Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday Threesome - TIME TRAVEL!!!

"You've got to come back with me! the FUTURE!"

 Ever since I was a young child, I've thought it would be amazing to be able to travel back and forth in time!  Who wouldn't want to go back into the murky past...see the Beatles live in the Gettysburg address...go to Woodstock!  Oh and maybe visit Nazi Germany and kick Hitler in the head.

For that matter, who wouldn't want to know what the year 3000 might look like?  Will the world finally be at peace?  When is the next Ice Age?  Will the Toronto Maple Leafs ever win the Stanley Cup? (2017 baby!)

So without further ado, (and after the JUMP!) here are my top 3 methods of Time Travel!  Just please, try not to negate all existence....

Book Review: Grave Descend by John Lange (pen name of Michael Crichton)

I was a freak of nature of sorts growing up. I learned how to read before I was three years old, and I was reading books for "adults" by the time I hit third or fourth grade. While the first true "adult" book I read was The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, the first mainstream adult fiction I read was actually Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park. Right around when the movie came out, I became a full-on Crichton addict, tearing through pretty much everything he had under his name (yes, that included fourth grade me reading Disclosure and learning much more about sexual harassment than I needed to). I'm not sure if I ended up liking The Andromeda Strain or Sphere more when it was all said and done, but there was a fair amount of time where I would have considered Crichton my favorite author.

Crichton passed away a few years ago, and Titan Books is re-releasing a number of his pulpy adventure novels he wrote under the pen name John Lange as part of their Hard Case Crime imprint. Titan was kind enough to send us four of the new re-releases (of which you can find more information here, and beyond the jump you can read some of my thoughts on one of the novels, Grave Descend.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Elementary Season 1 Review

When it was announced that the US were going to do a take on Sherlock Holmes so close to the release and success of the BBC's new English Sherlock series I was highly sceptical. I really love the BBC's Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freedman had done such a great job creating modernised versions of Sherlock and Watson that I was sure that the US version would be recreating something that was already being done. My fears were not alleviated when I heard that the writers/producers of this new show had approached Steven Moffat (of the UK series) and asked to copy the first few episodes. Moffat said no and the project left a bad taste in my mouth.

Then the casting for Elementary was revealed; Jonny Lee Miller would be playing Sherlock and in a gender bend Lucy Liu would take on Watson. I had recently seen the encore of Frankenstein live at the National Theatre in which Lee Millar and Cumberbatch were swapping the roles of the Creature and Victor Frankenstein. This seemed like a ploy; why were they casting the actor who had so recently shared a lead role with the very man who was playing the same character in the BBC version? Then there was the gender bend. Was this going to be played for novelty value or was this going to be a well-developed character that wouldn't simply swoon and pander to Sherlock's every wish providing a love interest rather than a friend, investigative mind and confidant? Lucy Liu is a formidable actress so while I thought she would be an amazing female lead, an actor is only as good as the writing and script are.

I decided to wait until people told me whether or not it was any good before potentially investing. I was told in the beginning that it was like Castle, which again served to put me off. Castle is good and everything, but I didn't want another simple buddy cop show with Lucy Liu playing a love interest the way that Beckett and Castle's relationship has dragged out for seasons. It's what put me off Castle.

After season one I was assured that not only was that not the case for Watson and Sherlock's relationship, but both Liu and Lee Miller were nailing the roles and recreating them as their own. I decided to give it a go and I have to say it is fantastic!

Follow me under the cut for a look at the first season of Elementary.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DC Comics New 52 - Stryder's Weekly Top 5

Hi everybody!  Another October has come and gone and Winter is (at least here in Canada) oh-most-DEFINITELY coming!  But before busting out our parkas and toques again, let's take a look at the last few comics released in October...specifically on October 30, 2013:

NEW! Damian : Son of Batman #1 (of 4) - "Death had embraced me yet again."

This week, artist extraordinaire Andy Kubert brings us this "possible future" story of Damian Wayne, son of Batman.  While Damian is dead in current continuity, there have been some pretty strong hints that there will be a resurrection in his future.  This book shows him alive and well as a teenager/young adult, working with Batman "some years from now".
Of course, despite being branded "The New 52!" right on the cover, this book is very clearly set in the pre-Flashpoint DCU.  Costumes, events and characters within all resemble their older universe counterparts far more than any New 52 version.  Not only that, but the only events referenced are from 2006's Batman and Son (also drawn by Kubert, written of course by Damian creator Grant Morrison).

So is the book good?  I love the artwork and am into the plot so far!  Some of the dialogue is a little off, but hey it's only Andy Kubert's second comic as a writer as well as an artist.  I can forgive some awkward lines!  So yeah I like the comic and recommend it to Damian fans, with the caveat that if you are only familiar with the New 52, you're bound to be a little lost.  That's ok.  Just sit back and enjoy the ride!

OK I almost shouldn't include that one as it's only nominally "New 52" but we'll look at some titles that most definitely ARE in continuity...right after the JUMP!

The Dresden Readthrough: Grave Peril

EDIT: Apologies for this not posting on Tuesday as intended. Blogger kept this in draft form overnight.

We continue our readthrough of Jim Butcher's uber-popular urban fantasy series The Dresden Files today with book three, Grave Peril. The continuing plan is to do a book a month on the first Tuesday of each month, and with 15 books on the publication schedule between now and when our readthrough is over, and perhaps our timing being good enough for the 16th, our reading list should be pretty full for the foreseeable future.

As for Grave Peril, the short answer is that I ain't afraid of no ghost.

Little Favour Review (both with and without spoilers)

 "It’s been 7 years since [WALLACE, played by Benedict Cumberbatch] left Her Majesty’s service and 10 years since the American counter-part who became his friend, saved his life on a joint mission in Iraq. He’s migrated his skill set into a lucrative business while managing to keep his secret battle with PTSD under wraps. One day, while finally deciding to try his hand at a functional relationship, his old friend JAMES cashes in his chip and asks a LITTLE FAVOUR. How could he refuse when he owes the man his life?"

Released on iTunes today is Little Favour, a short film that I have been following with interest since early this year when the project went up on Indiegogo where it raised around four times its original goal of £25,000 in 12 days. Mostly my curiosity was piqued by the involvement of Benedict Cumberbatch who is possibly one of the most in demand actors out there right now, so for him to be involved in a small independent project like this, it must be something fairly significant.

The Book Was Better Podcast Episode 67: Thor (with guest host Jacinta!)

This week we charge our eight-legged mythological steed right into the mighty nutsack of the Thor Junior Novelization! Who is worthy enough to wield the scorn-hammer with me? Why it's my good friend and guest host Jacinta! And I swear, Loki must have been playing tricks on us because at least half of this story is missing! Find out what went wrong by ramming it in your ears!

You can download it right now from the official site!

Or why not subscribe to us on iTunes, or join the discussion in our friendly Facebook group!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Review: Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson

A lot of times, we read science fiction for the escapism aspect or the cool futurist ideas, or even just as a reflection on current society. It's a much more simple exchange for me, where I enjoy science fiction more for the ideas and worldbuilding than I do for a specific message. When a book that has something to say comes along while also filling in a lot of those gaps for me, all the better. Robert Charles Wilson is probably best known for his modern sci-fi classic Spin, but I became a big fan following his alternate history/science fiction end-of-oil society mashup Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America from a few years ago. Seeing that Burning Paradise was coming soon, I looked forward to reading it. The book spends a lot of time on communications, but it actually feels more analogous to what we know so far about the upcoming Almost Human television show.

Horse-vengers 2013

Owww-eee, it's Melbourne Cup time again! On the first Tuesday in November the nation stops for several minutes to watch 24 horsies gallop around a track. It's the day that people who don't normally bet will have a little bit of a flutter. But who to pick? Why, your favourite Avenger, of course!

If you checked out my Horse-vengers post last year, you will have seen that 'Hawkeye' came in second. Unfortunately, I decided to not include Loki last year, and the horse I'd otherwise planned to assign to the God of Mischief ended up winning. Looookkkiiiiiiiii! *shakes fist* I have not made that same mistake this year. Join me under the cut to check out Earth's Mightiest Horseflesh.

FPcast! The Fruitless Pursuits Podcast for November 4th! The Thor 2 Review!

This week we painstakingly pull apart Thor 2: Thor The Dark World in both a spoiler-free intro, and a special spoiler-packed discussion at the end of the show! Plus X-Men Days of Future Past, The Lego Movie, Star Wars bloopers, Hearthstone and MORE! This is a long one and someone on the show may have had too much mead, so mentally prepare for this one!

Download here! (Click to stream or right-click to save)