Archive for June, 2011

ROBOPOCALYPSE by Daniel H. Wilson

ROBOPOCALYPSE by Daniel H. Wilson tells the apocalyptic story of a near future when one machine gains true intelligence and determines to honor life by wiping out human civilization. The machine intelligence takes over the robots that are central to civilization; the automatic cars, the robo-nannies and cleaning bots; all of them become the enemies of humanity. Most of the few people who survive are herded into concentration camps where some are surgically altered to become part machine. Needless to say the machine parts are all under control of the original rebellious machine. Robots start evolving, building new robots in response to human resistance.

June 26, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Speculative (Beyond Reality)


Consider the big questions. For instance, what does language afford us? Is self-consciousness and all it implies (self-reflection, guilt, joy…) embedded in language, daresay a function of language? Why do we create art? Nature or nurture, what shapes us? How is love possible? Where does rage come from? Cruelty? What are we to make of the animals, those we imprison, those we consume, the beasts we love as companions? What, indeed, does it mean to be a human being and can it, whatever it might mean, be fully realized? Now, take these questions and a bunch more just like them, and wrap them up in a narrative so unique and compelling, so rich as to bring transparency to the questions. Then shape the story around a unique voice that ranges from the mindlessly inarticulate to the Mensian complex. If you can imagine experiencing all that, you have a sense of what this book affords the adventurous reader.

June 26, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Character Driven, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Literary

DELIRIOUS by Daniel Palmer

Daniel Palmer’s DELIRIOUS is a nightmarish tale in which Charlie Giles, “an electronics superstar,” suddenly loses his job, his reputation, and quite possibly, his mind.

June 25, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Macavity Award, NE & New York, Psychological Suspense, Thriller/Spy/Caper

THE TRAGEDY OF ARTHUR by Arthur Phillips

The very first thing I did after finishing The Tragedy of Author – Arthur Phillips’s ingenious faux-memoir – was to Google to see what was true and what wasn’t…only to find that much of Phillips’s traceable past has been erased.

Did he really have a gay twin sister named Dana, a scam artist father who spent his adult life in prison, a Czech wife and twin sons of his own? Methinks not. What I do know is that Arthur Phillips shares his birthday with the Bard himself, that he was born in Minnesota, and that he is indeed a writer to be watched very carefully. Because what he’s accomplished in this novel – er, memoir – is sheer genius.

June 24, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Alternate History, Contemporary


The silent, overlooked residents of Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighborhood play the starring role in author Brando Skyhorse’s debut, THE MADONNAS OF ECHO PARK. The novel, really more of a collection of short stories, each narrated by a different character, presents to the reader different facets of both the Mexican and Mexican-American experience in multicultural Los Angeles. Skyhorse, winner of the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award for this novel, was born and raised in Echo Park.

June 23, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, California, Class - Race - Gender, Debut Novel, Latin American/Caribbean, PEN/Hemingway Winner, Reading Guide, Short Stories

THE DESCENT OF MAN by Kevin Desinger

THE DESCENT OF MAN could be used as Exhibit A in how to write a taut plot-driven story. The story catches you from the opening line and just never lets you go. If you’re looking for a fast beach read, look no further.

Jim Sandusky is an everyman holding down a steady job when one day, he looks out the window of his house and sees thieves trying to get away with his car. He tells his wife to stay away from the window and call the police, while he goes down to investigate. Instead of leaving the police to take care of the thieves, in a split second, Jim gets into the thieves’ truck and drives it away. What’s worse, he abandons the truck a short distance away and totally bashes it in.

June 22, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, Mystery/Suspense, Thriller/Spy/Caper