The 5th Gender—Love and Death Among the Stars

The 5th Gender by G. L. Carriger book cover
The 5th Gender by G. L. Carriger

The 5th Gender, by G. L. Carriger (the pen name Gail Carriger writes under when she does spicy stuff), is a wonderful romance-cozy-mystery-scifi story. The lavender Galoi alien Tristol Zyga and the human security officer Detective Drey Hastion are just starting their courtship when a Galoi spaceship contacts the space station with an odd request—the Galoi, who have no word for murder, have a non-accidental death on board and need of a detective. It’s up to Detective Hastion and Tris—who, as an exile, no longer exists to his people—to find out what happened.

Also, for those of delicate sensibilities, there’s a lot of sex in this book, fully described, male on male.

1—Wonderful Worldbuilding

We get alternating points of view from Tris and Drey, and each’s observations on the other and and how they interact with the people and space station around them forms the basis of some excellent worldbuilding. I love Tris’s take on human customs and idioms. And Drey is always willing to answer Tris’s questions and explain things, as well as ask questions of his own. Between the two of them, we learn a lot about Galoi and humans both. In particular, the Galoi’s five genders and anatomy were interesting to learn about. Continue reading “The 5th Gender—Love and Death Among the Stars”

No Country for Old Gnomes—Unexpected Friends

No Country for Old Gnomes by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne book cover
No Country for Old Gnomes by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

No Country for Old Gnomes, by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne, is continuing the Tales of Pell from the first book, Kill the Farmboy. In this book, we follow another group of not-exactly adventurers, this time on a quest to save the Skyr and the gnomes that are being blown up.

1—A New Set of Heroes

It takes a while to gather our heroes and set up the story, but between the puns, the umlauts, and the firebombs, it’s never dull. We begin with Onni and Offi, twin gnome brothers who couldn’t be more different, as their home comes under attack by smelly halflings. We shortly thereafter meet Kirsi, a young gnome woman who’s spent her life hiding the fact that she’s a bristle witch who can only curse people—not very gnomeric. They start out just wanting to get to a refugee shelter alive. Continue reading “No Country for Old Gnomes—Unexpected Friends”

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone—The Beginning of the End of the World

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone by G. S. Denning book cover
Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone by G. S. Denning

Warlock Homes: A Study in Brimstone, by G. S. Denning, is a fantastic, comedic take on Sherlock Homes, and is just as ludicrously fun as it sounds. Being the journal of one Dr. John Watson, it chronicles his first cases with the bumbling but powerful Warlock Holmes, and starts with John’s apology for ending the world.

1—The Characters

I loved the characters in this book. There is, of course, Dr. Watson, who narrates. Watson is observant and sarcastic—not to most of the people he speaks with, but to his reader, and, once comfortable with him, to Warlock. Next there’s Warlock Holmes himself, who is less than observant, and yet endearingly so. There’s Vladislav Lestrade, a nihilistic vampire and Scotland Yard detective, as is Torg Grogsson, an honorable ogre with a love of ballet dancers. There’s also a host of characters that don’t repeat from story to story, each with their own individual quirks. Continue reading “Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone—The Beginning of the End of the World”

Deadpool 2—Family and Lots of Death

Deadpool 2 movie poster
Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 is a little hard to describe succinctly. Wade Wilson, Deadpool, is a super non-hero who finds himself suicidal after the death of the love of his life, but due to his mutant healing ability, he can’t die. The movie is funnier than it sounds. Also, like its predecessor, NOT for kids. Graphic violence and sex jokes abound.

1—They Kill Vanessa, Goddamnit

I liked Vanessa, she was well developed and fun. Even the beginning credits call out how cruel it was to kill her just as she and Wade were about to start a family. That doesn’t mean she’s absent from the movie—Wade keeps seeing her as he almost dies—but I still miss her. Continue reading “Deadpool 2—Family and Lots of Death”

Captain Marvel—All is Not as it Seems

Captain Marvel movie poster
Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel is the origin story of the superhero. Vers, a Kree alien, wakes up with nightmares of a shapeshifting Skrull murdering someone important to her—not that she knows who, since she has amnesia. Her new mission takes her to a backwater plant the locals call Earth, where she just might find some answers to her past. This movie is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but nothing except the last scene is tied in with the larger plot, so the movie stands mostly on its own, taking place mainly in the 1990s.

1—The Setup

For the last six years Vers has been training as a member of Starforce, the Kree’s defenders. On her first mission, she gets captured by the Skrulls, breaks free, and crash-lands through the roof of a Blockbuster video rental. The Skrulls are in pursuit of her, and her only ally is a human S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent named Fury. Continue reading “Captain Marvel—All is Not as it Seems”

Hellboy (2004 Movie)—Over the Top

Hellboy (2004) movie poster
Hellboy (2004)

Hellboy, based on the comic book series of the same name, and directed by Guillermo del Toro, follows the titular character as he tries to save the world from Nazis and Rasputin, who are trying to summon eldritch abominations to bring about the apocalypse.

1—Setup

In 1944, Nazis open a portal to another dimension off the coast of Scotland, led by Rasputin. They’re foiled by Allied soldiers and young scientist who’s also versed in the occult. Before destroying the portal though, something gets through—a baby demon, whom the group dub Hellboy. Continue reading “Hellboy (2004 Movie)—Over the Top”

The Man Who Knew Too Little—Stupid but Fun

The Man Who Knew Too Little movie poster
The Man Who Knew Too Little

The Man Who Knew Too Little is a sendup of spy films. A hapless American on vacation in London gets wound up in an caper after inadvertently taking a phone call meant for a spy.

1—The Setup

Wallace Ritchie (played by Bill Murray) goes to visit his brother in England but his brother has a business meeting that night, and so arranges for Wallace to spend the evening at an interactive improv theater. But due to a mix up, instead of taking the theater’s phone call, he takes the phone call meant for a real spy. While trying to do “scenes” he accidentally foils plans to restart the Cold War. Continue reading “The Man Who Knew Too Little—Stupid but Fun”

Monty Python and the Holy Grail—A Silly and Perilous Quest

Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie poster
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the Legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as told by Monty Python . It is a fountain of memes for good reason. Like all Monty Python, there’s plenty of absurdist humor.

(Though do be warned if you react to quickly flashing lights that part of the beginning credits are really flashy.) (Also make sure to read the beginning credits subtitles.)

1—The Quest

After being given a quest from God, King Arthur and his knights set about seeking the Holy Grail. On the way they encounter an accused witch who undergoes trial by duck, Tim the Enchanter, a killer rabbit and many other weird things, most of which would take too long to explain for me to do so here. Some of the scenes are unconnected to the others—though still funny—and some come back into play in later scenes. This is definitely a sit-back-and-enjoy-the-ride kind of movie, at least it was for me. Continue reading “Monty Python and the Holy Grail—A Silly and Perilous Quest”

Soulless the Manga—Volume Three—In Which Alexia is Pregnant

Soulless the Manga Volume Three, by Gail Carriger and REM book cover
Soulless the Manga Volume Three, by Gail Carriger and REM

Soulless the Manga’s third volume is based on the novel Blameless—which is book three of the Parasol Protectorate—by Gail Carriger. The art is by REM. Mrs. Alexia Maccon nee Tarabotti, the titular Soulless, or Preternatural, has been cast out by her husband and pack, by society, and of her job as Muhjuh. She must travel to Italy, home of the Knights Templar, an anti-supernatural extermination order, in order to prove that her child is her husband Conall’s—all the while being hunter by vampires determined to kill her unborn child.

1—Fleeing England

Despite these dire circumstances, Alexia isn’t alone. Her friend and admirer Madame Genevieve Lefoux, a French inventor, and her butler Floote—who knows more about Alexia’s father and the Templars than he lets on—go with her as she flees to first France, then Italy. And there’s a certain white werewolf following them as well. Meanwhile, Alexia’s other supporter, Lord Akeldama, has swarmed out of London after something very important to him has been stolen, something it’s up to Conall to retrieve in one piece—after he sobers up, that is. Continue reading “Soulless the Manga—Volume Three—In Which Alexia is Pregnant”

Soulless the Manga—Volume Two—Alexia Goes Floating to Scotland

Soulless the Manga Volume Two, by Gail Garriger and REM book cover
Soulless the Manga Volume Two, by Gail Garriger and REM

Soulless the Manga’s second volume is based on the novel Changeless—which is book two of the Parasol Protectorate—by Gail Carriger. The art is by REM. Miss Alexia Tarabotti, the titular Soulless, or Preternatural, is now Muhjuh to Queen Victoria and charged with finding out if a spate of mortalness in the local supernatural community is due to a plague or a weapon.

1—The Characters

There’s the depictions of Ivy’s outfits, particularly the hats. I liked getting to see Madame Lefoux in her suits and little Quesnel, scamp that he is. Of course, Sidheag Maccon, Conall’s descendant, complete with facial scar and cigar. We see more of Biffy and Lord Akeldama, and Professor Lyall, too. And I had forgotten how much I dislike Channing Channing of the Chesterfield Channings, but he is fortunately not in much of the book—though my sister likes him. Continue reading “Soulless the Manga—Volume Two—Alexia Goes Floating to Scotland”