Just realized that it’s been over a week since I said I’d post a review of American Gods and of the movie Cowboys and Aliens. Well I’ve finally stopped failing and have decided that it’s about time I post this.
This is, shockingly, my first real exposure to Neil Gaiman’s work. And what a good choice it was. I originally picked the book up on a whim shopping spree at my local used bookstore, Second Edition, where the clerk recommended it as my “4th book is free” or something like that. I am now forever grateful to that man. He has officially rekindled my love for sci-fi reading. Thank you, random guy! I think his name was Josh or something… I don’t know, but anyway, bakc to the actual book.
The book starts out a tad oddly and at the end of the first chapter you’re taken into a scene where a man is swallowed by a vagina. It scared me a bit, and I definitely said “What the FUCK?!” but it didn’t put me off from reading the book. In fact, it made me want to figure out how the hell that scene makes ANY sense based on the things I had read so far, which was not too much, as it was the first chapter. So Mr. Gaiman, I have this to say to you: “What the FUCK? And also, good job sir. That was amazing and ridiculous and kept me reading.”
There are random bits toward the end of almost every chapter where the time perspective switches to show a bit of history and backstory of events leading up to modern times. These little bits progress through time as the book goes along, eventually catching up to the present. It was an interesting technique and at first it confused me, but hey I’m easily confused. Har. Some of them weren’t nearly as interesting and some were rushed, like the story of a pair of twins that depicts their entire lives. But still, an interesting technique.
I don’t want to give too much away, but this is a really great read for Sci-Fi and Fantasy fans. It is engaging, it is clearly written for adults, and it almost mocks religion, but doesn’t cross the line. Overall, it was about 500 pages of “what happens now?” and then a few “I KNEW IT” occurrences. But also a few great “abuh?” and “WTF?!” spots. Action, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, love, betrayal, sex, murder, war, drama, and comedy and probably more that I just can’t think of right now. Mr. Gaiman, I would tell you to pick a genre, but you seem to handle 17 at once just fine. Wow. Applause.
Cowboys and Aliens
This movie was a fun little summer blockbuster from which I expected nothing. I had zero expectations walking into this film. All I knew was that it had New James Bond (Daniel Craig), Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), and Thirteen (Olivia Wilde). I went in there wanting to enjoy it and just have some fun.
Upon my exit, I was very much satisfied. The trailers I had seen didn’t give away any of the resolution, which was a pleasant surprise. Sometimes I knew just what would happen next. Sometimes I was blown away and completely surprised.
The characters were simple, but deep enough to make a bit of a connection to them before too long. The plot was very 1-2-3 and straightforward. The glimpses of Jake’s past were interestingly portrayed and well-placed, though his history with the wife wasn’t full of all the information I’d wanted, but it was all that was necessary.
A simple tale of bad to good mixed with an old west environment makes for a shoot-em-up time and an entertaining result. Simple and satisfying.
Four stars. Maybe four and a half.