Rusty's World

Rusty’s Reading List 2019

July 20, 2019
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Officially this is Marvel Masterworks Daredevil #2, but to me it is Marvel Masterworks #29. I have a bunch of the old run and this is where it slots in, the earliest gap in my collection.
However, picking up the older version now is more than I wanted too pend, so I am okay with this version.
Reading Stan Lee and John Romita doing Daredevil shows how much the book was similar to Spider-Man at the time. Where it was weaker is the DD just didn’t have the quality of villains. This volume includes the Plunderer, the Masked Marauder, Ox, the Owl… not exactly household names. Stan also spent time on a pretty dull love triangle between Matt, Foggy, and Karen.
But still, this is classic Marvel, with amazing John Romita art.

2019 Reading List

Marvel Masterworks – Daredevil #2 – Lee / Romita / Colon
This Is How You Lose the Time War – Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Why I Hate Saturn – Kyle Baker
The Cowboy Wally Show – Kyle Baker
Transmetropolitan Vol. 4: The New Scum – Ellis / Robertson / Ramos
The Obelisk Gate – N.K. Jemisin
Gotham Central Book 2 – Half A Life – Rucka / Lark
Walking to Aldebaran – Adrian Tchaikovsky
Just Words: On Speech and Hidden Harm – Mary Kate McGowan
Star Wars Vol. 1 – Skywalker Strikes – Aaron / Cassaday / Martin
The Tower – Simon Toyne
ARC Poetry Magazine #88
The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin
The Walking Dead Vol. 7 – The Calm Before – Kirkman / Adlard / Rathburn
A Pretty Sight – David O’Meara
Avengers: The Korvac Saga – Shooter / Michelinie / Mantlo / Perez / Various Artists
Indiana Review Vol.40, No.2
Avengers: Death Trap: The Vault – Fingeroth / Lim
This Wound is a World – Billy-Ray Belcourt
The Auteur Vol.1 – President’s Day – Spears / Callahan / Anderson
Astro City Vol. 2 – Confession – Busiek / Anderson / more
Astro City Vol. 1 – Life In the Big City – Busiek / Anderson / Ross
Animal Man Vol. 2 – Origin of the Species – Grant Morrison / Various Artists
Power Ball – Rob Neyer
Denver Quarterly Vol. 52 No. 3

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Digression on Successful Friends

July 16, 2019
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As I was deciding what to say about the new book by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (it is great! Get it!), I thought about a few things that would be digressions from the main point.
I am going to put them here, though it may expose me a little.

If you don’t care about what goes through my wreck of a psyche, turn back now.

Morrissey said, ‘We hate it when our friends become successful’. (Yes, Morrissey turned out to be a complete and utter cretin, but I can’t turn off the influence his music had on my younger years.)
I was thinking about that and the different ways I have reacted to the very successful people of my acquaintance. Because, let’s be honest, the next line of that song matters a lot. ‘It should have been me.’

First, the field matters. I used to perform in semi-professional musicals along side one of my life-long best friends. He was a much better singer that I, and everyone knew it. Eventually he turned that into a career performing all over the world in some huge elaborate productions.
I never had that twinge. Simply put, that was never going to be me anyway. That was not my dream, or calling. I could sit back and just say, ‘that’s my friend. Look at how great he is.’
Another life-long best friend was very successful in the field of computers and programming, etc. He did very well for himself, but that was never something that held a great interest it me. I could sit back and say, ‘that’s my friend. Look at how successful he is.’

Meanwhile, I got a taste of the world I wanted. Since I was young, I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to create with words. I wanted people to read what I wrote and be moved by it. I got an opportunity when Ree Soesbee was looking for a team to write stories for Warlord. I got a bigger opportunity when Shawn Carman was looking for a team to write stories for Legend of the Five Rings.
I got a taste. My words were read world-wide and rail-thin, as I liked to say.
Later, I got heavily involved in Spoken Word poetry. I have been on a bunch of national level slam teams, including a team that won the National Championship. I have a couple of books, blah, blah, blah (I wasn’t planning to write my cv here.)

My success, if I look too hard at it, is a myth. I move a step to one side or the other and nobody knows who I am. I say that doesn’t matter, and I mean it. I say it is about the work and I mean it.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t like that taste. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it when someone looked at me and said, ‘Wait, you are THE Rusty?’ or when the hostess at a restaurant, in front of my non-poetry reading friends, said, ‘Hey, you are that poet right? I love your work.’
Or getting the Zaccheus award in Vancouver.

I liked the taste, but it was clearly always going to be just a taste.

But there are times, I will freely admit, when I saw people I knew well reaching loftier heights and thought, ‘Why them? Why not me?’

Jealousy? Sure.

But it really isn’t about wanting them to do worse. It is about wondering why I couldn’t do better.

Now, if you think I am talking about Amal here, you are incorrect. I will get to that.

Because I still remember listening to Kevin Matthews poetry album and thinking both inspired to write and feeling like I should give it up. I couldn’t do that. He was so talented and I was but a seedling amongst redwoods.
But I persevered and found my voice.

Yet, when I read Amal’s writing, this is a whole different thing. I do not think, ‘why not me?’ because the answer is on the page. I can’t do what she has done. I don’t just mean style-wise, just pure talent.
(and yes, that glosses over the INCREDIBLE amount of work it takes to get there. I don’t mean too. Mad props to all who have done that work.)

When I read Amal’s writing I think nothing other than that EVERYBODY should read this. She should be on the top of every best seller list and on everyone’s night stand and book shelf, kindle, and what have you.

Because she is just that good.

Have you seen ‘Good Will Hunting’? There is a scene where Ben Affleck tells Matt Damon that if he does not make the most of what he has got that it would be unfair to BEN. That is it. I will never write anything that wins the Hugo or any of the other litany of awards Amal has won… and that is just the way it is. Rather than bemoan that, I instead can marvel it what she does and look forward to seeing her climb the next mountain and the next one.

I will keep writing my poems and submit them here and there. I will continue my work with Arc Magazine and I am wrapping up my stint with SpoCan while also recognizing that memories can be very, very short.

And I will keep telling you to find joy in beautifully crafted art. Because without it, what is the point?


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Rusty’s Reading List 2019

July 16, 2019
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So many thoughts.
First, a disclaimer. I consider one of the authors of this book a good friend. I have known Amal for… a long time… and watching her develop into the immense talent she is now has been a treat.
(Side note: In fact, thinking about what to write here got me thinking about what it is like to know very successful people. I am going to turn that into a separate post, so as not to detract from the book and make this all about me.)

I agree with Stu, the novella is not one of my favourite forms. Despite that, I am read two very good ones very recently. As for the collaborative book, that is a different matter. Normally, when done well, it feels seamless. This time is not that, but not because it isn’t done well. Amal and Max took great advantage of their differing voices as an integral part of the book.
(Side note #2: I took great delight in realizing that I could ‘read’ which part was Amal very quickly. This glee was short-lived when I closed the book and realized they told us which part was written by whom on the cover. Great detective work there, Lou.)

Speaking of the novella, I recently read someone on twitter complaining about long novels and how writers should get back to stuff more concise. I disagreed, but that isn’t the point. A commenter said that those with big novels waste time ‘world-building’. I was aghast. World building is essential to any novel, but especially those that work in a milieu different from that outside our window. Yet this book EXCELS at world-building, despite the sparseness of words available to do it in. IN fact, it reminds that world-building and setting are not one in the same.

The world they have concocted would be very suited to a tv show. (ahem)

YET, who would read this book and be FIRST struck by the world? Oh, no. It is the characters that are centre stage. Both of them. (Yes there are others, but let us be clear, this is a story about two characters.) This is a love story, and an exceptional one.

I don’t want to give anything away but the one spot where I was taken aback was when I first realized that the love story angle had me making assumptions about who these two women were. I was wrong. But I digress.

Buy this book. Read this book. You will not regret it.

2019 Reading List

This Is How You Lose the Time War – Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Why I Hate Saturn – Kyle Baker
The Cowboy Wally Show – Kyle Baker
Transmetropolitan Vol. 4: The New Scum – Ellis / Robertson / Ramos
The Obelisk Gate – N.K. Jemisin
Gotham Central Book 2 – Half A Life – Rucka / Lark
Walking to Aldebaran – Adrian Tchaikovsky
Just Words: On Speech and Hidden Harm – Mary Kate McGowan
Star Wars Vol. 1 – Skywalker Strikes – Aaron / Cassaday / Martin
The Tower – Simon Toyne
ARC Poetry Magazine #88
The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin
The Walking Dead Vol. 7 – The Calm Before – Kirkman / Adlard / Rathburn
A Pretty Sight – David O’Meara
Avengers: The Korvac Saga – Shooter / Michelinie / Mantlo / Perez / Various Artists
Indiana Review Vol.40, No.2
Avengers: Death Trap: The Vault – Fingeroth / Lim
This Wound is a World – Billy-Ray Belcourt
The Auteur Vol.1 – President’s Day – Spears / Callahan / Anderson
Astro City Vol. 2 – Confession – Busiek / Anderson / more
Astro City Vol. 1 – Life In the Big City – Busiek / Anderson / Ross
Animal Man Vol. 2 – Origin of the Species – Grant Morrison / Various Artists
Power Ball – Rob Neyer
Denver Quarterly Vol. 52 No. 3


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Rusty’s Reading List 2019

July 13, 2019
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After thinking about it after reading The Cowboy Wally Show, I decided to read Why I Hate Saturn.
I have changed my mind. The Cowboy Wally Show is better. This is one of those books that has someone being so hip as to make fun of hipsters. Social commentary masquerading self-loathing. Barely.
It is still funny. And when it came out, that wasn’t something so overdone.

2019 Reading List

Why I Hate Saturn – Kyle Baker
The Cowboy Wally Show – Kyle Baker
Transmetropolitan Vol. 4: The New Scum – Ellis / Robertson / Ramos
The Obelisk Gate – N.K. Jemisin
Gotham Central Book 2 – Half A Life – Rucka / Lark
Walking to Aldebaran – Adrian Tchaikovsky
Just Words: On Speech and Hidden Harm – Mary Kate McGowan
Star Wars Vol. 1 – Skywalker Strikes – Aaron / Cassaday / Martin
The Tower – Simon Toyne
ARC Poetry Magazine #88
The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin
The Walking Dead Vol. 7 – The Calm Before – Kirkman / Adlard / Rathburn
A Pretty Sight – David O’Meara
Avengers: The Korvac Saga – Shooter / Michelinie / Mantlo / Perez / Various Artists
Indiana Review Vol.40, No.2
Avengers: Death Trap: The Vault – Fingeroth / Lim
This Wound is a World – Billy-Ray Belcourt
The Auteur Vol.1 – President’s Day – Spears / Callahan / Anderson
Astro City Vol. 2 – Confession – Busiek / Anderson / more
Astro City Vol. 1 – Life In the Big City – Busiek / Anderson / Ross
Animal Man Vol. 2 – Origin of the Species – Grant Morrison / Various Artists
Power Ball – Rob Neyer
Denver Quarterly Vol. 52 No. 3


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Rusty’s Reading List 2019

July 13, 2019
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For those of you who don’t know Kyle Baker, start with Why I Hate Saturn. For those o you who have read that and know how amazing Baker can be, pick up The Cowboy Wally Show.
Are some of the jokes a little… not in keeping with the times? Sure. But not in a mean way. This whole thing is a funny look at a pretty pathetic ‘star’.

Besides, how can I not like a book with the line ‘Nobody liked Rusty’

(Oh, and apparently my copy is pretty rare. I had no idea. It has been reprinted since then, a couple of times, so it should be obtainable.)

2019 Reading List

The Cowboy Wally Show – Kyle Baker
Transmetropolitan Vol. 4: The New Scum – Ellis / Robertson / Ramos
The Obelisk Gate – N.K. Jemisin
Gotham Central Book 2 – Half A Life – Rucka / Lark
Walking to Aldebaran – Adrian Tchaikovsky
Just Words: On Speech and Hidden Harm – Mary Kate McGowan
Star Wars Vol. 1 – Skywalker Strikes – Aaron / Cassaday / Martin
The Tower – Simon Toyne
ARC Poetry Magazine #88
The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin
The Walking Dead Vol. 7 – The Calm Before – Kirkman / Adlard / Rathburn
A Pretty Sight – David O’Meara
Avengers: The Korvac Saga – Shooter / Michelinie / Mantlo / Perez / Various Artists
Indiana Review Vol.40, No.2
Avengers: Death Trap: The Vault – Fingeroth / Lim
This Wound is a World – Billy-Ray Belcourt
The Auteur Vol.1 – President’s Day – Spears / Callahan / Anderson
Astro City Vol. 2 – Confession – Busiek / Anderson / more
Astro City Vol. 1 – Life In the Big City – Busiek / Anderson / Ross
Animal Man Vol. 2 – Origin of the Species – Grant Morrison / Various Artists
Power Ball – Rob Neyer
Denver Quarterly Vol. 52 No. 3


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Rusty’s Reading List 2019

July 6, 2019
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This is a new-to-me volume of Transmet. I already have the first three volumes and this on his more of the same. If you like those, you will like this. If you don’t, well you get the picture.

Transmetropolitan is barely a story. It barely follows the convention so plot. What it really is, is an opportunity for Warren Ellis to go on extended rants about what he sees as wrong in the world today, hidden by the faintest veneer of ‘near-future’. I mean, you can argue at times that what ALL of Ellis’ comics are, but this one doesn’t even try to be subtle.

But what it IS, is entertaining.

2019 Reading List

Transmetropolitan Vol. 4: The New Scum – Ellis / Robertson / Ramos
The Obelisk Gate – N.K. Jemisin
Gotham Central Book 2 – Half A Life – Rucka / Lark
Walking to Aldebaran – Adrian Tchaikovsky
Just Words: On Speech and Hidden Harm – Mary Kate McGowan
Star Wars Vol. 1 – Skywalker Strikes – Aaron / Cassaday / Martin
The Tower – Simon Toyne
ARC Poetry Magazine #88
The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin
The Walking Dead Vol. 7 – The Calm Before – Kirkman / Adlard / Rathburn
A Pretty Sight – David O’Meara
Avengers: The Korvac Saga – Shooter / Michelinie / Mantlo / Perez / Various Artists
Indiana Review Vol.40, No.2
Avengers: Death Trap: The Vault – Fingeroth / Lim
This Wound is a World – Billy-Ray Belcourt
The Auteur Vol.1 – President’s Day – Spears / Callahan / Anderson
Astro City Vol. 2 – Confession – Busiek / Anderson / more
Astro City Vol. 1 – Life In the Big City – Busiek / Anderson / Ross
Animal Man Vol. 2 – Origin of the Species – Grant Morrison / Various Artists
Power Ball – Rob Neyer
Denver Quarterly Vol. 52 No. 3


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Rusty’s Reading List 2019

July 6, 2019
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This is the second book in Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, and the second of the three to win the Hugo Award. You can see why.
This is a shift forward from the first book as it gets away from a particular writing ‘trick’, that I won’t explain because it would give spoilers for book one.
We have had discussions in our house about what the underlying theme of the books are, after reading that Jemisin says that environmental destruction wasn’t one of them. That surprised me, because it sure is from where I am sitting.
That never made it the PRIMARY theme, though. That is racism and slavery – the same way that the X-Men is about racism (and sometimes slavery).
Even if reading past the words isn’t your jam, this is still an incredibly well-written fantasy world that is well worth visiting.
I am not planning to jump into book three right away… because this series is worth savouring.

2019 Reading List

The Obelisk Gate – N.K. Jemisin
Gotham Central Book 2 – Half A Life – Rucka / Lark
Walking to Aldebaran – Adrian Tchaikovsky
Just Words: On Speech and Hidden Harm – Mary Kate McGowan
Star Wars Vol. 1 – Skywalker Strikes – Aaron / Cassaday / Martin
The Tower – Simon Toyne
ARC Poetry Magazine #88
The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin
The Walking Dead Vol. 7 – The Calm Before – Kirkman / Adlard / Rathburn
A Pretty Sight – David O’Meara
Avengers: The Korvac Saga – Shooter / Michelinie / Mantlo / Perez / Various Artists
Indiana Review Vol.40, No.2
Avengers: Death Trap: The Vault – Fingeroth / Lim
This Wound is a World – Billy-Ray Belcourt
The Auteur Vol.1 – President’s Day – Spears / Callahan / Anderson
Astro City Vol. 2 – Confession – Busiek / Anderson / more
Astro City Vol. 1 – Life In the Big City – Busiek / Anderson / Ross
Animal Man Vol. 2 – Origin of the Species – Grant Morrison / Various Artists
Power Ball – Rob Neyer
Denver Quarterly Vol. 52 No. 3


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Rusty’s Reading List 2019

July 1, 2019
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This is just so good. Well, except the first story. To give some background on what happens later in the volume, they included an earlier story from Batman Chronicles that was also written by Greg Rucka, but the art really distracts. That’s okay, though, because once you get into Half A Life, the story and art work seamlessly.

It could be argued that the entire story, from page one on down, is a set-up for the last page. But wow… what a last page. I won’t say I shed a tear, but it wasn’t far off. Powerful, moving, compelling storytelling. That isn’t how it ‘should’ have ended. Thank you, Greg Rucka, for having the guts to end it this way.

2019 Reading List

Gotham Central Book 2 – Half A Life – Rucka / Lark
Walking to Aldebaran – Adrian Tchaikovsky
Just Words: On Speech and Hidden Harm – Mary Kate McGowan
Star Wars Vol. 1 – Skywalker Strikes – Aaron / Cassaday / Martin
The Tower – Simon Toyne
ARC Poetry Magazine #88
The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin
The Walking Dead Vol. 7 – The Calm Before – Kirkman / Adlard / Rathburn
A Pretty Sight – David O’Meara
Avengers: The Korvac Saga – Shooter / Michelinie / Mantlo / Perez / Various Artists
Indiana Review Vol.40, No.2
Avengers: Death Trap: The Vault – Fingeroth / Lim
This Wound is a World – Billy-Ray Belcourt
The Auteur Vol.1 – President’s Day – Spears / Callahan / Anderson
Astro City Vol. 2 – Confession – Busiek / Anderson / more
Astro City Vol. 1 – Life In the Big City – Busiek / Anderson / Ross
Animal Man Vol. 2 – Origin of the Species – Grant Morrison / Various Artists
Power Ball – Rob Neyer
Denver Quarterly Vol. 52 No. 3


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Rusty’s Reading List 2019

July 1, 2019
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Our friend Avery is staying with us for the long weekend and she brought a book for me to read, because she wanted to talk about it.
I can see why.
Both why she wanted to talk about it and why she wanted me to read it without telling me anything, because this is a book (a novella, really), that should be read without and preconceived notions. (Kind of like The Fifth Season, I read a few books ago… though they are very different.)

Because of this, I can’t say much about it here, other than that I liked it quite a bit, and that it is a quick read. (It is pretty short.)

I do have a non-spoiler thing… I wish I had a better idea what – or more precisely, why – the Mother Machine is. I understand generally, bit it is the rare case where I would like more specifics to make how I mentally put together the rest of the book in my head.

2019 Reading List

Walking to Aldebaran – Adrian Tchaikovsky
Just Words: On Speech and Hidden Harm – Mary Kate McGowan
Star Wars Vol. 1 – Skywalker Strikes – Aaron / Cassaday / Martin
The Tower – Simon Toyne
ARC Poetry Magazine #88
The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin
The Walking Dead Vol. 7 – The Calm Before – Kirkman / Adlard / Rathburn
A Pretty Sight – David O’Meara
Avengers: The Korvac Saga – Shooter / Michelinie / Mantlo / Perez / Various Artists
Indiana Review Vol.40, No.2
Avengers: Death Trap: The Vault – Fingeroth / Lim
This Wound is a World – Billy-Ray Belcourt
The Auteur Vol.1 – President’s Day – Spears / Callahan / Anderson
Astro City Vol. 2 – Confession – Busiek / Anderson / more
Astro City Vol. 1 – Life In the Big City – Busiek / Anderson / Ross
Animal Man Vol. 2 – Origin of the Species – Grant Morrison / Various Artists
Power Ball – Rob Neyer
Denver Quarterly Vol. 52 No. 3


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