Weekend Shorts: FBP and Flavia!

It’s a science round of shorts! First there’s physics, then there’s chemistry, how can anyone go wrong? Well, I mean, there’s also death and a bit of destruction, so… I guess that’s how. What are you reading this week?

FBP, Vol. 2: “Wish You Were Here”, by Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez
Wish You Were HereHey, remember how I read Hawkeye and that one issue nearly broke my brain due to strange chronology? That’s how this entire volume was for me. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when we’re talking crazy pseudo-science, but I am still very confused as to what exactly just happened.

What I can understand is that our freelance physics friends go to a remote outpost where they meet an old friend of Cicero’s who has a shiny thing she wants to show them. Hardy and Reyes go off to explore the nearby town, there’s fancy physics fighting, Hardy learns about Reyes’s crazy physics past, Hardy learns some things about his own present, and a magic physics canyon becomes a magic physics cannon (well, sort of, let me have my wordplay) and it’s amazing. The brain-breaking part is that some or all of these events are taking place in a reality created by Hardy and Reyes, or possibly by Cicero and Sen, or possibly some hyper-intelligent mice, I don’t know. I mean, I guess I’ll know in the next volume, but for now I’m going with the mice.

The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse, by Alan Bradley
The Curious Case of the Copper CorpseI’ve stated several times here that I love Flavia de Luce, but the books about her have been hit or miss with me almost solely on the basis of how much time is spent solving mysteries versus extolling the virtues of Bishop’s Lacey and environs. Mysteries, yay! Ruminating about the history and future of Buckshaw with regard to laws governing estates, yaaaawwn.

But it turns out that long-windedness is a foundational Flavia attribute that really cannot be replicated in a 27-page story. Here’s Flavia, sitting around, oh, a note!, bicycling bicycling bicycling, a jaunt up the stairs, copper-covered fellow in a bathtub, meeting the boys of Greyminster, evading capture, mystery solved! No long rants about horrible sisters or even daydreams of criminal mischief via chemistry, and I rather missed them! It’s fascinating to find out how much you don’t even know about yourself…

The mystery itself was perfectly satisfactory, and it stands completely alone from the rest of the series so if you’re not caught up you won’t feel like you’re missing anything. But it’s no substitute for full-flavor Flavia, so luckily it’s just a few weeks until the next book comes out!

Weekend Shorts: Rocket Girl and FBP

Woo comics! I had some spare time last week where I needed something to read but didn’t particularly want to start a new book, so I picked up a couple of trades that I had lying around and had a nice time catching up. I’ve actually already read the first three issues of Rocket Girl, so I’m very glad it’s easy to distinguish issues in the trades! Let me know what y’all are reading this weekend in the comments!

Rocket Girl #4, “Nowhere Fast” and #5, “Time Will Tell”
Rocket Girl #4Issue 4 is basically a giant action sequence, as Dayoung tries to outmaneuver the Future Cops who are following her for les-than-well explained reasons. She zooms left and right and up and finally down into the subway, where she and the FCs evade riders and trains until they… can’t, I guess?… and then there’s a big explosion. Meanwhile, the present Quintum Mechanics gang tries to rebuild the machine that Dayoung broke way back at the beginning of all this, though one of the scientists is not thrilled with the idea.

Rocket Girl 5Issue 5 is better, because paradoxes! Certain doubles meet again, for the first time, for the last time, and the future version is like, huh, that’s weird that I don’t remember this. DUN DUN! Meanwhile in the future, the Teen Police Department is disbanded due to time travel antics, and Protocol Joshua (or “J0$#UA_” but seriously, I know what’s up here) is initiated and things are getting curiouser and curiouser. Meanwhile in the present, Dayoung and her new scientist friend are BAMFs and you can’t stop them.

This is one of those series that just asks question after question and never answers a darn one, but I’m just so in love with it (for now, I guess) that it doesn’t matter. I am sooooo intrigued by this story and its paradoxes and and its awesome protagonist. Why did Dayoung have to go back? What would it take to change the future? What would it take to keep it the same? When will we know which one happens? How many more of these 80s outfits am I going to see on people coming into my library in 2014?

Federal Bureau of Physics, Vol. 1
Federal Bureau of PhysicsI had stopped into my comic shop a while back to pick up other comics, but there was a long line so I spent a few minutes wandering the store. This bright pink cover caught my eye, and then the title — yay physics! Sold.

Except that in this book, the conceit is that the physics of the world is broken, to the point of setting up a Federal Bureau of Physics that is similar enough to a fire department as to be available by calling 911. When school kids start playing in an zero-gravity area and your TV show is over before it even started, the FBP is on the case!

I would totally read just that book, but if you’re not quite so nerdy, there’s some intrigue and subterfuge that you might be interested in. Early on in this volume an FBP operation goes wrong due to some unprovable subterfuge, and they end up with huge funding cuts and new competition in the form of private physics insurers, so there’s that to contend with, and also our protagonist has a dead (although my money’s on disappeared) dad whose work has gone missing and also also there’s another agent whose sense of time is… questionable. Intriguing! I will definitely be checking out the second volume in the future.