Book Review: The Adjacent by Christopher Priest

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

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The Adjacent is the latest work from novelist Christopher Priest; it’s a puzzling and frustrating read that leaves a lot for up to the reader to interpret.  It’s also a great read as it approaches a lot of the themes Priest has worked with in the past.  If you have read The Prestige (or seen the movie adaptation by Christopher Nolan), you can expect the master of misdirection to have you turning pages as fast as you can.  The Adjacent isn’t an easy read, you will have to pay attention to take in and consider the non-linear story.

adjacentTibor Tarent, a freelance photographer, is recalled from Anatolia to an alternative, near future Islamic Republic Great Britain (IRGB) where his wife has been killed by insurgent militia. IRGB is a nation living in the aftermath of a bizarre and terrifying terrorist atrocity – hundreds of thousands were wiped out when a vast triangle of west London was instantly annihilated. The authorities think the terrorist attack and the death of Tarent’s wife are somehow connected. A century earlier, a stage magician is sent to the Western Front on a secret mission to render British reconnaissance aircraft invisible to the enemy. On his journey to the trenches he meets the visionary who believes that this will be the war to end all wars. In 1943, a woman pilot from Poland tells a young RAF technician of her escape from the Nazis, and her desperate need to return home. In the present day, a theoretical physicist stands in his English garden and creates the first adjacency.

We move between three time periods and meet many characters including HG Wells (Priest is Vice-President of the H. G. Wells Society).  I learned about WWII aircraft like the Lancaster Bomber and Spitfire. The transition between periods isn’t obtrusive; it’s structured in such a way that it just clicks for the reader.  Climate change (or global warming some still call it) is depicted wonderfully here in the near-future Great Britain.  Reading about the attack on London and the new Islamic rule is interesting fantasy.

It’s a great story for those who love non-linear novels and alternative dimensions.  Nothing is at it seems, fantasy meets fiction, and everyone you meet and everywhere you go is questioned.  If you can make sense of it all, this is going to entertain you a whole lot.

Read Titan Books’ great interview with author Christopher Priest.

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Book Review: Noah: Ila’s Story

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

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Our latest book review courtesy of Titan Books is Ila’s Story a young adult novel, written by Susan Korman, and based on the screenplay for the film Noah.  I reviewed the Noah novelization last week [read it here], which did include Emma Watson’s character from the film, Ila, Noah’s daughter-in-law and Shem’s wife but like the movie left much to be desired with a backstory.

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Note: May contain spoilers – Ila’s Story is told from her point of view and shares the events not shown in the film where her home and family are attacked and she’s eventually found by Noah and his family.  As time passes she eventually marries Noah’s son, Shem.  If you have seen the movie then you know that Ilsa cannot have children, there is a surrounding army that wants to come onto the ark, the animals arrive in droves and eventually there’s a great flood – so it’s easy to say there is a lot more action than the Bible story.

Watching the movie and reading the books, I never found Ilsa’s character likable.  She’s essentially a conflict bringing trials and tribulation to herself and those around her.  Korman has a lot more emotional traits to give Ilsa in this short read than I found in the previous Noah book.  If you want to read a story related to the Noah film I can recommend this.  It’s a very short novel that does do a great job detailing the world our characters live in.  It’s an easy read for young adults and I suppose if you have to have every book Emma Watson’s nice face is on, here’s another one for you.

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Book Review: ALIEN

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

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Since its release in May 1979 Alien has garnered iconic status, reaping critical acclaim as well as box office success, and this May marks its much-celebrated 35th anniversary.  Titan Books has re-released Alien, Alan Dean Foster’s long out-of-print adaptation, considered one of the defining novelizations ever written and we received a copy to review.

There is a reason Alien has been praised as the finest movie novelization ever written, it’s likely true.  Admittedly, I haven’t read every movie novelization, but from the many I have I can tell you they are often hack jobs.  Here we have a classic title that lends itself to a classic movie, a rare feat in storytelling.  For completionists like me, this makes a great addition to the shelves.

alien-novelIf you’re reading this then you likely know the story of Alien, if you don’t, then what are you waiting for?  The book is faithful the movie and goes into great detail which may be a bore for some (for the first thirsty pages or so).  They set up the scenes including details like technical aspects of landing, planning the course, and positioning.  The scene where they find the chamber is still scary as hell among other scenes which may actually be more intense in print then on screen.  Ridley comes off as less likable in this version, arrogant is an understatement.  So that may change the way you view the movie afterwards too, Dallas will forever be likable though.

What is wish was included was a better description of the alien.  It’s very vague which is surprising considering the detail they put into relatively small stuff.  We get detail about the egg and some theories thrown out by the crew.  Adult alien makes its appearance and it’s all up to you to decide, maybe that was the point?

Fans should read this knowing it doesn’t add any missing moments or further, but it’s still a great read that will scare you.  Now it’s time to re-watch the movie.

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Book Review: Noah – The Official Movie Novelization

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

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Mark Morris has written tie-in novels for Hellboy, Spartacus, Doctor Who and Torchwood, and novelizations for Vampire Circus and the game Dead Island.  Titan Books recently released Noah: The Official Movie Novelization, here is my review.

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I haven’t seen the movie yet, which I anticipate will be worth a viewing.  I don’t believe that the tale of Noah is anything more than that, a tale.; though I will be reviewing the book much like I read other books and watch other movies – without prejudice.  Like most people I am familiar with the story of Noah. It’s just one of those stories I remember finding interesting when I was a child.  This retelling is definitely more interesting, and exciting as far as action and fiction goes.

The interesting part in this adaptation, and perhaps it’s the same in the movie is that Noah’s actions are based on his own interpretations of his visions.  I didn’t get the sense of “And God said unto him…” so I can see why a lot of faith based readers and viewers would get offended, but again, if you go into a movie or book with an open mind and want to be entertained for a few hours, you’ll enjoy it a lot more.  Just because you’re offended, doesn’t mean you’re right.

If you enjoyed the movie, you will enjoy the book.  It’s an easy read and comes of as more of an action tale than a take on the Noah story from the Bible.  The hype and criticism surrounding this film seems unwarranted, but many people don’t see this story as fantasy and rather a historical occurrence.  How will you see the movie or read the book?

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Book Review: Grimm – Below the Surface

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

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Grimm: Below the Surface is a comprehensive guide that delves into the depths of the show, so if you’re a fan, you’re set.  It covers the names and habits of the Wesen from early in the series and it goes into the mind of most if not all notable characters.  There’s a lot to find here among the nice pictures that cover both episodes and behind the scenes production.  It covers all you’ll need to know about your favorite hero or villain from the show too, no bias worries there.

grimm-novelThere are a lot of insight from the entire crew, special effects team, and the show frontrunners.  Pages from Aunt Marie’s “Casebook”  are included about various Wesen – and a chapter about Grimms.  Interviews with the show’s producers, creature designers, makeup and hair artists, visual special effects (VFX) specialists, costume designers, casting director, stunt coordinator, prop master, and the writing team; interviews with David Giuntoli, Silas Weir Mitchell, Bitsie Tulloch, Russell Hornsby, Bree Turner, Sasha Roiz, Claire Coffee, and Reggie Lee; and summaries of every episode in Seasons 1 and 2.

The details found in the 176 pages are sure to make any fan of the show happy.

But it today! Amazon.comAmazon.ca

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Book Review: No Hero

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

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Arthur Wallace is an officer for the Oxford police department. He’s a good cop, but he doesn’t see the kind of action you see on the big screen. That romanticized concept of police work is one that Arthur thinks on regularly. Soon Arthur’s world is turned on it’s head when he is contacted by a secretive government agency to help stop the threat of a trans-dimensional species!

No HeroAction packed from start to finish, No Hero takes the traditional action concept and mixes in supernatural horror. Whereas much of today’s content is designed to be gritty and realistic No Hero takes a queue from some of the 1990′s action movies it references. Arthur asks the question, “What would Kurt Russell do?”. Well Kurt Russell never had to deal with giant electricity powered two faced alien monsters! This isn’t Goldie Hawn getting amnesia we’re talking about. Alright that reference was totally unnecessary.

No Hero was so successful  it spawned two more books in the series. Well what are you waiting for? No Hero is available for purchase at major retailers and was released by Titan Books in the UK on March 11, 2014.

Buy it today! Amazon.comAmazon.ca

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A Quick Peak into the World of a Divergent

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

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I say quick peak, because that’s exactly what it felt like. Divergent, which clocks in at a running time of 143 minutes, actually flew by and considering I had more scrutiny going into the theatre than I had coming out, I would argue that I enjoyed the film more than I initially gave it credit for.

Most of the casting qualms I had had since their early announcements were dissolved or easily ignored after the film started, but one was a harder pill to swallow simply because of all the liberties that needed to be taken to make sure her role was one of screen-time. I mean, you get Kate Winslet on your roster, you use her. I get it. With that being said, overall, the adaptation from a piece-by-piece basis from the book was pretty seamless on the surface.
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Book Review: Grimm – The Chopping Block

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

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“The Chopping Block” is the second book in the Grimm novel series based on the TV series, we have been sent a copy from Titan Books to review.

There is a lot to say about a book that can draw my attention without me having watched an episode of the series it’s based on, this isn’t one of those books.  Granted, if you’re a fan of the series you’ll probably like this book because you’ll want to after spending time on it.  I can’t tell you that the author managed to capture the personality of each individual character and hold onto the shows formula and tone.  This novel is an original story, set between episodes:

When a pile of bones is discovered in a Portland forest, severed and stripped of flesh, homicide detectives Nick Burkhardt and Hank Griffin quickly rule out an animal attack, but suspect the killer is something other than human. Soon more skeletal remains are unearthed, and tests reveal that the bones were cooked before burial. As the body count increases, Nick, Hank, and reformed Blutbad Monroe must track down a Wesen with a taste for human meat, before the killer can butcher their next meal…

I can say this: it came out at a good time for Grimm fans, during the grimm-2Olympics hiatus.  The story itself is entertaining enough that people who like gory reads will get a kick out of it.  Grimm is apparently one of those TV series what can have books released placed between episodes, I don’t know what that says for viewers of the show – do the writers just churns out these scripts like it’s an episode of Law & Order?  Is there an end in sight and character development and conflict resolution here?

Grimm: The Chopping Block is an entertaining read for Grimm fans, It would be an advantage for me to have seen an episode of Grimm of course, but it’s still possible to understand what is going on and to not feel lost; it’s a fast and easy read.

Grimm: The Chopping Block by John Passarella is released in the UK on February 28th courtesy of Titan Books.

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The X-Files Rewatch Wrapup

Friday, February 28th, 2014

The X-Files Season 9

I started this rewatch with one purpose, to find out if this final season was as bad as I remembered.  The X-Files had enjoyed a fairly sizable audience for most of its run, but fan’s jumped ship in droves during the airing of this final season.  Was it simply because of X-Files fatigue?  Had the show gone on too long?  Was Mulder that big of a draw that the show couldn’t thrive without him?

After watching the nineteen episodes that make up season nine…I might have an answer.  Continue reading to find out more, see the complete scoreboard for season nine, and the final score for the season on a whole.

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The X-Files Rewatch – THE TRUTH

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

19 - The Truth

This is it, the series finale of The X-Files.  This show has had the greatest mysteries, the most disturbing monsters, and the best characters of any show I’ve ever watched.  Without a doubt it’s a classic and will certainly be remembered for years and years and years.  Over the course of nine years the show has built up quite a lot of unanswered questions about the mythology, would this finale answer them all or leave us hanging once again?

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