Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.


Review: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Okay, here’s another good one.

Though, this is very, very different from Blood Sucking Fiends. I haven’t read anything by Cory Doctrow before, but Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom won awards and has gotten great reviews, so I thought I’d try it. I have to admit, it was pretty damn good. I haven’t read much real science-fiction lately, just a bunch of fantasy, so it was a refreshing change.

The story is set in the far future where people make backup copies of their consciousness which can be downloaded into cloned bodies. This, of course, virtually eliminates death since a new clone can be grown that is much younger than the recently departed. Also, in this brave new world Doctrow has created, money has been replaced by a kind of reputation measurement called a “Whuffie”. If you have lots of Whuffie, you can get good meals at good restaurants. If you don’t have Whuffie, you can wait in line to get nutrient pap from a vending machine. So, with that in mind…
The story is set in Disney World where competing groups of “ad-hocs” (ad-hoc groups of like minded and motivated people) are trying to impose their various visions on the theme park. The story focuses on the battle for Liberty Square, in particular the Hall of Presidents and the Haunted Mansion. It’s actually a very interesting political thriller, in that sense, but always with the well-thought-out science-fiction underpinnings and, again my favorite thing, the sub-plot of human relations. It’s actually sort of hard to describe this book adaquately without giving too much away, but it’s well worth the read. It’s not funny like Blood Sucking Fiends was, but it is very engaging in a more intellectual way. And, most importantly, it was good and distracting!

In any case, it’s a good book and worth spending the money, even at this most consumer time of year.


Review: Blood Sucking Fiends

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I’ve been reading a lot of fiction lately.

But, I’m going to dole out the reviews on separate days this week!
It’s been hard to motivate myself to write relavant entries on this blog, especially when I’m writing on the other blog, so I’m milking my review entries. I had been reading a linguistics book, but the divorce thing, along with the holidays, made it just too hard to read non-fiction for a bit. So, instead, I turned to Christopher Moore’s Blood Sucking Fiends. I’ve read several of his books before and Mr. Moore never fails to delight. This was no exception.

The story, in short, is about a somewhat insecure young woman who is turned into a vampire, in San Francisco, and has to learn to cope with it. Along the way, we find out about a young writer who becomes her modern-day Renfield. We also meet a cast of characters that are truly charming, amusing and Moore-eseque. Mr. Moore has a way of creating characters that just tickles me to no end. They’re funny and tragic and real in a way that few authors seem to be able to duplicate. Oh, this is a comedy, BTW. In fact, as far as I know, everything Mr. Moore writes is, more or less, a comedy. But that works, since life is pretty funny.
The story is a rolicking ride through both San Francisco and the vampire myth. Virtually every aspect is explored, primarily from the standpoint of a fledgling vampire and her “ghoul”. But, we also get a look at the human condition and relationships and, yes, even a bit of sex. It’s all pretty light-hearted, of course, which is Mr. Moore’s style and, frankly, why I turned to him in my despair.

In short, this is a very fun, light, funny book that also has a deeper message about love, loss and life. Or, if you prefer, un-life. I cannot reccomend it enough. It’s the perfect antidote to the holiday blues!


Garbage Eating Robot

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

No, really!

I am not making this up! This is really real. Honest! Click the link, if you don’t believe me.
They’ve finally created a robot that can “recharge” itself off garbage, or whatever else it sucks up. Hmm, sounds like a great addition to the robo-vacum-cleaners that have been advertised this holiday season. I’m sure it’s just around the corner. Of course, I’m just as sure the military are looking at how to use this on the battlefield….

Ah, well, it’s Friday, so check out the fly-eating robot!


Punishment Phase

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I’ve been selected for punishment!

Actually, to doll out punishment, ironically. So, I’ve been playing this game, right? And, I’ve faithfully made an entry for every letter so far. Some are better than others, but they all meet the bare minimum requirements. And, I’ve been consistent, so I think that counts for something.
Well, the other day, someone “broke the rules” in a small way and I was selected to punish them. What a novel experience for me! I’m usually the punishee, not the punisher, so it was a bit unnerveing. Still, I did my best. Hope it turns out well!



Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Yea! More toys!

Okay, these are mainly silly, but sort of cool toys. They’re called Neo-Kaiju, I guess because they’re kind of like Japanese monster-movie monsters. They’re funny, at any rate. I especially liked Humpty Djinn and Steam Punk. They’re mainly sold in whole-sale lots of 10, but you can get them individually at Super 7 Store.

Go! Be a good consumer and consume!


Killer Robots!

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Hooray for science-fiction become reality!

I almost never post a picture, but…. talon_asc_f.jpg But, this is just way, way too cool! This picture is from an article on Wired News about new robots being used by the military. In fact, this bad boy, dubbed the Talon, is ready to ship to Iraq in just a few months. This ought to liven up things for the last of the insurgents and resistors from the old regime. And, hopefully, it will let more of our soldiers come home alive and in one piece. That urban warfare stuff is just brutal and I’m all in favor of anything that will take some of the heat off our military.

Now, add to that this article about mutating robots
Well, they say that the idea is to have robots that can more efficiently explore disaster sites to find and rescue people, but I can see how an urban battlefield would be pretty much the same as a disaster site. A mutating robot with a gun. Yeah, that sounds like a science-fiction story to me, allright!

Anyway, interesting food for thought.

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