MACHINE MAN, an off-kilter tale of a man who accidentally loses a leg and who then discovers that the enhanced replacement is more efficient than the original, seems to be the natural progression of Maxâ€™s grimly hilarious, eccentric, yet uncannily spot-on skewering of corporate culture.
The arch villain in John Lescroart’s DAMAGE is Roland Curtlee, the pampered son of Cliff and Theresa Curtlee. The Curtlees are a wealthy and politically connected couple who own San Francisco’s number two newspaper, the Courier. Ro has been released from prison after serving nine years, well shy of his original sentence–twenty-five years to life. Although Ro was found guilty of raping and murdering his family’s housekeeper, Dolores Sandoval, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial. This leaves the new San Francisco District Attorney, Wes Farrell, in an awkward position. The Curtlees supported Wes’s candidacy and provided him with favorable press coverage. Now they expect payback. They want Ro to be freed on bail and furthermore, they do not want him to be retried.
Let me say it straight out: STRANGERS AT THE FEAST is astoundingly GOOD. Page-turning, jaw-dropping, laugh-out-loud, cry-into-your-sleeves, gasp-with-recognition GOOD. It takes on nothing less than the theme of what is wrong with America today and it does it very well.
The action takes place over one Thanksgiving day with lots of flashbacks. There hasnâ€™t been a family like the Olsons since Zoe Hellerâ€™s The Believers â€“ with a dollop of the movie Pieces of April blended in. This family DEFINES dysfunction.
Unlike much of the world, the Thai Kingdom had avoided inundation by the rising oceans. It had avoided pandemic decimation of crops and population. It had kept the global agri-corporations from accessing and either exploiting or destroying its vast and precious seed banks. It had taken drastic, isolationist steps to preserve itself while most of the rest of the world faltered into massive contraction and potential extinction.
The white shirts of the Environment Ministry enforced the official policy of the Child Queen’s regime, burning fields and villages if genetic blight or plague struck, conducting customs inspections of the expensive goods imported on dirigibles and confiscating and destroying even items supposedly protected by large bribes. And, “mulching” any windups they discovered.
May 14, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· 3 Comments
Tags: Climate Change, Dystopian, Future, Greed & Corruption, Gritty, Post-apocalyptic, robot Â· Posted in: Hugo Award, Nebula Award Winner, Scifi, Speculative (Beyond Reality)
31 BOND STREET, by Ellen Horan, is the address of Dr. Harvey Burdell, a smooth-talking dentist with big ambitions. The setting is New York City, seven years before the Civil War. Burdell’s housemistress, thirty-six year old Emma Cunningham, has two daughters, eighteen and fifteen, but her late husband left her nearly destitute. She fervently hopes that Burdell will take her under his wing and solve her financial woes. However, her fortunes take a downward spiral when the dentist is found slaughtered in his own home. Who had the motive, means and opportunity to commit this horrific crime? Reporters speculate that Emma was either a gold digging monster or an innocent victim of circumstance. When the authorities finally arrest her, Emma hires an idealistic and determined defense attorney named Oliver Clinton. His opponent, Abraham Oakey Hall, is an aggressive and politically connected prosecutor.