Reviews by eknapp
Remarkably coarse and wonderful.
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Re-read for the first in years for the Graphic Novel Reading Group. It's as profane and demented as I remember it being. Ennis must have dumped every good idea he'd ever had into it, it's just jam-packed with fascinating ideas: the Genesis-baby, the angel hierarchy, the Saint of Killers character, Cassidy the hard-drinking hard-living all-around-great-guy Irish vampire, Arseface, the Voice of God, the Abdication, and John Wayne (echoing Elvis in Tarantino's "True Romance") for starters. Wall-to-wall brain-fizzling full-court press of enthrallment.

Noticed for the first time on rereading how weird the central goal is. It sounds cool, a preacher who vows to physically track down God and charge Him with not living up to his responsibilities to his Creation. But seriously even in Ennis-land who would think of that? Why would he think it's remotely feasible? It's silly, and it only worked for me initially because it was drowned out by all the WTF going on.

Still an easy five-stars. Even on re-read it exceeds my expectations.
Drab writing but terrific ideas.
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A SOCIAL-science fiction novel. A new subgenre, perhaps?

In the near future, a company develops a method (personality testing, brain mapping, and complex algorithm) for grouping people behaviorally and socially into "Affinities". It's a little like a dating service but an Affinity is comprised of people that trust each other naturally and cooperate extremely effectively. The Affinities tells the story of the creation, heyday, and collapse of the Affinities through the eyes of one early joiner.

It's a fascinating concept, the idea that all this social power is out there just waiting to be tapped. But Wilson goes a step further by addressing the implications of such a phenomenon, things that might logically follow from the rise of powerful, hyper-collaborative yet naturally exclusionary social units. Affinity-oriented financial institutions. Successful, landless virtual-states, as family and national loyalty is trumped by Affinity loyalty. Inter-Affinity warfare. I love this stuff.

It doesn't have a happy ending, exactly, and yet there's an air of optimism about the future. Wilson doesn't provide answers to global warming, overpopulation, poverty, or any of the other great world problems. But he offers kind of a blurry outline of what a solution might look like. It's neat.

Bland writing and a certain ineptitude for action scenes kept this from being a 5 star read for me. But I'm glad I read it.
Fantastic standalone graphic novel.
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A young, broke, lonely artist makes a deal with Death: he gains the ability to sculpt anything he can conceive of with just his hands, in any material, but will die after 200 days. Naturally, the sculptor then meets the girl of his dreams.

It's like a practical companion to McCloud's brilliant comics manual [book:Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art|102920]. He demonstrates many of its concepts to great effect: various panel transitions, panel bleeds to expand time, polyptychs, staggered and overlapping panels. It's black and white but there's so much texture that it doesn't feel like it. McCloud uses a lot of interesting perspectives.

Hands are very important, appearing in the vast majority of frames, closeups as well as long shots.

But it's not just the illustration that drew me in. The story is engrossing, as the sculptor tries frantically to find his masterpiece, make a name for himself, and be with his girlfriend while time inexorably runs out. Amazing book.
Epic cyberpunk progenitor
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In a cyberpunk dystopian future, a broken down runner, biomodded mercenary, and an insane ex-soldier are hired by an artificial intelligence for a complex series of real-world and cyber-world heists.

First off I have to note how incredibly much the heavy hacker card game Android: Netrunner draws on Neuromancer. Terms like ICE, icebreaker, flatline, tracer all appear to have their roots here, as well as shout-outs like the name Armitage. It's a treat.

There's a ton of world-building terminology and Gibson doesn't slow down to explain. It's sink or swim, a lot of work. But really really good.

The climax was almost too immersive...I kept thinking of that part of 2001: A Space Odyssey where the camera flies between two endless planes of colorful light (wtf...?) If not for the brief here's-what-happened-to-the-characters coda, I'd have been lost.

Having just finished Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, I found myself comparing them frequently. Gibson is the better writer, I think, but he also made it much harder to maintain momentum. I periodically found myself about to read the same sentence for the fourth time in a row, just kind of spacing out. As dense as it was, Snow Crash felt like a lighter read.
Still amazing.
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The two orgasmically-time-stopping protagonists recruit a porn-star-turned-horology-professor-(ha) ally for their war against the Sex Police.

[SPOILERS]

Plot points: John is action-packed with issues and starts seeing an abrasive, straight-talking shrink. Suzie's library is destroyed by the Sex Police. John and Suzie let Rachel and Robert Rainbow (yes really) in on their secret.

[END SPOILERS]

v2 lacks the gobsmacking coming-of-age wonder that set the first volume apart, but the writing continues to be wickedly sharp and funny. The fourth-wall-breaking and meta-commentary are deft and strike exactly the right tone. The illustration is phenomenal (and starts to border on the pornographic in v2). Almost photoreal at times.