After watching a bad online transmission last year, I shelled out for the DVD of A CHRISTMAS STORY (1984) wherein a young boy’s quest for a Red Ryder BB gun seems constantly stymied from everyone from mom (Melinda Dillon) to his teacher to Santa Claus, a bully gets his comeuppance and Ralphie gets blinded by soap poisoning. I wasn’t terribly impressed by the special features, but a good one to have, nonetheless. “My father was an artist in profanity the way some men work in oils.”
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011) is the remake starring Rooney Mara as Goth hacker and Daniel Craig as the discredited reporter who winds up teaming up with her to expose a serial killer lurking amidst the schemers and Nazis of Christopher Plummer’s family. Very well done, though I agree with one on-line reviewer that her subjugation by her caseworker is pointless and gratuitous——surely a hacker with her skills could arrange her own emancipation (TYG, who knows computers better than me, confirmed it). “Stop checking tattoo-removal websites.”
THE UNKNOWN AJAX is the first novel of Regency Romance giant Georgette Heyer’s that I’ve read in years and unfortunately it’s one of her minor efforts. The story of a common-born soldier who becomes heir to a great estate, and turns out to be smarter and richer than his family expects, plods through sight-seeing tours and political debate for far too long before the romance and the plot (involving local smugglers) kicks in. A disappointment, but I’ll pick a better Heyer next time.
CLUB DEAD by Charlaine Harris is the third in the Sookie Stackhouse series, which starts off with Sookie learning that Bill is abandoning her for a Secret Mission for the queen of Louisiana (a concept Sookie finds as mirth-inducing as I do), then dumped her for his Lost Vampire Love, then been kidnapped, all of which forces her to head off with a helpful werewolf and an undead Elvis (“Unfortunately his brain was so damaged by drugs when they turned him that he doesn’t remember who he is.”) to try to rescue him. An excellent entry in the series, though the escape from the antagonist vampires’ lair is far too easy.
HARD MAGIC: Book One of the Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia, is poorly served by its cover art, which made me anticipate a hybrid of urban fantasy and hardboiled detective; instead it’s an excellent alternate history in which magic-based super-powers manifest in the 1800s, resulting in an altered timeline (Tesla’s deadly “Peace Ray” ends World War I, Hitler never attains power and Japan is the great threat to world peace). The novel is set in the 1930s, as a gravity-bending ex-con becomes embroiled in the attempts of the heroic Grimnoir brotherhood of superhumans to prevent Japan from reassembling the superweapon that created the Tunguska fireball. I liked this a lot, though Correia’s use of slang is sloppy——I don’t think anyone in the 1930s used “the Man” for the authorities (I could be wrong) and “gunsel” definitely does not refer to a triggerman (the word, popularized by The Maltese Falcon, is Yiddish for an effeminate gay).
AMERICAN VAMPIRE is the first collection of the comics series by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque and Stephen King, who wrote the backup story in which socipathic Western outlaw Skinner Sweet gets vampirized only to discover American vamps are different (they walk in the sun but lose power under the new moon); in the main plot, Old World vampires operating in 1920s Hollywood attack a young actress only to have Skinner turn her into another of his kind, leaving her willing and able to avenge herself on the Europeans. Despite Snyder’s pretentious claims this is the story of America itself, I enjoyed this, but not enough that I’d make much effort to find more volumes.