Monday, May 23, 2011

God's War

Written by Kameron Hurley
review by Dan Tres OMi

When I first stumbled upon Kameron Hurley's “God's War,” I ignored it several times. I automatically assumed it was just another version of Christian fantasy/fiction that seems to sneak up on me with sleek covers. After seeing it more than once, I read the synopsis and dug it immediately. Hurley's takes the reader on a ride he or she never wants to get off of.

Hurley takes us to the world of Umayma which is inhabited by several warring factions of the “People of the Book.” Currently, Umayma finds Nasheen and Chenja caught in a 300 year old conflict. The war has bled so many males that Nasheen is run by women. Any boy who is eligible to fight and refuses or deserts, are hunted down by the bel dames. Nyxnissa or Nyx is one of those bel dames. Nyx, like many of her peers, chooses to live freely breaking every rule possible. Eventually, she loses her position as a bel dame and becomes a lowly bounty hunter.

Somehow Nyx makes it with a rag tag group of misfits. Her most notable partner is Rhys, a Chenja who escaped the draft by crossing the border into Nasheen and becoming a magician or someone who is able to manipulate insects to do one's bidding from killing to healing to communications. Nyx and her crew are about to hit rock bottom until they get a job that would set them up for life. The job comes directly from the Queen of Nasheen herself. Nyx knows immediately that she is bitten off more than she can chew but who cares, Nyx has been in worst places before.

I immediately fell in love with Nyx. Even with her back against the wall, she pushes on. Some might say she's dark but just doesn't care as long as she has some whiskey and a semi decent plan. Usually, Nyx comes out on top. And if she doesn't, what else can be done to her? It's that recklessness that makes Nyx a very attractive protagonist.

This is how Hurley approaches her universe. As the story progresses, the reader learns more about the conflict between Nasheen and Chenja as well as the origin of the planet. It is quite hopeless and the reader will wonder how people can do this sort of thing. Unfortunately, this is how things look in Somalia or Afghanistan. Yet people there push on. One can help but to admire stories such as this and respect these folks for their resilience.

Hurley does a great job at character development. Even the minor characters are given life. The story is rich and full of subplots. You really can't tell who is on Nyx's side until the very end. Deals upon deals are made. Early, the political intrigue is vague but Hurley pulls it off in the end. I enjoyed how Hurley introduces the technology on Umayma. While it is set in the future, Hurley is able to describe a planet that is pretty much a backwater. Nyx and her crew pretty much wing it when it comes to technology. Although Rhys is vital to her crew, he is a half way decent magician who is extremely unreliable. The fighting is realistic. There is not one person fighting off 100 people in any of the scenes.

If you are looking for a new writer who is pushing the envelope, Hurley is just that person. If you are looking for a sci fi book that kicks butt, then “God's War” is what you are looking for. Unfortunately for me, the book ended, so I had to get off the ride but I eagerly await the next installment.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Green Lantern Promo Party Part II: Don't be Tardy for the Party

First, I have to thank Mocha Dad for hooking me up. Without him, this shindig would not have been possible. Also, my wife gets mad love for hooking up the Green Lantern jello. It was choice! Finally, I have to thank Capoeira Dayton for coming out in full force to support a brother.

It was a blast. Everyone chipped in to help clean up. The children loved it. Although some lost their rings (which I found and shall return to the rightful owners), no one went home with empty hands. Below are the pics. Enjoy.

My wife and I racked our brains trying to figure out how to put the Green Lantern symbol in the jello. Well this is what we came up with:

Here, I was making the masks by hand. I probably saved about $15.00 doing it this way. It took me about an hour and a half to cut them out and put the transparent string on them.

We decided to have a ring ceremony where we commission new Green Lantern recruits. The children dug it. There was alot of grumbling since we have out titles to particular children (head trainer, sector officer in charge, internal investigator, etc.). Only one parent came late so it worked out.

Despite the fact that I was clear about how to light up the rings, some of them still didn't get it. Thankfully, some of the children were paying attention.

How come my boys are the only ones to put their masks on? the rest didn't even feel like putting them on? Oh well, here are the Green Lanterns of sector 2814...!

The youngest Lantern ever! (and the last one to leave!)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Green Lantern Promo Party Part I: The Drama

So my blog brother from another mother hooked this blog brother up with a connect for some Green Lantern swag. I decided to have the party on May 7th in the late afternoon. I didn't want to throw our usual children's bash where we have enough children to fill a studio audience for Oprah. So we had to narrow things down. I chose some of the children of some of my students and I sat down with the babies and asked them to pick a few friends to invite. Then we narrowed that pool down. After much deliberation, we made a few more cuts. I got this cool Green Lantern invites and made sure I put on there to RSVP and not to bring any presents. I am sure some parents were like, “the Omi's got another baby?” No, we are not trying get extra presents. As a matter of fact, we are giving some away. Presents, that is.

My children were hella excited. I can't blame them. I am an adult and I still love going to parties. I am sure this one was special since they didn't have to wait around for their birthdays. Plus, they get free stuff. They wanted to pass out the invitations. At first, I didn't want them to do this. I thought it was a bad idea. I felt that if I went to each child on my own or encountered their parents, I could emphasize the need to RSVP (and yes many of you all refuse to do that in the 21st century when just an email will suffice). I preferred to give it to their parents because sometimes children lose things.

Of course, two of the children lost their invitations. My middle son actually hand wrote another invitation which I am sure looked suspect to the parents when they received it. Another child failed to give it to his mother. Only five days away from the party and I only received two RSVPs and one cancellation. This part is actually understandable. Some folks were just not raised to RSVP. Only a handful of us were taught to RSVP even if the invitation doesn't ask you to. Yet I digress...

The problem came when other children didn't get an invitation from my children. My middle son, who we call the accountant, has no qualms telling someone off. He is very sophisticated and can calmly tell someone to step off. He told several of his classmates that their behavior is abysmal and should not expect anyone to invite them to their party. He also pointed out that its a party organized by his dear old dad so the issue needed to be taken up with me. My daughter on the other hand is not as sharp. So the girls in her class gave her a hard time.

The next problem came when some of the students began to solicit me and the wife. Of course, I am quick to say “hey look, it's a numbers game and you didn't make the cut, get over it, homie!” The wife wants to come home and bring it up in the middle of the night when the brother is trying to get some sleep.

“You should have seen his eyes,” she pleaded, “you should invite him. You know he needs his daddy time.”

I rolled over in my bed.

“You're not being fair, you are throwing this party for the children...” she went on.

At school, a gang of children asked me why I didn't give them an invitation. A few promised to get all A's if I would only give them an invite. I gave them all negative responses. There was no negotiating this one as I have done on so many occasions. My children continue to tell me about fellow students who pleaded their cases.

Unfortunately, I am not budging....