WWW Wednesday – 2018/04/18

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

TheLordoftheRingsI have concluded “Book Three” of The Lord of the Rings, which is the first half of The Two Towers. This section covers all of the exploits of Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry, and Pippin for that volume. I’ve got less than 150 pages left to go of Towers, which I hope to have completed over the next week so I can finally write another book review. “Book Three” did meander on occasion, but ultimately I really liked how much it had going on. I’m imagining following Frodo and Sam will be of a different pace, but since it’s looking like it’ll be a lot shorter than the former portion of the volume I’m hoping a potentially slower pace won’t stop me from finishing it within the next week.

SkeletonCrewI’m still waddling along with Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, having finished a couple more stories since last week: “The Wedding Gig” and “Paranoid: A Chant.” They weren’t bad, though not horror stories in the conventional sense. The former is a prohibition era crime story about a band hired to play at the wedding of a small-time racketeer’s sister, which goes badly. It wasn’t bad, but didn’t really grab me much. The latter was more of a poem about paranoia, with the speaker specifically fixated on conspiracy theory related subject matter. It was a nice short change of pace. Next up is “The Raft” which I’m excited about because it’s the reason I decided to start reading this collection in the first place. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

Recently Finished

Nothing for this week! Boo!

Reading Next

AliensDeadOrbitI’m pretty set on reading The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells now, hopefully in time for next week if I can clean up what I’m currently reading a little. We shall see. I spent the better part of nearly the last two weeks working on a short story for a contest that was due the 15th, so reading fell to the wayside a little. In the meantime, I want to read Aliens: Dead Orbit by James Stokoe, which recently arrived in the mail after I pre-ordered it ages ago. I heard some light buzz about it and that was enough for me to give it a look. Will probably post a comic book review of that once I’m done.

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Movie Review – A Quiet Place

IMDb Summary

A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

AQuietPlacePoster

A Quiet Place is a 2018 horror film directed by and starring John Krasinski. He plays Lee Abbott alongside his real-life wife Emily Blunt, who plays Evelyn Abbott. The two are devoted parents who work hard to raise their two children in a world terrorized by blind yet dangerous creatures that hunt with highly acute hearing. I remember seeing trailers for this film long before it came out, and my expectations were actually considerably below the reality of what this movie is. It did look intriguing, but knowing the ways a lot of mainstream horror films get made I was expecting this to be a run-of-the-mill post-apocalyptic survival film with a gimmick. I couldn’t be happier with being dead wrong.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/04/11

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

TheLordoftheRingsI started reading The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien last week and as I anticipated I’m enjoying it lot more than The Fellowship of the Ring. I’ve already read until the end of the battle of Helm’s Deep. There’s been a lot more forward momentum with the story that has kept me more interested. I’ve also really liked the way the story has jumped between Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli pursuing orcs and ending up in Rohan and Merry and Pippin escaping their orc captors and meeting the Ents. It mixed things up nicely. I hope I still enjoy it all when I catch back up with Frodo. I’d be a shame if focus on him was the problem I had with the first book.

SkeletonCrewI’ve continued along with Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, though at a slower pace thanks to picking of LOTR again. I may power through it after I conclude The Two Towers, just so it’s not lingering around too long. I’m still disappointed with how few books I’ve finished since March started. The only story I’ve read since last week is “The Jaunt,” which is a fantastic science fiction story about the horrors of teleportation. The payoff was expected but I really enjoyed the build up and the execution was great.

Recently Finished

Shortly after my post last week I finished reading “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer, which you can read my full review of here. It’s a rather short work, so I don’t have much more to say about here, other than it was a wonderfully weird ride and I liked the way it started to make sense by the end.

LastFlightOfTheHarbingerI also read Last Flight of the Harbinger by Jason Aaron et al, which is the 4th volume of the new Marvel Comics Star Wars series. I’m becoming a little disappointed with how unfocused these stories have been on the characters themselves over the last couple of books. I suppose that makes sense, though. Luke and company’s most important development takes place in the films, so the most logical place to shift focus to is the adventures they have. I just wish said adventures were more interesting. A special forces group of Stromtroopers called SCAR squadron is featured that offered a unique look at the Imperial perspective, which I did really like, as well as another chapter about Obi-Wan’s days as a hermit on Tatooine.

Reading Next

TheFirstMenInTheMoonI want to reading something short before I begin The Return of the King, so I’ve been thinking either The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells or The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. I’m in the mood for some older science fiction. It’ll probably be the former of the two; it’s been a while since I read anything by Wells. I only mention both because there’s always a chance I’ll change my mind. I may not even pick either of the two. I’m pretty sure whatever it is it’ll be science fiction though.

Movie Review – Pacific Rim Uprising

Summary from IMDb

As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.

PacificRimUprisingPoster

Pacific Rim Uprising is a science fiction action film directed by Steven S. DeKnight and starring John Boyega as Jake Pentecost, the son of Marshal Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) from the first film. 10 years have passed, with Earth having enjoyed relative peace since the sealing of the breach, an act that stopped the monstrous Kaiju from invading. Through a series of mishaps trying to sell machine parts on the black market—salvaged from Jaegers, the giant robots that humanity used to fight the Kaiju—Jake is forced to rejoin the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps (PPDC) to instruct new recruits as Jaeger pilots. An attack from a powerful rogue Jaeger reveals that times are not as peaceful as they thought and that a plot is brewing to restart the Kaiju invasion once again.Read More »

Short Story Review – Komodo by Jeff VanderMeer

Summary

Meet your cast of characters: Angels and ghost frogs, transdimensional komodo dragons and secret forces using luna moths for surveillance. Want to traverse space and time to avoid the komodos tracking your scent? All you have to do let yourself be devoured by a giant undead bear. Confused yet? You should be. But this is the secret world our nameless narrator has stumbled into, ever since being rescued by the angels from an exploding airplane. And she’ll make sense of it for you, or die trying.

Komodo

“Komodo” is my first foray into the writing of Jeff VanderMeer, known for his Southern Reach trilogy. It was while I was looking up those books that this digital “novelette” first came to my attention. This is one of those situations where the title and cover hooked drew me in significantly. I’m a sucker for reptiles. The promise of a weird science fiction story involving “transdimensional komodo dragons” sold me completely.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/04/04

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

SkeletonCrewI’m still gradually making my way through Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, though I’ve finished more stories than I had for last week. “The Monkey” was a pretty good tale of a strange cursed object. I appreciate that little was done to explain what made it so malevolent. I particularly enjoyed “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut,” a story set in Castle Rock, which connects to a lot of other concepts within King’s works. I also just love the idea of obscure, winding pathways somehow intersecting with other worlds. Part of me wants to finish this before starting The Two Towers, but I don’t think I’ll do that. This book is pretty long in its own right.

KomodoI’m also about halfway finished reading my Kindle edition of the short story “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer. I started reading it last night. I’m disappointed that I haven’t finished it, but I grew tired and decided to pick it up later after reaching a stopping point. It’s a really surreal tale. Not so much that I’m completely lost, but difficult to explain to somebody if they wanted to hear what it’s about. In a good way, I’m finding it’s a story where you just need to go with it. Otherwise, it’s probably going to frustrate you.

Recently Finished

RebelJailOver the weekend I read Rebel Jail, the third volume in the new Star Wars comic book series by Marvel Comics. It told a decent, self-contained little story set primarily in one of the Rebel Alliance’s prisons. As an organization trying to be better than the oppressive Imperials they want to overthrow, it makes sense they’d take prisoners rather than execute. I am a little skeptical they had the resources for something like this, however. Nevertheless, its introduction does not hurt continuity, so it does not matter. The story was particularly Leia focused, which I appreciated, along with including new character Dr. Aphra, whom I love.

Reading Next

TheLordoftheRingsI’m going to start reading The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien very soon. The Lord of the Rings is a monkey on my back I need to take care of. I’ve had enough of a break. Other than that, I’m going to push myself to catch up more on comic books. I’ve got so many to get to that I’ve let pile up that I could finish in a relatively short amount of time if I put my mind to it, so expect to see more of those under recently finished in the coming weeks. Until next time.

New Books & Novel Discoveries (March 2018)

Well, it’s been another month and I’m happy to say I actually wrote the my first Writing Report post before I put another one of these out. It has gotten me writing more frequently, though not for the extended periods I have wanted yet. Some personal and work related matters needed tending to, which made it harder to focus on writing. My deadline is for the end of March, which I may not hit, but I’m planning to get a lot of it done Saturday, with the hope that within the first week of April I will hit my goal of a completed first draft.

Anyway, onto the books!Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/03/28

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

SkeletonCrewI’m still reading Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, though I have not made much progress on it over the past week. I finished the story “Here There Be Tygers” which was rather short. It was interesting and a little different than what I’m used to from King. It was rather open-ended and nonsensical, but not in a way that was frustrating or baffling. It quite effectively tapped into fears and anxieties one might experience in childhood, through every day people and (possibly) imaginary presences. I started reading “The Monkey” but some personal distractions held be back from finishing it.

Recently Finished

HellboyTheLostArmyI finished The Lost Army by Christopher Golden just before the weekend, which was both disappointing and in other ways exactly what I needed. You can read my full review of the novel here. Having purchased so many Hellboy novels now, since some of them are a little difficult to find at reasonable prices, I’m happy I finally got through one. It was pulpy fun that captured the essence of the character well while also serving as a fun, noncommittal side-story. My only real gripe, which I explain more in my review, is how little character development actually takes place.

Reading Next

RebelJailI still intend to start The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien soon, as well as “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer once I set aside some to get through it in a sitting. Other than that, I’ve been thinking more about the mountain of comic book volumes I need to get through that I’ve been severely taking my time with. In particular are the Star Wars comics I’ve let pile up. So, I will likely be reading Rebel Jail next, continuing the adventures of the crew of the Millennium Falcon after the events of Vader Down, which I read at the beginning of last year.

Book Review – The Lost Army by Christopher Golden

Summary

525 B.C. The Persian King Cambyses sent fifty thousand soldiers across the conquered Egyptian desert to take an oasis city not far from where the Libyan border stands today. According to Greek history, a hurricane-force sandstorm struck near the end of their six-hundred-mile trek. The army—all fifty thousand men—vanished without a trace.

1986 A.D. A British archaeological team, sent to the edge of the Great Sand Sea to exhume evidence of the incident, has gone missing. The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense is sending the world’s greatest paranormal investigator, Hellboy, to find the missing team and discover what became of The Lost Army.

HellboyTheLostArmy

The Lost Army by Christopher Golden is the first Hellboy novel, based on the comic book series of the same name. The book includes illustrations by series creator Mike Mignola. While I’ve enjoyed prose Hellboy stories from a couple of anthologies by now, this was my first venture into a full novel about the character. Since this was published in 1997 there have been nine other Hellboy novels and four anthologies. Interestingly, only a handful of this material is considered to be in continuity with the comic book series proper, which understandably takes precedent. This novel, along with other books and stories by Golden, are considered within canon.Read More »