Book Review: Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton

Posted on by 5WC in Book

The book I turned to when I very nearly walked away from ‘Stranger From A Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein’, was ‘Dragon Teeth’ by Michael Crichton. I’d chosen it simply because the cover has the fossilised skull of a dinosaur emblazoned across it. Crichton was, after all, the mind that invented Jurassic Park, and even if I do think the film is far, far better than the book, I will always believe I like his writing as a result, whether truthful or not.

I didn’t get more than 50 words into ‘Dragon Teeth’, however, before I returned to Stranger From A Strange Land, not because Crichton had done anything wrong, but because I’d become so befriended by the previous characters I couldn’t walk away. Finally, though, having forced myself through Heinlein’s polysyllabic speech, I returned to Crichton’s apparent dinosaur story. Keenly awaiting the prehistoric adventures that, I thought, lay ahead. Read more

Book Review: Stranger In A Strange Land By Robert A. Heinlein

Posted on by 5WC in Book

Yes, it’s more Sci-Fi! But, I’m no longer in the world of Warhammer turning, instead, to the classic literature of Robert A. Heinlein. Based purely on the suggestion of Google, and their “you may like to read…” algorithm, I picked Stranger From A Strange Land, completely overlooking the fact Heinlein was also the author of Starship Troopers.

Even if I’d remembered Heinlein’s previous offering, it wouldn’t have put me off from beginning read. The issues I found in Starship Troopers are now so diluted by the cult love I hold towards its film adaptation, that I don’t really recall them anymore. But looking back to them now, I wish I’d looked them up, because, while Starship Troopers is flawed, Stranger From A strange Land takes its problems to a whole new level. Read more

Film Review: A Quiet Place

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I don’t watch many horror films. It’s a genre that has never really appealed to me because I find it’s often too polarised in its construction to be really entertaining. Films seem to forget the need for a plot and become dominated by the single idea of trying to scare you. Boringly plodding along, hanging everything on either the monotony of “quiet, quiet, BANG” suspense or shockingly repulsive over the top gore. Both of which cause me to mentally withdraw.

What does work for me, however, is tension. I like horror when it doesn’t conform. When it builds and builds and builds, driving you to the edge of your seat because you can’t face the thought of what may happen next. Get rid of the gore, get rid of the clichéd scare tactics, and play with the unknown. Build emotional naivety into a twisting, real story and you can easily keep me awake at night. It’s just that too few films have the courage to stick with it and not shout “BANG” just as I’m beginning to panic. Read more

Film Review: Love, Simon

Posted on by 5WC in Film

There is a predictability to the film industry that is as regular and reassuring as clockwork. You can guarantee that each year will start off with hard-hitting stories that are baiting the upcoming awards season. This will be followed up by school holidays littered with CGI comic book adventures before Christmas arrives with a huge blockbuster release. All padded out and supported by a foundation of franchise follow-ups and happy-go-lucky tales of growing old (dis)gracefully staring the elder statesmen of Hollywood.

You can also be sure that the high school uniforms will out in force. Every year, the already flooded genre of “American Teenage Coming of Age Tales” will get reworked to reflect the changing world and attitudes we now inhabit. Whether it’s through the dark seriousness of Cruel Intentions, the introspective search of The Perks Of Being A Wallflower or just the warm plagiarism of She’s All That – to name just three – the genre has been providing comedic examination and explanation, to reassure and guide, ever since, this one time, at band camp… Read more

Film Review: Armageddon

Posted on by 5WC in Film

When I relaunched this blog, I wasn’t planning to restart writing film reviews. I haven’t put down my quill of opinion, but found previously, sharing my thoughts caused some of the love of film I hold to be lost. I reached a point where I was watching a film so I could write a review, rather than writing a review because I’d watched a film. It had become a job I felt obliged to do and taking a step back was the only way regaining the enjoyment.

Watching Armageddon, however, I felt I had to air my thoughts. It is a shockingly awful film, but at the same time, it is wonderfully brilliant. It sums up, exactly, the reason I started writing film reviews. I would joke that I was fed up of listening to critics, waxing lyrical about how a director had “invoked the imagery of a 4th century Rubicon painting, while combining the thinking and philosophy in a lexicon of hybrid ideas, with the left wing Neoplasmic tones of the 16th century French romanticist Dubois”. When, in fact, I’d really spent 2 hours watching animated cats! All I wanted to know was if I went to the cinema, and spent £10 on a ticket, would I enjoy it, or would I be wasting my money? Read more

Film Review: Ready Player One

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I can still vividly remember reading Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. It’s by far the best book I’ve ever picked up. I couldn’t stop reading as the pop culture of the ‘80s and 90’s that I grew up with was brought joyously back to life, digitised into a world of virtual reality and mixed into an amazing futuristic Willy Wonka inspired treasure hunt. It was a book that just oozed a narrative quality I have yet to see matched.

After turning over the final few pages my mind, I instantly thought: “this’d make a cracking film” so when I discovered that it was already in production, with Hollywood heavyweight Steven Spielberg at the helm, it seemed like all my Christmas’s had come at once. Ready Player One was coming to the big screen and I couldn’t wait. Read more

Book Review: The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Posted on by 5WC in Book

I think it is fair to say, that right now, I am essentially lost in a world of science fiction novels. That when it comes time to pick the next book to read I’m drifting firmly through the futuristic worlds of space. Whether it’s with the Games Workshop created, war-torn dystopia of the Necromunda Underhive, or their infamous Space Marines, I am not spending much time on planet Earth right now.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I just reach saturation of all things space and need to feel the pull of gravity, again as it were – hence the curve ball of indulging in The Angry Chef’s debunking of fad diets and pseudoscience in the middle of this alien adventure – but, with my satiety once again in need of satisfying, I was back blasting off into the stars – this time, however, I was leaving the grim darkness of the Warhammer future behind and instead, entering the galaxy as imagined by Becky Chambers.

I came across Chambers purely because Google’s, unimaginative algorithm, saw I’ve been reading a lot of sci-fi and suggested I read some more! Not something you really need to ask me twice about at the moment, especially when the suggested book is only £2.99! Read more

Book Review: Survival Instinct by Andy Chambers

Posted on by 5WC in Book

It’s happened! I’ve finally found a Necromunda novel I truly like. There aren’t many named characters in the world of Necromunda, it’s much more about gangs, fighting for survival and territory, under the association of their respective noble houses, but there are one or two outsiders. Characters who stand alone. Arguably the most famous, and certainly the most strikingly notorious, is Mad Donna Ulanti. So legendary is her renown that on the Tales from the Underhive page of The Black Library website, it’s Mad Donna taking the central role in the titular artwork. She was in a story, and I have been longing for it.

I didn’t know, however, which story she would be in and so, was again placing my “reading order trust” purely in the “zip file modification date” system I now employed. Uploading Survival Instinct, the apparent next tale in my journey deeper into the Underhive. As the cover of the book loaded before me, a shiver ran down my spine. There stood Donna. A look of abhorrent disgust in her eyes, her infamous chainsword standing to attention and her trusty Plasma pistol pointing at me, beckoning me inside. Read more

Book Review: Salvation by C.S. Goto

Posted on by 5WC in Book

It was with tentative trepidation that, once again, I re-entered the Underhive; continuing my journey through the “Tales of the Underhive” omnibus of Necromunda novels. I had slipped down the slope of expectation with both Outlander by Matt Keefe and Junktion by Matthew Farrer and, therefore, taken some time away, to cleanse my mind of the disappointment it had felt, before stepping back in.

I think the reason I’ve been so disappointed, however, is entirely due to the image of Necromunda I hold in my head. A few days ago, I was discussing the age-old argument of “book versus film”, saying that I was worried about the upcoming release of Ready Player One onto the big screen. It is arguably the best book I’ve ever read, but worryingly, the film trailer is leaving me very cold. I’m fearful of what’s to come and I think I’m now having the same problem with these stories. I want the world I picture, not the world as interpreted by others, and it’s clouding my expectations and enjoyment as a result. Read more

Book Review: The Angry Chef by Anthony Warner

Posted on by 5WC in Book

I first came across the Angry Chef on Twitter. Somebody had tweeted about a new blog, written in secret, by an shouty, ranty, ‘stick it to the man’ author who was putting their boot into the world of clean eating that you just had to read. One tweeted link became two became three; each seeming to make ever greater proclamations of grandeur that it was brilliant that somebody had finally stuck their head above the parapet and taken on the growing world of food trends, Instagram photos and unrealistic diet claims.

Now of course, my anorexic mind was instantly piqued. When you starve your body, your brain cries out for food, twisting your life to revolve around nothing else. Hoping you might just pick up the hint and eat. You consume food in every form you can besides it’s physical self. Becoming through pour saturation the most dangerous of all things: an uneducated expert. Proclaiming a forensic knowledge and interest in all things food born purely out of your own minds disregarded cries for sustenance and survival. So of course, whether I’d agree with it or not, any side to any debate on food will have me clicking and reading. Read more

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