Mi cro Rev iew s


January 2006

War in Heaven by Charles Williams -  A murder in a publishing leads to the Holy Graal.  Its up to an English Deacon and freinds to protect the Graal from those with evil intentions.  This was wriiten by a member of the literary group called the Inklings.  Its member included J.R.R Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.  The story is well plotted.  The bad guys and good guys are trying to possess the Graal.  You feel the stakes are high.  Can good succeed?  It is given a good challenge here. 

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett (Readers' Group Choice) -  A con man is made postmaster of Ankh-Morpork.  It is an offfer he cannot refuse since the alternative is death. At first reluctant, he gets into the job. Our hero brings the decaying post office in line.  He faces a golems, ghosts, a competing communication system and  bizarre initiations.  Fun as always.  Its incredible the ease of reading a Discworld novel with only reading a small fraction of the novels.

Startide Rising by David Brin (Readers' Group Choice) -  The Streaker, a ship crewed by dolphins, humans and one chimp, have made a discovery which can change Galactic culture. A number of races would like to capture the Streaker for this discovery.  The ship crashes on the planet Kithrup.  The crew must make repairs and escape from the alien races fighting in space for the right to capture them.  They will face challenges from within and without.  Part of the crew will mutiny.  Aboringines are discovered.  Kithrup may be hiding a long lost secret.  This is part of the Uplift series.  It is awesome.  This is an interesting universe.  The dolphins are engaging.  So are their human companions.  The hostile aliens really feel alien. There are plots and counter plots.  A SF masterpiece.

Tithe by Holly Black - Kaye is a teenager wihose mom is a rock musician.  Kaye and her mom return to their hometown.  Kaye renews a childhood freindship with local faeries.  Kaye finds out she will be used a tithe to bind the unaligned faeries to the Unseelie court. As is common in Faerie not all as it seems.  Will a valiant faerie named Roiben help her or kill her.  Can she rescue her friend Corny from Faerie. In the process Kaye finds a startling truth about herself.  Can Kaye sort out the problem which will throw the entire relationship between the mortal world and faery out of whack.  Kaye is intresting heroine.  She is a slacker who drinks and smokes too much.  Yet Kaye uses what talent she has to overcome the challenges she faces.  Black has great take on faery.  It is both beautiful and sinister.  Need to read more of this universe.

Bleak House (TV Mini Series) - Another rendition of the Charles Dickens classic.  Incredible cast.  Everybody nails thier part.  It looks great.  Only annoying thing was the quick cuts.  Gillian  Anderson  is great  as  Lady Deadlock (worthy successor to Diana Rigg who did it in the 80s).  Its cool  to see Denis Lawson outside of a flight suit.

Hoodwinked (Theatrical Film) - An interesting take on a classic story.  A little bit like the old "Fractured Fairy Tales" segment on Bullwinkle. Animation was OK but not as good as Pixar.  Good songs.  Fun had by all.

Shadows of Ecstasy by Charles Williams -  A man may have discovered the secret of immortality.  Is it worth the price?  While the debate goes on Africa revolts against Europen rule and takes the fight to Europe.  This Williams novel is a little harder to get into.  Intriguing characters.  People have to face and overcome their weaknesses.   May need to reread later.  The ideas were that intriguing.

February 2006

Pay the Piper: A Rock and Roll Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple - High school reporter Callie goes to cover a rock concert around Halloween.  Unknown to her there is a cursed fairy prince in the group who needs either gold or children to pay a debt.  When the promoter stiffs the group, the fairy prince must resort to taking the children to Faerie.  Callie's little brother is led to Faerie.  Can Callie  figure out a way to save her brother and the other children?  Is there a way around the curse?   This is a great mixing of the old and new.  Mixing the legend of The Pied Piper and rock and roll.  Callie is sxcellent.  She is a typical teen.  Callie is smart and is able to work out her problems.  This book is for all ages.

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (Readers' Group Choice) - In alternate world where magicians rule Britain.  Nathaniel is apprentice magician.  After Nathaniel is humilated by other magicians he vows revenge.  In order to obtain this revenge, Nathaniel summons a demon named Bartimaeus.  Soon Nathaniel get imbroiled in a plot to overthrow the government.  Can Nathaniel stop this?  Is he over his head.  Will Bartimaeus help him?  Good story.  I like Bartimaeus asides during his part of the narration.  I am intrigued in this world.  A combo of the present day with magic.  We know a bit about Europe but little else about the world is known.  I may have to read the rest of the series to explore this world. 

Curious George (Theatrical Film)  -  This was good adaption of the classic children's book.  Its nice The Man in Yellow Hat is given a name and a life.  The King Kong sequence was fun.  The only thing that irritated me was the fact that they kept calling George a monkey.  He is an ape! He has no tail! What could they not have called him a chimp.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card -  Ender Wiggins is sent to school to learn how to fight a future war against aliens.  He singled out by his teachers to become a leader.  To do so they make endure all sorts of hardships.  Back home, Ender's sadistic older brother Peter coerces their sister, Valentine, to his plan to take over the world.  Peter intends to this by making him and Valentine online pundits.   This deserves its reputation as a classic.  It moves quickly.  It has aged well.   It is surprising to see how on the mark Card was about the Internet.   The Internet was very exclusive at the time of writing the book.  I wish I had ignored its critics and read it sooner.  Will definitely check out the second and third books.

Valiant by Holly Black -  Young Val shaves her head and runs away to New York after seeing her boyfriend cheat with her mother.  Val comes into the company of other runaways.   They have connection to Faerie.  Through them she meets Ravus, an exiled troll who lives under the Manhattan Bridge.  Val's friends help Ravus distribute a drug  which enables others fairies living in the City.  They however find the drug has interesting effects on humans.  Val and her fellow runwawys inject the drug, "Never", like heroin.  Someone is killing Ravus customers.  Can Val help Ravus figure out who is doing or will she be consumed by the "Never".  Another great look into the world of fairy that Black introduced in Tithe.  We are again given another flawed lead character.  Worse Val is becoming addicted to mind altering susbatnce.  The only way she can help Ravus is if she can beat the addiction.  She has to first overcome her own weaknesses to help her freinds.  Engrossing.  Also nice subtle ties into the previous novel.

March 2006

On Basilisk Staion by David Weber (Readers' Group Choice) - The first Honor Harrington adventure.  After getting a major command, Honor alienates her superiors and crew during fleet exercises.  Her ship is assigned to a distant and mismanged outpost.   Despite having limited resources, Honor goes forth and does her duties the best she can. This creates more enemies both domestic and foreign.  Can she stop the Republic of Haven's plot to take the system?  It is gripping yarn.  The battle sequences are well done.  The characterization is great.  Honor is believable as a commanding officer.  The only thing that bothers is me is we have another monarchy in space.  I think Weber put this is in to explain why Honor gets to tak her treecat, Nimitz in space.  Still its fun.  May come back in the future.

It's Superman by Tom De Haven - A retelling of the Man of Tomorrow's story.  We see what led up to his 1938 debut. Clark Kent is Kansas farm boy trying to deal with his gifts.  Lois Lane is child prodigy trying to become a newspaper reported in New York.  Her ex boyfriend Willi Berg has crossed paths with a corrupt New York City aldeman named Lex Luthor.  While on the run from Luthor, Berg meets Clark in Smallville and they decide to travel together.  The end up in Hollywood for awhile. There Clark becomes a stuntman.  There he receives a certain blue suit from falied science fiction serial.  Clark and Berg return to New York to stop Luthor.  This is an interesting take on Superman.  Its cool seeing how the era could have made Clark Kent the man he was when he burst on the scene in 1938.

V for Vendetta (Theatrical Movie) - This is a good translation of the Moore/Lloyd comic of the 80s.  Not an exact translation but one which tries to get the high ponts of the original.  The best part was the realization of Valerie's story which was one of the most powerful part of the book.  A must see movie.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein (Readers' Group Choice) -  The Lunar colony (initially a penal colony) was to revolt from Earth control.  Young technican Manual Garcia O'Kelly Davis gets caught up in the revolution.  He brings to the table access to the Moon's central computer which unknown to the authorities has become sentinent.  Mycroft or Mike, as the computer, helps Manny and his friends to fight Earth.  This is still great.  I like it we go into the mechanics of revolution.  The actual fighting is actually small.  It is trying to plan out where the revolution is going after the fighting starts which is the challenge.  One of Heinlein's best and still holds up well.  

April 2006

Armor by John Steakley - Felix is caught in future war with sentient ants.  He is fighting the ants using a sophisticated armored suit.  This suit seems to a live of its own.  A life which can change the nature of the world he lives in.  I hard time getting into this book.  It seems like Starship Troopers without the detailed world building.  The action was pretty good.  Still I had to struggle with this one.

Carrie's War  (TV Movie) - An adaptation of a Nina Bauden novel about a young girl and her brother evacuated to Wales during World War II.  It interesting how during what was a very scary time kids can find an escape.  The kids get involved in some local intrigue.  Some of which will haunt Carrie for years.  A great production.

Lincoln's Dream by Connie Willis -  Researcher Jeff Johnston is working for Civil War novelist.  An old college friend Richard Madison introduces him to Annie.  A young woman who is having dreams about the Civil War.  Jeff recognizes what she is describing as actual events during the war.  Jeff takes Annie to Fredericksburg to try sort out her dreams.  Jeff thinks that Annie is having Robert E. Lee's dreams.  Annie feels she should have these dreams to give Lee peace.  Jeff wonders if he should let her or take her back to Richard who would use drugs to suppress the dreams.  This was Connie Willis first novels.  There are some really good stuff about this book.  I did not like the ending.  I think Jeff made the wrong move.   Still worth reading to because of Willis style and characterization.

The Ultimate Avengers - I never liked the art style of the Ultimate Marvel line.  The good thing is there is not a lot of it here.  I thought this retelling of the Avengers was interesting.  A good plot was used to bring these guys together. Captain America was great as always.  Wish he had wings back.  Still its Marvel in fine form.

Learning the World by Ken MacLeod (Hugo Nominee) - A generation starship approaches a system.  Its intent is to have the younger generation colonize the system.  They discover the second planet is inhabited by a sentient bat like race.  Scientists on the planet discover the ship through astronomical observation.  The bats are at the same level as Earth was during the 1940s.  The knowledge of each other existence will change each race forever.  We get the human story from Atomic Discourse Gale.  A member of the generation to colonize the system and a blogger.   The delay caused by the aliens existence will cause friction on the ship.  How will the conflict be resolved?  This is the first MacLeod novel which I got into.  The only weakness was that the aliens were not alien enough for me.  The were interesting but the did not have that mysterious quality which makes them feel really alien.

Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (Hugo Nominee) - One day in the future the stars all go out.  A field is place around the Earth.  While the sun still works as a heat source there are no more stars.  Time outside the field flows faster than inside.  Millions of years can pass in the space of months on Earth.  In the space of 40-50 Earth years the sun will die.  We follow the life of Dr. Tyler Dupree and his best friends Jason and Diane Lawton.  Jason will use all of his scientific talent and wealth to solve the riddle of this phenomenon called Spin.  Tyler will work with as the medical officer of the project.  Diane on the other hand will try to find more spiritual answers to the Spin.  Can the Spin be solved? Who created it and why?  Again like in Chronoliths , we are given a world where doom seems inevitable.  Yet Jason will do everything he can to prevent this doom.  Tyler gives us a front row seat in the struggle.  It engaging.  You want to the why.  I like Jason's determination to solve the problem while others give up hope.  Tyler sticks by his friends no matter what.    The book shows the worst and best of mankind.

May 2006

Old Man's War by John Scalzi (Hugo Nominee) - In the future, one must be 75 years old to enlist in the Colonial Defense Forces (CDF).  Inductees are given new bodies.  These bodies are designed to fight.  After 10 years of service, members of the CDF may settle on a colony world.  The odds of surviving are not good.  The need for habitable worlds is great.  Such worlds are scarce and humans and aliens will do wahtever it tales to secure them for themselves.  This novel follows one recruit through his career in the service.  Scalzi creates a plausible situation where you want older people in a war.  Its scary that the competition for habitable is so intense.  There is a lot of Startship Troopers here and that its in a good way.  A new talent is on the rise in SF.

Accelerado by Charles Stross (Hugo Nominee) -  This novel gives us three generations of a family dealing with the onset of the singularity.  Manfred Macx is a free enterprise broker making others extremly rich.  This frustrates his IRS agent/dominatrix wife Pamela.  She chooses to raise their daughter Amber in a anti-technology way. Amber rebels and with the help of her father escapes to Jovian system.  She eventually becomes the soverign of a new state to escape her mother's control.  Amber will lead an expedition to what is believed to be an alien internet hub.  This expedition is virtual, the crew are downloaded copies of real people.  The plan is to go out at high sublight speed return and download the crew into physical bodies.  When the crew returns singularity has happened and the solar system itlself is being redefined.  This started out as several stories published in Asimov's Its great. Stross builds an intricate world and draw us all in.  This world is populated by fascinating people.  Some who represent extremes.  I hear there is more. I'll be there.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patrica McKillip (Reader's Group Choice) - Sybel takes care of several mystical animals up on  mountains.  She is given a boy to raise.  The boy, Tamlorn  grows up and becomes the center of a powerplay in a nearby kingdom.  Sybel reluctantly lest Tamlorn goes to face this.  Sybel is then attacked by a wizard sent out by one of the kings .  She chooses to take sides and to take revenge on the kingdom in question.  Can she do this without endangering the ones she loves.  Fun book.  I think the language was too formal but that can be the way people in this world talk.

X-Men: The Last Stand (Theatrical Film) -  More plot than character in this one.  I did love the scene where Kitty Pryde has to deal with the Juggernaut.  There story does a good job of dealing with the Phoenix saga.  I like the fact that there is a coda at the end of the film.  If this is the last it ended well.

June 2006

Boy's Life by Robert C. McCammon -  In  1964 Zephyr, Alabama,   Cory Mackenson goes with his dad on his milkman run.  On the way they see a car plunge into a lake. Cory's father makes a valaint attempt to rescue the driver.  The driver was dead before the car hit the water and Cory's father could not get the body out before the car sank.  This strange incident will aeffect Cory and his father. Can Cory find out what happen before the nightmares drive Cory's father insane.  This about a different time before the great social changes in the years ahead.    A lot is going on here.  An interesting look at a transitional time in American history.

The Notorious Betty Page (Theatrical Film) Another look at a different time in American history.  This one focuses on what was and was not acceptable in porn/erotica.  Gretchen Mol is great as Betty.  The title suggests irony. Betty was a woman trying to do a honest living and found something she was good for a number of years.  Then some killjoys had to put their nose into it.  It is slow at times.  The cinematography looks great.  The recreation of the photo sets are fantastic. I like the combination of black and white and color in the movie.  Each seems to capture the mood of the given scene.

Hex (Televison Series)  - Hmmm this is odd.  It starts of on a good premise.  A young  girl discovers she is decended from a 18th century witch.  The idea of having a lesbian ghost friend is interesting but they do not make clear what the rules are.  Thelma (the ghost) seems to need to use doors and eat.  It seems like the writers do not realize the full ghost ptential or do not think the can afford the effects.  Still I want to see how it plays out.

Peter and the Star Catchers  by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (Readers' Group Choice) - The first in a series of prequels for Peter Pan. One learns how Peter was an orphan, how gets his amazing abilities,  and how his enemies and friends came to be.  Its interesting. The problem is I was never really fond of the character.  To be fair I am basing on the Disney and Fox (if anyone remembers that) interpretations.  I always was more fond of Wendy who is not in this book although a similar girl befriends Peter.  Peter Pan fans may like it a lot.  To me it is OK.  I like the almost SF like explainnation for Peter.

The Greenstone Grail  by Amanda Hemingway -  Years ago Annie Ward gave birth to a son Nathan. Annie and Nathan live in a small English villiage. Annie runs a bookstore for a mysterious man named Bartlemy.  Bartlemy is very good to Nathan and Annie.  As Nathan grows older he starts having odd dreams.  Dreams of an incredible world of flying dinosaurs and of a kingdom on the brink of disaster.  He soon is able to move into this dream.  This world seems to be connected to a  grail that once belong to a local family and has been found again.  Can this be the part of  key to save this world.  This is great. Hemingway is writing an incredible fantasy.  I like when they make refrences to other fantasies like Harry Potter and Narnia.  This is part of a triliogy.  I am eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Kingdom  of Cages by Sarah Zettel - A great castrophe has befallen human colonies.  The Diversity Crisis is the result of environmental disasters on several planets.  One planet, Pandora, seems to be the most perfect world for human life.  It is stricitly controlled by several families.  Pandora is forced to take on refugees.  The are also working on a cure to the crisis.  They think they may have come across a cure.  To test it they need a woman, Helice Trust to give birth to a child.  At first she refuses to particpate but is forced to.  She gives in for her daughters' sake.  Before the birth of the child, Helice is murdered by someone unknown.   This is impossible since each city or hothouse have an AI which monitors everything.  Furthermore the inhabitants of the hothouse all have implants which function as consciences.  Helice daughters, Chena and Trust, go back to the villiage where they started as refugees.  Chena becomes a healer and vows to discover what happened to her mother.  There are plots within plots here.  There is a lot going on here and its all good.  We wonder of who watches the watchers in regards to the implants.  Chena is a great character.  She tries to do right for her family at whatever the cost. It is some satisfying SF.

A Ruby in the Smoke by Phillip Pullman - Sixteen year old  Sally Lockhart's father dies at sea.  This brings her into the midst of a Victorian mystery.  Sally pursued by ruthless individuals for information she may have on an Indian treasure.  Can she figure out before its too late.  Sally is a resourceful character.  She is able stand on her on two feet.  Sally is even able to come up with a new business for herself and her friends.  There something about the style which bothers me.  I cannot put my finger on it.  Still a good read and may look into other works.

Superman Returns (Theatrical Film) Singer does a good job of hitting the marks.  I think with a comic adaptation that is what you are looking for.  You want certain things to happen like seeing the S underneath the shirt.  Love the hommages to the first film. maybe the can do the marriage in a sequel.    

July 2006

Not Like Everyone Else (TV Movie) - This  shows what it is like to grow up in the post-Colombine world.  Brandi Blackbear is harassed for being different.  She gets this treatement by simple accusation.  Hopefully her case can prevent others having the same problems.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend (Theatrical Film) - All right she overeacts but the guy is somewhat of a cad to her.  He leads her on a bit.  Uma Thruman is great as G-Girl/ Jenny Johnson.  She does a good job of the secret identity with no mask.  Anna Faris is great as the other girl.  An OK variation of the superhero story.

The Ant Bully (Theatrical Film) -  This does a good job distinguishing itself from A Bug's Life and Antz.  In fact the film a worthy companion to those films.  Good way to teach a moral against bullying.  The only part I wish the gotten rid off was the alien conspiracy grandma.

Clerks II (Theatrical Film) - Another look at Dante and Randall. It was fun.  Although Dante was horrible to poor Emma.  I mean he should not have not let it go so far.  Dante and Randall seem to get their act together at the end.  A nice wrap up of the View Askew Universe (although I have said that before).

Life on Mars (TV Series) - Is it time travel or an elaborate dream?  Either way its interesting to see  how police work or police shows have changed in 30 years.  I want to see how it turns out.

Lady in the Water 
(Theatrical Film) -  This film is attempts to tell a modern fantasy story.  I think it works.  Although I can also see why some people may not like it.  I think the story works even when our protagonists get it wrong.  I think this film is a noble effort ot something different.

Eternals (Comic Book Mini Series) -Reviewed in August 2006 Event Horizon.

A Scanner Darkly (Theatrical Film) -Reviewed in August 2006 Event Horizon.

August 2006

Cars (Theatrical Film) -  Its amazing the thought that went into this.  The world here is fascinating.  I bel;ieve in car world.  The story is OK.  The characters and the design is great.

Great Sky Woman by Steven Barnes - This takes place in prehistoric Tanzania near Mount Kilamanjaro or the Great Sky Mountain as the locals call it.  We follow the lives of two individuals, a boy named Frog Hopping and girl named T'Cori (which means to have no name).  T'Cori was abandon by her family  and was reared by the holy woman of the tribe.  Frog is trained to be hunter.  Both of them become players in their people's struggles.  The main problem is an invasion form another tribe.  All the characters a very well defined.  We know their motivations for their actions.  Plot is a bit loose but it goes somewhere.  This allows the development of the main characters whom we follow from birth to adulthood.  Some great descriptions of the area.  Makes you feel like you have been there.

The Sword of Straw by Amada Hemigway -  The second book of The Sangreal TrilogyNathan must recover the second item, a swordHe has the found the location of it and a beautiful princess who's family the sword belongs too. Nathan's friend Hazel is using her gifts as a witch to make a boy fall for her.  Nathan has to deal with a bully at school.  Is there more to this bully than meets the eye.  Is someone trying to steal the Grail from Uncle Bartlemy's house?  Can Nathan's mother cope with the fact here son is in danger.  Can Nathan recover the sword and help Princess nell's family. This keeps the same eneregy in the first book.  There is still reference to other works of fantsay and science fiction.  There are some obvious set ups that will resolved in the last book.

Basic Instinct 2 (DVD) - Well the first one was no great work of art.  This one seems to copy the major plot elements of the first one.  Sharon Stone looks great.  Nothing more than a pleasant distraction. 

September 2006

Fntastic Four (TV Series) -  Do not like the art and the stories.  It just seems off.  The last version they did in the 90s was better.  May watch the Galactus/Silver Surfer story should they do one.

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher (Readers' Group Choice) - The country of Alera is on the brink of invasion.  Amara, an agent of kingdom, is sent to find out what the enemy plans.  On this mission she meets a young shepherd named tavi.  Tavi becomes involved in the fight at the border.  This was well plotted.  There was nothing to get me interested into reading the rest of the triology.  Its an OK medieval fantasy.  I need a hook to keep me interested in those.

Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo (TV Movie)-  A nice little coda to the fun series.  It had all the fun and charm the show.  It would have been nice to see this one on the big screen.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (TV Series) - My first Sorkin show.  Very nice.   Characters are pretty interesting.  Liked Judd Hirsch's opening rant.  I also like the us against them attitude between the management and the talent.  I also liked the fact Jordan is on the side of  the talent.   Hope they can keep it up.

Smith (TV Series) -  I was kind of into it until they offed a guard and one of their own for the caper.   Its hard for me to sympathize with any of them after that.

Legion of the Super-Heroes (TV Series)  -  Another series which feels off.   I wish they had not made Braniac 5 into a mech.  Still there seems to be more here than Fantasic Four.   I may have to accept than Bruce Timm and Paul Dini are not doing DC animated series anymore.

October 2006

Circus of Hells by Poul Anderson - Lt. Dominic Flandry explores a moon for a local gangster.  A very beautiful woman named Djana comes with him.  Can Flandry solve the mystery this moon holds?  Can he deal with Earth's enenemies, the Merisians?  Another adventure with one SFs best super agents is fun as always.  Again I like how it has a Cold War fee but it is not exactly like the Cold War (the Mersians do not have any communistic traits).  Slowly but surely I will accumulate this series.

Heroes (TV Series) -  This reminds me of Strazynski's Rising Stars and the Wild Cards seeries.  A different take on meta humans.   The story is going somewhere.  Sometimes slow but it makes up for it for the characters.   Cannot wait to see where this goes.

Freedom's Landing by Anne McCaffrey -  An alien race conquers Earth and its people are sent  to be slaves in space.  The send some humans to another world.  Apparently the intention is use humans and other races to help colonize this world.   Some interesting bits.  I like how a robot encountered by the humans is described as Dalek-like. Still I am scratching my head why a technologically advcanced society would  need slaves.  Machines would do the work needed.  Its OK.  Not drawn into the rest of the series unless they explain the alien need for slaves.

Casanova (TV Mini series) -  Very Good.  Not sure how faithful it is too history but very fun.  I can see why Russell Davies made Tennant the Doctor.  The satire  is great.  Good to see Davies' pre-Doctor Who stuff.

Flags of Our Fathers (Theatrical Feature) - Powerful.  What Saving Private Ryan did for the European theater, this does for the Pacific Theater.  The battle sequence are excellent.  It interesting to see how one picture can have an effect on the world.  Will watch Eastwood's follow up which shows the battle from the Japanese point of view.

Return to the Labyrinth (Comic Book Mini Series,Manga) -Reviewed in November 2006 Event Horizon.

November 2006

Immortality Inc. by Robert Sheckley - Thomas Blaine is killed in a car crash. He is resurrected in the future where the afterlife is a fact, suicides booth exists, and hunting humans is legal.   Thomas Blaine is being chased by the powers that be in this world for his body.  Can he survive in this world?  What a nove!  So many ideas and Sheckley brings them to live.  Still reads pretty well for a 40 year old novel.  It is easy to undertsnad from this why Sheckley was one the great masters of his generation.

Witches of Karres by James Schmitz (Reader's Group Choice) - Merchant ship captain Pausert frees three sisters from slavery.  These sisters are from the mysterious planet Karres where technology equals magic.  The sisters are considered witches.  One of the sisters, Goth stays with Pausert.  Pausert becomes the part of incredible adventures involving powerful beings, hidden planets, and super stardrives.  I cannot seem to get into Schmitz.  These ideas are interesting.  I cannot seem get it together for this book. 

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga -Reviewed in December 2006 Event Horizon.

Flushed Away (Theatrical Feature) -  This was a great surprise.  I had not heard about this.  There were some nice surprises hidden in the film (look at the newspapers in the mice's houses).  A great heroine, a great villian, a great hero and the World Cup.  What more does one need?

Exit to Eden by Anne Rampling (Anne Rice) -  Elliot becomes a slave of the Club, an island resort which caters to BDSM crowd.  One of the founders of the club Lisa finds Elliot intriguing.  Soon they go off in journey which will test their emotional and physical limits.  A good story.  The Club is an interesting construct.  The relationship between Elliot and Lisa is believable and interesting.  I cannot believe they screwed up the movie so bad, but adding a stupid subplot.  This about a different world and two people caught in this world.

Pirates of the Carribean: Dead's Man Chest - This film was just plain fun.  Great story.  Great action.  This film should win the Oscar for best makup.  Davy Jones and his crew are some best monsters I have ever seen.

December 2006

Full Metal Apache:Transactions Between Cyberpunk Japan and Avant-Pop America by Takayumi Tatsumi -  A very interesting work.  Tatsumi shows that American and Japanese culuture have been influencing each other for years.  Both cultures have benefited.  Some of  stuff relating to postmodernism went over my head.  That term has always confused me.  Still want to search for  more of  Tatsumi's articles elsewhere.

This Film is Not Yet Rated (Theatrical Film) - If you want to see how films get rated, you have to see this. What scary is how arbitrary it seems. There is no guidance and the fate of a film is the taste of a dozen people. People who do this in secrecy yet get to smooze with the princes of Hollywood. It was great how they discovered the identity of the raters. Maybe we may see some reform becuase of this.

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (Readers' Group Choice) - In an alternate world dragons exist and are used for air war.  This series is set during the Napoleanic era.  Captain William Laurence of the British Navy finds a dragon egg on a captured French ship.   The dragon hatches and bonds with Laurence.  Laurence is reassigned to the Aerial Corps with his dragon Temeraire.  There they learn how to fight in the air.  They will help in the Battle of Trafalger.  This was fun.  Nice details.  The breed of dragon that only binds with women is interesting and make an interesting changes in British society.  May read the other books.  I  like to see dragons from all over the world.

Mindscan by Robert J. Sawyer -  In the mid 21st century, a technique is developed to copy the human consciousness.  These copies can be placed  in to robot bodies.   This allows people to cheat death.  The flesh bodies are sent to the moon to live out the natural lives and  the andriod  copies take on the lives of their originals.  Jake Sullivan does this in his forties since he has a heredity  ailment  which killed his father at a young age.  Sullivan's copy meets up with a fellow immortal, writer Karen Bessarian.  They begin a relationship.  On the moon the original Jake finds a cure for his problem and wants his life back.  On Earth, Karen's family sues to get there inheritence claiming the android copies have nor right to the originals property.  A very straightforward novel.  Again the genre examines what it is to be human.  Some interesting questions on consciousness are brought up.  I just hope the country does not as far to the right as Sawyer presents.

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