

A friend of mine sagely observed on Facebook that if Cars 2 was a live action movie starring real people, there'd be no way it'd get a G rating. And she is absolutely right. But I suppose if your movie stars anthropomorphic cars, it's all good.

Lightning McQueen, now a successful Piston Cup champion, is invited to take part in a race to promote a new alternative fuel. Much to his chagrin, his best friend Mater comes along for the trip. Mater is the epitome of what you might call an ugly American (car). He sticks out like a sore thumb in Tokyo, the first location for the race. But bizarrely, Mater is mistaken for a secret agent, one working to stop a secret cabal of cars determined to stop the race and discredit the new fuel.

In some ways, this was an okay movie. It was entertaining and a good send-up of spy flicks. But it definitely didn't rise to the level of other Pixar movies. I think its real problem was that it was lacking in heart. There was no overarching "deeper theme," no tug at the heart-strings that I've come to expect from the wizards of Pixar.

Another problem was Mater himself. While Mater was certainly funny and a large part of the first movie, he got a little grating after a while in the second.

What really surprised me was the sheer level of violence in this movie. Like my friend Carrie sagely observed, if these were people and not cars, this would have been rated much higher. Lots of death, and in some cases, violent death, was casually thrown throughout the movie. I'm not sure what my son made of this. He's four and I suspect this is the most violence he's seen in a movie, like, ever.

So I don't know. A mostly fun movie, an unworthy successor for the original, a movie filled with lots of cars getting blown to bits. Not the highlight of the summer for sure.

Knight Errant

That's more like it. Last night, I finished reading Knight Errant by John Jackson Miller and unlike the last Star Wars novel I read, this one was a lot of fun and, for the most part, quite satisfying.

The story centers around Kerra Holt, a Jedi from 5,000 years before the original trilogy, who is stuck in a really tight spot. She is cut off from Republic space, stuck in a sector that is controlled by various Sith Lords. She's the only Jedi, the only one capable against of taking a stand against the Dark Side. At first, she's caught up in a conflict between brothers Daiman and Odion. But soon the conflict between those two spill over, driving Kerra to the strongholds of other Sith Lords. She's the only one who seems at all concerned about the plight of those under the Siths' heels. Can Kerra do something to stop the destructive evil? Or will it finally consume her as well?

This week confirmed something that I've suspected for a while now. The Star Wars Extended Universe has pretty much exhausted the original trilogy's generation. Crosscurrent was set at the tail end of that generation. Because so many books have been written about that era, it's become so bloated and heavy that the books simply aren't as engaging anymore. But books set in the "distant past" seem to recapture the freshness and uniqueness of the Star Wars universe. For example, the idea behind this book, of one lone Jedi facing off against countless Sith Lords, completely on her own, was fascinating.

It also helps that Miller put together some great oppressive regimes. We encounter three different Sith territories as we travel with Kerra, and they're not at all alike. You'd think, given that Sith were in charge of each, that there would be the same kind of repression and oppression in each, but Miller came up with three different ways that people can be beaten down and rooted each in their lord's personalities.

The characters in this book really shine as well. Kerra is a great hero, as is Brigadier Rusher.

I don't know if we'll see more novels about Kerra Holt (I know that they're publishing comics about her exploits), but if there are, I might just be persuaded to pick them up.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Emily Howell

Okay, take a listen to this music:

Pretty, right? So who do you think wrote this music? Okay, stupid question. It's obviously someone named Emily Howell. So who do you think Emily is? A child prodigy? A grand master in the works?

Nope. She's a robot.

According to this article, "Emily" was fed the works of the great masters, analyzed them, and then was told to start producing music of her own. The video above is one such result.

Ummmmmm . . . I'm not sure what to make of this. But I, for one, welcome our coming robot overlords with terrified humility.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


My brother-in-law, who attends comic book conventions from time to time, snared this little goody for me. He knows I have a soft spot for Star Wars novels, so he got me an autographed copy of Crosscurrent by Paul S. Kemp. And it sounded like a great story, at least on the back cover.

Basically it boils down to this: Jedi Knight Jaden Korr receives a vision from the Force. Someone is calling him to a distant planetary system, begging for help. He travels out there, only to arrive in time for an ancient cargo transport to pop in from the past, a past when the Sith had their own empire. Now Jaden and his friends must deal with this ancient threat.

I don't know of another Star Wars story that involves time travel, so I was definitely curious to see how Kemp would pull this off. Sadly, he didn't do so well.

The reason I say that is because really, this book is two unrelated half-stories that have been slapped together. There's the time travel business and then there's what the Force was really trying to show Jaden (which I thought was a lot more interesting). Neither plotline really has anything to do with each other aside from physical proximity (the ship from the past just happens to pop up in the same planetary system as Jaden's true mission). As a result, neither storyline is developed to its full potential, which means that when the story reached its climax, I was wanting more. More character development, more depth to the story, more of just about everything. And that's not wanting more in a good way. It was wanting more because Kemp didn't develop this idea enough.

The up-shot? Crosscurrent is a so-so try at two potentially fun stories that should have had their own individual books.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Sims 3: Generations

I wanted to hold off on writing this review of The Sims 3: Generations for as long as I could so I could see as much of this new expansion as I could. But unfortunately, I've grown a little frustrated with the Sims lately, a statement that I'll explain in just a little while.

I've been an avid Sims player since the early days and, by and large, new expansions always get me to sit up and take notice. I especially liked the idea of this one: add more stuff for kids and teens to do. That's been one area where the Sims 3 has been lacking: while adults can do a lot of stuff, the teens and the kids especially basically only have school and skill building. So when I saw that they were dedicating an entire expansion to new stuff for the young'uns, I was pretty excited.

And there's some good stuff in this pack. I think I've seen most of it by this point. There are new characteristics for your Sims (such as the Nurturing personality trait for those Sims who love kids, or the Rebellious trait which is fairly self-explanatory). Kids can now pull pranks, such as rigging showers with dye packs. There are new objects, such as a chemistry table that allows Sims to craft potions that do various things to whoever drinks them. There are new objects, such as new playground equipment.

The school setting has been revamped as well. Now kids and teens can sign up for afterschool clubs to build their skills. They can go on field trips (which also build skills). There's prom (an addition that I love!). You can even ship your kids off to boarding school, which I've done a few times now. It's an interesting experience; you don't have to worry about controlling said kid, but you also don't have much say in what traits they develop while they're gone. It's a cool trade-off.

Also fun is the inclusion of the Imaginary Friend. Occasionally, after a baby is born, a mysterious aunt will send them a doll they can play with. If they play with it enough (which they do automatically; it seems to be a toddler's favorite go-to activity), the toy will "come to life" as an imaginary friend, a companion that only the child can see and interact with. But if the child has a chemistry set and a high enough logic skill, they can craft a potion that brings said friend to life for real. The friend then joins the family and can even be married. I've done that. It was kind of fun.

On paper and even throughout my playing, this was a good expansion that helped enrich my game. But I have a serious complaint about it, one that seems to be recurring for most Sims games: it shipped with way too many bugs. This seems to be a common theme for Sims games. After the initial release, there are a lot of problems with the game that hopefully get caught with the first patch. It's a bad way to do business, in my opinion, and lazy to boot.

And it's also infuriating. Twice now I've lost games because I've hit a bug that makes half my household unplayable (their picture disappears from the boxes on the left of the screen). I've had to delete two very fun games because I can't play them. Also broken is the family inventory when the Sims travel overseas as part of the World Adventures expansion. Normally, when you go overseas and buy a "big" item (such as a nectar maker or martial arts dummy), it would get put into the family inventory to be used when the Sim returned home. Not since Generations came out, though.

So I've learned my lesson: while I will plan on getting expansions for this game, I won't buy them right away because the development team apparently needs to finish their jobs. It's a shame. A franchise like the Sims deserves better.

Monday, June 20, 2011


What a way to spend a day . . . off.

Since I was on my own for most of today, I spent a good chunk of it reading Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld. That's the sequel to the book that I finished (and reviewed) only yesterday.

The book picks up where the first one left off. Alek, the "missing heir" to the Austrian-Hungarian empire, is still hiding on the British airship Leviathan. They need his help to maintain the mechanical engines that have been added to the sides of an otherwise living airship. But now that the Leviathan is approaching Istanbul on a vital diplomatic mission, Alek sees his chance to escape.

Deryn Sharp, still disguised as a boy, is finding Istanbul a strange place. Not only is it a Clanker country (where steam-powered machines dominate the city), the Germans obviously have designs to bring the Ottomans into the war against the Darwinist nations.

Soon both Deryn and Alek find themselves in the midst of international intrigue along with shadowy plots that could reshape the world and the course of the on-going war.

This was another fun read. Again, Westerfeld has given his storyworld a great deal of thought and executed it well. There are just enough twists and turns to keep a reader guessing, especially as the story continues to weave in historical and almost-real events.

Personally, I'm looking forward to reading the final entry into this trilogy, but it doesn't get published until September. Oh well. Hopefully I'll have whittled away my to-be-read pile by then so Goliath can take priority.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


True confession time: I have never read steampunk. Never had the opportunity. Never really had the desire either (although seeing some Star Wars characters re-imagined for steampunk did get me curious). But a few months ago, a friend visiting from New Zealand left some books with me, two YA books by Scott Westerfeld. Last night, I finished the first, namely Leviathan. And I have to say, I'm a little disgusted with myself for being so closed-minded.

The book is set in the early days of World War I, only things are a little different. The Germans and Austrians are "Clankers," people who build giant steam-driven walkers (think AT-ATs from the Star Wars universe, only with big cogs and belching steam). The English, the French, and the Russians are Darwinists. In this alternate timeline, Darwin not only came up with evolution, he also discovered DNA and genetic manipulation. The Darwinists build vehicles and machines out of living animals. For example, the titular Leviathan is a massive hydrogen-breather, a living airship made of a whale, housing living weapons that the English use in war.

The story follows two young people. There's Alek, the potential heir to the throne of the Austrian-Hungarian throne (or however you say that). When his parents are murdered in Serbia, he has to go on the run to Switzerland. Then there's Deryn, a girl who wants to serve in the British Air Service but can't because . . . well, she's a girl. So she hides her gender and enlists. Pretty soon, fate brings the two together, Clanker and Darwinist, and unites them in a common cause.

This book was a lot of fun to read. It's a sort of alternate history (with a few familiar faces popping up here and there). While the Clankers are interesting, the Darwinists are fascinating. Westerfled does a great job of making the Leviathan plausible, as odd as that might sound. Yes, it's a giant flying whale, but he's thought through how it all would interact and intersect. What's really fun are the illustrations by Keith Thompson, which brings the world to life.

I've already started reading the sequel and I just found out the last book in the trilogy is coming out this September. Sigh. Every time I think I've chipped away at my to-be-read pile . . .

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Good Omens

Okay, I don't get it.

Last night, I finished reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and I just don't get it. I've heard rumblings that this was a good book, and based on some of the introductory comments, I thought I was going to have a great read on my hands. I figured that I'd object to the theology of the book, but I was willing to set that aside to see what the fuss is about.

The concept was intriguing: an angel and a demon, two entities that should be on opposite sides of the on-going war between Heaven and Hell, wind up more as "frenemies." They discover they have more in common with each other than the others on their respective sides. So when they find out that the apocalypse is about to be unleashed on a world they've come to love, they decide they're going to do everything they can to stop it.

My problem with this book is that there's just too much. There are too many characters, from the four "horsemen" to the neophyte Antichrist to the dozen or so minor characters who find themselves caught up in the Last Things. And that sheer number of people, I think, is what diluted my enjoyment of this book. Aziraphale and Crowley, the angel and demon, are the prime movers in the first third of the book (and, I think, the most fascinating characters), but they largely disappear from the middle third, which is where I think the story kind of went off the rails.

Oh well. It would have been nice if I could have enjoyed this book, but I didn't. I'm sure the diehard fans of this book (and apparently there are quite a few) won't find my little corner of cyberspace. That's probably for the best.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Green Lantern

Thanks to the good folks at Twin Cities Moviegoers (and my darling wife, who spotted the ad for a free screening), I got to take a sneak peek at Green Lantern this morning, and one in 3D even! I'm hoping this turns out to be the only speed bump in a summer of superhero movies.

The story centers around ace test pilot Hal Jordan, who is selected to be a part of the prestigious Green Lantern Corp, a sort of intergalactic police force that utilizes the green energy of willpower to fight evil (more on that in a little bit). Hal is not what you would call an ideal recruit. He's a loose cannon at his job, much to the frustration of his lifelong friend, Carol Ferris. He's got some emotional baggage that's holding him back as well. It's easy to understand why the de facto leader of the Green Lanterns, a guy named Sinestro (gee, can't imagine what his character arc is going to be), has such grave reservations about Hal's place in the Corp. That's because an ancient enemy of the Corp has reappeared and threatens to destroy everything they are supposed to protect.

As I left the theater, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed with this movie. Don't get me wrong, there's some fun stuff here. Ryan Reynolds was fun to watch and made for a believable hero. I don't know if diehard fans will appreciate the humor he brought to the role, but I did. Blake Lively as Carol Ferris was okay, but she did lead to one great, laugh-out-loud moment regarding the plausibility of costumes protecting secret identities. And a lot of the effects and visualizations were great. Oa, the Green Lantern's base of operations, was pretty cool to look at.

But where this movie kind of fell apart was the story. For starters, there was the lack of focus. We kept ricocheting between Oa and Earth, and the writers slathered on a lot of emotional hand-wringing, which meant that we didn't get a lot of what I wanted to see, namely Hal Jordan using the green energy of willpower to make stuff out of thin air.

Speaking of which, that kind of struck me as odd when they mentioned it the first time. Okay, I know, it's Green Lantern and I've read enough of the comics to know that his power is based on willpower. But the way they were tossing around emotional energies and their attendant colors struck me as a little silly. Why is willpower green? Why is fear yellow (beyond the obvious cliched reason)? Worse, the way they described the Lanterns at one point made me think of a different group of individuals tasked with protecting a galaxy far, far away. Almost word for word.

What really bugged me was the tag at the end. Up until the end, I was mildly surprised at how well they were setting themselves up for a sequel. If you know the source material, you know what's coming in the next movie (if there is one; I'm not so sure there should be), but what impressed me was how the writers set it up organically within the story. It was a significant move in terms of the larger storyline, but they contained it well within the convoluted mess they had created. But then, at the end of the movie, without any explanation as to why, they set up the villain for the next movie. In my not-so-humble opinion, it would have been better to leave the tag for the sequel and explain why what happened happened.

So there we go. I've seen better superhero movies this summer. This was okay, I guess, just not all that satisfying.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ether Ore

I've read a lot of short story anthologies before (usually sci-fi or fantasy ones), but I've never seen one of Christian fiction. Well, never fear, the good folks at Marcher Lord Press have filled the niche with Ether Ore, a collection of short science fiction stories put together by half a dozen of their authors and the main man himself, publisher Jeff Gerke.

What surprised me (and threw me off a little at first) is the fact that the majority of the short stories are framed in a larger story, a continuation of Jeff Gerke's initial tale of armless robots. The rest fold in. Like I said, that confused me for a moment. I had to go back and reread some parts before I caught what was happening. My bad.

But the stories definitely weren't. Bad, that is. There was some fun stuff in this book, from some space opera from Steve Rzasa to a post-apocalyptic story from award-winning author Kirk Outerbridge. All of them were a great read, but if I had to pick my favorite, I'd have to say Graxin by Kerry Nietz. That's just my opinion but I'm sticking with it.

At $3.99 (at present), this is a great deal for some great stories.

Super 8

This is turning out to be a good summer for geeks. Exhibit B: Super 8.

In the summer of 1980 (I think), a group of kids are working on a movie shot on a Super 8 camera. As they work on filming a scene one night, they witness a horrific train derailment, one that brings the Air Force to their small town in Ohio. They vow not to talk about what they saw (for a pretty good reason which I won't go into now), but nothing is ever that simple.

Power starts fluctuating throughout their town. Someone starts stealing microwaves and car engines. Dogs and then people start disappearing. Something strange is going on and the kids have to solve the mystery of what was on that derailed train.

Naturally, the audience knows thanks to the commercials and previews. I'm not complaining about that at all.

As a matter of fact, I really don't have any complaints about this movie. Well, one minor gripe about something that Joe, the main character, does. But again, I'm not going to get into that either. Major spoilers. But aside from that one moment, this was simply a great movie all around. It has some emotional heft to it, one that remains central to the plot as Joe and his friends try to survive the odd happenings in their hometown.

Probably the best part of this movie is Elle Fanning as Alice, a girl recruited to star in the movie. She was simply phenomenal. But then, so was Joel Courtney, the young man who played Joe.

And J.J. Abrams did a great job building the tension throughout the movie, teasing us with shots of the train-riding alien in the early going and slowly revealing what it is and what it's up to. In some ways, the plot reminds me of E.T., if E.T. wasn't a wuss.

This is definitely one of the better movies I've seen for a while and, like I said, it's just another reason why this summer is for us geeks.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


A few weeks ago, Entertainment Weekly had a list of young adult books that are being adapted into movies. I pulled the page out of the magazine, thinking it'd make a good start to a "to-be-read list" (although they'd all be books I'd have to read in the future; my to-be-read pile still has two to three dozen books in it). I left the list on my desk and kind of forgot about it.

Then my wife brought Matched by Ally Condie home from the library. She said it looked like an interesting young adult book. She knew I'm on a dystopian kind of kick right now and thought I might like to read it. The cover looked familiar. Wouldn't you know it, Matched was indeed on that list. So even though I hadn't intended to find any of these books just yet, I bit the bullet and started reading.

Cassia is a young girl who lives in the Society, a regime that basically controls every aspect of her life. They decide her daily schedule, they provide strictly controlled meals, and they are the ones who select who she will someday marry. On the day she turns seventeen, Cassia goes to her Matching banquet and learns that the Society has chosen her best friend Xander to be her mate. It's a bizarre happenstance; normally most people are Matched with total strangers. This delights Cassia to no end. At least, it does at first.

But then, as she's reading up on her intended, she sees the face of another friend, that of Ky. And she is intrigued. Why would she see two faces where she should have only seen one? What is the deal with Ky, a brooding young man who seems to harbor deep secrets? Soon Cassia is caught between Ky and Xander, but more than that. She finds herself squarely in the crosshairs of the Society and it's not a good thing.

This was an interesting read. I enjoyed it just fine, but I felt like it was missing something, a little bit of "oomph," so to speak. Things seemed almost too sedate, but I suppose that was the point. The Society is a manacle wrapped in velvet, one that guarantees safety and health by taking away choices. It would take a bit to wake someone up from such a life. Cassia, Ky, and Xander are all likeable characters, which helps. Maybe the problem I had was that the story was a bit too predictable. There were some "twists" here and there, but they weren't all that surprising. Or it could be that Condie was obviously leaving herself room for a sequel and left a few too many dangling threads.

In the end, I enjoyed this book and I'd probably read a sequel. But then, I've got a lot of books to read between now and November, when the next one is supposed to come out. I'll get there eventually, I guess.

Monday, June 06, 2011

X-Men First Class

I just got back from seeing X-Men First Class and, I have to say, I had a good time. I don't know what the "purists" might think of this movie, but I thought it was a great deal of fun.

It's set in the rollicking '60s, when Charles Xavier, with the ability to walk and a full head of hair, spends his times trying to pick up chicks with talk about mutations (Seriously. This happened. And it was actually kind of funny). Erik Lensherr is a Holocaust survivor out for vengeance against a Nazi scientist who . . . well, I won't get into that right here. Suffice it to say Erik has a legitimate gripe against him. Their paths cross as both men try to take the villain, named Sebastian Shaw, down. The problem is, the bad guy has a team of mutants to protect him, such as Emma Frost, Azazel, and Riptide.

So naturally, Xavier and Lensherr need a team of their own.

They collect a group of fellow mutants and begin training them to face off against Shaw's team, especially since Shaw is trying to start World War III by getting the Soviets to place nukes in Cuba.

Seriously. This movie uses the Cuban missile crisis as a backdrop. And I have to say, it worked.

Sure, there were some silly things that made me roll my eyes. And personally, I think everything got wrapped up a little too neat-and-tidy in the end (basically, any question you might have about the early years of the X-Men are answered). It would have been nice if they left a few things up in the air, allowing for more stories to be told.

But I still enjoyed it, especially because of one cameo appearance. That's all I'll say about it, but it was a beaut.

Anyway. I had fun. And if you like comic book movies, you probably will too.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Playing for Keeps

Oh, the pain. The pain. I just got done reading Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty and . . . wow. I'm not even sure where to start.

The plot, such as it is? The story follows a not-quite-superhero who calls herself Keepsie. Keepsie is part of what's known as the "Third Wave" heroes of Seventh City, folks who have special abilities, just ones that aren't particularly useful. Keepsie has the unique ability that no one can steal from her. Those that try get stuck to what they're stealing.

Apparently a supervillain named Doodad knows this. He slips something into Keepsie's pocket for safe keeping. And it's this one little act that gets Keepsie and her friends caught between the heroes and baddies.

I really wanted to enjoy this book. I did. It's been waiting for me on my Kindle for a while now, so I figured now would be a good time to read through it. But this story just did not sit well with me. For starters, there are simply too many characters. I could not keep track of them all, especially since they all had special powers. It wasn't until toward the end, when Lafferty started "culling the herd," so to speak, that I got a handle on everyone and what they could do.

The plot, such as it is, felt contrived and was put together rather poorly. I had most of it figured out before the characters did, which frustrated me (some of the answers seemed incredibly obvious to me). The dialogue was stilted and unrealistic.

What truly bugged me, though, (and this may not be Lafferty's fault) is the poor formatting on the Kindle. There was a complete lack of clean chapter breaks, hyphens disappeared from the text (meaning words that should have been hyphenated gotallrantogetherlikethis), and the margins jerked around painfully in places. By the time I finished this book, I suspected the book was self-published. It bears all the hallmarks.

In short, keep your money safe. Don't spend it on this one.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Constantine Codex

I really wanted to be excited about this book once I was done with it. But sadly, The Constantine Codex by Dr. Paul L. Maier turned out to be largely disappointing.

This is the third book in what you might call the Skeleton series. Dr. Jonathan Weber, a mainstay in Maier's books, is back with his wife, Shannon. The married archaeologists have stumbled on what could be a monumental discovery: in a dusty corner of a library in Istanbul is a codex, an ancient manuscript that might be part of a Bible commissioned by the Emperor Constantine, one of fifty mentioned by the church historian Eusebius. As great as that is, the codex contains two surprises that could bring about major changes to the Bible.

Small problem, though: the codex goes missing. Now the Webers must race against the clock to find it and prove that it is authentic.

Normally I love Maier's books, but this one fell really, really flat. Part of the reason why is because what I would consider the plot's inciting incident didn't occur until two-thirds of the way through the story. Everything up until that point seemed like needless set up and filler (especially a debate between Weber and a Muslim scholar; while informative, it felt tacked on). The whole time I was reading, I kept waiting for the story to truly get started. When it finally did, the whole thing felt rushed.

Also problematic for me was the fact that some of the material from the codex was lifted from one of Maier's previous novels, namely The Flames of Rome. While Flames is a phenomenal book, the material stood out in this one like a sore thumb.

In short, this could have been a great novel but sadly, it fell flat. I'm not saying I wouldn't read another Jonathan Weber novel (and in the ending, Maier left the door open for more), but I'd probably be less enthusiastic about it going in.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse

For reasons I don't want to get into right now, I got a hankerin' recently for dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction. And so I did some digging on Amazon and I found Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse. And I am so glad that I did.

There are entries by Orson Scott Card, George R. R. Martin, and Stephen King. Each one discusses what life after a massive disaster would be like for the survivors. Just about every single one of them grabbed me and wouldn't let go.

Now I did skip two of them. I won't say which ones. One offended me just from the introductory remarks from the editor, and I decided my time would not be well served by reading it. The other, while it looked okay, just didn't interest me. I think it was a style thing.

But this was worth the time to read. Some top-shelf stuff here, folks.