Posts Tagged ‘books’

From one curmudgeon to another….

Mon ,02/01/2017

Well stated, sir! :)

America’s perfect curmudgeon runs sweet bookstore, is like totally awesome

candybowl

Get yours yet?

Tue ,22/11/2016

Got mine yesterday – woo hoo!

The Art of Atari

Inside The Art of Atari (pre-release book review)

candybowl

RIP…..

Tue ,30/08/2016

this has been a craptastic year for beloved celebs – RIP, Mr. Wonka…and GOOD DAY, SIR!

Gene Wilder Dies at 83; Star of ‘Willy Wonka’ and ‘Young Frankenstein’

NYT

candybowl

Burned.

Sat ,23/04/2016

(finally) a new Alex Verus book has come out, Burned. And like all the previous ones, I ripped through this once as fast as I could, because these are great books! Continued character development is strong and believable, although I hope Mr. Jacka gives poor Alex a break in the next one (it’s likely another year-long wait, sigh). Anyway, you can read my posts about the previous books, or just get out there and start reading the entire series already!

Other voices linked from here.

candybowl

Metatropolis – great read!

Sun ,04/10/2015

Finished the John Scalzi-edited anthology Metatroplis a few days ago. This is an anthology he started by asking the writers to collaborate around a common theme – the future of cities and the dystopian, unusual or unpredictable forms they may take in the coming decades.

This is a great read – all good stories but to me the jewel (acknowledged by editor Scalzi directly in the comments before it) is the final story – ‘To Hie from Far Cilenia‘ by Karl Schroeder– it takes cyberpunk and effectively ‘overlays’ it on the real world we live in – truly an innovative story and i’d be surprised if elements of it aren’t already happening….I will definitely have to seek out some of that guy’s writing!

Anyway, definitely recommended!

candybowl

The White Whale speaks the truth! :)

Mon ,06/07/2015

SMBC

candybowl

PKD, revisited.

Tue ,14/04/2015

So having had to travel to TX over the past two weeks for work has given me time to read a few books (on the plane and in the hotel). So I revisited a couple PKD books, namely The Man in the High Castle, Radio Free Albemuth and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (upon which Blade Runner was based).

It was interesting, because I haven’t read The Man in the High Castle for many, many years, and was inspired given the recent Amazon-produced trailer of a likely upcoming miniseries based on the book. I have to say, that while the story is good and the research done to create the book was extensive (tells the story of what might have happened had the Germans and Japanese won WWII) – I was left a bit disappointed. The ending just ‘ends’ (to me anyway) and i’m not sure what to make of it. Still, a good read though.

Radio Free Albemuth is another interesting one, because it wasn’t published in Dick’s lifetime, the manuscript only surfaced after he passed away. I had read it originally before Bush became president, and after 9/11 sadly to me, some of its predictions actually came to pass – albeit in a more reduced fashion (and unlike President Fremont in the book – Bush actually LEFT office when his term was up). This book is also different because PKD is an actual character in it – half the book is told from his perspective – half from the other central character’s perspective. Each largely thinks the other is crazy – although both may be partially nuts, it’s hard to tell. The ending is not unlike that of A Scanner Darkly – where there is only a dim hope for the future – but hope nonetheless….

Finally, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. I have only read this book possibly 3 times (vs. the bazillion times i’ve seen Blade Runner). So I knew about but enjoyed rediscovering the several key plot points that are missing from the movie (Mercerism, Buster Friendly, everyone trying to own a real animal but often prevented because of persistent fallout – this is hinted at in the movie but never really talked about) – and chickenheads (william sanderson’s character). But I think the movie is actually somewhat more human and touching than the book, which left me a bit cold this time around. But given that the book repeatedly emphasizes the androids have no feelings (the movie is quite the opposite) I guess that’s no surprise.

It was good to revisit all three but I guess the perspective of time (and ever more sci-books read since) means I just feel differently about them this time around? PKD is still one of my fave sci-fi guys but I guess I’ve moved beyond him a little bit, too?

candybowl

SFF-sff!

Sun ,08/02/2015

Got to go to the third day of the Science Fiction Fantasy and Short Film Festival put on by SIFF every year about this time – very cool! The first bunch were the ‘encore’ best of sci-fi shorts from Saturday (Fri night shows horror shorts); then the second session was ‘best of from the past ten years of the festival, including the winner from the very first one (‘They’re made out of meat‘ – pretty weird).

One of my favorites, ‘The Kirkie’ is linked below but i wasn’t able to find it online. Some other good ones are below the pic – click through and enjoy!

the Kirkie

time travel lover

time freak (may work, may not)

decapoda shock – may work, may not

RPG OKC

wanderers – carl sagan narration

The Man in the High Castle.

Sun ,18/01/2015

So Amazon is trying to get on the ‘online studio/streaming’ bandwagon with a number of new pilots – most of which I haven’t paid attention to, but The Man in the High Castle is of particular interest, given that it’s based on a PKD book, one for which he won the Hugo back in the 60’s.

This the story of an alternate history where the Axis won WWI and divided up the world (specifically the USA for the plot of the book) between them. The story flips between the East Coast (dominated by Nazis), West Coast (run by the Japanese) and a central ‘neutral zone’ (I think it was called the Colorado Free State in the booK).

After some stupid tech issues, I finally got the video to run – the first episode is free, although it does make you log in with your Amazon account. Not sure if they are doing a miniseries (like the initial return of BSG was before it became a full-on series) or trying to extend the original story beyond that of the novel, but it’s an interesting start, and well-made so far. I liked the several Seattle ‘architectural cameos’ in it – nice touch, Bezos – and I liked that the actors aren’t big names – for a series like this, I think that in many ways detracts from the story, especially with an ensemble cast.

Definitely interested to see more – although now I may need to take a spin back through the original book too, as it’s been so long since I read it. Hoping they do this justice like A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report or Blade Runner – and NOT like the recent adaptations of The Hobbit (for which JRR T must be doing backflips in his grave about now) but time will tell….here’s a clip:

candybowl

Lock In.

Sun ,21/12/2014

In the effective winding-up of my recent ‘read all the John Scalzi books‘ quest (I tried Redshirts, but bailed out), I just finished Lock In, and really liked it.

This is a buddy-cop story with a number of interesting twists and nuances. Suffice it to say one is human and as always, the other is something else (modified human but fairly alien at the same time – this character, Chris Shane, is the central protagonist).

I won’t really discuss the plot because it would be easy to spoil it – but per usual with Scalzi, I liked the semi-regular doses of humor and humanity he gives his characters. And I liked the novel’s setup and back story – which I could easily see getting put into several sequels (hint).

Another angle on this book is that often in buddy-cop plots i’ve seen a tendency to have one be the sane one, one be the edgy one – but here, i’d argue there are nuances of each in both main characters. Clearly one is more edgy but it’s not the one you’d think and if there are more books, i’m confident Scalzi will explore this more as to the other. He’s usually not content to just treat things in a ‘Marvel Comics’ way where the super power makes up for or partially covers character flaws to produce a person we can still identify with – there’s more going on here, but it will take definitely more than one book to explore.

The pacing of the book is well done too, Scalzi is able to introduce the detailed backstory without bogging down in expository details for chapters on end (Dune sequels, I’m talking to YOU).

I guess a basic qualifier of a good book to me, anyway, is if I want to read more or hear more stories about these characters. Unlike Kerewin, I’m not as big a ‘cop story’ guy, despite keen interest in Ghost in the Shell and similar – yet here, I definitely want to read more. Bring on the sequels!

candybowl