Thursday, June 26, 2008

Y the last issue??

It's been a good year for books so far. I've somehow managed to read three (well, five, I suppose, as one is a trilogy - although another is as long-running comic series, comprising ten trades...let's just forget the numbers), all of which have all leaped quickly into my 'all-time favourites' list.

His Dark Materials

I received these for Christmas - Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Surprisingly, I can't help but think the American title of The Golden Compass is more fitting for the first book, slotting in nicely with the 'objects of power' theme in the other titles.

Having been deemed slightly too old to read them when they were first released, they'd gone rather beneath my radar. My mum, who worked in the school library at the time, certainly seemed impressed with them, but I knew little else. It was only when the movie was nearing release and the denser end of the religious spectrum started trumpeting that I paid attention. If there's one thing that'll encourage me to investigate something, it's if reactionary religious evangelists dislike it.

Great stuff, as everyone knows, although the ending really did leave me with a rather gaping hole in the heart. Yes, it's important for events this epic to have resonance and consequences (I've always thought LotR's main flaw is that everyone gets off rather lightly...). Yes, it makes for a more memorable story. But...couldn't they all have just lived happily ever after?

p.s. I also thought the movie was good, though covered with dirty studio-meddling fingerprints.

Rendezvous With Rama
That it's taken me nearly 28 years to read this is rather unforgiveable. Despite loving good ol' hard sci-fi, loving Asimov as a kid and then Kim Stanley Robinson as a 'young adult', for some reason I never really discovered Arthur C Clarke.

I read a collection of his short stories a while back and then zipped through Earthlight while in hospital in 200...5? Rendezvous With Rama is one of the biggies, though, and thankfully it didn't disappoint. Clarke's power to describe something completely alien and bring it to vivid life is really quite enviable - I feel like I've been to Rama, like I know exactly what it looks like, in all its massive scale. I have memories of traversing the staircase and staring up at the sky/ground and the circular sea.

Y: The Last Man
Finally, I just this evening finished the last issue of Y: The Last Man. I am now in a mission to hunt down everything else written by Brian K Vaughan. I'm quite glad that I read the series over the last couple of years in the trades, rather than issue-by-issue since 2002. If I'd been invested for that long, the ending would really have been too difficult to bear. Not because it's sad (though it is, in some ways), but because it means there's no more.

No more tales of Yorick's bumbling foolery, no more ass kicking (and repressed feelings) from 355, no more disapproving glances from Dr Mann. No more poo throwing from Ampersand.

There's only one solution really: I'll just have to start re-reading the whole thing from the beginning.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Piece by piece

We're building the set for the FXhome Film up at work at the moment. I've never really done anything quite like it (not being the DIY type) and it's rather fun, seeing it taking shape piece by piece, each beam or panel making it seem more and more like a space station and less like a bunch of chopped up trees. I've really no idea what it'll look like once completed, in terms of quality. Will it be Battlestar Galactica or Doctor Who quality?

Talking of which, Battlestar's mid-season break was fairly astounding. It really is the best show since Babylon 5, for me. I'm still not entirely sure how it manages to be consistently better than any cinema scifi of the last 10-or-so years (Starship Troopers and Serenity excepted, of course).

Mass Effect continues to be rather captivating, perhaps a little too much.


Pages: 219
Words: 81,357

I must be approximately two thirds of the way in now. Our heroes are crossing the mountains en route to Aviar, where they will find many surprises. Everything's going to be gradually slotting into place for the finale from here. While I thought setting up the plot, setting and characters was a crazy juggling act, getting everything positioned naturally for the climax is looking like it's going to be just as tricky.

What I'm actually looking forward to the most currently - other than finishing the first damn draft - is the editing process. That's when I can really start to tighten all the strings, make sure all the themes are in and developing properly, iron out any plot creases and, hopefully, end up with a properly readable book.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mass Effect

The problem with being a PC gamer is that, while you sometimes get better versions of games, you tend to be writing about them a year-or-so after the rest of the planet. PC scoops are often old news to everyone else.

Which brings me to Mass Effect, a game that 360ers have been enjoying for a good long while already. The PC version is prettier, more stable and has better combat, while retaining all the good stuff from the console version. If you want to know more, it's probably best just to Google.

In an effort to raise a smile (or pitying shake of the head), above you can see my attempt to create a character that looks a little bit like me, if I happened to have a more heroically chiselled jaw.

In other news: I'm going to try to write my first legit gaming article soon, so that I can start pushing it aggressively in editors' faces. Not sure that's how it works, but the worst they can do is call the police.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Bring Firefly Back!!

That was all I had to say. I'd rather be Zoe than Kaylee..

You are Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)

Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)
Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)
Derrial Book (Shepherd)
Inara Serra (Companion)
Wash (Ship Pilot)
Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)
River (Stowaway)
A Reaver (Cannibal)

You are good at fixing things.
You are usually cheerful.
You appreciate being treated
with delicacy and specialness.

Click here to take the Serenity Firefly Personality Test