Plenty of sword work and old-style action-adventure, with the occasional clever spin.

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UNDER THE MOONS OF MARS

NEW ADVENTURES ON BARSOOM

Fourteen swashbuckling new adventures extend the exploits of John Carter and his descendants on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ version of the Red Planet.

Poised to catch any wave of interest (or at least publicity) that may come along with the release of the film John Carter, the collection features the eponymous Civil War vet and other characters from the original series facing a typical array of multi-legged monsters, multi-armed warriors, defeated adversaries rising again and weird remnants of ancient science. Highlights include: Tarzan walk-ons in stories by Peter S. Beagle and S.M. Stirling; an account of a drunken thoat-lifting contest in Garth Nix’s hilarious “Sidekick of Mars” that somehow never made it into the canon; a tale from Chris Claremont that transplants Carter, Dejah Thoris and Tars Tarkas to Jasoom (Earth); and the valedictory “Death Song of Dwar Guntha,” (Jonathan Maberry) about one last great battle before planet-wide peace breaks out. Written in prose that evokes the sweep of the originals (“And as the moons sailed through the black ocean of the sky, John Carter, Warlord of all Barsoom, sang of the last charge of the great Free Riders. And such a tale it was….”) and with a full page image of a well-armed (in more ways than one), often scantily clad figure in each, these pay fitting tribute to a gifted pulp writer.

Plenty of sword work and old-style action-adventure, with the occasional clever spin. (foreword by Tamora Pierce, story introductions, author bios, Barsoomian Gazetteer) (Science fiction short stories. 11-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2029-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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With so many top-notch writers on tap, it's surprising this collection is only solid rather than exquisite; still, those...

WHAT YOU WISH FOR

A BOOK FOR DARFUR

This charitable benefit anthology gathers all-stars for both hits and misses on the theme of wishing.

Twelve stories are accompanied by five poems and one warmly vivid graphic short. Francisco X. Stork introduces Pablito, Breaker-Breaker and Sherry B in a stellar tale of teens supporting one another in a group home. Sofia Quintero's "The Great Wall," about a Jamaican-American girl with a thing for the Chinese-food delivery guy, is entertaining enough to overcome its brick-to-the-head lack of subtlety. Meg Cabot's nerdy hero, seeking a friend, is heartbreakingly funny. The stories cover First World problems, far from the Sudanese refugees described in the saccharine foreword by Mia Farrow, but that distance only helps the collection. John Green's "Reasons" directly addresses some of the moral issues underlying the desire to rescue people from other countries in a thought-provoking piece about a boy in love with a sponsored Kashmiri child. Ann M. Martin's epistolary tale shows two girls with different sets of financial and social problems finding support in each other's friendship. As for the poetry, with offerings from Naomi Shihab Nye, Marilyn Nelson, Gary Soto and Nikki Giovanni, even these tiny verses are lovely.

With so many top-notch writers on tap, it's surprising this collection is only solid rather than exquisite; still, those readers willing to brave anthologies will be rewarded . (Anthology. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25454-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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I AM NUMBER FOUR

From the Lorien Legacies series , Vol. 1

If it were a Golden Age comic, this tale of ridiculous science, space dogs and humanoid aliens with flashlights in their hands might not be bad. Alas... Number Four is a fugitive from the planet Lorien, which is sloppily described as both "hundreds of lightyears away" and "billions of miles away." Along with eight other children and their caretakers, Number Four escaped from the Mogadorian invasion of Lorien ten years ago. Now the nine children are scattered on Earth, hiding. Luckily and fairly nonsensically, the planet's Elders cast a charm on them so they could only be killed in numerical order, but children one through three are dead, and Number Four is next. Too bad he's finally gained a friend and a girlfriend and doesn't want to run. At least his newly developing alien powers means there will be screen-ready combat and explosions. Perhaps most idiotic, "author" Pittacus Lore is a character in this fiction—but the first-person narrator is someone else entirely. Maybe this is a natural extension of lightly hidden actual author James Frey's drive to fictionalize his life, but literature it ain't. (Science fiction. 11-13)

     

 

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-196955-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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