How To Read Me

A reading guide to comics and books

Tag: sci-fi

Old Man’s War Series in Order: How to read John Scalzi books?

After a few spy thrillers, I wanted to go back to Sci-Fi and this is John Scalzi’s turn:

What’s the Old Man’s War Series?

The Old Man’s War is the name of the first published book by sci-fi author John Scalzi, and the name of the series of novels that take place in the same universe.

This is a Military science fiction story that began with a 75-year-old soldier in the Colonial Defense Forces (CDF) named John Perry. Like his colleagues, Perry gets rejuvenated into young and enhanced body before being sent to combat in the Galaxy. His chances of survival are low.

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Valerian and Laureline Reading Order: How to read this classic French Sci-Fi series?

After Tintin, I finally come back to some French comics. In my country, and possibly in others, the Valerian and Laureline series is highly influential. It’s not really a surprise that Luc Besson decided to direct an adaptation. If you like the movie or not, the books are certainly better, even if the first ones are not really that good.

Who are Valerian and Laureline?

Written by Pierre Christin and drawn by Jean-Claude Mézières, the Valerian and Laureline series is a Franco-Belgian sci-fi comic book series that takes us to Galaxity, capital of the Terran Galactic Empire in the 28th century.

There, we met Valerian and Laureline who are two agents who protect mankind as they travel the universe through space and time.

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Where to start with Kurt Vonnegut?

In order to expand the scope of the blog, I thought the I could start to cover author and not only book series. So here we go, let’s start with Kurt Vonnegut. But first…

Who is Kurt Vonnegut?

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was an American writer who published his first novel in 1952, a few years after the war during which he was captured by the Germans. He soon became for his anti-war stance that transpired in some of his most famous work, as well as his dark humor and his sometimes unconventional exploitation of science-fiction tropes.

Vonnegut is known today as one of the most important and influential writers of the 20th century.

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How to read Isaac Asimov’s foundation series?

I should probably have used the title ‘How to read Isaac Asimov’s Robot, Empire and foundation series?’ but I didn’t want to make a title that was just too long. I know, I will start to work on a design more in accordance with the demand of the site soon. For now, let’s talk about the great Isaac Asimov and some of his most famous work.

What is the Foundation Series?

The original Foundation Trilogy is one of the must celebrated work in science-fiction. Originally, it was a series of eight short stories published in Astounding Magazine in the 1940s. Everything starts in a future where the mathematician Hari Seldon has developed the concept of psychohistory that he used to predict the future, but only on a large scale. He foresees the fall of the Galactic Empire and, to ensure a favorable future for humanity, he gathers talented minds to basically become the foundation for a new society. Soon, they found themselves facing hard choices that will determine the future or the end of Mankind.

Asimov says that when he wrote ‘Foundation’, he had no idea that he had begun a series of stories. After the original Trilogy, he wrote new books and extended the universe with connections to the Robot Series and the Empire Series.

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How to read The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey?

If you are into good sci-fi on TV, you probably are watching The Expanse on SyFy. This series is based on the novels by James S. A. Corey and it’s still ongoing with a new one announced for this year and probably a few more after that.

What is The Expanse?

Created by James S. A. Corey, the pen name of authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, The Expanse is a sci-fi series – a space opera – that takes us in a future where humans have started migrating into space. At the beginning, Ty Franck developed the world of The Expanse as an idea for a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Abraham saw the potential for a book series and they started writing it, each author taking charge of specific characters.

The story begins approximately 200 years after mankind started colonizing the solar system and deals with the political, cultural and economic themes in the wake of a scientific discovery that will change the universe. The peace between Earth and Mars is in jeopardy and the belters, the peoples of the Asteroid belt who provide the system with essential natural resources see an opportunity to gain leverage, being exploited mercilessly by the governments of the two planets. With tension rising, James Holden and the survivors of his ship try to find out why they were attacked. What they discover will redefine the power structure of the system but many lives are at risk.

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How to read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?

The first ‘reading order’ I wrote here was the one about Douglas Adams second greatest creation, the holistic detective Dirk Gently. It’s probably time to write about his greatest work. Of course, I’m talking about The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy, what else? This trilogy in five parts is a masterpiece of absurd sci-fi comedy. It’s widely influential, especially here in Europe, and it’s just full of great ideas and laughs.

That said, all the books are not as good as the first, if I am to be honest here.

However, it’s way better than the movie, even when it’s not as good as it could have been. In the movie, I just love Marvin (in the books too), but the rest is pretty forgettable, yet weirdly entertaining if you’re not too demanding. There’s not a lot of sci-fi comedy movies, that’s probably why I’m indulgent.

What The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy is talking about?

Originally created by Douglas Adamas as a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy – or H2G2 for short – it was also adapted into stage shows, comic books, a TV series (in 1981), a computer game (in 1984) and finally in a feature film (in 2005). But we are here to talk about the novels.

The story resolves around Arthur Dent, the last surviving man following the demolition of the planet Earth by a Vogon constructor fleet to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Rescued by his friend Ford Prefect, a human-like alien writer for the travel guide The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dent explores the galaxy with Ford and encounters Trillian, another human formerly known as Tricia McMillan, the two-headed Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford’s eccentric semi-cousin and the Galactic President, and the depressed robot Marvin the Paranoid Android.

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How to read Dune, Frank Herbert Sci-Fi classic?

Like a lot of people, I read Dune and it thought it was awesome. Then, I didn’t want it to stop, so I keep on reading. Two books later, it was not as good as it was, so I took a break. After a long while, I thought I might pick up where I left off, thinking I would be easy. Wrong, things get more complicated the further you go in the series. So, I tried to compile what I found and this is the result.

What is Dune?

Well, it’s a classic and a franchise. Written by Frank Herbert and published in 1965, Dune is a science-fiction epic set in a distant future where the one who controls the “spice” controls the universe — it’s the over simplistic way to introduce the story.

Dune takes us in a feudal interstellar society in which noble houses controlling individual planets had pledged allegiance to the Padishah Emperor. The story began with young Paul Atreides whose family accepts the stewardship of the planet Arrakis where you can find the only source of the “spice” melange. Politics, religion, ecology and technology collide when forces of the empire plot against each other in order to seize control of Arrakis.

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How to read Powers, Bendis’ Superhero Noir Comic ?

I used to be into Brian Michael Bendis work. I really like Goldfish and Jinx. I think Torso is one of his best. His run on Daredevil was more than great and I love Powers. Today, his writing style evolved in a way that I find irritating, too much mannerism and it’s never as clever as it seems to think it is. Anyway, we are here to speak about Powers, the comic books, not that horrendous TV adaptation with Sharlto Copley – Let’s hope that thing will be forgotten as soon as possible.

What is Powers?

Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, Powers is a superhero noir comic. You know, it’s like a noir crime drama set in a world with superheroes. It tells the story of two homicide detectives, Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, assigned to investigate crimes involving ‘powers’ – people with superhuman abilities. Turns out that Walker used to be one of them, but he lost everything and became a cop. And now, he is working with Deena Pilgrim. She kicks ass and takes names like almost nobody else in the comic universe, just so you know.

They started to work together on the famous Retro Girl case, a murder that will define their lives, even if they don’t know it yet.

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How to read The Boys, Garth Ennis’ satirical comics ?

If there was only one Garth Ennis to read, it wouldn’t be The Boys, because nothing is better than Preacher. That said, in my opinion, The Boys is among the best of Ennis, especially if you are a superhero comics fan.

What is The Boys?

Illustrated by Darick Robertson, The Boys follows Billy Butcher and his team. They work for the CIA in order to keep an eye on the superhero community. Of course, because Ennis wrote this, the “heroes” are mostly fuck ups. Everything starts when Wee Hughie – based on Simon Pegg – watched his girlfriend being killed in front of him by a superhero who didn’t care about the collateral damages. Butcher invites him to join his team in the US and teaches him all he needs to know about the birth of superheroes and how they are just propaganda material for a failed military consortium.

The Boys is full of Marvel and DC references, there’s although an Animal House storyline and a lot of really dark and disturbing things, you know, like in a Garth Ennis comics. I really like the idea that the heroes are just for show and the comics industry told “their” stories which is basically a tool to criticize the real industry. It’s satirical, but it’s not the main point. The evolution of Hughie and Butcher is the heart of the story, but it’s the dark stuff and the pastiche that give it substance.

Overall, The Boys is pure Ennis with a lot of rage, a lot of dark and twisted humor, a lot of violence, really good characters and a healthy dose of emotions.

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Dirk Gently Reading Order: From Douglas Adams to the Comics

Dirk GentlyDouglas Adams was not the most skilled writer of his generation, by far. Nevertheless, his talent was to build incredible and highly entertaining stories that were smart, really funny and imaginative. The way he structured his stories were brilliant, in particular with the Dirk Gently series.

Not as popular as The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy, the adventures of this insufferable holistic detective are just a delight for those who love a bit of absurdity with a spark of intelligence.

Now, there’s a second TV show and, if I like it, it’s not really the Dirk Gently that Adams created. The writer drew some clear ideas from the books, and some less interesting from the comic books — that he helped write. It lacks the British humor and suffer from to much American sensibility, but it’s still fun to watch. In a way, it’s better than the BBC4 series, but Stephen Mangan was a more convincing Gently. It’s my opinion, of course.

In the end, we are here to talk about the literary version. So, where to start and where to end.

Who’s Dirk Gently?

Svlad Cjelli also known as Dirk Gently is a detective, a holistic detective to be accurate. He uses the fundamental interconnectedness of all things to solve mysteries. Even if he doesn’t want to believe in such things, Gently is a psychic.

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