Daily Archives: 02/12/2012

A Reader Writes…

A cornucopia of reading materials.

As previously noted in a post last week, I went abso-blinking-lutely hatstand whilst on holiday and decided to read like a dervish whilst in Scotland.

Part of this disturbing and wholly regrettable chain of events was down to my participation in Good Reads“50 Books In A Year” challenge and needing to keep pace with the remorseless demands of that near-Herculean task, but much of my enthusiasm for it stems from the realisation that I spent a great amount of my youth reading and very little of my adult life has found time for books.

To me, this seems like a crime and a sad state of affairs best addressed by dipping not a toe but my whole, oversized foot into the cool, clear waters of literature before I end up devoting my waking hours entirely to games, blogging and not watching television (seriously, there’s so much nonsense masquerading as programming latterly that I probably consciously watch five hours of TV a week).

So, to the books.

I first read “Summer Knight” by Jim Butcher, which is the fourth book in his “Dresden Files” series of novels about modern-day wizard/P.I. Harry Dresden.  It was such fun that I promptly hopped on Amazon and bought “Storm Front”, the first Dresden novel and winced only slightly at the long list of Dresden Files novels that I should probably think about catching up on.


Thereafter, I raced through “Allison Hewitt Is Trapped” by Madeleine Roux, which is a very entertaining, page-turning tale of a post-zombie apocalypse journey made by the titular character across a United States beset by the walking mostly dead and human beings who are scarcely any better.  It’s told in blog format – the power/working wireless connection issue is promptly and convincingly dealt with – by a narrator who was a bookseller and now finds herself wielding an axe and trying to keep friends alive in the face of all-consuming horror.

Highly recommended if you enjoyed Mira Grant’s “Feed” or Max Brooks’ “World War Z”.

The only real downer in my reading week was Suzanne Collins’ much ballyhooed young adult dystopian fantasy, “The Hunger Games”, which failed to connect with me on any level.  I disliked the way that Collins went out of her way to riff on the ‘kids-fighting-kids’ plotline of “Battle Royale” and then didn’t have the courage to actually make Katniss Everdeen actually (OMG – SPOILERS!) really kill anybody hands-on (OMG – SPOILERS!) during the titular gladitorial contest.  It’s an unforgivable cheat, really, which reduces the emotionally charged notions at the heart of the plot to an anti-septic, at-arms-length episode of “Total Wipeout” with more dead pre-teens and intermittent fireballs.

That’s without even considering the absurd detour into Doctor Moreau territory which arrives – more or less from nowhere – towards the end of the novel.

Perhaps the film will find a way to fix the shortcomings in the book, but as I won’t be seeing it, you’ll have to advise me if the film makers manage that particular uphill battle.

I dipped into David Wellington’s “13 Bullets” but haven’t really continued with it since the end of last week – it hadn’t done enough to grip me by page 80, which I reached through a sense of duty as much as a desire to continue.  If you like your Vampires in the modern day and feral with it, you might enjoy it but I found it a bit dusty and oddly cliched – essentially like at DTV Steven Seagal flick with a decent budget.  To make up the numbers on my book challenge, I should probably see if it clicks with me a little more, but I have my doubts.

The book that I’m working through now is Charles Stross’ dizzying tale of near-future MMO heists and internet crime, “Halting State”.  Dude has 3,000 ideas a minute and the lion’s share of them are present in this book.  It’s almost guaranteed to blow your mind at least once or twice – Drone Cabs!  VR LARPing! Cops who LifeStream record everything! – and is itching (itching, I tells ye!) to be made into a high-end Channel 4 series or an uber-budget Chris Nolan flick.  I’m enjoying it quite a lot – can you tell?

More books and digressive thoughts thereon to follow – whether you like it or not…

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George Lucas sets the record straight.

Isn’t it good to know that you’ve been wrong all these years?

Somebody who can't shoot for toffee. And Jango Fett.

In an interview over at the Hollywood Reporter to promote this weekend’s 3D re-release of “The Phantom Menace”, visionary CG tinkerer George Lucas informs us once and for all that we collectively imagined the classic moment in “A New Hope” where  Han Solo shot alien bounty hunter Greedo in cold blood (don’t click this YouTube link as there’s nothing there, what with Han Solo not shooting first and everything).

All of these years that we’ve laboured under the misapprehension that crafty space rogue Solo did something morally dubious which made his character interesting and what do you know – it’s all down to the wrong camera angle being used. Or something.  Glad that’s sorted out – I’d hate to think that George’s incessant need to piss about with “Star Wars” had clouded his judgement (the very idea!).

Elsewhere in this Heat Vision blog interview, George offers his thoughts on SOPA, 3D and the fifth Indiana Jones film in a fashion which is almost comprehensible (for somebody who writes professionally, this interview demonstrates that he’s not capable of making a lot of sense in a one to one chat).

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My IMAX is bigger than your IMAX…

Immersive enough for you?

Just as I thought that it was pretty neat that Sheffield would be getting one of those LieMax (NSFW language at link) screens in my local Cineplex – not proper IMAX, but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick – those blessed Australians have only gone and made our soon-come big screen look like an old school portable TV.

Sydney’s IMAX operators have only gone and refurbished what is the world’s biggest IMAX screen – 97 feet tall and 117 feet wide  – with a re-opening date scheduled for 18th February.

Imagine watching the likes of “The Hobbit” or “Avatar 2” in 3D on that puppy – the phrase ‘brain-melting nerdery’ comes to mind.

Why not watch this ZD.Net video on the makeover process and go “Squee!” a few times?



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