20 December 2010

Before They Were Giants, They Were Wee Little (unpublished) People

  • Author: James L Sutter
  • Title: Before They Were Giants: First Works from Science Fiction Greats
  • Publisher: Planet Stories 2010
  • ISBN: 978 1601252661 (Planet Stories #28)
Before They Were Giants is the latest Planet Stories book, collecting the first published works (sortof) by a bunch of SF and F authors in print today. Ben Bova, Piers Anthony, Kim Stanley Robinson, Larry Niven and Michael Swanwick represent the old school, while Cory Doctorow, China Mieville and William Gibson stand in for more recent times. Yes, there are others, but I can't be bothered typing their names in. Lazy, aren't I? 

Highlights for me were Spider Robinsons first story (which is also the first Callahans Bar story) and the China Mieville story, which was ok but a bit trite while reading. Until I found out that he wrote it when he was FUCKING 12!!!! And on that basis, is is absolutely brilliant.

Charles Stross also has a story in this book, but I didn't really get it. The only female gendered person featured is Nicola Griffith, and the story was a bit naff, doing one of those "evil human mining company is exploiting the land of the humanoid natives, but their spirituality may just win the day with the help of a kind hearted officer and the guidance of an old native sage type lady" type stories. I would have loved to see first works by some of the really great women writers like Kage Baker, Eileen Gunn, Kath Koja, hell, pretty much anyone. Maybe they'll do a Before They [each] Became A Giantess?

Oh Oh, Michael Swanwick - His story in this is creepy and weird but space operaish and too cool for words. This book is worth getting on the basis of this story alone.

I know I ususally waffle on a whole lot more about books, but I am a bit short on time at the moment. So I will just say this - Planet Stories have published some interesting stuff recently, and they are worth chasing up at the library. That most of the stories in this book are widely available elsewhere, however, means that I don't think it is worth the $15.99 rrp. The only really hard to get piece is the China Mieville, and that was more exciting for the novelty than actual value. You wouldn't reread it annually, cause it ain't LoTR, ya know?


PS, while attempting to spellcheck this post, Internet Explorer repeatedly crashed, so I haven't. Any speelign arrors are Microsofts fault.

10 December 2010

Why Skyline Sucked, and Why It Really Doesn't Matter

Java and I watched the movie Skyline last night. Oh boy.  [Hey, this is Java here, I'll be adding some stuff in the square brackets.]

A little backstory is probably in order. This movie was advertised on TV and looked like a remake of Independance Day: ID4 (1996?) with more modern effects, a bit more of the monsters eating people, that kind of thing. To put it plainly, the preview looked awesome, like a preview for one of those great blockbuster special effects movies that come out every year, usually at the start of the northern summer.

Now that preview didn't mention the case, director, writers, any of that kind of stuff. Just showed some images (which looked great) and the tagline "Don't look up." As it turned out, there was a good reason for this.  [Why not look up?  You're going to get eaten anyway.]

This movies big star is an up and coming actor named Eric Balfour, who has mostly done supporting roles in TV including Buffy and Six Feet Under, and was in What Women Want with Mel 'I was in Mad Max, but now I'm a fat wanker' Gibson. Along with Donald 'Turk from Scrubs' Faison, Brittany Daniel (who played a MAJOR character in Sweet Valley High) and Scottie Thompson (who has been on CSI:NY, CSI:Miami, NCIS, Bones AND Law and Order!), the cast is what you might describe as inexperienced, but quite good looking. See how nice I am being about it?  [Really?  All those roles?  They sound experienced enough.]

And I must say, the actors have done a good job. The faults with the story are not anything the actors could have done anything about. They play their roles very well, and with better material to work with, this could have been a real springboard for all of them. (Well, except for Brittany Daniel, who's major abilities seem to be 1: holding up a strapless top with no hands and 2: being an EXTREMELY female girl with big boobs*.)

*by which I mean that this girl is a plastic surgery disaster waiting to happen, with hair that i'm sure would crumble if touched, although she looks very very 'beautiful' in the hollywood sense of the word.  [I'm pretty sure that all actors are plastic surgery disasters waiting to happen.]

OK, I'll stop here to warn you that if you don't already know how this movie ends, you don't want to read on any further. I will spoil the 'suprise' ending for you. Therefore, click ye not on the link b'low, lest ye find thyself in the midst of furious spoilage, alas....  [The story isn't much anyway.  Click the link.]

06 December 2010

The Technicial - Neal Asher

Warning: This post is predominantly a political rant. Please don't continue past the jumplink if you don't want to be subjected to the first of what is about to become a series of cynical diatribes and doomsaying manifesto's.

  • Author: Neal Asher
  • Title: The Technician
  • Publisher: Tor 2010
  • ISBN: Dunno
I have only managed to read one book in the last (holy snapping alligators) two and a bit weeks. And that book was The Technician by Neal Asher, resident of Crete or Cypress or some Mediterranean island anyway, and Essex. Nice contrast.

Oh yes, the book was everything it need to be to make it a perfect record for Asher. He has yet to write anything that wasn't exciting, dynamic, funny, thought provoking and disgustingly violent, and I have loved every minute of it. Asher has, with the Technician, cemented his place in my own personal Top Ten Best Ever Writerstm list, which is, as you should know by now, topped by Frederik Pohl.

So no surprises there. The plot is nicely weird, the hero's were complex and strangely compelling, and the story ended with a real live Atheter (which is a Gabbleduck, which is the best monster name ever!!) with it's brain turned back on. Bravo, Mr Asher. I look forward immensely to the next chapter in the Masada stories portion of this brilliant future history.

04 December 2010

Touch typing on the iPad

hi! Afi ai am fgawriting on my ipd eith the autospell chcker turned off so youaan srd hoe bad i sj sat asat st at tyyoubg aon this ingy

Soriously though,

I love the ipad but i still want a proper e reader. Thank goodness that i have a noce part time job that ocasionalky has many extra shifts.