Review: Heroes and Legends: The most influential characters of literature

Heroes and Legends: The most influential characters of literature
Heroes and Legends: The most influential characters of literature by Thomas A. Shippey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the things I like about The Great Courses series is the lectures are all 30 minutes or so, which makes them easily digestible. I have several of the courses (or others like them) in my library and they're great for picking up bits of knowledge between listening to full books. My latest scholarly endeavor then is Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature as presented by Professor Thomas A. Shippey Continue reading “Review: Heroes and Legends: The most influential characters of literature”

Review: Kingsman – The Secret Service

From the opening scene onwards, there is almost no way to not understand this film is a love letter to the spy/thriller films of the 80s and 90s. And if you still don’t get that by the end of the film, you should have your License to (watch) Film revoked. There is just as much nostalgia here as there was in last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, if a little more bloodshed.

Turns out Kingsman is a bespoke tailor shop fronting an incredibly well funded gentleman spy outfit, kept purposefully small so they can forego government intervention and just get to the job at hand – namely saving the world.

Continue reading “Review: Kingsman – The Secret Service”

Book Collecting

My local library

So it appears I’ve become a book collector.

To be clear, I’ve always been a book accumulator. There’s never been a time in my life when I didn’t have shelves and shelves of books at my disposal. I learned to read in kindergarten in Albuquerque (a classroom of one, I had progressive parents) and was reading well beyond my age from the beginning. Continue reading “Book Collecting”

Review: The Storyteller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like a finely braided challah (the bread baked for the Jewish sabbath), Jodi Picoult weaves an intricate tale of redemption and forgiveness, identity and masks, and relationships of all sorts. And she does it all with a certain lightness, never getting heavy handed with her subject matter, the Holocaust, although it could easily slip into melodrama territory.

Continue reading “Review: The Storyteller”

Review: Jupiter Ascending

jupiter-ascending-posterI admit it. I walked into the theatre completely biased. I was not expecting to like this film. Honestly, I haven’t really liked a Wachowski (Andy and Lana) film since the first Matrix film and I still think their best film is Bound. I think their visual style is impressive though, even if I don’t like their story-telling (In this respect, I feel about them the same way I feel about Tim Burton). So it was with low hopes I went to see Jupiter Ascending, a science fiction story about reconstituted genetic sequences, lost heirs and a dog (there’s always got to be a dog).  Continue reading “Review: Jupiter Ascending”

Review: Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf

Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf
Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf by Terry Newman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Former guard turned PI Nicely Strongoak is a dwarf in an elf’s world. Okay, not just elves. There’s also imps, ogres, tree folk, goblins, humans and various other high fantasy book mainstays. As the book opens, Nicely gets involved in a case whereby the ex-boyfriend of a girl who works down the hall from his office has gone missing. And a high class dame from the right side of the tracks comes downtown to hire Nicely to recover a stolen ring. Then there’s the surf elves (like surf nazis but with pointed ears – no seriously) and exiled royalty and it all culminates with an elf in the passenger seat of Strongoak’s vehicle who happens to have an ax buried deep in his skull (The “Dead Elf” of the title). Continue reading “Review: Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf”

Review: Theory of Everything

The-Theory-of-Everything-Poster-2Since it’s release stateside I’ve been hearing good and bad about The Theory of Everything, the biopic about cosmologist Stephen Hawking. The conversations about the film increased when the Academy Award nominations were announced and the film took several spots, including a nod for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Music and two for the lead actors, Felicity Jones for portraying Hawking’s put upon wife, Jane, and Eddie Redmayne for playing Hawking himself.  Continue reading “Review: Theory of Everything”

That felt good!

2014-08-03 11.46.27For the first time in about 4 years, I finished a piece of short fiction which doesn’t have a definitive market or deadline. This one was just for me. It deals with Lithuanian mythology and cultural bits, something else I’ve attempted a few times but never got further than a couple paragraphs in. The first draft clocked in at just over 6800 words and while I don’t know if it’s any good, I do know it’s finished. At least this iteration of it is.

It feels good to be writing every day again. It feels great to have accomplished my goal of finishing new fiction this year. One or two more short pieces and then I think I’ll be ready to once again take on a novel. We’ll see.

Review: Kindred

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Incredibly powerful piece. Seriously. Octavia Butler has crafted an amazing novel which is nominally science fiction but at the same time is a historical drama as well as a slave narrative.

Written in 1976, the story follows an African American woman named Dana who has just celebrated her 27th birthday and has moved into a new house with her white husband Kevin. Then the weird stuff happens.  Continue reading “Review: Kindred”

Review: Jodorowsky’s Dune

Jodorowsky’s Dune is billed as “The Greatest Film Never Made” and this film of the same title, which documents the first, makes a pretty good case for this statement to be true. The general conceit is that in the mid-70s, hot off another success of a cult film, producer Michel Seydoux offered to produce anything director Alejandro Jodorowsky wanted to do. Jodorowsky blurted out Dune, Frank Herbert’s seminal, award-winning novel.

Now, Dune had never been an easy sell. After it had been serialized in Analog no publisher wanted to touch it as a full novel. Finally, in 1965 Chilton (best known for publishing auto repair manuals) finally brought the book to the mainstream where it won all the awards and has gone on to be one of the most popular science fiction novels of all time.  Continue reading “Review: Jodorowsky’s Dune”

DAVID • Speak: Pet Sounds

David Feb 15DAVID • Speak: Pet Sounds

It’s February, so this month’s issue of David is all about relationships. And while I tend to be fairly private about my relationships in general, there is one I have absolutely no problem talking about.

And that’s just what I’ve done this month for the magazine. So here’s a story about me and my best four-legged friend, Laika Wonderdog!

Love that pain-in-the-ass pup!