[Book] Making History (1997)

What if Hitler had never been born? In this alternate-history, science fiction novel, two men at Cambridge university find a way to make it happen, and find themselves in a world in which the second world war was replaced by a cold war between German-occupied Europe and the United States. I have to admit that, despite being quite fond of Stephen Fry, I found the book problematic. This review contains spoilers.

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[Book] Leviathan Wakes (2011)

Leviathan Wakes is an interplanetary action-mystery story set in a hard science fiction setting within our solar system. It was written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, under their collaborative pen name Corey. It features a well-considered technological landscape and thoughtful prejudice between planet-raised and space station-raised people. It’s also, unfortunately, a shallow story with a flat writing style, mediocre characters, and bad comedic banter. It’s a book I wanted to like more.

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[Book] The Ship Who Sang (1969)

The Ship Who Sang, by Anne McCaffrey, takes place in a space-faring setting in which certain humans, born with significant defects, are raised to become eventually “installed” into specialized spaceships that become their new bodies. This book, comprised of five sequential short stories, follows the adventures of Helva, one such exceptional living ship. On the one hand I was invested in Helva’s emotional journey and development as a person. On the other hand, I felt McCaffrey didn’t go a good job considering the implications of her setting and its society. Finally, the last story in this book is an insulting and repulsive finale to what is otherwise an engaging, if flawed, collection of stories. This review has spoilers.

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[Book] The Neverending Story (1979)

There are many good books in the world, but there are few I think of as absolutely essential – books that should be read by readers and non-readers alike. The Neverending Story, written by Michael Ende, is one of them. Furthermore, if you’re familiar with its 1984 film adaptation and not the book itself, you’re not simply missing out. I would go as far as to say you’ve been actively, maliciously, and knowingly manipulated away from the empowering purpose of the book.

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[Film] Unbreakable (2000)

Unbreakable, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, is an unusual superhero movie. It’s a quiet, contemplative piece about what it might be like to find out superhuman people exist, even if they don’t wear tights or actually have eye lasers, and what it might feel like to discover you may be one of them. I enjoyed this film, a few quirks aside, right up until it’s jarringly stupid finale.

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[Book] The Princess Bride (1973)

by William Goldman.

The full title of this book is actually The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure: The “Good Parts” Version Abridged by William Goldman.

Like many other people, I saw the 1987 film before reading the book. I’m happy to say that the book is excellent, and the film is a great adaptation. The book claims to be a retelling of a story originally written by S. Morgenstern. Goldman’s version comprises the “Good Parts” of the book, leaving out boring sections on politics, history, and endless descriptions of banquets that no one besides professors wants to read anyway. This “classic” by Morgenstern is, of course, entirely fictional, but that only adds to the appeal of this story.

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[Film] The Raid 2 (2014)

The Raid 2, like its predecessor, is a misguided Silat showcase. Everything is “ramped up” from the first film, but in a way that reminds us that more is not the same as good. There is more violence, more gore, more serious-ness, and then suddenly less serious-ness, but none of it is for the better. Iko Uwais, the star of both films, is an extremely talented martial artist. I think it’s deeply unfortunate the Raid has become his signature series.

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Return and Site Re-Theme

It’s been a while since I wrote a review – I recently finished a capstone project for my university degree. Now that is finished I’ll be spending more time preparing notes for reviews as well as playing with the site theme. I may change a few layouts as I experiment, feel free to let me know if something just doesn’t work.

[Film] Flesh for Frankenstein (1973)

Flesh for Frankenstein, directed by Paul Morrisey and presented by Andy Warhol, is a delightfully twisted, gory film with a sick sense of humour and a total abhorrence for aristocracy. This is a movie that is somewhat at odds with itself: it features beautiful cinematography, vibrant colours, and is very reminiscent of the lavish horror films from Hammer Studios. At the same time, it features shouty performances, a main actor who makes zero attempt to hide his New York accent, a veritable fountain of hammy performances, and perhaps my favorite line from the film, “In order to understand life, Igor, you have to fuck death… in the gallbladder!” There is no metaphor there, Doctor Frankenstein had just, more or less, just done that. This review contain spoilers.

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