Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut Review

I’ve only read one Kurt Vonnegut book before this one, Slaughter-House Five, though I’ve stayed interested in his work ever since I’ve read that book. It’s probably been four or five years since I read my first Vonnegut but the man is a fascinating character in his own right (and no, I’m not making reference to Kilgore Trout but the reference is there if you want it). Several months ago I went to a bookstore with the intent of buying another Vonnegut book. This is my kind of writer and I owe it to myself to explore his oeuvre. I couldn’t pick out a single book and after arriving at a shortlist of three books, I asked my wife to pick. She singled out Galapagos and, here we are, a few months later with a review about humanity’s destruction and rebirth as a new species.

Simply put, Galapagos is an evolutionary journey recounted from the point of view of a million years in our future. There and then, the ghost of a man from the 20th century is telling the story of the crisis which befell humanity in 1986 and how unusual circumstances made the Galapagos Islands the hotbed of evolution for a second time in the history of the world. It’s on one of its volcanic islands that the last survivors of humanity find themselves the originators of the next step in human evolution.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Naruto 3-in-1 11 (volume 31-32-33) Review

I owe a lot of thanks to the person at Viz Media who thought of collecting some of their popular, multi-volume manga into these delightful omnibus editions. It works so well for shonen manga and I’m sure that even non-shonen manga read well in this format. More manga for less money! What’s not to love? Well, if you’re talking about this particular 3-in-1 volume of Naruto, there is one thing. One character, to be exact, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The opening volume to this omnibus, volume 30, includes the final few chapters of the Kazekage Rescue Mission arc. Sakura and Granny Chiyo are fighting Sasori, one of the Akatsuki’s members. With this fight, Masashi Kishimoto has given readers multiples examples of the kind of jutsu and attacks that puppet masters wield in battle. Seeing the experience of Granny Chiyo’s mastery of puppet jutsu used against the powerful and inventive puppet jutsu of her grandson, Sasori, is very enjoyable. Throwing Sakura in the mix and having her show off her surprisingly strong physical attacks simply adds to the enjoyment of this fight and this story arc. It’s also a good showcase of Sakura’s new abilities. This is the first time we see Sakura fight following her training with Tsunade and it’s impressive. I find that Sakura has been grossly underused in Part One and it’s nice to see her get some much deserved attention here. It’s very successful and make for a few great. She’s fearless compared to the younger Sakura we used to know. In this fight she proves to be strong, resourceful, and a commendable team player.