Mi cro Rev iew s
Beauty by Sherri Tepper (Reader's
Group Choice) - Sleeping Beauty is the focal point for all of our
myths. She crosses through time and becomes the ancestor for
Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. She goes to the realm
of faerie and hell. Its has its moments but it a bit of mess.
The tone is very pessimistic. I also think its unfair to
stick horror writers in
The Hound of the Baskerville's (TV Movie) - A
decent rendition of the Sherlock Holmes classic. The CGI hound was OK.
Real good filming the location. The moor itself was a
character. Makes me want to review the other versions.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (Theatrical Movie) -
For some perverse reason I want to believe this is true. Good
combo of biopic and spy film. Everyone is great. Sam Rockwell was
especially good as Chuck Barris. I really enjoyed this stuff.
The Depths of Time by Robert MacBride Allen (Reader's Group Choice) - Capatin Anton
Koffield made a tough decesion. As a result he became a pariah.
In order to protect the time stream Koffield closed a
wormhole and thus cut off a world from the interstellar continuity.
In the process he strands his crew in the future. Some time
later Koffield is sent on a mission. The ship he is on is
sabatoged. Koffield is stranded in the future again. Koffield
tries to slavage the mission and attempts to help the planet Solace
which is suffering a catastrophic environmental crisis. There are
some interesting bits here . Like how interstellar travel works in this
universe. The answer to the mystery is obvious although there is
a twist. Might read the sequels.
Reign:The Conqueror (TV
mini-series) - A interesting take on life of Alexander the Great.
Peter Chung (Aeon Flux) did the character design.
Its interesting but there are parts where I was scratching my
Daredevil (Theatrical Movie) - Cliffnote's
version of 35 years of Daredevil. It works. I only
wish they could have stuck in the Stick, as his blind sensei. Love the
funeral scene. All the actors get the characters right.
Cannot wait for sequels and an Elektra spin-off.
Technogenesis by Syne Mitchell (Reader's Group Choice) -
In the near future the Net dominates all aspects of life. Jasmine
Reese, a data miner, is cut off from the Net due to equipment
malfunction. She notices how more acute her faculties are away
from the Net. Jasmine also sees how actions of the connected seem
eerily coordinated. This leds Jasmine into a conflict. Something
is in the Net. Something some
people want to protect and some want to destroy. This combines
idea of living being in the Net with the idea that being interconnected
benefit humainity. All sides are presented. Jasmine has to make
choices. The final solution is a good compromise between the two
camps in this book.
The Lone Ranger (TV Movie) - This a perfect example
of direspect for the source material. The change the
Ranger's name form Dan Reid to Luke Hartmann for no good reason.
The inclusion of modern music seems out of place (particularly
the techno version of "William Tell Overture". I really hope this does
not make a series from this.
Slant by Greg Bear - In the mid 21st century great social
technological progress has been made. Nanotechnolgy and
have been perfected. Yet is there something sinister lurking in
ideal world? There seems to be a wave of mass hsyteria. The
suicide of a powerful magnate sets events in motion. Mary Choy's
leads to a conspiracy of monstrous proportions. Bear return us to
introduced in Queen of Angels. It is an incredibly
future. The idea of therapy being treated as critcal field of study
Bear is able to take three independent storylines and have them meet
the force of dynamite.
Crota by Owl Goingback - In Logan, MO an ancient
powerful force has been released. A creature once banished by the
the local Native Americans has returned. When conventional means to
stop this menace prove ineffective, Sheriff Skip Harding relies
on Jay Little Hawk to guide him through this crisis. A
classic monster tale. Parts of it leave you on the edge of your
seat. A scary read.
The Big Heat (Theatrical Movie) - A very intense
little film. Interesting characters. Interesting to to see
how things have changed in 50 years. Still one sees why Fritz
is one of the great directors of all time.
Children of Dune (Mini Series) - It may be diffcult for
the uninitiated. Very faithful to the novels. Good design.
Seeing this makes me think it may possible to do the latter
novels which were
Illegal Alien by Robert Sawyer (Readers' Group Choice)
- Humanity makes first contact with a race called the Tosoks.
A delegation arrive on Earth to get materials to repair
A human member of the Tosoks entourage is killed. The Tosok
Hasker is charged with the murder. Civil rights attorney Dale Rice is
to defend Hasker. A interesting combination of a first contact
and court thriller. Sawyer has woven a complex mystery.
are some great twists in the story. Thrown are some interesting
on the American judical system.
Rurouni Kenshin (TV Series) - Another great anime
brought to American TV. The characters particulary Kenshin are
interesting. The only thing that bothers me is some of Kenshin's
speech pattern. A true representation of his speeche or
Riverworld (TV Movie) - Philip Jose Farmer's world
is faithfully recreated in this movie. The plot is engaging but
it feels incomplete. This was to be a pilot for a Riverworld
Rumor has it that it may not be picked up as a series. This
would a pity. The movie set up what could have been an
Guardian By Joe Haldeman - Rosa Coleman (aka Rosa
Tolliver) escapes with her son from an abusive husband in the
late 19th century. She journey to the west and later to Alaska to
escape him. Along her journey she helped by a raven. What
first seems to be an ordinary tale becomes a story which takes one to
ends of the universe. The story shows how small choices can
change the future of the world. Rosa has joined the panthenon of
formidable women in science fiction.
Trigun (TV Series) - Another attempt to do a Western in
a SF setting. This one works. I like the idea of a
character trying to escape chaos but keeps being drawn to it.
There is a great supporting cast especially Millie.
Witch World by Andre Norton - Simon Tregarth was
on the run from dangerous individuals. He escapes into another
world. A world where sorcery and science co exist. Tregarth
finds himself in the middle of another conflict. Good plot.
Interesting combination of science and fantasy. One can see
how a series spawned from this.
Cerulean Sins by Laurell K. Hamilton - A
serial murderer is on the loose in St. Louis. At the same time a
powerful vampire from Europe has arrived unexpectdly. Now a Federal
Marshall Anita Blake must deal with both these problems. As usual
the problems are coming in fast and furious. Anita as
always tries to make the best decesions to keep everyone in her circle
alive. The book is a little
bit uneven. Focusing more on the vampire politics and Anita's new
while the serial killer storyline is dealt with quickly. Still
series continues to be engaging.
Napoleon (Mini Series) - The acting and production looked
good. Weak in that area of history, so I do not know how accurate
it was. Interesting to see Napolean as a person.
The Scar by China Mieville (Hugo Nominee) - Bellis
Codwine leaves New Corbuzon by ship at the end of Perdido Street
Station. Her ship is attacked by the forces of the
Armada. The Armada is a floating city made up of captured vessels
and people. To some
life on the Armada is liberting. For other like Bellis it is a
Bellis is lead into intrigues which in turn takes one to some of
most unusual places in this world. Mieville continues to dazzle
reader with this world. Characters are well developed. All of
represent all the levels of Armada society. Good plot
Another excursion in this world could be fun.
Cowboy Bebop:Knocking on Heavens Door (Theatrical Film)
- Great to see the guys on the big screen. The cast
is used well. The plot is intense. The film retains the
humor and style the show had yet doing something bigger. Would be
nice to see another film.
Lagaan (VideoTape) - Beuatifully shot. Show
some themes are universal. Its is a sport film from the east.
The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson (Hugo
Nominee) - In this alternative earth, Europe lost 90% of its population
to the plague. As a result China, India and Islamic states rose
to power. China disocovered America or Yingzhou, the ocean
contininets. The book examines this world for ten generations.
It is a fascinating world. It is not perfect but there are
some improvement to our world. Its fascinating to follow the
progress of this world from the middle ages to the prsent day.
This is the most ambitious of this years Hugo nominees.
see a another world view.
Bones of the Earth by Michael Swanwick (Hugo Nominee) -
Time travel has been discovered. Its primary use is to explore
the time of
dinosaurs. One team of researchers get stranded in the distant
past. In the present, in order to help this team the rules of
time travel must be violated. This novel has multiple
personalities. The book
wants to be time travel novel dealing with causality and at the same it
to do Hunt for a Dinosaur for the 21 st century.
not make sense that time travelers from the near future would come back
interact with present. I did not see it being practical.
does have some nice bits. Like how the researchers learn how to
together and survive the past.
Matrix Reloaded (Theatrical Movie) - Its interesting.
I like the parts with Persephone and Merovingian.
Some of the pther parts leave your head scratching. The
action sequences are good. cannot
wait for the conclusion. Really want to know what is the deal
Hominids by Robert Sawyer (Hugo Nominee) - In
another alternate world, Neanderthals became the dominate species.
Neanderthal scientist, Ponter Boddit gets sent to our world as
result of experiment going haywire.
He arrives in a Canadian research facility. Ponter is
the scientists to deal with his new situation. Ponter's research
social partner, Adikor Huld finds himself accused of murdering Ponter.
Adikor cannot prove his innocence, he and his immediate family members
castrated. The characterization is great. The Neanderthals
off as believable aliens. The humans are also well fleshed out.
is part of a trilogy. It will be interesting to see more
between humans and Neanderthals.
Zulu Heart by Steven Barnes - This takes place a
few years after The Lion's Blood. There are
tensions between the Egyptians and Abyssians in Balalistan (America)
and abroad. Kai makes offer to Aidan to find his sister. In
exchange Aidan must get a decoding device for Kai. Aidan must
also go back to being a slave to accomplish his his goal. At the
same time Kai has to deal with a second wife and trying to help his
people's political position. Its great to come back to this interesting
world where Africa is the dominant continent. The
political/military situation is fascinating. Interesting
abound. Great to see more Bubante, Kai's teacher and general wise man
the novels. There so much going on here in this world we need
to tell the story.
Finding Nemo (Theatrical Film) - Pixar still rules.
The beautiful art, story, and character are realized again.
It confirms my theory of what fish go through in a tank. I
also like the fact there are no real villians in this one.
by Frank Hebert (Reader's Group Choice) - Orginally read this
before the Lynch movie came out. It has aged well. None of it
seems dated. Interesting the things I did and did not
remember. I forgot about Feyd attempt to kill the
Baron. It is one of the classics.
(DVD) - Interesting expansion on the Matrix universe. The only
story I had a problem with was "The Second Renaissance". What
bothered me is that we could convince ourselves that blotting out the
sun would be a good thing. Really liked "World Record","Kid's
Story:" and "A Detective Story". They were nice personal tales.
The images in the "Program" were great. It was great for the
creators to let others play in the Matrix.
(Theatrical Film) - This is a good film. The Hulk
is up on the screen. I think the set up was needed and it pays
off. I like the fact that Ang Lee used some of Peter David's
psychological stuff. We see classic Hulk duking it out with the
U.S. Army. The cast was all top notch. Hopefully we will
get a sequel with the Leader.
Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
- It is Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. He is being
harassed. The powers that be do not want to believe Voldermot is
alive. Harry and Dumbledore are being discredited.
Mrs. Umbridge is sent to Hogwarts to see the Ministry of Magic
educational decrees are enforced. Harry is under pressure and
loses his temper on a few occasions. Harsh Lessons are leanred
along the way. There is a lot of growth in this book
for most of the charcaters. Teenagers behave like teenagers
here. My only complaint is that we have to wait till the next
book to how Harry did on his OWLs (Ordinary Wizarding Levels).
Caesar (Mini Series) - Not the play but a
straight bio pic of the legendary Roman. Caesar is very well
developed. The play shows as a man and what drives him. He
is fallibale. Great cast and design. Great to see Richard
Harris one last time. Another winner from TNT.
Big O (TV Series) - I like this noirish
anime. The bits with Dororthy are great. I also like
Datsun. I like the one good cop in a corrupt city. Its great
Cartoon Network sponsored more episodes to tie up the loose ends. We
may will find the truth of Paradigm City.
3 - The Rise of the Machines (Theatrical Film) - A mixed
bag. The story is OK and completes a cycle. Still I
do not like a central message of the movie that we are trapped by
fate. Effects were cool although some of the car chases were over
the top. Still it would be interesting to see Conner as grwon up
Unmasked (TV Documentary) - Excellent. Science
fiction needs this type of documentary. Two nit picks. One
there should have been a more detailed mention of the independent boom
of the 80s. All they talked about was the rise of Image. Second,
the Japanese influence was not discussed. The art style has
seeped into America comics for better or for worse. It should
have been discussed.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Theatrical Movie) - I
saw this and I kept asking why? Why they did do this or
that. It is Kevin O'Neill's art style on the screen but little
else comes from the comic. At least they try to do character
development during the crossing of the Mediterrean. Still it
seems such a waste. they had good material and use maybe
10% of it.
(TV Series) - The show represents Bendis art style which I do not
like. The animation is odd. Characters are OK.
Stories are also like the Marvel Ultimates. This is not of the
quality of MTV's animation heyday with The Maxx, The Head and Aeon Flux.
Titans (TV Series) - Interesting to see these
charcaters in anime style. Its fun and has possibilities.
The charactesr seem right although in Raven's case toned down.
Hopefully the story arc will come to something. It would also be
nice to see some other DC characters dropping in once in awhile.
the Late Sweet Brids Sang by Kate Wilhem - An ecological
diaster has devasted the human race. A group of humans in the
Shenandoah Valley (Virginia) survive using cloning. The
clones eventually dominate the community. The book follows the
rise and fall of the clone culture. Wilhem seems to to showing
the strengths and weakenesses of the collective. It feels very
70ish but the novel still has an impact. The age old
question of the individual vs the collective is given a fresh glance.
Truth by Terry Pratchett (Readers Group Choice) - A
newspaper comes to Ankh-Morpork. The fun starts from there. There
is tabloid journalism, corruption roamnce, action and two interesting
psychotic thugs. Despite the fact this is part of very long
series, the book was quite easy to get into. Pratchett is firing
joke after joke with great success. Discworld may be a fun place
to drop into once in awhile.
(TV mini series) - Odd. A fun odd
though. Need to see it on DVD so I can see what they cut
Gender (TV series) - It is a bug
hunt. Better written and executed than Veerhoven's Starship
Troopers. Parts of it remind me of Mospeda.
Its very character driven. Good action. Good alien design.
Woad to Wuin by Peter David - The continuing adventures
of Aprapo. After Aprapo inadvertently pisses of his only
friend, his bar burns down when said freind returns, and he becomes a
powerful ruler overnight. It turns out having power is not as
as it seems. As always there are laughs and Aprapo leans a little
more about himself. If Aprapo is not careful he may become a
Thunder by John Varley - In the near future a savant
discoveres a source of incredible power. His fomer astronaunt cousin
and his new freinds decide to use this power to build a spaceship to
beat the Chinese to Mars. This is a great homage to Robert A.
Heinlein. This combines Rocketship Gaileo and
"Solution Unsatisfactory". The only sad thing is a new technolgy
is needed to makes this work. What is good is Varley deals with
the ramifications of having such power. It is also cool to have
the story set in Florida.
Con by Spider Robinson - The gang is back and thriving
in Key West. This time Jake and the gang has to face
mobsters and bureaucrats. There are some laughs and some tears.
It is always a blast. More so since it is in Florida.
County Station by Allen Stelle (Readers Group Choice) -
A sheriff on a space station has to handle terrorists and a cult
devoted to Elvis. A lot is happening in this novel. Most of
it interesting. This Stelle's first work and one can see the need
for polishing. The church of Elvis is hysterical. Its OK
but Stelle has written better.
of the Tiger by Tom Clancy - A new generation is
taking the fight in Clancy's fictional world. Jack Ryan's son and
his two cousins are fighting the bad guys. The working for a
group called the Campus which answers to no one and take out the bad
guys when discovered. Any seconds thoughts are gone when
terrorist gun done bystanders at malls in 3 cities. Its a
disturbing book. The fact the the Campus believe its OK to bypass
the people in this matter for what is thought of a greater good is
frightening. This is book that could only exist after
911. There is discussion about the issues but it is settled after
the attacks. The book seems to have stopped in an awkward
place. Sequel may arrive soon.
by Robert Sawyer - The second part of The
is even more fun that the first. A cultural
exchange is set
up between the two worlds. Ponter and mary see more of each other
and their relationship develops. Can it overcome the barriers of
theses different cultures? Its interesting to see the two
different world viewpoints and courageous individual on both sides who
want this exchange to succeed. I wish Sawyer did not have
to break it up and gives the great novel we are getting piecemeal.
Splendor (Theatrical Film) - A masterpiece. To me
Pekar is a hero. He is cynical and
abrasive but aside from stealing some White Castle burgers from
his friend is never mean
to anyone. He is trying to get through life the best he can with what he has.
Great stuff with the narrative. Like the seamless blend with the real
and movie Pekar. This film should get some Oscar nods.
(Theatrical Film) - A
nice little cult film. I liked the look of the film and the fact the it is almost
shot in the dark. There is a story full of plots and counter
plots with room for more
should the film succeed. Actually I would not mind seeing
this universe franchised in book form.. I think there are certain
authors who could have
some fun in it.
by William Gibson (Reader's Group Choice) - Case is a
down on his luck cowboy hacker. He is recruited by a mysterious
benefactor to perform a hack. If Case does not perform it he will
be poisoned and be back to where he was before. Along the way
Case meets AIs and a beautiful cybernetic enhanced women named
Molly. This book started the cyberpunk movement and coined the
word cyberspace. It paints a fascinating world. Its a
gritty and harsh world. Technology is everywhere. The upper
and lower parts of this world are thoroughly explored. The
imagery of cyberspace still kicks ass. It holds up rather well
after nearly twenty years.
Bill Volume 1 (Theatrical Film) - A tribute to the
old martial films of the 70s. It is fun but not everyone's cup of
tea. Not for one who dislike excessive violence. Cool
seeing women wielding Japanese swords. The animation sequence is
beautiful if disturbing. The second volume cannot come soon
Sheep Look Up by John Brunner - The world is suffering
from ecological disasters. Major seas like the Mediterranean are
dead. Filter masks are need to breathe in major cities in the
United States. Food supplements sent to starving countries causes
people to go mad. The government is indifferent and says that the
people who criticize them are disloyal. Austin Train an
environmentalist who tried to warn people of the coming problems is
underground and people are perform acts of defiance in his name.
This is a scary world. Written almost thirst years ago, it
is still page turner. Hopefully we may be able to keep this
book a work of fiction. We still have serious problems to deal
with but we are better off than the world portrayed in the book.
The book reminds us to take responsibility for what is going on in the
by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt – A diplomat gets whisk away
of faerie. He goes on a quest on behalf
of Oberon and Titania. It is a fun
adventure. Even anything I felt it ended
abruptly. Wanted more.
(Theatrical Movie) - It is over, for now
at least. The film had some of the best
science fiction battle sequences. The
fact the story ended in a surreal way was interesting.
It would have been easier to give it a happy
ending. This ending makes one think.
Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman
(Original DVD) - A new crime fighter has come to Gotham
City. One who is reckless and targeting operations of
Rupert Throne and the Penguin. Onece agin the WB animation team
shows they know how to do Batman. Its a good mystery trying to
figure out who batwoman is. However do not go to the scene
selection menu it gives it away.
Witch Hunter Robin
(DVD Animae series) - In a world were the
paranormal exists there
is a organization which monitors magic practitioners that go rogue. A fifteen year old girl with pyrokinetic
powers, Robin Sena comes to work for the Japanese barnch of this
organization. The show has an
interesting feel to it. The other
operatives are just as interesting
as the lead. I like the use of forensic
science in the series. The show has
some of the feel of the worlds created by Laurell K. Hamilton.
Looney Tunes: Back in
Action (Theatrical Movie) - A fun
Great seeing the classic Warner Brother characters doing there
thing. Seeing the classic villians versus
Bugs and Daffy was great. The art
museum chase sequence was brillant. Steve Martin
was fantastic as an over the top villian. Major
kudos for having Daleks in the film.
Joan of Arcadia
- Great cast. The
family is not perfect but they are not a
disaster. They feel like a real
family. It seems theologically sound.
Mars by Larry Niven - Niven's great venture into time
travel which he believes is pure fantasy. The book is a
collection of stories centering on Hanville Svetz, a time traveler from
the far future. This future is an ecological disaster.
Svetz is task to find extinct animals in the past for the Secretary
General. This trips lead into some interesting
adventures. These trips usually involve explaining certain
myths like sea monsters, unicorns, flying broomsticks and the various
races of Mars discussed in classic SF (Heinlein's Martians were not
used being to powerful). Its great fun. All for a good
Galactica (Mini Series) - This was a
pleasant surprise. Let's face it the original was a bit of
mess. This movie shows a more well thought out universe. Ron
Moore has done a good job taking what was good in the series and making
it better. Changing the sex of a character did not bother me as
much as race. The original had two strong African characters who
are gone. A lot to like in this. Good stuff for a new
Jericho Iteration by Allen Steele (Reader's Group
Choice) - St. Louis suffered a major earthquake. As a
result the government sent in the Emergency Relief Agency (ERA) and
instituted martial law. By the start of the novel martial
law has been going on for eleven months. A down on his luck
reporter, Gerry Rosen, stumbles on big story which the ERA and their
leaders want suppress. Rosen has become a target. Can he
survive to tell his story. A lot of action in this
one. Some interesting twists. Rosen is a good
narrator. A nice little SF thriller.
by Robert Sawyer - The conclusion to The
Mare and Ponter make decesions about the future of their
relationship. There is a plot to wipe out the
Neanderthals. A disovery is made tying religious belief to
something biological. A lot goes on in this novel.
Great heroics shown both races. Its a book that makes you
think. The series ends in good place, the bonding of Ponter and
Mare. There is room for more though.
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Theatrical
Movie) - Its finally over and what a blast it was. The first
great fantasy film series of the century has come. Jackson shows
what one can do if they make film with skill, love and integrity.
He deviates from the specific events a bit but keeps the main
ideas in the books intact. Will have to wait till extended DVD
comes out for whole movie.
Fish (Theatrical Movie) - Perhaps Burton's best
film. The most character oriented of his films since Ed Wood.
Its a story about an extraordinary life. Everybody is just so
great in this film. For Oscar and Hugo time it should be a slug
fest between Burton and Jackson.
The Martian Child
by David Gerrold - A new version of Gerrold's award winning
novella. A autobiographical story of Gerrold's adoption of his
son Dennis (now Sean). The shorter version concentrated on the
element that Dennis belief he was a Martian and could make wishes come
true. The novel deals with this and the hardships in the
realtionship. Its a novel about parenting. Its about heart
wrenching in some parts. At the end it works out.
and Fire by David Gerrold - A new Star Wolf
novel based on an unproduced Star Trek: The Next
Generation script. The Star Wolf
finds the Norway infected with blood
worms. Captain Parsons violates standing orders in order to
save Commander Korie, his team and the Norway survivors. Is
this right decesion? Can the people be saved without risking the Star Wolf.
These are question encountered by the crew. Gerrold has
produced another exciting story. Hopefully a TV series of this
material will be produced. For now we got some exciting books to
tide us over.
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