This week’s free book is Toby Streams the Universe, by Maya Lassiter, in which a psychic (the titular Toby, looking like a PhotoShop mashup of Elijah Wood and Tobey Maguire on the cover) who is increasingly unable to control his visions attempts to help his private investigator friend solve cases, prevent his sister (also a psychic) from killing herself, find his missing father, protect his new neighbor from an abusive ex-husband, keep his family’s finances afloat by reading the minds of stockbrokers, change the dark future that awaits various friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and avoid going insane. All while living in New York City. So what have you done lately?
Most readers probably know that I do the occasional film review here, and that because I like just about every movie I see, instead of actually rating movies myself I judge them based on how long it takes for them to put my wife to sleep. A few readers may even remember that, several years ago, I had been trying in vain to get my wife to sit through “The Two Towers” and “Return of the King”, after having subjected her to “The Fellowship of the Ring” in an actual movie theater. Alas, my efforts were in vain, until she happened to wander past the television when I was watching “The Two Towers” for the umpteenth time, and she happened to see Gollum. A bit more back story: When we finally got replaced our picture tube last year, it was with a 3D flat screen; and because it’s difficult to find 3D movies for rent locally and I am too cheap to buy them, I rent them by mail, a la Netflix, from an outfit called 3DBluRayRental.com. Are you with me so far? Good. So here is my non-review review of the 3D Blu-Ray of “The Hobbit”.
This month’s free Prime book is Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond, a collection of short stories inspired by, you guessed it, the Oz stories of L. Frank Baum. Not just based on the characters from the Wizard of Oz, the stories includes Ozma, the Gump, Jack Pumpkinhead, and others. The collection has a foreword by Gregory Maguire of Wicked fame, which should tell you that you are in for some revisionism. As in this story, “Off to See the Emperor”, by Orson Scott Card, in which six-year-old Frank Baum and nine-year-old Theodora are trying to get Theodora’s mother’s ring back, and the Lion is being less than helpful about it.
I’m between books at the moment, having finished off Wool and not picked up a replacement yet, so rather than Teaser Tuesday, this week I offer another side-by-side comparison of a scene from The War of the Ravels. In this scene, Our Heroes meet a fellow named Brennendah, of the same species (“Rittandic”) as the villain of the piece, Kihantroh. As usual, the original, 20-year-old version of the scene is on the left, while the rewritten version is on the right.