Plus more books

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot tells the fascinating story of Henriette Lacks, a black woman stricken by cancer whose cell samples, to her doctor’s surprise, thrived when cultured in the lab (most cell cultures at the time had a very short lifespan); even after Lacks’ death, samples of “HeLa” cells were used in countless experiments around the world, in fact more than the researchers realized (HeLa grows aggressively enough, and doctors used to be lax enough that supposedly unrelated cell cultures as far away as Russia turned out to be composed primarily of HeLa). Skloot follows the interlinked stories of Lacks, her cells and her often-time bemused descendants (“She’s saved millions of people but we can’t get health insurance.”) and the general questions of what rights people should have when their cells generate millions (she credits the doctors of the 1950s with sinning in innocence more than The Plutonium Files did). A striking book, though the story of Skloot hanging out with Lacks’ family runs overlong (TYG credits it to Skloot’s self-consciousness about being a White Writer covering Black Issues).
Finally digging up the second trade paperback of L.J. Smith’s Night World series, I resumed with the fourth book, DARK ANGEL, in which a kindly angel saves a lonely young girl from Going Into the Light, then returns to Earth with her to provide tips on popularity, dating, quashing gossip, casting spells that give her enemies nasty diseases … Even though it’s obvious from the start that the girl’s being conned, very nicely done.
THE CHOSEN has a Buffyesque vampire slayer unnerved when a moment of compassion for one Obnoxious and Irritating Vampire causes her to let him go—which upsets her even more when she realizes he’s part of a scheme to round up slaves for a big vampire banequet. A good character in the protagonist who winds up finding not only love but friendship.
DEMON KNIGHTS: Seven Against the Dark by Paul Cornell and Diogenes Neves is the first collection of a medieval fantasy series set in the rebooted DC Universe. In the centuries after the fall of Camelot, sorceress Madame Xanadu and Etrigan the Demon have wandered Britain; now, allied with immortal Vandal Savage, an Amazon and a knight of Camelot searching for the Grail, they must take on a horde of warriors led by the sorcerer Mordru. Entertaining, though DC’s reboot undercuts its appeal: The post-reboot Vandal Savage simply doesn’t have the standing his predecessor does (i.e., I know what a badass brute Savage was pre-reboot, but who the hell knows what this version’s like?).

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One response to “Plus more books

  1. Pingback: An idle thought (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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