Reading Updates: 4 Book Ratings

Assassin’s Quest, L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories, V for Vendetta, and Old Man’s War

Haven’t felt much like writing reviews recently, but I have read quite a few very good books that I would highly recommend. So here’s my ratings and some “micro” reviews / comments. Continue reading Reading Updates: 4 Book Ratings

Kovacs = Neo-Noir?

Hmmm… Something I happened to notice recently. The name Kovacs comes up a lot in “modern” noir stories. Besides being a cool sounding Hungarian name it means “forger” or “smith”. As in someone who “forges justice” in spite of the injustice of the world that hammers away at him? Anyway, I discovered these recently in reverse chronological order but I suspect the references were NOT accidental but tips of the hat to previous stories in the genre.., Though I guess it COULD be coincidence…

 

Altered Carbon1. Takeshi Lev KOVACS (“Altered Carbon”, “Broken Angels”, & “Woken Furies” sci-fi novels) – a tortured war veteran and ex-envoy (a genetically engineered super soldier & spy) in the far future who often has to conduct investigations to solve mysteries in a very film-noir and neo-noir style, with numerous tips of the hat to Blade Runner and other futuristic neo-noir films & fiction.

 

watchmen-cover2. Walter Joseph KOVACS, aka Rorschach (“The Watchmen” graphic novel & movie) – a tortured superhero (or more properly anti-hero) that is a very dark noir-detective type character with serious “psychological issues” but a iron sense of honor. Lives an incredibly violent life, delivering brutal violent justice, and absolutely unable to “bend the rules” in what he perceives as right even when it means his own certain death.

 

À Bout de Souffle (Breathless)

3. László KOVÁCS (“Breathless” movie, French: “À bout de souffle” “out of breath”) – alias of car thief Michel Poiccard in one of the first neo-noir films, a 1960 French film that modernized a lot of the older film-noir tropes while making obvious references to the earlier genre. For example, the Kovacs character styled himself after Humphrey Bogart’s screen persona. Ironically the alias László Kovács is itself a “in joke” and a tip of the hat to the Hungarian cinematographer László Kovács who is most famous for his award-winning work on Easy Rider (1969) and Five Easy Pieces (1970). An American version of this French film was made starring Richard Gere, but unfortunately his character was not named Kovacs.

 

If only another one of my favorite neo-noir characters was named Kovacs too. He does have a foreign name. Though his is Turkish, he does have it out for Hungarians. And while his name is not Kovacs, the fact that the name is so unique does make it stand out. That and the fact that he is such a diabolical bad ass and not your typical noir anti-hero, but just an very mysterious and genius villain. Who is this character you ask?….

….

….

Keyser Söze from “The Usual Suspects” movie, of course, as played by Kevin Spacey.

The Usual Suspects

Review: Leviathan Wakes

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. CoreyLeviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
The Expanse series #1
View book info on GoodReads

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars
First Published: June 2011
Read from: Jun 22 to July 3, 2014
Awards: Nominated for 2012 Hugo Awards for Best Novel and the 2012 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction

“Leviathan Wakes” My Appetite For Cool Space Opera

Spoiler: Book Blurb Show

 
Leviathan Wakes on the whole was a VERY entertaining bit of space opera science fiction, with some tantalizing bits of “hard sci-fi”, “horror”, “detective story” & “military sci-fi” thrown in. The book is the first in the highly acclaimed Expanse series, written by James S.A. Corey – a pen name for the collaboration of Albuquerque, New Mexico authors Ty Franck & Daniel Abraham, the last of which also is known to work closely with George R.R. Martin. Read My Full Review →