Oo! I’m doing my first ticketed event for Waterstones on 18 Oct. With Tom Lloyd thrown in for good measure. We’ll do a talk on trends in fantasy, a couple of readings, a Q&A and some scribbling in books! Tickets available from Waterstones Nottingham from Thurs 4 Sept. Shout it to the skies!
Hmm. This Luc Besson film is vastly enjoyable, but not quite as awesome as I’d hoped. The plot (more of a scenario, really) involves a young girl forced into being a drug-mule for an experimental drug. It leaks into her guts and she begins to access previously unused parts of her mind… developing super powers in the process. Problem: she’s massively strong very quickly, so all sense of jeopardy immediately disappears.
She becomes smarter and smarter as the film goes on, until she is smarter than all human experience. Problem: the film is an expression of meaning that can only use our current tropes of understanding – so ultimately can only fail to explain the true conceptual consequences of her intellect.
It all ends up as fairly… predictable, therefore. And vaguely daft. It’s a shame, cos somewhere in there is an amazing film fighting to get out. But still vastly enjoyable. 7.5 out of 10.
In something of a minor miracle, I’ve actually been included on the programme of FantasyCon in York. I’ll be giving forth 5-6pm on Saturday 6 Sept. The topic: The Fan, the Pro and the Publishing Industry Writers.
Why a minor miracle? Well, let’s just say the selection policy regarding panels has been far from transparent in previous years. Seems like things are finally changing! As my friend Richard Kellum once time: ‘It’s high time Pip threw back the curtains of Miss Faversham’s dark and dusty sitting room.’ There is hope.
Meanwhile, I’ll be signing for Watestones Doncaster this Saturday (23 Aug).
And what’s Dalton working on? He’s writing a troll story for Nordland Publishing, that’s what.
Waterstones Leeds have confirmed they have the stock of Empire of the Saviours, Gateway, and Tithe for this Saturday (16 Aug, 11am), so the signing is a go! Over a hundred books – I’ll need to use some serious jedi powers to shift that lot (especially as the Premiership is starting). Maybe a prayer or two to arcane powers. Hmm. Ritual sacrifice of something? A cucumber sandwich? Do arcane powers like them? Where’s the rule book on such stuff?
Finally caught up with this 2003 movie – and I’m glad I did. It’s a tightly scripted and high-tempo affair. Halle Berry is decent lead (quite convincing as a demented axe-wielder, when not being a rational and sensible psychiatrist) and is ably supported by Penelope Cruz and Robert Downey Jr. The film works on at least three levels at once – the supernatural, the psychological and the real. It’s ghost story, psychodrama and murder-mystery at the same time. And you’re left guessing to the last. Definitely worth a look if you’re into ‘The Sixth Sense’ or ‘Criminal Minds’ and the like. A good 8 out of 10 from me.
Hmm. Well, this film was far more than I expected – much better than the original UK cinema trailers suggested, in fact. A solid mystery-type opening, and a compelling (if a tad slow) build up. There are good special effects and set-pieces, making the whole thing thoroughly entertaining and a not unpleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon. There’s the odd niggle – the film’s overlong, the way the female lead ‘returns’ from the dead is just plain silly, and the excessive care with which Native Americans are represented will see you cringe – but the acting is solid (Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, et al) and there’s something for everyone. It scores a positive 7.5 out of 10 from me!
So, I saw the first UK trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy and thought – oh, that’s lame. Then positive press reviews came out and I thought… hmm, bet they’ve misjudged the UK audience in terms of what a trailer should be and do… and then I saw the new trailer. Looks better, I thought, and went to go see the new Marvel movie last night.
Oh, what a brilliant film. It represents a new standard in modern popular Hollywood films. There’s no over-signposting. There are super smart jokes that will go over the heads of some (instead of the usual common-denominator groaners). The plot has tempo and you have to concentrate – you have to make some effort and engage yourself (rather than lay back and have it all done for you, you low-intellect tub of lard!). This creates a properly immersive experience – with amazing special effects. And you get rewarded for your effort – the return is both epic and cosmic, and ultimately self-improving.
The leader of the group of rogues that we follow is a clean-cut-heart-of-gold kind of guy. But he avoids being annoying – good acting job by Chris Pratt. He is ably assisted by a tree (I am Groot), a raccoon, a muscle Mary (with a ludicrous level of vocab) and the green-skinned daughter of Thanos – god of death and general nastiness. Their task is to keep The Infinity Stone out of the clutches of the cosmically crazy Ronan – and thereby save the entire universe. The pretext doesn’t matter – it’s a hell of a ride and a truly intelligent study of allegiance and relationships.
Go see it. You will not regret it, I assure you. I have never given a film 10 out of 10, but this is 9.99999999999999!