Staying at home is the norm... What are you reading?

Baffle

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Jim Wendler's 531 Forever training program book. The man's a lunatic, I don't know if I should try lifting lighter because I'm ego lifting on I'm an inexcusable pathetic wuss who shouldn't even bother trying because I can't already do it. Which is it Jim?! How can I be good enough?!
 

Hawki

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Avatar: Adapt or Die (3/5)

Of the Avatar comics released so far, this is somewhere in the middle in terms of quality (above Tsu'tey's Path, below The Next Shadow). However, this is easily the most...I dunno, mellow, so to speak? There's very little in actual plot, but by my reading, it's less about plot, and more about characters.

Anyway, for context, this is one of the earliest EU pieces in the setting, at least a decade (and a bit more) before the events of the film. At this point in time, things are iffy between the "Sky People" (humans/RDA) and na'vi, but nowhere near as bad as they'll get by the events of the film. The two main characters are Grace and Mo'at, who deal with an illness that's beginning to affect the Omaticayan children, and in turn, the avatars. Both have to deal with Selfridge/Eytukan breathing down their necks, as they work in their own ways, sometimes together, sometimes alone, to find the cure.

I could go into details, but it's arguably beside the point, and like I said, there's little actual plot to deal with. That said, I'm going to throw in a few notes on certain aspects, such as:

-Parker is handled weirdly in this comic, and I'm on the fence as to what the writers intended. There's moments when he approaches full-blown sociopathy (e.g. commenting indirectly that if all the na'vi were to die, it might be a good thing - makes the RDA's operation less complicated), yet also covers Grace in terms of red tape to allow her to help the Omaticaya. The generous interpretation of this is that it's showing that Parker is multi-faceted, the less generous interpretation is that it's just inconsistent writing. From the film, Parker fell into the area of "willing to do terrible things, but feels terrible about them," but here, it's more that he flips as the script demands it. Also, Parker even being here feels a bit out of place. I can understand Grace being on Pandora this long, but Parker? Not so much.

-In contrast to Parker, there's certain characters who come off as just being missing. Very little is seen of kid!Neytiri, and Sylwannin isn't seen at all. I get that this is before Grace establishes the schoolhouse proper, but still...also, as others have pointed out, the comic doesn't really seem to gel with one of the Avatar mobile games (the one with Ryan Lorenz), and that it may have been removed from canon, but having never played it, I can't comment.

-There's a certain melencholia that runs through the comic that's only going to be present for those who've seen the film (then again, if you haven't seen the film, I'm not sure why you'd be reading it). Like I said, things are strained, but nowhere near as bad as they'll get by this point in the timeline. The Omaticaya children are far more open and trusting than their parents, for example - quite willing to learn how to play basketball for instance - whereas nothing the RDA does is beyond the pale (e.g. a SecOps officer flies Grace around, but nothing he says or does is anti-na'vi, just mildly cautious). The comic's last panel (it's a very abrupt ending), taken as writ, hints at a positive future that we know will never happen. In the context of the IP, the comic almost feels like a "what if?" scenario - one where humans managed to operate on Pandora peacefully, rather than things going south over time. I've commented in the past that one of the themes of Avatar is about failure (namely, humanity's failure to co-exist), so in that context, this works well. But when I consider the dearth of actual plot and the pacing, among other things, the comic's simply just "okay."
 

Hawki

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39 Ways to Save the Planet (3/5)

...God, I wish.

To be clear, this book deals with climate change, focusing on 39 potential solutions to alleviate/solve the issue. All of them are grounded in actual science, over a variety of sectors (energy, agriculture, transport, etc.), and looked into. A hopeful look at solving the issue, but not falling into "hopium" territory.

I don't have much to say here. This isn't really an issue with the book per se, but it's hard to feel hopeful, when stats are given as to how many CO2 emissions would be shaved off by implementing each of the listed solutions. To be clear, climate change is more likely to be solved with silver buckshot rather than a silver bullet, to borrow the phrase, but reading this...well, yeah. Basically, we'd have to do all of this to even hope of stemming the crisis, and that's provided we haven't already gone past tipping points. Plus, none of the solutions were stuff that I wasn't already familiar with to at least some extent.

Decent read, but nothing special.