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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/18/2019 in all areas

  1. 4 points
  2. 4 points
    Happy New Year!
  3. 3 points
    I'm still alive and kicking. Carry on.
  4. 2 points
    Mel and I are planning to come to London for the event. We're probably going to skip Bristol though.
  5. 2 points
    I really should try VR at some point, although I'm like 99% sure that I'll be vomiting in 10 seconds flat.
  6. 2 points
    "Santa", the brand....
  7. 1 point
    Started on Fall or Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson. I didn't realize it was in a way a sequel to Reamde (which I own but only vaguely remember). It was only after a few pages in that my brain went "hey, these characters seem vaguely familiar". I either didn't read the cover and blurb closely enough or it doesn't mention it at all (which would be weird). Anyway, a couple of dozen pages in, Stephenson seems in good form in this one.
  8. 1 point
    The Witcher - I talked a little about this before but this was really a great season. I admit to having something of a man crush on Henry Cavil, and Anya Chalotra is pretty hot too. The non-linear storyline rewards people that really pay attention, and I assume that most of the people that didn't like that were probably watching it while doing other stuff. The Expanse - I am giving the series another chance now that there is a new season and this time I am less distracted by comparisons to the book. Although the acting is sometimes weak, once Thomas Jane is gone and the actors seem to settle into their roles a bit better that ceased to be an issue. The whole thing is still too "pretty" for sci-fi. Ships have very dramatic lighting and tons of useless space to keep warm. Regardless, it is a fine show and gets better as the seasons go by. The following two I watched when I was pretty stoned, so the reviews might be affected by that. Booksmart - the coming of age film by Olivia Wilde was like a surreal Fast Times at Ridgemont High mixed with some elements of Superbad (a tedious comparison by the haters but not entirely wrong). It was surreal in that the high school in the film is a fantasy, run by students and high achievers with little relationship to real schools. I didn't care, it was fun, irreverent, and profane. I loved it. Right after Booksmart we watched the first Ep of Dracula. An homage to Bella Lugosi in many ways, this freaky, creepy, and yet still somehow pg-13 episode clocks in a 90 minutes and had me alternately cringing and giggling throughout. I hate horror movies, but this isn't horror, its a great monster movie though.
  9. 1 point
    Dammit,HB... Rub it in....
  10. 1 point
    Same, same… hope everyone is well.
  11. 1 point
    It's funny, I got into Vandermeer through a mutual friend, Jesse Bullington. Jesse wrote "The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart", "The Enterprise of Death" and "The Folly of the World". I wrote a amazon review of "The Bros. G", and ended up corresponding with Jesse, eventually sending me his gally sheets for "Enterprise". Imagine my delight when I found out the name of his agent at Orbit books was, at the time, a certain mr. Jack Womack. Small, and funny smelling.
  12. 1 point
    It is not really new, as most translations are made years after the Japanese publication (except for Murakami, of course). But Foyle's was promoting it last summer when I was in London. I liked Vandermeer's City of Saints and Madmen in a queasy, uneasy way. But the following books, Veniss Underground and Shriek left me quite cold, so I have not read anything he wrote after that. Maybe I should give him another chance. But as Frank Zapa said, "So many books, so little time." On the other hand, as Murakami makes Nagasawa (Norwegian Wood) say, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” I am on a strange Japanese mood, because we had decided to return to Japan for our 20th anniversary, but it is likely we will do something different. So I am in the middle of Dale Furutani's Matsuyama Kaze trilogy, in French, and also got as a present a Spanish book doing an in depth analysis of Hokusai's 36 views of Mount Fuji.
  13. 1 point
    I had a lot of time off recently, so had more time to watch some TV... The Witcher, season 1. Really great storytelling, it doesn't assume the viewer is a dummy that needs to be spoon-fed the details of every story-line. I actually enjoyed that the different different events could be set years apart without much of an indicator, it made it more interesting. Having played some of the games, I think they got the character of Geralt spot on. The comparison to GoT is easy, but also not really valid I think. It's less "politics in a fantasy setting" and more actual fantasy. It was interesting seeing the discrepancy between professional reviewers and how the public received it. I heard some people complain about the low-quality CGI and costumes but that didn't bother me at all. Dark, season 1. It's like Stranger Things, but German, and much more bleak. This has a high production value, with really great shots and visuals. Apart from how bleakly beautiful it is to look at, the story is interesting too, with some original takes on the genre. You're constantly left wondering how everything puzzles together in the end. The first episode of that new take on Dracula. It's by the people who did Sherlock, so you know it's gonna be slick and also somewhat funny. Mark Gatiss is a huge horror nerd, so Dracula is at least adequately creepy and the horror is well done. It's certainly a modern take though, with at least one the characters behaving in a way they'd never do in the era they're set in. But still... fun.
  14. 1 point
    Been meaning to do recap of what I read in December, now is as good a time as any. The Magicians - Lev Grossman - Third time I've read this, last read before reading the final volume. Funny how a book changes, as we change, and in this case after watching the TV adaptation, which in places is faithful and in others is wildly different. Against a background of 2019 and particularly the election, my reading this time was particularly bleak - part of the core message of the book being that no matter how Quentin's dreams are met he will never be happy. For those that don't know, it is Harry Potter if he went to wizard school at 17 and had dreamed of Narnia his whole life. Still fascinating on how it approaches magic, and again interesting to see how this fits with the Russian novel Vita Nostra, which Grossman described as an influence on this novel. Hatful of Sky - Terry Pratchett - 2nd of the Tiffany Aching novels by Pratchett. Again, I assume more folk have read more Pratchett than I have. More exploration of magic, and its relation to the land, and how there can be different measures and approaches. Tiffany having being hailed a witch in book 1 goes off to train, but that takes her away from home and the land that informs who she is. And what she learns along the way... I enjoyed a lot, easy and pleasing. Uprooted - Naomi Novak - read this in paper at same time read Hatful on kindle, and they are very complimentary reads. Every 10 years "The Dragon" takes a teenage girl from the lands he protects from the DARK EVIL WOOD and they are transformed by the experience. Agnieszka convinced that her prettier more skilled friend will be picked is thrown when she is instead picked... because she is a witch. The story follows the torment between the two - him with his rigid book magic and her with her weird unpredictable intuitive magic. And there is a dark evil wood, which will destroy everything, hilarity ensues (it doesn't, but drama and action does). Been recommended loads of times, and lives up to that pretty well, though in the end turned out I had no idea what to expect. The Haunted Girl - Lisa M Bradley - another of my random story bundle reads, this one was part of Latinx batch. I thought it was a short story collection, as often is the case with these bundles. But it seems to be more of a mix of poetry and stories. With the poetry I think I probably missed a lot, I just don't get it. But fortunately the poems were reasonably narrative, and those worked with the stories to form a less seen side of American urban fantasy - vampires, saints, ghosts, shape shifters - but from a different culture/community than the mainstream. Which was a big strength and selling point. Starling Days - Rowan Hisayo Buchanan - Rowan's 2nd novel, picked up at Edinburgh Book Festival I think...where I saw her talk and a brief conversation, and she recognised me from twitter, which was nice. I first came across her work in short stories, which lead me to her 1st novel Harmless Like You, and on to this 2nd. Rowan is mixed race, came out as bi during an interview, and has experience with depression - all of which are factors in this novel. The depression in particular is at the core of this novel, with suicidal themes through out. The story alternating between husband and wife viewpoints of Oscar and Mina, Mina struggling with her depression and Oscar struggling with how to deal with his wife. They leave New York for London, hoping change of scene will help, but when Oscar has to go on business trip and Mina explores her attraction to Phoebe things get messy. Not my usual reading on surface, but Rowan's writing is really good, though with the themes this was at times a difficult read. Regards VanderMeer, I think the Southern Reach is his strongest work. I struggled a little with Borne, was just too bleak. Though, I expect I'll still be picking up Dead Astronauts when it comes out here. (He has been touring US with the new novel, though not sure if that is finished now). I just picked up Shriek in the sales, which is one of only a few I don't have.
  15. 1 point
    Read(ing) by Jeff Vandermeer: "The Strange Bird" which is really an alternative viewpoint of the world created in his brilliant novel "Borne", wherein the motivations and perversions of the antagonist are laid bare by a creature of dubious origins yet beautiful innocence. "Annihilation" Which they made into a movie that wasn't terrible, but doesn't even bear a striking resemblance to the novel. The novel is atmospherically creepy as hell, and builds in suspense and mystery while it continually ratchets up the terror quotient. "Authority" is the sequel to "Annihilation", and the second of what Jeff calls "The Southern Reach" trilogy. It begins right where "Annihilation" ends... Vandermeer is a very good storyteller, and is able to create a fully developed world in scene after scene of paranoid intrigue, otherworldly mystery and human frailty. He has a very dense prose, quite reminiscent of Mr. G, and is quite thoroughly readable. After I read "Borne", I knew I'd be reading all of his books. Cannot recommend enough.
  16. 1 point
    It definitely rewards closely paying attention. I actually enjoy that, since it gives the story more complexity and requires me to actively track the storylines. So far I have identified 3 distinct time periods in the first three episodes.
  17. 1 point
    Watchmen is very good, indeed, and it was great to see Jeremy Irons chewing the scenery. A bit disappointed in Carnival Row, but it is nice to watch, at least. And Amazon seems willing to fight HBO with some of its weapons, celebrities and sex. Cardinal manages to keep the interest in the 3rd season, and it still seems more Scandinavian than Canadian. Preacher's ending was so over the top that I actually had to force myself to watch the last season, just to see how it ends. Quite as expected, which was a final down. If I could choose I should have stopped watching at the end of the second season. Really loving a Spanish series, Foodie Love, but I do not know how easy it will be to catch in this overhwelming new world series. It is HBO, so it should be at least possible. In cinemas, this evening we will pay the toll to Disney for Star Wars, and quite enjoyed Last Christmas, even if it is quite different from Love, actually, which is how it was presented. Emilia Clarke is succeeding in separating herself from Daenerys shadow, and the story is goofy enough to work, and showing the parts I like best of London also helps. Talking of Love Actually, here is the 14 years later made for charity. My wife absolutely loves it, and it is in high rotation during Christmas, so I have seen it twice already this year. Emma Thompson did not take part because she was in mourning after Alan Rickman's death. Red Nose day has some strange location requirements in Youtube, so here is in Vimeo.
  18. 1 point
    Hardwired (Tracy Chapman, 2002) Your wants desires Needs and wishes Will be duly noted Processed filed and cataloged Labeled and encoded Turned into sitcom dialog And advertising slogans We've got a box to put in your brain Hard wired for downloading All the secrets and the mysteries You've been selfishly withholding The dreams and hopes That once were yours Will now be collected and dispersed So the first to come with cash to spend Will be the first one served We've got a box to put in your brain Hard wired for downloading All the secrets and the mysteries You've been selfishly withholding Make you think you like to be watched Displayed on the auction block Invaded in your own home Stripped naked on the television Humiliated in front of millions We've got a box to put in your brain Hard wired for downloading All the secrets and the mysteries You've been selfishly withholding We've got a box to put in your brain We've got a box to put in your brain We've got a box to put in your brain We've got a box to put in your brain Your wants desires Needs and wishes Will be duly noted
  19. 1 point
  20. 1 point
    The Watchmen was AWESOME! I refused to watch the movie because of teh dumbing down of it all, but this series was stupendous. I hope they're able to do a second season, but would totally understand if they just let it stand alone. It's almost better that way. Finally Saw "US" by Jordan Peele, and it completely reinforced my opinion that Jordan Peele is an important filmmaker. Went and saw "Joker" in the theater. First time I have been in a theater in 20 years, and it ended up being one I built. IDK what to say about "Joker", other than fucken BRAVO. Holy shit. They proved Scorsese wrong with his criticism of comic book adaptations not being "cinema". Every. Single. Frame. is GORGEOUS, but every single interaction is horrifying. Astounding dichotomy. I found myself laughing inappropriately, which seemed appropriate.... Amazing film.
  21. 1 point
    I haven't use it in over a decade, but I still shudder whenever i see the word "Powerpoint".
  22. 1 point
    Awww, please do! I also got tickets for Bristol! I don't know the logistics for Bristol yet but I will try to make it. Do we have any other venues listed for London yet. I'll be staying the week. Flying out on Friday.
  23. 1 point
    Having driven you on a windy mountain road, I can only agree. Poor David. ❤️
  24. 1 point
    It appears from twitter that there will be a London meet-up in February around this date; FashPo and Striv are both planning to go. If our financial situation changes, we'll certainly try to go...it's been 5 years, after all!
  25. 1 point
    Oculus Rift S. They were on sale for $350 and work let me borrow a pair for a month beforehand so I knew they worked well with my system at home.
  26. 1 point
    London 4th https://www.howtoacademy.com/events/william-gibson-on-the-future/ Don't know if will others, he usually manages a couple in London. Though FP signing is a standard.
  27. 1 point
    So The Watchmen ended up being hella effective for all 9 episodes. I loved it! Too many spoilers to talk about it much without giving things away, but wow did they do a good job on the writing. I'm also 3 episodes into season 4 of The Expanse and OMG is it so much better on Amazon Prime. The UN leader is finally allowed to swear like she does in the books, Amos is doing the sociopath a little better in places and in general, it's all so good so far!
  28. 1 point
    Really awesome interview from The New Yorker.
  29. 1 point
    I saw a guy who looked like Stephenson a few days ago, but he said he wasn't when I asked him. I feel like a dork.
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