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.

Advertisements

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

TV Review: Love, Death + Robots 1/3

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

Sonnie’s Edge

Directed by Dave Wilson

Animation Studio: Blur Studio

Based on the short story by Peter F. Hamilton

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

Sonnie’s Edge tells the story of a woman who operates a pit fighting monster and is undefeated.

I liked Sonnie’s Edge. It kicked the anthology off well with some fantastic action in A pit in A grimy underground Fight Club. This sequence is really brutal and raw and pulls you in as it raises the tension as the fight progresses.

I really liked the design of this one. From the setting to the monsters to the characters.

If there was a video game of the fight pit from this game, I’d be first in line to buy it.

Three Robots

Directed by Victor Maldonado and Alfredo Torres

Animation Studio: Blur Studio

Based on the short story by John Scalzi

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

Three Robots is about three robots who are touring a human city after some apocalyptic event. I’ve got to admit, I do like a good post-apocalyptic story and this one didn’t disappoint. The fact it has a nod to the Terminator films didn’t hurt.

This story has some good humour, I should have guessed it was adapted from a John Scalzi story before it popped up in the credits. A favourite joke is when Xbot 4000 looks up a reference!

This is one of those stories that has a lot going on that is under the surface of the story of these three sight-seeing robots, and the conclusion of the story was fantastic and has a truth that humanity really needs to start thinking about.

The Witness

Written and Directed by Alberto Mielgo

Animation Studio: Pinkman.TV

The Witness is about a woman who witnesses a murder and is then pursued by the murderer.

Like all of these shorts the animation is beautifully done, with a couple of moments where it was very beautiful, but the style wasn’t my favourite. That’s not a criticism, it just wasn’t my favourite. It’s a little jarring how it’s ‘shot’ at times, but it’s so well done it helps set a chaotic vibe to the story.

There is a moment where the woman is on the run and where she goes and what she does there is a little out of place for me. I don’t have a problem with where she’s gone, it’s more that I’m not sure she’d do what she does there. Maybe if they showed a scene where she was pushed into it then it’ll feel more like it belonged. What makes up for it is the ending of the story which made me wonder what was really going on here.

Suits

Directed by Franck Balson

Animation Studio: Blur Studio

Based on the short story by Steven Lewis

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

Steven Lewis may not know this, but he wrote this story for me! No one else, just me! Thank you Steven Lewis for writing this short story. Thank you Franck Balson for directing it. Thank you Philip Gelatt for adapting the screenplay. Blur Studios, thank you! It looked amazing! And thank you David Fincher, Tim Miller and everyone else who put this story together!

If you haven’t guessed this story is so far up my street it’s in my living room!

Suits is basically about a group of farmers that have to defends their livestock, their lands, homes and loved ones from creatures who appear out of portals. In mechs. Yeah I’m grinning like a kid just thinking about this story. It is a straight forward story that has action, humour, and heart to it. I’ve got to mention the chickens and the cows. Having grown up as a farmers son, the cows and chickens are kinda spot on!

My only complaint is there’s a moment where there’s a power cut, but there’s not real follow through or explanation. But that’s a super minor note that I’ve added so I’m not gushing about it too much.

Sucker Of Souls

Directed by Owen Sullivan

Animation Studio: Studio La Cachette

Based on the short story by Kristen Cross

Adapted script by Philip Gelatt

This is the typical archeologists awakening something that shouldn’t be woken up. I like it though. Although the animation style wasn’t my favourite, again very good just not my cuppa tea, it fit the story well and was a nice change of style from the previous stories. I really dug the colour palette in this one. It was another element that added to the tone of the story which made the story stronger.

I did prefer the big bad’s initial look when it was first uncovered as opposed to its later appearance. I found it more intimidating.

There are some damn funny one liners in this one as well!

Wrapping up this one, I wasn’t completely sold on the ending but it wasn’t a bad ending. Definitely a fun one.

When The Yogurt Took Over

Directed by Victor Maldonado and Alfredo Torres

Animated by Blow Studio

Based on the short story by John Scalzi

Adapted script by Janis Robertson

When The Yogurt Took Over is a documentary about how yogurt took over.

As I was watching this I remember thinking, ‘yeah, I bet this is a John Scalzi story’. I don’t really know what to say about this one. The story is fantastic, the animation design fits the story perfectly, as does the score and the narration. (note: I hope whoever thought of casting Maurice LaMarche as the narrator for this story got a good bonus. If you know cartoons you’ll know why, if not. Google it).

Despite the light, goofy tone of the story there is a dark undertone here that has a message but like all good speculative fiction, it doesn’t smash you over the head and lets you enjoy the story for what it is.

Check in tomorrow for part 2/3

Good Morning Sunday 30th December 2018

I’ve had a few days off from blogging. Mainly due to Christmas to be honest. I have written a bit over the festive period but not as much as I’d have liked. I was off Christmas Day and Boxing Day but back to work on the 27th. I have done a bit of writing but not as much as I’d like. At the start of the month I set myself a target of about 30k but I’m sitting at about 16k at the moment. So I’m going to aim for two 2k days and hit the 20k. I do have yesterdays word count to add into the spreadsheet so its a little under 4k that I need but I’m still aiming for 4k in two days.

Books I got for Christmas

On Boxing Day I did have quite a productive day. I wrote about a thousand words during the course of the day but also did some work on a blog post listing my top ten reads of 2018. I was probably working from about 10am till 10pm, just slowly with the odd break for food or things like washing the dishes.

 

Graphic Novels I got for Christmas

I am looking at the next year, but not making any 2019 goals or resolutions. It’s just these are the next projects I want to be working on and trying to improve my focus and discipline. I’m not a believer in New Year resolutions as when I’ve made them I’ve failed by the end of January. What I’m looking at for next year both with writing and what I want to do to improve myself and my life next year are all things that I’ve been working on for months, and for years. Making resolutions for the coming year work for some, for me they don’t.

Movies I got for Christmas

It’s time for me to get the day up and running. Have a good day, everyone.