October 20, 2009

A.I. in Neuromancer and Super-Toys Last All Summer Long" [review time]

This is way too long for a blog post but I wanted to put it up anyways. Neuromancer by William Gibson was the first cyber-punk text and really has links to Bladerunner and The Matrix. I will review it if I read it again. "Super-Toys" is the short story that the movie "A.I." is based on.

July 27, 2009

Last Potter Post, Promise! [time for a sherbert lemon]

I was a tad disappointed that I couldn't find more inaccuracies in the new film, so I've started re-reading the series. From the beginning. As one does. Then, instead of being inspired to complain, rant and whine, I was once again swept up in the fun story and reminded once again why I love the series.

July 22, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Movie [review time]

Much of the talk about this movie so far has been centred on the handling of the teenage romance subplots. Some called it quirky and fun, while others wanted to vomit. I am of the opinion that, for the most part, the romance was actually handled better in the movies than in the books. Romantic comedy may be a little easier to convey in film form, or maybe Rowling just did not know how to describe it well enough, but the scenes of love, infatuation and young curiosity had just the right amount of awkwardness and clearly got the point across. With the exception of the shoe tying. That was just too awkward.

July 14, 2009

Pre-Potter Release Babble

I'll admit I've mustered up all of the excitement I can for the new Harry Potter movie, which I'm seeing on Thursday. Long ago I learned to just love the films for what they are: a visually stimulating summary of the main plot line that is action packed and appealing to all ages. The transition from literature to blockbuster just can't preserve all of Rowling's genius, and some of the interesting subplots and scenes won't fit into the three hour films. I accept it.

July 7, 2009

It's Real, and it's Spectacular

I've finally finished the sixth book of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, and I have to say it was well worth the effort. Many reviews claim that Lord of Chaos is too slow and lacking in action, but I claim that the climax was well worth the development of something like twenty "round" characters over 900 pages. As I've said before, if it takes 12 books to wrap up the tangled web Jordan has created then so be it! I will enjoy every page. I reccomend the series to any fantasy lover. Ignore the critics who say that it is too perilous a journey, too steep a mountain, and too momentous a task. They're only trying to be more "accomplished" readers than you. Don't let them tell you what you can and can't read!

June 24, 2009

The Scream Literary Festival

The Scream Literary Fest is hitting Toronto from today 'til the 13th of July. Since I am involved as a volunteer, I thought I would write a little bit about the event here. It is a week long celebration of the book, and a slap in the face to those who claim the book is dead. As a child of the internet age, I feel it is very important to recognize that online media should not replace the book, but provide new ways to share stories. Some may claim that the internet is dealing killing blows to literature, but I believe there are still many surviving bookworms in the world today who will keep it alive.

The festival is a series of very creative events involving books, theatre and music. Exploring all of the ways that words are central to our lives, these events mock the idea that literature is in decline. It can be found everywhere in our lives. Story-telling is a non-exclusive part of humanity, and there will never be a day when book reading has become an activity of the past. Not if Scream has anything to say about it.

June 19, 2009

About Hobbits

Various current dietary theories give evidence that Hobbits should be quite physically fit. Although the stars of the film version were quite thin, Tolkien described the race as "fattish in the stomach", which is really quite unlikely given their lifestyle. It seems the movie-makers may have inadvertently corrected the mistake. The Hobbits' tendency to eat seven meals every day, according to current weight loss claims, should keep their metabolism going all day to burn off all of those calories. That plump little misses seen at the end of Return of the King should be quite a lot thinner if she enjoys all of the Hobbits' daily meals: breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.

Another factor that should lighten the weight is their drinkage of tea instead of coffee, and with most meals. Many weight-loss diets recommend drinking tea with every meal to fill up the tummy with a low-carb treat, making it difficult to fill up on the more fattening foods.

Hobbits are also known for eating simple foods such as bread, cheese, taters and meat. In my own humble opinion, foods such as these are not so fattening, and the major cause of the obesity epidemic in modern North America is fast food and trans fat, not red meat and starch. Accompanied by a day of farming, before industrial technology, the Hobbits' diet really should earn them a thinner stomach.

June 15, 2009

New Target Audience for Garth Nix

Perhaps my previous experiences with Nix's writing were from a more youthful point of view, but I could swear his new series, Keys to the Kingdom, is aimed at an audience that is more appreciative of the fantasy genre. Judging from the first book, Mister Monday, I would recommend it for the young and very young of heart.

Although a fast-paced page-turner, this book would have been better off without some of its fun little quirks. For example, the attempt to lure in a more profitable consumer is ruined as Nix tries to simulate teenage chat speak in an e-mail between two characters. He slaughters the use of acronyms and makes young adults cringe at his shorthand. The action-packed conclusion was somewhat ruined by over-explaining the events to an underestimated reader. The result involved several yawns during the climactic duel between the protagonist and Mister Monday himself.

May 10, 2009

The Origin of Self

If it looks like Nathan Petrelli, acts like Nathan Petrelli and thinks it’s Nathan Petrelli, is it Nathan Petrelli? This is the question Heroes fans were left with last Monday, which boils down to a philosophical debate about the nature of the self. On the disturbing season finale, Nathan Petrelli, New York Senator, son of Angela and Arthur Petrelli, brother of Peter Petrelli, and father of Monty and Simon Petrelli and Claire Bennet, was violently murdered, bringing many tears to the eyes of this wannabe-intern. And who better to shape shift into Nathan and be convinced that he is, in fact, Politian and family man? None other than his own murderer, the show’s own token evil guy. Gabriel Gray.

In Defence of the Herbert Syndrome [argument by starlight]

Some may argue that the underlying force guiding authors of multiple novels set in the same universe is that of monetary compensation. As a life-long reader of science fiction who is still working on the Dune and Wheel of Time series’, I would say that this motive is over-simplified at best. If a universe still has possibilities for commentary on the nature of our world, why shouldn’t it be used to tell more stories about the human race?

Music Industry Reformation

For the past few years, the Canadian government has been cracking down on illegal file sharing. Several music downloading sites have been threatened with legal action by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) for allowing Canadians to take advantage of free music. The outcome is that Canadian traffic has been banned from these sites. According to the CRIA website, their purpose is to “represent the interests of companies that create, manufacture, and market sound recordings.” However, many people are misled by the media to believe that the purpose of the organization is to protect the artists from those ungrateful thieves who would steal their music. The fans. Most artists view the internet as a new medium through which they can share their art. It is the managers and record labels who are really trying to squeeze every last dime out of an album, with no regard for the artists or the fans.