Archive for the 'Books' Category

Nov 19 2014

Why The Animated Hobbit Is Better Than Peter Jackson’s

Published by under Books,Movies

The Hobbit

Please hear me out before you start hurling stones at me. I’m a fan of everything that Peter Jackson and his crew have accomplished over the past 13+ years. Peter has done wonders for Tolkien’s work by bringing it to the forefront of popular culture. He’s made it possible for the masses to not only enjoy the stories but to know everything about Middle Earth without ever having to endure the books. Sure a few details might be altered here and there but when does a book ever get translated into a movie word for word?

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26 responses so far

Nov 18 2014

The Boy From Aleppo Who Painted The War: Radio 4 Adaptation Review

Published by under Books


The Boy From Aleppo Who Painted The War is the debut novel from Sumia Sukkar that was published late last year. It followed the events of the Syrian civil war but differs greatly from your average war epic by telling the story primarily through Adam, a Syrian teenager who has Aspergers syndrome and is living through the plight. Due to Adam’s condition he doesn’t fully comprehend the war, all he knows is that it is disrupting his life by taking his school, home and family members away from him. The novel truly is a gripping tale and if there is any justice the world would be at home on television or cinema screens, but firstly BBC’s Radio 4 got their hands on it and adapted it into an episode of their Saturday drama.

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Oct 30 2014

True Creative Writing Is Out There If You Look Hard Enough

Published by under Books


The internet’s been a phenomenal tool for a lot of things, some good, some bad.  One of the things it’s been good for is distribution of original writing.  30 years ago, if you’d written something, the only distribution option if you wanted to bypass traditional publishers was to pay (a lot) to print it yourself, and sell it out of the back of your car, pretty much.

But now?  Write whatever you want, any idea, any genre, any length, and smack it on a WordPress page, and millions of people can see it at a click.  Granted, actually getting millions of people interested in your writing is another job entirely, but the possibility is always there.

As someone who fundamentally loves reading long-form fiction above all other forms of entertainment, I was happy to discover that there is some spectacular, amazing, truly creative writing out there, for free, right now, if you know where to look.

Let me show you what I’ve found and perhaps you’ll agree.

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9 responses so far

Oct 08 2014

The Rise of the Badaptation

Published by under Books,Columns,Movies


I had such high hopes. Too high, maybe, but that wasn’t the real problem. Gone Girl was technically wonderful, as are most things under David Fincher’s ever vigilant eye. But a big mistake was made in its creation.

Adapting for film is a tricky business. Novels are the most recognised form of adaptation (I’ve heard around a third of all films are estimated to be somehow derived from books), but there are other sources – plays, games, historical figures/situations, websites, and the latest, childhood board games. There’s certainly plenty of inspiration for studios and filmmakers who want the safety net of a pre-existing audience.

The key word here is inspiration.

There’s a reason video games are yet to have a breakthrough film that shows the potential for good RPG to DVD adaptation. The mediums are much too similar! You play a game, you like the game, and you think ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to see this as a movie?’ You mean on a screen? With people moving and talking and stuff? Haven’t you already seen that? Continue Reading »

9 responses so far

Sep 29 2014

Harry Potter Being Rewritten To Feature Prayer Instead of Magic

Published by under Books,Oddly Enough


I am fully in support of freedom of religion. Yet, I am also fully in support of making fun of something dumb when done in the name of religion. Case in point, one blogger’s quest to rewrite Harry Potter so that the young hero attends the “Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles,” where “magic” is nowhere to be found.

I can’t tell if this is an exceptionally elaborate troll or someone who genuinely believes Harry Potter can effectively reshaped into another book of the Bible. Whatever the case, it’s worth reading. Check out the absolutely amazing passage below:  Continue Reading »

6 responses so far

Sep 18 2014

The Naming of Things


That’s a pretty clever name, right?  Squid Vicious.  I thought of it entirely independently.  I got really excited, because it hit me in just the perfect way – clever, catchy, irreverent.  I was going to assume the mantle of Squid Vicious and have it become my internet avatar.  I was going to write a whimsical novel about undersea creatures overcoming their differences to form the world’s first All-Aquatic punk band.  The only problem?  Turns about about 1,000 other people thought of it before me.  Such is life in the modern era.  But it got me thinking about names.

What’s in a name?  On the surface, nothing.  The flotsam and jetsam of our lives latches on to names like barnacles to a hull (I’ve really got a whole nautical theme going today, huh?), giving them meaning.  But it’s a transitory meaning.  Would my life really be that different if my name were Dexter instead of Indy?  Probably not.  Would my life really be that different if instead I was named Lord Blackskull Burnface?  More likely, but I’d still be me.

But even though it’s a highly subjective affair, names are interesting, because what we choose to call things matters.  We choose.  We manufacture that meaning from almost nothing.

When it comes to pop culture, names certainly have an almost magical power, able to evoke feelings and memories with just a few words.  And what about the 2nd level names?  Stuff like a character name, the name of a TV show, the title of a book – that stuff stands out.  But what about the little things?  The meta-names that aren’t even really part of the fictional world?  The title of an episode, the name of a certain video game level, or the title of a certain chapter?  They can be almost a throwaway, or they can really, absolutely floor you.  This article is about the second kind.

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2 responses so far

Sep 16 2014

Harry Potter as Told By Other Students

Published by under Books,Images


Though Harry Potter was the hero of his story, it was just that. HIS story. What about if the events of the books were seen through the eyes of the other, unnamed student at Hogwarts rather than just Harry and his friends? They’re just wizards trying to learn wizardry, damnit!

I believe these are from Tickld, though I could be mistaken. In any case, I had to put them all above the jump because they’re funnier when consumed that way. What’s that? I should probably go re-read Harry Potter for the eleventh time? Yeah, sounds about right. Oooh, I haven’t read the ebook edition yet!


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Sep 09 2014

The Jedi Doth Return

Published by under Books,Movies


I never knew this actually existed, but it seems that one man, Ian Doescher, has been rewriting Star Wars as Shakespeare for a few years now, and his final installment of the series, The Jedi Doth Return, is out now. It is exactly what it sounds like:

Return to the star-crossed galaxy far, far away as the brooding young hero, a power-mad emperor, and their jesting droids match wits, struggle for power, and soliloquize in elegant and impeccable iambic pentameter. Illustrated with beautiful black-and-white Elizabethan-style artwork, these two plays offer essential reading for all ages. Something Wookiee this way comes!”

For a sampling of what exactly that looks and sounds like, check out a page below: Continue Reading »

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Sep 08 2014

George RR Martin Reveals His Favorite Game of Thrones Character So Stop Bothering Him

Published by under Books

george rr martin

For as nice as it would be to find fame and success as an author like George RR Martin, it would be annoying to get asked the same questions over and over again. Martin has already rebelled against people who keep asking him when the next book will be done (it’ll be done when it’s done!), but now he’s doing the same for another common question. Who is his favorite character? At least he gave an answer, though it should have been obvious to begin with.

“Tyrion is my favorite character. Okay? OKAY? Can we PLEASE put that one to rest?? I love all my viewpoint characters, Arya and Sansa and Bran, Jon Snow and Brienne, Arianne and Cersei and Jaime, Theon, even Victarion and the Damphair, ALL of them, but I love Tyrion the bestest. Tyrion son of Tywin, the Imp, second son of Casterly Rock. How many bloody times do I need to say it?? I swear, from now on, whenever anybody asks me, “who is you favorite character,” I am going to start naming characters from other people’s books. Cugel the Clever. Flashman. Gatsby. Hotspur. Solomon Kane. A different one each time…”

Minor spoilers ahead.

Everyone always talks about George RR Martin killing off beloved characters, but so far he’s avoided killing off any TRULY beloved characters in my eyes. Like, he’s killed off main characters to be sure, but the ones who have died haven’t been in the same category of “loved” as ones like Arya, Jaime and Tyrion.

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Aug 28 2014

Time Travel With A Twist: Pathfinder

Published by under Books


When it comes to entertainment, books are my meat and potatoes.  Always loved them, always will.  I picked up novels at an early age and never stopped consuming them.  There are good stories in all kinds of media, but for me, the absolute best books trump the absolute best of everything else.  No matter how powerful and amazing Breaking Bad is, I was more moved by the sublime tragedy of For Whom the Bell Tolls, or the rich tapestry of family and history in The Brothers K, or the sheer raw emotive power of the writing in Sometimes a Great Notion.

This is all a lead-up to the fact that books are my real passion.  At any given time, I’m reading 3, give or take 1, at once, and I get through somewhere between 50 and 100 a year.  What sometimes happens, though, is that a story will really grab me and I’ll concentrate on just that one until I’m done with it.  A couple weeks ago, this happened with Orson Scott Card’s Pathfinder.  Let me tell you how it caught my attention and why it’s worth your time.

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One response so far

Jul 29 2014

Drop Everything and Go Read The Martian

Published by under Books,Reviews


“Actually, I was the very lowest ranked member of the crew. I would only be ‘in command’ if I were the only remaining person. What do you know? I’m in command.”

I assume you guys are all caught up on Paul’s latest books, and looking for some solid reading material to help finish out the last month or so of summer. Well, look no further than Andy Weir’s debut novel, The Martian. It’s not often that I find myself discovering great books the same year they come out, but… well, I did this time. So I’m passing the knowledge onto you.

The Martian is a rare find. It’s basically a near-future science fiction thriller. More plausible than most; it’s unsurprising to discover its author is a professional software engineer and an amateur science expert. Despite the hard science pedigree, it’s also INSANELY compelling reading material. For someone who spent his teen years reading classic Michael Crichton, this was a total home run.

Meet me after the jump for some more convincing. And don’t worry; this review is spoiler free!

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2 responses so far

Jul 24 2014

So You Want To Write A Young Adult Series

Published by under Books


It’s not a bad idea, really.  These days, it’s easier than ever to publish a book, and it’s conceivable that you can create an amazing novel and publicize it into the hands of readers entirely on your own.  It’s also an exciting prospect for many – creating a story from nothing, building a world all your own, and using just your pure talent and skill to create it.

But before you leap into a creative endeavor, it’s important to look at what’s out there already, and especially what’s incredibly successful – not so you can copy it, but so you can understand it.  Although, there’s no shame in copying.  After all, “good writers borrow from other writers; great writers steal outright.”

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One response so far

Jul 22 2014

The League of Extraordinary Americans


Imagine if a librarian from the Victorian era created the Justice League.

Might not sound incredibly thrilling but in 1999 comics legend Alan Moore made the concept not just work but rock in his miniseries The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Featuring a slew of characters from every corner of Victorian literature, the LOEG was a rollicking, partially demented adventure that made you wish you were a bit more well-read.

Being a proper Englishman, though, Moore of course used (mostly) characters from his home and native land. Being a young American reader I thrilled at the brief Tralfamadorian cameo and the Who Dat Ninja poster in the background, but, for the most part, the USA was MIA throughout the League’s various goings-on.

Today, though, I’m gonna get patriotic and ‘MERICA the crap outta the limey League and present the League of Extraordinary AMERICANS, using ONLY American created characters and concepts. Am I being a rampant, red-white-and-blue-tinted glasses-wearing Nationalist? You bet. But hey, at least I’m not shoe-horning in…ugh…Tom Sawyer to appeal to Americans.

Ready? For the stars and bars! Continue Reading »

3 responses so far

Jul 21 2014

Middle-Aged Harry Potter Book Covers

Published by under Books,Images


You’ve probably heard by now that JK Rowling broke the internet when she released a 1,000 word story that reunited with a 34 year old Harry. She didn’t say much, but the internet took that to be a sign that more adult Potter books are surely on the horizon, and they’re going nuts as a result.

One artist, via SomeECards, decided to figure out what exactly Potter might be up to a few years after 34, provided JK Rowling sticks with the character that long. The results are…depressing. And also hilarious. Check them out below. Continue Reading »

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Jul 14 2014

Lesser Known Harry Potter Patronuses

Published by under Books,Images


If you grew up reading Harry Potter like I did, chances are by the time you got to the third book, Prisoner of Azkaban, you were trying to figure out that if you had to summon a Patronus to fight off Dementors, what sort of animal it would be.

I decided on a fox, though it wasn’t very scary, but eventually all the good animals would have to be taken, right? If so, what happens then?

Artist Alicia Braumberger has a few ideas, which is what spawned the above image of “rare and unusual” Patronuses, including elephant seals, sloths, baby goats, even superheroes and Magikarp. I love the look on that girl’s face when she realizes her Patronus is a Magikarp.

So, what was yours?

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