Beyond Skyline

Okay, if you’ve been reading my blog for a few years now you’ll have seen the odd post/rant I’ve written about the movie Skyline, directed by The Brothers Strause. Without going into another full blown post about Skyline my biggest complaint was not enough attention was on the live action sequences and too much was spent on the CGI, which granted was very beautiful. It just didn’t fulfil an amazing potential I thought.

Beyond Skyline was not Skyline, it took that potential and made a movie I enjoyed a lot. The CGI looks beautiful, the plot line kept my attention and the actors held the screen well, and more importantly I cared about what happened to them. Frank Grillo and Bojana Novakovic were both very good, and I enjoyed Iko Uwais as well. It was fun seeing Callan Mulvey playing a role which wasn’t a mercenary as well.

I liked how the story went from the events in Skyline and took it further and looked at what was going on in a lot more depth and moves across the globe a little and we see how the invasion is being looked at by another culture. We saw a lot more of the aliens and their little world as well. I really liked the final confrontation at the end of the movie. Not only is there some great CGI action, but some of the fighting the characters do on the ground level is beautiful! The Choreography is very well done.

This is the first film where I’ve seen Iko Uwais and I liked him a lot. He held the screen well and when acting opposite an actor of Frank Grillo’s calibre you need that.

The whole cast was pretty solid I thought, no one felt out of place and none of them felt ‘Meh’ for lack of a better phrase. I thought they felt genuine, we don’t know what we’ll be capable of until we’re pushed out of our comfort zones.

There was a couple of moments where I found my eyebrow raising a little but nothing drastic that took me out of the film any more than a passing second.

I was a little anxious that this was Liam O’Donnell’s directing debut, but I liked where he took the story (he wrote it as well). Some of the visuals were stunning and he got a great balance between the live action and the CGI. They complimented each other very well. Overall I liked his direction and I really hope they do more of these. I will definitely be looking out for what O’Donnell does in the future.

Overall, Beyond Skyline is a film that’s well worth watching. I’m glad I’ve brought it on Blu-Ray as I think I will be re-watching it more than a few times.

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Savant By Nik Abnett

Okay, so Savant is the story of Tobe and Metoo, and I don’t really want to say more about the story, simply because I don’t think I can give much of a description of it without giving something away.

Savant is a damn good, slow burn, which unravels as the pages pass. I found it to be a page turner which surprised me at how quickly I read it. I am a slow reader but with Savant I zipped through it at quite a lick for me. I think it was three weeks that I smashed through it with the last half of the book in about a week, which is pretty impressive for me. It really pulls you along and it’s easy to read it in small doses and not loose the momentum of the story.

The pace of the story is impressive, it never feels like it’s speeding up or slowing down but just leads up to the story’s climax very naturally. There’s no real world building in the story, but everything you need to know is revealed as the story progresses, and revealed at the right time to give the answers needed.

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The writing is very beautiful and it was easy to picture what was going on while not having too much detail of the surroundings inserted into the text.

If you want a book that spoon-feeds you everything, or is action packed, then this isn’t the book for you. If you want something that has depth, a little mystery, varied and engaging characters. A storyline that slowly gains pace to it’s climax, then this book is worth checking out.

Enjoying The Writing Again

In the last few weeks I have felt a lot more direction in what I am doing with my writing. After many years me and Owen finally have a first draft of Project Apollo done. We have attempted to get this story off the ground for many years, its got to be at least six, closer to eight if I am honest. It has gone from being a novel to a radio play back to a novel again before we all but abandoned it a few years ago. Then Owen wrote a novella called The Space Watch, yes we announced this would be released on the 1st of January this year. Obviously we didn’t release it, that was for many reasons. Project Apollo was always going to be a comedy, as was The Space Watch(Project Delphi) but we felt that maybe this was why we had never gotten any of our ideas from this universe off of the ground. So we took the decision to make it into a more serious piece of work, with the odd comedic element within it. It’s worked. We now have a universe which has great depth to it where the only restrictions we have is that of our own minds.

I still have a few doubts about the ending on Project Apollo, but that may just be my own lack of confidence. Owen may love it, I’ll find out tomorrow.

 

I am also halfway through writing a short story which I’m quite excited about an I have almost finished a short story that I first wrote two, maybe three years ago. I did an out loud read through of it last night and I found more issues then I thought I was going to but it also served to remind me that it is a good story and once its through a last grammar check its done. Saying that though I am tempted to ask one last person to Beta read it and see what they think.

 

Writing is beginning to feel good again, for a long time it felt like I was severely swimming against the tide. The thought of actually publishing something, whether through submission or through self publishing seemed like an almost impossible achievement but now it actually seems like its within grasp. Maybe not this year but definitely next year.

 

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State Of Play

I just wanted to share an update with how the writing is going at the moment. I’ll admit I’ve barely done much actual writing in the last few weeks but with Tracie(my partner) being in hospital for the best part of three weeks, having a couple of minor health irritations myself (I say irritations because they are very minor but incredibly irritating!) All that has knocked me off my pace a little.

Project Apollo will not have much done on it till early July as that is when me and Owen are sitting down to go through and plot out the ending of the story.

The Residents is still in the planning stages. When me and Chrystalyn (http://thefutureofhope.wordpress.com/) start writing this I think it’s going to be the most prepared that I personally have ever been when it comes to writing something. At the moment I am mainly focusing on two of the main characters backstory’s.

I was going to work on my zombie story for NaNoWriMo but I’ve had an idea about it today which may require a little more thinking time. I’ve always had in mind to write a second story in this series but I had a flash of an idea on what a third story might involve which makes it a trilogy. So I now need to think out how it is going to play out over three books. I know the basics of each story but I need to build them more thoroughly and I’m not sure I will have that done by November.

I think I have enough feedback from one of my short stories which I am going to read through once more myself, and maybe change the title of before I start sending it off for submission.

With Avoiding The Game I have decided to give it one last bash at making it work, but I will have to make a fair few changes to the story so I have all but decided to do a full re-write as it will be easier then trying to fit in what I have in mind.

At the moment I am reading Redshirts by John Scalzi. I am really enjoying it and I’m finding Scalzi’s  style to my liking and the humour in this novel is awesome 🙂 With everything that has happened recently I haven’t been reading much so hopefully this week I’ll get back into the swing of it.

And finally I’d just like to share a couple of links to interesting podcasts that I’ve heard lately. First we have two from The Dead Robots Society; http://deadrobotssociety.com/2013/06/11/episode-276-mid-year-check-in/; http://deadrobotssociety.com/2013/06/18/episode-277-robots-on-inspiration-point/

Next is an episode from the Escape Pod Science Fiction podcast. This is quite a snappy little story that I fell in love with and adored how it ended;  http://escapepod.org/2013/06/06/ep399-my-heart-is-a-quadratic-equation/

And Finally here’s one from the StarShipSofa podcast. The story in this episode is written by Tobias S. Buckell and Karl Schroeder. I am familiar with both writers and I found this story was a great collaboration between two people whose work I enjoy;  http://www.starshipsofa.com/2013/05/21/starshipsofa-no-290-tobias-buckell-and-karl-schroeder/

 

I apologise for loading this post up with links but I believe in spreading the word about all things good and these are all very good. So I hope you check them out and get as much pleasure out of them as I have 🙂

Creating Different Cultures

One of the things I’ve noticed since I’ve been reading/listening to Scott Sigler is how different he makes his cultures from our own. Particularly in Sigler’s Galactic Football League series we see a lot of different aliens, and they are alien. They are not just humans with a little make up on but proper aliens with alien cultures and these vary strongly from humanity. It has even made me realise how little we see of alien cultures in movies like Star Wars (I wonder what the extended fiction of Star Wars is like?). I am going to write a lot of science fiction, a lot, and I need to look at what Sigler is doing, and find other books, TV shows, movies and video games and see how other people build alien cultures.

I also need to look at different human cultures, I’ve got a DVD series about Tribes, The Tribal Eye I think it’s called, which I’ve got to watch. I can’t afford to go around the world and see with my own eyes the various cultural differences but I do have the Internet which will have to do.

Imagination can only go so far and ideas breed, good ideas especially.

Today’s Post 28/02/13

There’s not much to say tonight, I’ve got some more words written down on Project Apollo, again I’m not sure if it will end up in the final cut but it’s going to help no matter what.

I listened again to Joshua Jared Scott’s Sanctuary: Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse. This is a very good story, Mr. Scott has a nice way of putting his stories together and as I mentioned in a previous post he is not scared of writing the brutal truths in a story. I really hope Mr. Scott is working on a follow-up novel to this one.

Another story that I am listening too is A Dancing Bear by David Free. This a story of a college student who gets sucked into a world of terrorist plots, murder and fear. All because he falls for a women. A very good story which makes me feel for the protagonist and I can see how his actions, or lack of them, take them where he ends up.

Once I’ve finished editing Avoiding The Game (yes the title of the story is still going to change) I’m going to have a go through Project Apollo with Owen and get what is written tidied up and expanded, but also get the rest of it planned out so we can get it done!

Tonights Post

I’ve been listening to Scott Sigler’s first book in his Crypt series, called Crew Stories. This basically is a collection of short stories about the future crew of a ship known as the PUV James Keeling, also known as The Crypt. This is a collection that I have listened to before but I had forgotten just how good these stories are and I really enjoyed reliving them again and getting to know the crew once more. This is not a book for the faint of heart! And at the moment is only available in podcast form (Which means free) A lot of the stories here are co-written by some amazing writers including, Mur Lafferty, Paul E. Cooley, Jake Bible and many other excellent writers (Look out for the story  co-written with Greg Crites). Here’s the link to the page on Scott Sigler’s website;

http://scottsigler.com/books/the-crypt-book-one-crew-stories

If you have read my blog for a while you will know I am a big fan of Scott Sigler, he is an amazing writer who I have a lot of time for as he has worked very hard to get to where he is today. He has had a little help along the way and I would love to steal his business partner, A Kovacs who seems to keep Mr. Sigler on track. They are a great team and are producing some great content.

 

I would also like to quickly give a link to this interview on Adventures In Sci-Fi Publishing with Kevin J. Anderson. I have not read any of his work yet, I do have the first of The Saga Of Seven Suns book on my shelve, but I love listening to him talking about the art of writing. It’s in two parts so I’ll give you the link to the first part;

http://www.adventuresinscifipublishing.com/2013/02/aisfp-197-kevin-j-anderson-part-1/

 

You can find both podcasts in the iTunes library.

Reading update, I finished Stephen King’s The Gunslinger last night. I was aiming to get it read by the end of the week but the final sixty pages went by in a beat of an eye. As I’ve said before I had no idea what this book was about and I’ve really enjoyed discovering it. I am looking forward to the next book but I am going to read a couple of other books before I delve into book two in the series.

I’ve now started Haywire by Justin R. Macumber.

I have not done any more editing, but I have done some hand written bits for Project Apollo.