Abbott by Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelä, and Jason Wordie

Abbott by Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelä, and Jason Wordie

Abbott is about a black woman reporter in 1972 Detroit, who investigates a series of murders of an otherworldly nature.

It is excellent.

The tone is both true to its time (from what I’ve heard, as I’m neither from Detroit nor Black nor old enough to have been alive in 1972.)

Abbott doesn’t take any crap from anyone, and at the same time she has her weaknesses and flaws. Her supporting cast and her enemies are not as deeply fleshed-our as the main character, but considering that this book represents only five comics, that’s not a significant concern.

The story is excellent, the art is dynamic and detailed, and the combination makes for a compelling experience. As with all comics, the end of the comic is not the resolution of the main source of conflict, but that’s good, because it may signal more to comic. I hope that Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelä, and Jason Wordie return to this world to give us another glimpse.

The Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide Volume 5 edited by Corie Weaver and Sean Weaver

Disclaimer: as y’all know, I’m one of the 24 authors. So let me tell you a little about the other 23 stories, because damn this is a good book.

First of all, many science fiction subgenres are represented here. There’s steampunk (and wild west steampunk), battles, space ships, hard sci-fi (Main Character against their environment mostly), soft sci-fi (learning to learn, learning to trust, etc.), space dragons, LOTS of robots, and terraforming, just to name a few.

There’s a story based on Oliver Twist in here, people. Middle-grades sci-fi Oliver Twist.

Lest you think it’s all light fun and games, know that while these stories are written for middle-grade readers and up, the collection tackles some universal topics. There are stories that will make you think about long-term effects of racism or ableism. There are stories that will make you think about loneliness, about death of a family member, about working together in the depth of tragedy.

And there’s also a story of a mechanical monkey stealing a valise, so it’s also not a book I’d call gloomy or too heavy.

In fact, one of the things I love about this book is that pretty much every story ends on an up note. There are plenty of things to think about, yes, but our heroes and heroines succeed. (Well maybe not Pluto.) (It’s not a spoiler when the planet was demoted in 2006!)

As always I am honored to be included around such wonderful stories, but believe you me I’d be reading this thing even if I wasn’t published in it. The Young Explorers Adventure Guides are so good a friend’s non-sci-fi kid devours them every year. I took a copy into work and it disappeared off the swap shelf immediately. This is a good book.

Reviews / Impressions of stuff I’ve read in 2018

A quick note – I’m moving some of my reviews from Goodreads / Amazon of the things I’ve read this year over to this site, so while the actual site will thread these into the right date order because I’m adjusting the dates to match, y’all may be seeing more than the usual volume of tweets / facebook updates. Happy vacation!

Corpus: A Comic Anthology of Bodily Ailments edited by Nadia Shammas

Corpus is a book of stories by people whose health isn’t perfect.

Frankly, that’s all of us — if not today, than someday.

Body shenanigans range from the annoying to the profound disability, from the terminal or deadly to the “oh god this again, I just want to go to the store”. Around 17% of people in the United States self-report a disability (which means the number is higher) and body shenanigans, whether formally disabilities or not, affect a much higher percentage of us than we want to talk about.

And, at least in the United States, the last few years have been filled with political, public discourse, (and in my case personal) health crises of such proportion that frankly, I’m surprised I’m sitting here to write about it.

But that’s why this book is excellent and that’s why it’s important. We are all human, and one of the things that makes us all human is the annoying, frustrating, sometimes horrible ways in which our bodies break down, act weird, create what shouldn’t be created, destroy what shouldn’t be destroyed, and expect us to persevere regardless.

Humanizing body shenanigans brings us together.

We need to talk more about health.

This book opens the door to having conversations about what we’re all going through, and reminds us that no matter how small or large the problem, we’re in it together.

Great thanks to the editor, Nadia Shammas, for putting it together, and I hope there will be many sequels to come.

Note: I purchased this through a Kickstarter, so it was probably a limited print run. If you want to order a copy, I wouldn’t wait around too long.

Pugs: God’s Little Weirdos by Dave Kellett

Pugs: God’s Little Weirdos is a collection of all Dave Kellett’s Sheldon comics that involve the pug, Oso.

It is clear that Dave owns pugs of his own because nobody who’s not lived with the little beasties would be able to describe them visually and verbally as well as he does.

It’s also clear that you don’t have to be a pug owner (or even a pug-liker, although I think they’re pretty cool) to like this book. As always, Dave writes heartwarming and hilarious stories about Oso, his humans, their talking duck, and the lizard.

Note: normally I’d send you to the publisher, Topatoco, to order this, but they appear to be out. (I got it through a Kickstarter.)