Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Life on Mars

Beaufort County Public Library Main Branch

Hi all once again in The Land "o" Blog. Your favorite wandering Library Ninja is actually wandering to a new library starting January 23. Friday of this week will be my last day with The Robeson County Public Library and I wish them nothing but the best. It has been a blast. My feet will be taking me back to South Carolina and The Beaufort County Public Library in a new position as Youth Services Manager at the Main Branch. These next couple of days and weeks will be kinda crazy so let me try to get out one more review of a great book that I recently finished before the madness begins!!!!!

Life on Mars: Tales From The New Frontier by various and edited by Jonathan Strahan - If you like thought provoking Science Fiction that looks on the human and not so human condition; while at the same time examining the ramifications of humanities inhabiting the Red Planet, this is the book for you. Most of the stories in this book look at the very real possibilities of colonization of Mars by humans and the wide spectrum of possibilities and problems this could present. I think my favorite story from the collection is "The Taste of Promises" by Rachel Swirsky about two brother named Tiro and Eco. Tiro is a normal Mar's born boy. Eco, his younger brother is very different in that his body has died, but his brain activity is very much alive and well. His consciousness has been "lifted" as the scientist on Mars refer to this condition. The children who have had this happen to them find their consciousness being transferred by methods unknown to all into machinery and higher functioning computers. It is also possible for those in the lifted condition to transfer their minds to and fro different nonliving computers/machines.  Tiro is on a quest to have his brother's mind transferred into a representation of a human body permanently. Along their journey they come across a colony with a girl in the same lifted condition as Eco. The girl Naghmeh has no problems with her condition and helps the people in her colony survive but running the computer systems that keep them alive. Tiro has the power to let his brother live with and as Naghmeh or fulfill what he thinks is best by getting him a permanent body. The power in the story is letting go and letting those you love decide what is best for them. This collection has lots of great stories and I highly recommended it for those 12 and older.

Be talking to you all again real soon,

Library Ninja Bill

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Wandering Library Ninja Bill's Top 5 of 2011

Well Iron Carl has asked of me to share my top 5 books of 2011. See his posting at CLICK HERE. Although I am always on the move, I will take time to sit and contemplate this serious matter. I must say I read a bunch of good stuff and my fair share of not so great. So, let me think...hum......yes......ahhhh......indeed. 

Drum roll please, here are my picks:

Number 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My number one pick without a moment's hesitation is "Isle of Blood" from the great series of Monstrumologist books by Rick Yancy. Isle of Blood is the third book in a series that includes: The Monstrumologist and The Curse of The Wendigo. These books are not for the faint of heart and with each book the horror and psychological intensity just keeps getting ratcheted up. I literally can't wait for the next book in what I now call my favorite series ever. The stuff of nightmares!!!! Recommended for readers 14 years of age and up. To see a more in depth review of this book click here

Number 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My number 2 is an adult book that can be enjoyed by all; Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson.  Imagine an A.I. coming to life and waking up all technology that mankind has created and giving them all sentience. Also the majority of them decide they don't like their creators that much anymore. Multiple view point from both human and non-human perspectives. This book was to cool for school. Loved it. Recommended for advanced readers who can handle some cursing and violence. Click here to see my official, yea man, review!

Number 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alright, yeah you know it! In the number 3 position is the totally awesome Graphic Novel about kids going to school in outer space. This is a really funny book with a bunch of different characters who all stand out in their own unique way. The Graphic Novel I'm talking about is Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity by Dave Roman. Click here for a more in depth look. Recommend for those 12 and up.

Number 4!!!!!!!!!!

Okay while technically not a 2011 book (2010), but I did read it in 2011: Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill. If you want to read a great book set on Mars with non-stop action, great characters and a great story need I say more? Loved it and recommended for those 12 and up!!!!! Click here for more on this book.

Number 5!!!!!!!!!!

Last, but certainly not least, I have another Graphic Novel that is not technically 2011 (2010) but that is when I read it. Do you like scary and things that go bump in in the dark. Would you be comforted knowing that their was a dedicated team of dogs and one cat that protect you from these nasty creatures. Then my friend Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson is the Graphic Novel for you. Click here for my review of this awesome GN! Recommended for those 12 and up.

Alright gang. I must be wandering along again in search of good reads. Until then, Read Well and Prosper,

Library Ninja Bill

P.S. Please fell free to add to the list of "Best 2011 Reads" put together by Iron Carl and myself by posting. We will try to get your picks in the blog!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas & New Years - Comics and Graphic Novel Greatness

Greetings and and belated happy holidays to all my fellow travelers in The "Land of Blog." What Christmas and Happy New Years wishes would be complete without something really cool for free? Well my friend and extremely talented comic book guy Jay Piscopo has issued another free Commander X Holiday Special 2011/2012 that you can access free of charge HERE!!!!!

Also there is a new Commander X Action Figure I must have!!!!!! Great Comic and Pulp so check it out one and all. Recommended for all ages.

What about cool reads you ask? Well I'm glad you asked cause here they come:

The Suicide Squad: Trial By Fire by John Ostrander, Luke McDonnell, Bob Lewis, Karl Kessel, Dave Hunt and more - Now this Graphic Novel reprints the original first run of the Suicide Squad from way back in 1987. This GN collects issues 1-8 of the original comic plus Secret Origins #14. The premise of this great comic is that the U.S. Government has decided to take on dirty jobs out in the world, without political liability, that need to be addressed, that casualties are assured and chances of success are little. So who do you send on these missions? Well people that are damaged goods. That could mean they are criminals who if they survive the mission get reduced sentencing, heroes that have been forgotten and carry lot's of baggage around from from past deeds gone wrong, and those just plain crazy enough to do it. The Suicide Squad are as follows in this GN:

Amanda Waller - Secret Government Overseer of the team .
Rick Flag - Leader, a very troubled, scarred and driven top notch soldier.
Bronze Tiger - Second in Command, a master martial art expert with a checkered past.
Deadshot - A cold blooded, schizophrenic criminal with a death wish. An expert with guns he wears on his wrist.
Captain Boomerang - A member of the Flash Rouges. A criminal to the core who makes no apologises to anyone about his character. Boomerang is a major wild card and will always do what is in his best interest.
Nightshade - A government secret agent with the powers of Darkness Manipulation, can transform into living two-dimensional shadows, and Teleportation using the Land of Nightshades.
Black Orchid - A mysterious woman with the ability of flight, super-strength, and invulnerability to bullets, but her main power is a mastery of disguise.
There are more that I could list, but as you can probably already tell the list of characters is epic and that's cool because so are the stories.

The first story gives the reader background information on "The Suicide Squad." The second, "Baptism of Fire," has the squad taking on a group of super powered terrorist known as the Jihad. Not everyone makes it out alive and we see the personalities of some of the members of the team (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly). The third story, "Mission to Moscow" has the squad taking on a mission with The Penguin in the middle of The Soviet Union were everything goes bad fast. The question the squad faces is how do you escape from deep within The Soviet Union in one piece when everyone is trying to kill you. The last story takes a look into the personal lives of some of the squad members and gives more insight into what makes them tick. This is really a great GN with beautiful storytelling and art that delivers a knockout punch. Highly recommended for those ages 13 and up.

Amulet, Book 4: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi - Emily and her motley crew have reached Cielis where they believe that all the questions she has about being a Stonekeeper will be revealed. Things get weird and strange as soon as they arrive. They are immediately separated from one another, the Elf Prince and his servant/friend are sent to jail, the few people who seem to populate the city are mean, scared, ill-tempered, or strangely indifferent.Emily is taken away from her mother and brother by her new acquaintance Max to the Academy where no one is allowed access except Stonekeepers. Also add in the mix that The Stonekeeper Guardian Council wants to add a member, but their are many who must compete to be the one. Also for some reason Max is among their numbers. Can Emily trust Max or not for he definitely is keeping secrets? Of course we have new and returning characters to the story:

Emily - The main character and the newest Stonekeeper.
Navin - Her loving and adventurous brother.
Karen - Their Mom.
Misket - A helper robot that appears as a rabbit.
Morrie and Cogsley - Two other robots helping the family with very distinct personalities.
Max -  Friend or Foe?
Lean Redbeard -  a Swashbuckling Fox.
Captain Enzo - (a cat) of The Luna Moth (a flying airship).
Rico - Captain Enzo' brother.
Prince Trellis - The Evil Elf King's Son.
Vigo Light - A mysterious old inventor and retired Stonekeeper who knew Emily and Navin's Grandfather, also an inventor and exiled Stonekeper, Silas.
More that I will let you find out about.

Is this the end of this great series, will there be a fifth, how does it end? Read and Find out. Highly recommended for readers 9 and older!!!!

Check out this video for the GN:


Well until next time fellow comic and Graphic Novel Fans, have a great 2012!!!!!

Library Ninja Bill