18th September 2020

2068 words today. Another day where I’m doing what I consider NaNoWriMo numbers. When I was getting back into writing a few months ago I was scared I’d never get back to where I was. The thought of doing NaNo terrifies me because I know what it takes. I’m not feeling that now. I’m feeling confident, in a way I’ve not felt before. It’s not the false confidence I’ve had before. This feels, right. Like I’m capable of achieving my goals.

A month and a half until NaNoWriMo begins. Despite what I said in the last paragraph about hitting goals, there’s some I’m just not gonna hit that I set to have done by NaNo. This isn’t me being negative, it’s me being realistic. If I keep at this sort of pace, I could do it. But life is life. I can write everyday, but some days it’ll be a few hundred words and not the 2k like today. I’m in the position at this stage of my writing career where I haven’t got deadlines, and the ones I have are open submission calls. So if I miss them, I’m not faulting on a contract.

Today’s random picture 😉

I’m feeling focused and motivated. I need to step up in other areas of life as well. I’ve faltered a little recently so I need to get back on track, and find the right balance for everything.

It’s one step at a time. One hurdle at a time. Even if I go back a step, I’m aiming to move forward two steps tomorrow.

Reading (or lack thereof)

I mentioned my bookcases in my post this morning, and that’s something that I’m not doing well with. Reading.

It has been months since I properly sat down and read anything. Each time I’ve tried I’ve not had the attention span or been able to shut my mind off enough to get immersed properly.

Luckily I’ve had some audiobooks I’ve been listening to on my commute but I need to get back to a point where I’m reading before bed again. That was when I’d really enjoy the act. It would also put me in a good place to be able to sleep better.

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

The two books I’ve been reading are Clickers Forever, which is the tribute anthology to J.F. Gonzalez. The other is Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty.

I’m further into Clickers Forever than Six Wakes, which I’ve only just started.

Clickers Forever: A Tribute to J.F. Gonzalez

I’m going to dive in hard with these two this week and hopefully I’ll get through the rough and start getting back into the habit and routine of reading again.

22-7-2020

Good evening folks. Well, it was a busy day but not with writing. I got a little editing done this evening. I’m liking this story. It’s the first in the vampire series and one I hope is a strong start.

I am getting a bit of an itch to write something new, I might look up some submission calls and see what’s out there, maybe something will spark an idea. The editing is still my priority though.

Yeah I did a little editing tonight, but I spent most the evening watching movies.

First up was Waterworld with Kevin Costner, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Dennis Hopper. This movie gets a lot of shit, but It’s a fun one. Beautifully shot with a simple, but engaging storyline. It’s one I’d have liked to of seen more from that world as I find it really interesting to see how people survive in that world and the different cultures that have grown from that world.

Then, it’s an old favourite. Total Recall with a Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Rachel Ticotin, and Michael Ironside based off a Philip K. Dick story and directed by Paul Verhoeven. This movie is just awesome! The story works, the actors are all on point, the gore is nice but not over the top (I don’t mind over the top gore, but it wouldn’t work here). It’s another beautifully shot movie as well. Definitely one that makes me smile.

January 26th 2020

Good afternoon, folks!

I’m on about 7000 words for the month, which isn’t as high as I’d like but much better than having zero words for the month.

Today I wrote zilch! But I did edit two stories. One was an out loud read through which was then sent to my beta readers. The second one was me looking over notes from my beta readers. This was about three work at a guess. I was planning to squeeze in a quick Mando Method between the two but I was pushed for time and wasn’t able to. This sucks a little, but it’s not much good writing every day if I’m not finishing and submitting work.

The End Of All Things

Outside of writing I finished listening to John Scalzi’s The Human Division and listened to the final book in the Old Mans War series, The End Of All Things. Although not as good as The Human Division it’s still a damn fine book which wraps things up well.

Time to wrap this post up. Keep cracking on with those goals and ambitions, folks!

Terminator:Dark Fate

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for a few years you’ll know my opinion of the various Terminator films we’ve had to date. Just briefly though; the first two movies are two of my all time favourite movies, with Terminator 2: Judgement Day being my favourite all time movie. The third film, Rise of the Machines is just about okay. I liked the idea they had but thought it was poorly executed. Terminator:Salvation is a much better film than people give it credit for. It had its faults but I think director McG had a vision, but it feels like he didn’t get his way with much of it. I don’t really want to talk about Genysis.

To Dark Fate though. I was more than a little anxious about this movie. I was comforted that James Cameron was involved, and that Linda Hamilton was coming back to reprise her iconic Sarah Connor role. I liked that Tim Miller was directing it, but I was still anxious. Genysis has left me with a bad taste in my throat and I was scared that my favourite movie of all time was going to be pissed on again. I liked that Mackenzie Davis and Gabriel Luna were both in this movie. I liked Luna’s time on Agents Of Shield, and the two films I’ve seen Davis in (The Martian and Blade Runner 2049) I’ve liked what I’ve seen. I think both of them were good fits for the film and brought their characters to life. Luna’s REV-9 was just badass. He gave the machine an attitude that we’ve not seen from them in these films before. Davis had a desperation to her that worked well with what she was capable of doing. Natalia Reyes was good as Dani. She had a fight to her that worked and developed well as the film progressed.

Linda Hamilton brought her A-game with her like she always does in these movies. Her story starts hard and she is as much of a badass as she was in the first movie. Now, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s okay. I’m not really sold on his backstory in Dark Fate, but you know what, I can live with it.

We’re heading into spoiler territory now, so here’s your SPOILER WARNING!!!

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A random picture of Dizzy to prevent accidental Spoilers.

The big spoiler, John Connor getting shot dead in the first few minutes of the movie. I mean how it was all done was stunning to take us back to a moment that could have only been weeks after Judgement Day, but it was still a major slap in the face that changed the entire timeline. But I think to rejuvenate this universe it was needed. It’s not like Genysis where they pissed all over the first two movies. What they did here was much more respectful to what had come before.

Is this my Terminator universe? No, but you know what I can get on board with it. I liked the nods to the first two movies, Sarah Connor’s actions from her past do catch up with her at one point which gave me a smile, and I hope they make more. It is, in a way a retelling of the original film, although I’d guessed that Dani was the saviour of the human race and not an unborn child a while before it was revealed.

They’ve set up a new universe here, I’ll watch more if they make them (bring back Luna though. I’d like to see Davis again in the role but she’s the Kyle Reese of this movie), but the original two Terminator films are still above and beyond for me.

Anarch by Dan Abnett

This isn’t exactly going to be a book review. More of a case of how I feel about this book and what I hope for the series.

Anarch is the latest Gaunts Ghosts book by Dan Abnett. I’m a big fan of this series and was super excited when books started coming out from it again. The Warmaster was fantastic and Anarch rolls right on from the end of that book.

I liked the direction Abnett took Anarch. He teased us with the return of a character in The Warmaster, which was a bit of a rollercoaster throughout Anarch (trying not to spoiler here), and took us in a few directions I wasn’t expecting.

Something I’m kind of hoping is that Abnett has an endgame in sight. Don’t get me wrong, a big part of me would read these books for the rest of my life, but I wonder where else Abnett can take them. Hey, if he’s got an ace up his sleeve that’ll let him write these books for years, cool, but I’ve got the feeling from these last two books, well at least the last three if I’m honest, that he’s bringing it in to an ending.

I haven’t looked up any details online. If Dan Abnett is bringing these to an end I don’t want to know until I’ve read that last sentence.

The Next Terminator Film

The second trailer for the next Terminator film, Terminator:Dark Fate, has gone online over the last couple of days. I had a look at it today during my lunch break and i still have some major reservations, but I’m not quite as anxious as I was.

A little background. Terminator 2: Judgement Day is my favourite movie of all time. I saw it at just the right time for it to embed itself into my DNA. It blew me away! After seeing The Terminator I found I loved that one as well. Terminator 2 is still my favourite movie, but The Terminator is a fantastic movie. Then Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines came out. If I was listed top to bottom my favourite Terminator films this would be second from bottom. I love the concept, showing how Judgement Day went down should have been a wet dream for me. It wasn’t. It tried to be too funny, I think the casting was off and I’d have liked to have seen it having a bigger scope to it. This was the film that should have sown the rise of Skynet. It should have detailed it and given us an epic movie showing this all happening. It didn’t though.

After Terminator 3 we had Terminator:Salvation. Now I like Salvation a lot. I was super excited with the thought of a movie showing us what we’d only seen in flashbacks before. I’ll admit I was worried about McG directing it. I’m also not the biggest Christian Bale fan, but I do enjoy it. I didn’t really care for the Marcus Wright storyline, and I’d have liked to of seen the piles of bones you saw in the flashbacks from the first two films. I didn’t like how Connor became the leader of the resistance. It felt lazy and has been done repeatedly on screen. It did have strong points though. Anton Yelchin was fantastic as a young Kyle Reese. I loved the fact that so much of it took place during the day. So many films nowadays have to have all the action at night. The visuals of the film, and the score, were really good.

Ugh, I suppose I ought to address Terminator: Genisys. Okay. I like Emilia Clarke a lot, but I’m not sure this was the role for her at this time in her career. I’ve a lot of respect for her for giving it a go though. Jai Courtney is a good actor, but he isn’t a leading man in my opinion. Just look at how good he is in Suicide Squad. Jason Clarke didn’t sell me if I’m honest. Arnold Schwarzenegger was good, but he was born to play this role. I wish they wouldn’t keep trying to make him comedic in these films though. What they did with him in Terminator 2 worked for that film. It hasn’t in any of the rest of these films. The storyline wasn’t great and had some huge plot holes in. What I really hate about this film though is it erases the first two films from the existence. That and the fact they waste Byung-Hun Lee, J.K. Simmons, and Matt Smith. You just have to watch Matt Smith in his few scenes in the film to see the quality he has. Why wasn’t he Kyle Reese? But that wouldn’t solve the plot problems. Something that also annoyed me was the big reveal about one of the main characters in the trailer! Like really? Don’t you think that would have been better to reveal when people are in the cinema!?!

Terminator: Genisys feels like a slap in the face of the fans who love this world. They tried to take away the two best films in the series, and I still don’t understand why?

Right, I’m going to (try to) stop ranting.

On to Terminator: Dark Fate. I’m comforted by Linda Hamilton returning. I’m a little anxious about Schwarzenegger though. Is he playing another old terminator? Will he be the comic relief? I’m 50/50 on James Cameron’s involvement. I seem to recall him praising Terminator: Genisys. I like that Tim Miller is helming the film. I liked what he did with Deadpool and I hope he pulls this off. I like the look of Gabriel Luna, he was really good as Ghost Rider in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and I like that Mackenzie Davis is in this. I’ve only seen her in The Martian and Blade Runner 2049 but thought she was good in both, especially Blade Runner 2049. I’m looking forward to seeing what they both do in this movie.

There was what I think of as a reveal in the trailer. I’m not sure it’s a big one but why not keep it vague so people learn it when they see the film for the first time? This isn’t jut a problem with Terminator films, its something that needs to be made extinct.

I am anxious about this movie. I want to go into the cinema and have all my sweet spots hit with it, but I’ve been burned before (damn you Genisys), so I’m not going to let myself get too excited about Terminator: Dark Fate.

Book Review: Forever and Ever, Armageddon: A collection of 24 short stories

This is a fantastic collection from David Court. I’ve read some of his short fiction before and knew I liked his work and this collection has confirmed that.

There is a good variety of stories here. There’s a few that made me think, one of which made me stop what I was doing and say “oh sh*t”, and a couple that are just the written version of a gut punch. There was a couple of the stories that had me grinning like a kid!

Kristina Fitzgerald does a fantastic job of narration. Great range and delivery.

This one is definitely worth checking out.

TV Review: Love, Death + Robots 3/3

Love, Death + Robots is an anthology series from David Fincher and Tim Miller that is available on Netflix.

Lucky 13

Directed by Jerome Chen

Animation Studio: Sony Pictures Imageworks

Based on the Short Story by Marko Kloos

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

Lucky 13 is about a military transport that is considered jinxed and given to a rookie pilot who quickly bonds with the vehicle.

This is another favourite of mine. Again, fantastic visuals here. The character’s are all but photo realistic. I quickly recognised the main character by voice as well as looks. It was like watching Samira Wiley on screen! That’s how good the animation is in this episode. I’d be interested to see if they used motion capture on her face as it is that good. But that’s not just why I like this episode. The story is told at a solid pace and has some fantastic action keep the episode really interesting. I got invested in the bond the protagonist, ‘Cutter’ Colby has with Lucky 13 pretty quickly. You feel the emotion of this episode pretty heavily as it comes to its conclusion.

Definitely one of the strongest episodes for me.

Zima Blue

Directed by Robert Valley

Animation Studio: Passion Animation Studios

Based on the Short Story by Alistair Reynolds

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

Zima Blue is the story of an experimental artist. It is also the one in the entire anthology that doesn’t really do anything for me. It’s beautifully animated, although the character designs weren’t my cup of tea. The story was way but never grabbed my attention. I did like the overall message of the story, but as a whole it didn’t do a lot for me.

Blindspot

Written and Directed by Vitaliy Shushko

Animation Producer: Elena Volk

This one is a super fun heist movie with robots. What more do you need to know folks?!? It is a fast paced, action filled thrill ride with ups and downs, entertaining characters and like the rest of this series, beautiful animation. It’s a really nice change of pace and just good fun!

Ice Age

Directed by Tim Miller

Animation by: Digic Pictures, Blur Studio, and Atomic Fiction

Based on the short story by Michael Swanwick

Script Adapted by Phillip Gelatt

This is the only episode which isn’t fully animated. It stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Topher Grace as a young couple who move into a new apartment which has a very old fridge in it. They soon discover there’s a civilisation living in the ice box.

It’s a fun story that has a good pace and Grace and Winstead are good on screen. The animation is good and the story zips by at a decent pace.

It’s an interesting episode, but doesn’t stand out a lot. The change of visual styles, like having actual humans in it, does change it up a little from the rest of the anthology.

Alternate Histories

Directed by Victor Maldonado and Alfredo Torres

Animation Studio: Sun Creature Studio

Based on the Short Story by John Scalzi

This one is a series of examples of what would have happened to the world if Adolf Hitler had died earlier in life than he did.

This one was okay, albeit a little long. Like all of these episodes, the animation is great and the design suits the story well.

The Secret War

Directed by István Zorkóczy

Animation Studio: Digic Pictures,

Based on the Short Story by David W. Amendola

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

The Secret War is a World War 2 era story that is set in a Soviet wilderness. Soviet soldiers are fighting an enemy that is revealed as the story goes on. It’s a very sombre piece that has some fantastic action and an animation style and design that fits the era it’s et in as well as the tone of the film.

The big bad in this story I really liked. The design they had really got my imagination going. The final confrontation is epic. It gave me what I wanted from the and finishes the anthology off on a high note.

 

TV Review:Love, Death + Robots 2/3

Love, Death + Robots is an anthology series from David Fincher and Tim Miller that is available on Netflix.

Beyond The Aquila Rift

Directed by Léon Brélle, Dominique Boidin, Rémi Kozyra, and Maxime Luère

Animation Studio: Unit Image

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

Beyond The Aquila Rift is the story of a space freighter that goes off course and ends up a long way from where it’s meant to at a remote space station.

Each one of these episodes has really good animation, but with this one they hit the nail on the head throughout the episode. There are a few moments where it is extremely stunning. There are a few moments in it where it’s almost like watching live action.

But it’s not just a short film that looks good. The story is first rate. You feel for the characters who’ve found themselves at the far end of the galaxy and as the story progresses you really get pulled into what they’re going through. Cinematically I think this is one of the standouts of the series.

Good Hunting

Directed by Oliver Thomas

Animation Studio: Red Dog Culture House

Based on the short Story by Ken Liu

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

This story takes place mainly in Hong Kong around the time when it was being colonised, but with a steampunk taste to it that grows as the story progresses. Stories from this region of the world rarely grab me, but this one did. The first few minutes felt a little slow at first, but that pace served the story well and it never feels rushed. As the story moves into Hong Kong I really got pulled in.

The animation style fits the story and adds to the humble feel of the story. By the end of the story I was invested in these characters and it didn’t escape me the message of the story.

The Dump

Directed by Javier Recio Gracia

Animation Studio: Abel & Baker

Based on the Short Story by Joe R. Lansdale

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

This is the star of an old man who doesn’t want to leave his home, despite a city inspector  telling him he has to.

This is one of my favourite stories in this season of Love, Death, and Robots. I love the vibe it has. The story is pretty straight forward but quite infectious. It drew me in really quickly. The animation is so perfectly fitted to the story that when you add the voice talent, especially Nolan North‘s Ugly Dave, it just works so beautifully.

This was my first real experience of Joe R. Lansdale’s work, and I really loved it. I’ve heard Brian Keene talking about Lansdale on his podcast (The Horror Show with Brian Keene), and after watching The Dump I am definitely checking out more of Lansdale’s work.

I will just mention that I was listening to a podcast where they were talking about the first season of Love, Death and Robots as a whole and they were not very complimentary about this episode. I won’t name the podcast, because they were just sharing their opinions, but it struck me that because this episode has this type of characters, and the tone of it they dismissed it. I just got this sense of it wasn’t worth their time, which is a shame because it is a super fun story. For me its up there with Suits as a favourite episode of this debut season.

Shape-Shifters

Directed by Gabriele Pennacchioli

Animation Studio: Blur Studios

Based on the Short Story by Marko Kloos

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

The short synopsis of this one is the U.S. marines are using werewolves in conflict zones.

Again, animation is stunning here, especially in the final fight. There was a great point of view short at one stage. The story itself it good, has a likeable protagonist and lots of underlying depth. It is a little predictable, but I’m a strong believer that the journey in more often than not more important than the ending.

There is a transformation moment that is stunning, I hope the person who did that got at least a pat on the back!

A good story that I likes, and added a different taste to the season.

Helping Hand

Directed by Jon Yeo

Animation Studio: Axis Studios

Based on the Shorty Story by Claudine Griggs

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

This one is about a woman who is working on a satellite and gets knocked into space by flying debris. Her air and propulsion are both damaged and she’s drifting away from both the satellite and the small spacecraft she’s used to get to the satellite. She goes to an extreme length to save herself.

Now, I do like this one. It’s a good atmospheric piece that really plays the tension card well. One part of it really made me flinch! I like the fact the story makes this woman job of fixing the satellite routine and a one person job despite the risks.

I do have a question or two about some of the physics and medical elements of the story, but they weren’t enough to stop me from enjoying the story. There is one safety precaution that would have solved all of the problems she has, but again, I can live with it.

Again, another episode with fantastic visuals.

Fish Night

Directed by Damian Nenow

Animation Studio: Platige Image Studio

Based on the Short Story by Joe R. Lansdale

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

Fish Night is about two travelling salesmen whose car breaks down on a road in the middle of an American desert. As night rolls in the ghosts of the fish and so on come alive as that area would have been an ocean once upon a time.

This story has a heart to it that gets shattered by the end of the story. You feel the elation and devastation in this story. The relationship between the older and younger men, how they handle being stranded differently and how they react to the ghosts coming out to play when the sun goes down builds a beautiful narrative. This is only strengthened by the strikingly beautiful animation.

This is another Joe R. Lansdale story and I’ve got to admit, it’s a totally different tone to The Dump, but still as good as it. Just on a very different level.

Check in tomorrow for part 3/3