> Books

Note: This list is way out of date, and I need to redo the output of it, sorry it's so disorganized.

I love to read. I used to get in trouble at school for reading (because the stuff we were supposed to be reading was so boring!). My favorite books to read these days are mostly sci-fi and fantasy books, but I read just about anything that seems it will be interesting (including some philosophical, astronomical, and other scientific-cals stuff, as well as satire, classics, literally just about anything that's good). Here's a list of some of the things I recommend. In all cases, my words fall far short of the actual work - my review is absolutely no substitute (dur), I highly recommend you check all of them out for yourself. If you would like to recommend me anything, please email me.




Comics
Battle Angel Alita - Yukito Kishiro
Cerebus - Dave Sim and Gerhard
JTHM and Squee - Jhonen Vasquez
Kabuki - David Mack
Powers - Brain Michael Bendis
Other Work by Brian Michael Bendis
Fantasy
Tales of Alvin Maker - Orson Scott Card
The Belgariad and The Mallorean - David Eddings
The Sword of Truth - Terry Goodkind
Other
Battle Royale - Koshun Takami
Science-Fiction
Ender Series - Orson Scott Card
Night's Dawn Trilogy - Peter F. Hamilton
Greg Mandel Trilogy - Peter F. Hamilton
Other Work by Peter F. Hamilton
The Forge of God - Greg Bear
Other Work by Greg Bear
The Manifold - Stephen Baxter
Other Work by Stephen Baxter


Comics
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Battle Angel Alita - Yukito Kishiro
Battle Angel Alita
Tears of an Angel
Killing Angel
Angel of Victory
Angel of Redemption
Angel of Death
Angel of Chaos
Fallen Angel
Angel's Ascension
^ Index
Classic Japanese Manga, Alita is a cyborg in a cyberpunk future. The story is well written with deep philosophical and emotional overtones. The artwork is awesome- Kishiro draws some really amazing action scenes and has a great sense of beauty and design. Alita herself is a total badass. The Dark Angel series was a little bit like Alita, but Alita's far better (though it doesn't have Jessica Alba ;) ).


Cerebus - Dave Sim and Gerhard
Cerebus
High Society
Church & State vol. I
Church & State vol. II
Jaka's Story
Melmoth
Flight
Women
Reads
Minds
Guys
Rick's Story
Going Home
Form and Void
(last "phonebook" pending)
^ Index
Cerebus is the comic that really got me into comics. It showed me that comics really can be a true work of art. Cerebus is a black-and-white comic that began in 1977, as a sort of Conan the Barbarian satire that developed into so much more. With the addition of background artist Gerhard, Cerebus really took off, producing some stunning imagery. The story Cerebus has lived is nothing short of epic. It's been through many phases, from the unbelievably developed and absolutely hilarious High Society and Church & State runs, to Cerebus' mind-bending and artistically gorgeous trip into space and the beyond, to the current serious and literally tone the comic has taken in it's deliberately last hours... it's always a journey. Sim has gained and lost many readers over the years (especially with his text-only issue of his dissertation on the male vs. female dichotomy of our society - which I thought was actually pretty insightful, but yeah, a little sexist), but I stand by him. I can't imagine the work he has put into the series over the years (especially with starting and running his own publishing company, as well as making regular signing tours). I especially admire him for not "selling-out" - he almost completely owns, writes, illustrates, and publishes his comic, and refuses to issue any other merchadise (which kinda sucks, cause I really want a Cerebus action figure!). He does whatever he wants, and it's shown through his genius. Sadly, Cerebus died this year, as Dave said he would (penniless, alone, and unmourned), with issue #300. That's over 6,000 pages, illustrated and written, of a magnificent story written by one author, people. Offhand, I can't think of any writer that has ever done that, ever, much less illustrated it at the same time! I still go back to Cerebus on a regular basis, just to remind myself how good it is. I bow to you, Dave, you are one of my biggest inspirations.


JTHM and Squee - Jhonen Vasquez
Johnny The Homicidal Maniac
Squee
^ Index
Remember that kid in school that would draw exceptionally violent, depraved cartoons? Maybe you were that kid... Anyway, Vasquez was one of those kids, but instead of giving it up for a "real" job, he continued doing them and made a career out it. Jonny is, literally, a homicidal maniac. Filled with social commentary and rantings, JTHM is dark, demented, and hilarious. Squee is a small, cursed boy who lives in the same world as Jonny.


Kabuki - David Mack
Circle of Blood
Dreams
Masks of the Noh
Skin Deep
Metamorphosis
^ Index
Without a doubt my favorite comic, Kabuki is the story of a female assasin in future Japan. The artwork is nothing short of completely jaw-dropping. From the early pen and ink work to the current painted issues, Mack's work is always spectacular and continues to get better. You literally could take pages out of the books and hang them in a museum or gallery. The story is fantastic as well - parts of it are more like poetry than traditional storytelling. Especially brilliant is his use of symbols, many of which come from traditional Japanese culture. Mack is an American artist and writer who studied Japanese language and culture. His understanding of Japan's society and history is striking and he receives lot of praise and respect from Japanese readers. Kabuki is the comic that taught me that a comic can be as artistic as you want it to be and you don't have to follow the rules.


Powers - Brain Michael Bendis
Who Killed Retro Girl?
Role Play
Little Deaths
Supergroup
Anarchy
The Sellouts
^ Index
Brian Michael Bendis is one of the best writers (and a very accomplished artist) in comics today. His stories are known for they're realistic, sometimes humorous dialogue and gripping plot twists. He's done quite a few great things (including pretty much ressurecting Spiderman in comics), but my favorite is definitely the Powers comics, the story of a homicide detectives in a city filled with superheros. Bendis' writing and imagination, combined with Oeming's deliberately cartoon-style art (reminiscent of *dammit whats his name - can't find my precious Batman Black and White... i figure it out later... it's the guy who did the original art for the Batman animated series), make for a very compelling, addictive read.

Other Work by Brian Michael Bendis
Goldfish
Jinx (sequel to Goldfish)
Fire
Torso
^ Index
Torso is based on the true story of America's first serial killer and the investigation lead by ATF-founder Elliot Ness (potrayed in the movie The Untouchables). Golfish and Jinx are the story of a charming street thug. Bendis also illustrated all of those. This comic world is lucky to get such a great writer, instead of him turning to straight literature like the rest of you scum! ;)


Fantasy
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Tales of Alvin Maker - Orson Scott Card
Seventh Son
Red Prophet
Prentice Alvin
Alvin Journeyman
Heartfire
The Crystal City
^ Index
This book series is a sort of retelling of colonial American history. Imagine if magic were "real" in those times - European hexes and "knacks", Native American's unity with nature, African voodoo, etc. Alvin is the main character, an especially powerful child who grows up to change the world. Like the Ender books, The Alvinmaker series is great for kids as well as adults. It's hard to convey how good these books are; they're absolutely enchanting.


The Belgariad and The Mallorean - David Eddings
Pawn of Prophecy
Queen of Sorcery
Magician's Gambit
Castle of Wizardry
Enchanter's End Game
---
Guardians of the West
King of the Murgos
Demon Lord of Karanda
Sorceress of Darshiva
The Seeress of Kell
---
Belgarath the Sorcerer
Polgara the Sorceress
^ Index
This is an epic fantasy series with many classic elements (wizards, knights in armor, etc. It's beautifully written with great characters and scenes. It's been compared to The Lord of the Rings (they are quite similar, no doubt Eddings was inspired by Tolkein). Nonetheless, it's a great story. The two series are one story, the Belgariad being the first part, the Mallorean the second. Belgarath and Polgara add to the story and come after the Mallorean, chronologically.


The Sword of Truth - Terry Goodkind
Wizard's First Rule
Stone of Tears
Blood of the Fold
Temple of the Winds
Soul of the Fire
Faith of the Fallen
Pillars of Creation
Naked Empire
(new book coming out soon!)
^ Index
These books are absolutely awesome. They're a great fantasy epic spanning a huge cast of characters and cataclysmic events. I especially like the dialogue and depth of the characters - adults act like adults might in a fantasy world. It's some of the best and most imaginative writing I've ever seen.


Other
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Battle Royale - Koshun Takami
Battle Royale
^ Index
This book came out in Japan back in 1999, amid much controversy (and you know for something to be controversial in Japan, it's gotta be pretty hardcore). It's sort of an updated version of Lord of the Flies, taking place in the future in a totalitarian Japan. A group of young students is brought to a deserted island, where they are forced to kill each other. On the surface it seems like a nearly pointelessly violent story (and the game itself is, indeed, pointlessly violent - that's the point), but underneath it is a fascinating exploration of friendship and trust. It's the author's first novel, and I thought it was very well written and has a great ending. Battle Royale was also made into a manga and a movie (with Chiaki Kuriyama from Kill Bill), and has received a cult following across the world. The book and manga were recently translated into English and made available in the U.S., but the movie is still widely unavailable.


Science-Fiction
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Ender Series - Orson Scott Card
Ender's Game
Speaker for the Dead
Xenocide
Children of the Mind
---
Ender's Shadow (parallel novel to Ender's Game)
Shadow of the Hegemon (sequel to Ender's Shadow)
^ Index
Ender's Game itself is a masterpiece. It's basically the story of a five year old kid who goes to train as a military commander. It's a tremendously inspiring story, showing what one person can accomplish. It's a great story for kids too (4th grade and above, I would guess). Speaker, Xenocide, and Children take the story in a different direction, but they are still fantastic.


Night's Dawn Trilogy - Peter F. Hamilton
The Reality Dysfunction: Emergence
The Reality Dysfunction: Expansion
The Nuetronium Alchemist: Consolidation
The Nuetronium Alchemist: Conflict
The Naked God: Flight
The Naked God: Faith
^ Index
Let me begin by saying these books are absolutely astounding. They are a space epic that takes place about 600 years from now. The sheer scope of the series is breathtaking - it has a cast of literally hundreds of characters. The technology and plot are extremely complex, but Hamilton's storytelling makes is easy to understand. Some of the scenes in the events are the most beautiful things I've ever read; others nearly brought me to tears with their horror and sadness. By the way, they are very mature in content. The whole thing is pretty long, I think it comes out to almost 3000 pages. It's three books, divided into two parts each (in paperback).

Greg Mandel Trilogy - Peter F. Hamilton
Mindstar Rising
A Quantum Murder
The Nano Flower
^ Index
The Greg Mandel triology was written before the Night's Dawn Trilogy. It's about a detective in the future, a war veteran with a special implant that gives him limited mind-reading abilities. The series not quite as epic or well-polished as his later work, but it's still fantastic and worth reading.

Other Work by Peter F. Hamilton
Fallen Dragon
^ Index
Fallen Dragon is Hamilton's most recent work. It's a single novel, but it's still extremely complex. So complex, it's hard to describe what it's about, but it basically centers around the invasion and extortion of a planet by a huge corporation (called "asset realization"). I loved it, Hamilton continues to deliver unbelievable writing and ideas.


The Forge of God - Greg Bear
The Forge of God
Anvil of Stars (sequel to Forge of God)
^ Index
I've read alot of stuff by Greg Bear lately. I've liked his books alot, but they do get a bit thick with psychics and astronomy (Eon made my head spin!), so I don't they are for everybody. Nevertheless, they are great books.

Other Work by Greg Bear
Queen of Angels
Slant (sequel to Queen of Angels)
Blood Music
Eon
Infinity (sequel to Eon)
^ Index



The Manifold - Stephen Baxter
Manifold: Time
Manifold: Space
Manifold: Origin

^ Index
The Manifold books are a fascinating exploration of hard scienctific issues in a near future setting. The same characters occur in all three books, but in 3 different realities. Through them, Baxter examines a wide variety of thories and prospects, delving into some of the farthest reaching possibilities and questions man has yet conceived of.

Other Work by Stephen Baxter
Evolution
^ Index