Category Archives: Reviews

Starting in early 2012 I decided that I would make a habit of reviewing everything I read and all the movies I watched. On top of that I’ve begun to review other products and sometimes tv shows as well.

These reviews are just my personal thoughts on my entertainment choices. I wouldn’t use them as your sole guide on what to read or watch, but if it helps… great!

TV Review: Constantine

Thir­teen episodes and that is likely all you get for Constan­tine. Offi­cially it hasn't been cancelled yet, but the odds are piled up so high against it, you'd be better to assume it was and avoid disap­point­ment. So what went wrong? John Constan­tine is a DC Comics char­acter perhaps best known for the long running Hell­blazer comic and that's certainly where the tv show took most of it's inputs from. Which is slightly odd since Hell­blazer was actu­ally cancelled two years ago and replaced by a more main­stream version of the title, tied into the DC super­hero universe.

  Read More…

Book Review: Kill School by Gregory Lynn

This is the fourth book review in my #GreatIndieRe­view­Pro­ject and once again it's a solid read that would hold up against many tradi­tion­ally published work. Have you ever read a book and thought, "that was good, but it was so close to being very good"? Because that pretty much sums up my reac­tion to Kill School. There's nothing funda­men­tally wrong with the story as it stands but I think it actu­ally has the poten­tial to be much better. One of its strengths is certainly the goblin Hobbes himself who is just inher­ently likable (usually of benefit for a view­point char­acter) but there are a couple of points where the events seemed a bit unclear to me and I also think it misses a trick on emotional devel­op­ment. What's It All About Then? Hobbes is a goblin of unusual size. He's good natured, but not partic­u­larly quick witted and when a fight between him and another rather bullying goblin ends in death, he quickly finds himself manip­u­lated into attending a school for goblin assassins.

  Read More…

Movie Review: Big Hero 6

Disney does super­heroes, sort of. That's basi­cally what Big Hero 6 is, but it's worth taking a moment to clarify what it isn't. It is not a Marvel animated movie, nor is it a Pixar movie. Approaching it expecting either of those things will likely end in disap­point­ment. Gener­ally Big Hero 6 follows a tradi­tional Disney story arc. It executes it well and uses the trap­pings of super­hero stories effec­tively but you can see its origins in The Lion King and other Disney clas­sics. What's It All About? Hiro Hamada is a super smart kid with a talent for elec­tronics who lacks direction.

  Read More…

Book Review: Excession by Iain M. Banks

Iain M. Banks highly advanced human (and AI) civi­liza­tion, The Culture is rather unusual amongst modern science fiction in that it is presented as some­thing close to a post scarcity utopia. Exces­sion devi­ates from that presen­ta­tion by showing that maybe the almost godlike (by human stan­dards) Minds aren't quite as morally perfect as they might at first seem. Perhaps they simply haven't been presented with some­thing they wanted badly enough before. Exces­sion is defi­nitely rather different to the previous Culture novels but that change is quite refreshing. An Out of Context Problem [amazon template=image&asin=0553575376]The moti­vating event in this novel is the Exces­sion itself, described as an Out of Context Problem, which is defined as some­thing that is so far outside of a society's norm that it can't be predicted or antic­i­pated. In this case, given the vast tech­no­log­ical sophis­ti­ca­tion of the Culture itself that means the Exces­sion is a completely alien object of unknow­able power levels. Which makes it in a sense a Deus ex Machina only it creates the prob­lems rather than solving them.

  Read More…

Book Review: About Last Night by T. Paulin

I admit it, I was attracted to About Last Night initially because of the cover. Not only does it not have the yawn­somely tradi­tional Urban Fantasy look to it but the subtitle claims it's a "twisted" urban fantasy series. So, some­thing new then! Some­what at least. At first glance the setup of the book is very familiar. We've got a rela­tively young guy in a dead end job who acci­den­tally discovers that the para­normal is real. But, there's a bit more going on, because this city  has a publicly acknowl­edged zombie infes­ta­tion, which is sepa­rate from the para­normal stuff. In Which I Whine About The Whining [amazon template=image&asin=B00KTV547Y]The first problem I ran into while reading this story was just how nega­tive the view­point char­acter Eli is.

  Read More…

Book Review: Without Bloodshed by Matthew Graybosch

The latest book in my #GreatIndieRe­view­Pro­ject series is Without Blood­shed by Matthew Gray­bosch, a science fantasy story which mixes liber­tarian idealism with heavy metal, violence and a healthy dose of sex. Who Should Read This? Do you like rock and or heavy metal music? Do you appre­ci­ated some fantasy in your science fiction? Are stories better with a healthy dose of polit­ical intrigue? Are you okay with some sexu­ality in your reading mate­rial? If some or most of these apply to you then you should give this one a shot. Did You Like It?

  Read More…

TV Review: The Man In The High Castle

Amazon's streaming video service was long regarded as an also-ran behind Netflix and even Hulu.  Their efforts to broaden appeal by producing orig­inal pilots (and taking some to series) was met mostly with apathy until last year. The success of Trans­parent changed things. It showed that Amazon could produce the same sort of quality mate­rial that Netflix and HBO do. So when I heard they were going to do a series based on Philip K. Dick's The Man In The High Castle, I had to check it out, even though I dislike their inter­face and don't have a device that will Stream Amazon Instant to tv. And having watched it, I'm telling you that you should too. Alter­nate History Back in 1962 when Philip K.

  Read More…