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Reviews in Project: Big Hair, Big Guns! (25)

To Get What I Want

Crisis on Infinite Earths

By Marv Wolfman & George Pérez  

4 Jun, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!

3 comments

Crisis on Infinite Earthswas a twelve-issue miniseries from DC Comics1 published from 1985 to 1986. It was written by Marv Wolfman, and pencilled by George Pérez2.

There are many versions of the Earth, each with their own histories. The superheroes of Earth One made contact with their counterparts on Earth Two an indeterminate time ago. In what almost seemed to have become an annual tradition, Earth One’s Justice League periodically teamed up with Earth Two’s Justice Society to deal with crises affecting both worlds. 

Now there is a crisis affecting not just Earth One, and Earth Two, but all the worlds. 

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You Say You Got A Real Solution

Schismatrix

By Bruce Sterling  

27 Apr, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!

2 comments

Bruce Sterling’s 1985 hard SF novel Schismatrix is the sole novel set in his Shaper/Mechanist universe, a setting also featured in handful of short pieces1.

The human colonies of the Solar System are divided into two factions: the Shapers, who want to enlist biology in reshaping humanity, and the Mechanists, who rely on technology. The two sides loath each other and are engaged in an increasingly tense cold war. It isn’t clear which camp will shape humanity’s future. 

Abelard Lyndsay, born to a high-ranked family in the Mare Serenitatis Circumlunar Corporate Republic, was sent as envoy to the Shaper city-states in the Rings of Saturn. This was during a brief period when the Republic was flirting with a Shaper alliance. Once the lunar aristocrats allied with the Mechanists, Abelard found himself an embarrassing relic of a failed policy. 

Already radicalized by the Shapers, Abelard turned to extreme political gestures. Upshot: Abelard’s lover Vera dead, and Abelard an exile from his former home. 


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Wounds Are All I’m Made Of

Akira

By Katsuhiro Otomo  

22 Apr, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!

0 comments

Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga Akira was serialized in Young Magazine from 1982 to 1990. The first English translation was published by Marvel Comics’ Epic line from 1988 to 19951. The US edition pioneered the use of computer colourization, courtesy Steve Oliff. For many North Americans this was their introduction to manga. 

Viktor Haag was kind enough to lend me his Epic collection. 


Since I am not sure how the Epic volumes map onto the current version from Dark Horse, I decided to review the entire, 2000+ page work as a whole. 

All together now: 

TETSUOOOO!”


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Like Dragons in the Dead of Night

Voyage From Yesteryear

By James P. Hogan  

16 Apr, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!

4 comments


James P. Hogan’s 1982 Voyage from Yesteryear is a standalone science fiction novel. 

Faced with seemingly inevitable nuclear war in the near future, the North American Space Development Organization and its Asian partners decided to take the bold step of re-purposing the SP3 interstellar probe. Five years before its 2020 launch, the probe was redesigned to deliver human life to Chiron, the habitable world in the Alpha Centauri system. But there’s a catch. 

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I Ran So Far Away

Starfarers  (Starfarers, book 1)

By Vonda N. McIntyre  

8 Apr, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!

5 comments

1989’s Starfarers is the first volume in Vonda N. McIntyre’s Starfarers Quartet. 

The near approach of a cosmic string1 offers humanity superluminal access to Tau Ceti. A light-sail spaceship can hitchhike on the string to explore the nearest star system. A consortium of nations builds the Starfarer as a traveling university, one that will send back dividends of new knowledge that will more than pay for its creation. 

That is, if it is allowed to do what it is designed to do. Some of its government supporters have other notions of best use. 


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The Color Symphony

Champions, 4th Edition

By George MacDonald, Steve Peterson & Rob Bell  

30 Mar, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!

9 comments

Hero Games’ Champions wasn’t the first superhero roleplaying game1 or even the first SHRPG I played2. It was, however, the SHRPG I played the most often. 

Originally published in 1981, the system was initially developed in a rather haphazard way; rules accreted across several editions of rule books. Efforts to correct this lack of organization began in the mid-1980s. 1989’s 4th Edition Champions, written by George MacDonald, Steve Peterson, and Rob Bell was arguable the culmination of this process. Known as the Big Blue Book, it was a fan favorite that shaped many games that came after it. 

How does the rulebook stand up after OH GOD HOW IT IS 30 YEARS ALREADY


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Nobody Calls You Honey When You’re Sitting On a Throne

Shadow Magic  (Lyra, book 1)

By Patricia C. Wrede  

23 Feb, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!

10 comments

Patricia C. Wrede’s 1982 debut novel Shadow Magic was the first novel published in what became her Lyra series. ISFDB lists it as the third Lyra novel, presumably on the basis of internal chronology. But the omnibus on my Kobo lists Shadow Magic as first book in the series. Lyra book order may be a problem like Narnia book order; one can wile away many a pleasant afternoon discussing which is the correct way to order the books and which way is obviously incorrect. (I vote for the correct way, as I am sure you do too.) 

Merchant Maurin Atuval has just been invited into the home of his new chum, aristocrat Har of the Noble House of Brenn, when he makes a sudden discovery. He is not the protagonist of this story. Har’s sister Alethia is. 

This becomes apparent as soon as Alethia is kidnapped by Lithmern. 

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That’s My Plan

In Conquest Born  (Azean Empire, book 1)

By C. S. Friedman  

18 Feb, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!

1 comment

1987’s In Conquest Born is the first volume in C. S. Friedman’s Azean Empire series. It was the author’s debut novel. 

The Azean Empire has the misfortune to border territory claimed by Braxi. Braxi lives for war and conquest. If it concludes a peace treaty, that’s a temporary measure; they’re preparing for the next attack. There have been many comprehensive peace treaties between Azea and Braxi, each as short-lived as the one before. 

The latest treaty collapses when Vinir and K’Siva, high-born Braxin, birth a son. The Braxana feel strongly that it would be inauspicious to name the child in peacetime. Braxin forces descend on an Azean colony world to celebrate Zatar’s birth. 

Zatar grows into an ambitious and talented warlord. This would not bode well for Azea were it not that one well-placed family has also produced a capable child. But there is a slight problem. 

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