Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sleepless Nights and a Book Recommendation

Have you ever had those nights where you can't go to sleep because your brain is just too wired? I don't mean the ones where you're thinking about work tomorrow, how you expect to get that bad muffler checked out on your car, or why McDonalds doesn't sell Shamrock shakes all year 'round. I mean the ones where you really don't have anything to worry about or think about but your brain just won't shut off. If you haven't had those nights, consider yourself a lucky cat (or kitten). I have barely slept for two nights and I can already tell that tonight will likely be night three. So why am I telling you this on a blog that you normally come to for comic, movie, or video game news? I'm writing this for no other reason than to pass the time and try to burn my brain's fuel up so that I can sleep.

That said, since you're here and you've read this far, I'll take a moment to recommend a great book for your reading lists. I just finished reading Scott Westerfeld's Behemoth. This is the second book of a trilogy that's set in an alternate history during World War I. It revolves around a young girl who disguises herself as a boy to join the British Air Service and a young prince who is fleeing his homeland after his parents were assassinated. The cool part? It mixes in a lot of steampunk and sci-fi elements. In this alternate world, the British (and a few other countries ) have developed a science of changing and/or combining animals into new lifeforms. These new lifeforms, called beasties in the slang of the novel, are used for everything from communication (as is the case with messenger lizards which can mimic human language and run messages back and forth) to military vehicles (as the great flying whale-hybrid Leviathan of the series title). These beastie countries are at odds with the "clankers" of Germany and Austria where science has developed along a mechanical path rather than biological. These countries have great zeppelin airships, giant robot walkers, and cannons that fire electricity. Naturally, the plot (which I won't ruin here) brings these opposing forces into conflict and the main characters are constantly astride the dividing line between both of these worlds. To top it off, the novels are illustrated with stunning art from Keith Thompson. If you're into steampunk, sci-fi, rousing adventure, romance, comedy, or just a damned good read, you could do a sight worse than Westerfeld's novels.

That's it, gang! Go read. I know that's probably what I'll be doing instead of sleeping.

A video trailer for the first book in the Leviathan series:

Related links:
The official Scott Westerfeld site
Scott Westerfeld on Twitter
Keith Thompson's official site


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