Will There Be Tartars?

images.jpgThis is the only Classics Illustrated title that I remember owning. I’m sure there were others but even comic books often dissolve in the mist of time. The funny thing is I vividly remember the scene where Michael Strogoff is blinded by the super-heated Tartar knife passed before his eyes. I didn’t know you could do that. I also didn’t know what a Tartar was and even today I’m not totally sure.

I also remember thinking “Strogoff” was a weird name, especially when linked with a great name like “Michael.”

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Japan Sinks

images.jpgThis is a novel I had on a reading list many many years ago and only recently discovered I still had a digital copy hiding in my archives. For many readers Japan Sinks is an exciting and devastating narrative. For others, less so: it is science fiction or perhaps more accurately, speculative fiction. The plot is simple: a shift in the earth’s tectonics causes Japan to slide into the depths of the ocean.

Japan Sinks makes a great movie: death, destruction, earthquakes, volcanoes, mass evacuation, heroes, but no Godzilla. I understand there is to be a Netflix anime treatment coming up later this year as well as the earlier film treatments.

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Two Novels, No John Wayne

images.jpgIf you’re from my generation, you grew up with the American heroics epitomized by John Wayne in The Sands of Iwo Jima. As a very young man my two favorite books were Battle Cry by Leon Uris and Valhalla by Jere Peacock. This idealist propaganda approach was effectively destroyed by exposure to the journalistic approach to the obscenity of the Vietnam War. Blame television. Add to this the Stanley Kubrick film—Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb—and generally I avoided war stories in text or film for the next fifty years.

Oh, there were certainly exceptions: I did read War and Peace … twice. War and Peace, however, was not a jingoistic American fairy tale.

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