Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Quest Novel - Foucault's Pendulum

From Blogger Pictures

This was one of the best novels I read this year, But its so packed with detail that I had to read each page twice sometimes to absorb it all. Its a great companion to Eco's First book " The Name of the Rose " which I also read this year, but Foucault's Pendulum is clearly its superior. I'm sorry its never been adapted into a film.. the people wouldn't be nearly so disgusting looking as in Rose.

The Plot involves practically everything, or rather the characters plot to include practically everything. From spark plugs to the Knights Templar, washing machines to Cabala. I'm really at a loss of how to describe it without ruining any of it.

I won't take the cheap shot at Dan Brown as I had fun with his Robert Langdon Books, but He could learn a lot from reading this book, re-reading this book and then re-reading it some more.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wishsong of Shannara, Shannara #3

From Blogger Pictures

Well i've found my favorite terry brooks character so far, Slanter the Gnome.. perhaps an unfortunate name given the gnomes in the Shannara series have a great deal in common with persons of Asian descent.. Not inferring anything it probably never even crossed his mind. But Slanter is a great character, I wish that he hadn't been bogged down with worthless characters like.. say.. Jair Ohmsford, who served as more or less nothing but a plot device to redeem Slanter. I easly finished this volume in a much shorter time period than the first two, Its worked that way so far. Volume #1, the weakest of the 3 so far took the longest to read.. the second book was stronger than the first so took about half as long to read.. or about a week compared to the 2 weeks Sword took.. Wishsong took a weekend, it was fast paced, and tight in its story telling, it suffered from the obvious sexual tension between Ronne Leah and Brin Ohmsford.. But it shows that Brooks is slowly learning how to tell a more human story.

Up next will be the short story Indomitable which serves as an Epilogue to Wishsong and to the Sword trilogy as a whole... depending on how good that is, I may or may not get Darkwraith of Shannara the Graphic Novel.

first two novels of 2010 will be Sharpe's Tiger and Dune

Friday, December 25, 2009

Gift Day, Yule Feast.

I don't Celebrate Christmas.. Never accuse me of such a thing.

I celebrate Yuletide and keep a Light burning during the last 2 weeks of December. But I do Celebrate Gift Day, the totally Secular holiday of mass consumerism. Or as I also like to call it, pants and socks day.

My Yule-hoard this year consisted of 4 pair of pants, 4 sweaters, 6 pair of socks, 2 shirts, 1 pair of pajama pants, 1 tri-fold wallet, some various grooming products, a copy of Warcraft 3 battle chest( to be reviewed later), the last 3 books I needed to complete my " Sharpe " series (also to be reviewed later), a Calender with Japanese Wood Block print art in it and a plethora of assorted cookies, biscuits, sweets and treats. It was a very good year this year. I hope everyone else is having as good as I did.

I also received, a SERIOUSLY AWESOME GIFT from a friend, SERIOUS SAM HD from STEAM download service.

Now Just waiting for my Yule Boar to cook in the oven to complete the day, Much ale will be drunk, much pork will be consumed, and then comes the yule-feast nap.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Vatican is after the gooooollllllddddddd

The Vatican is trying to steal the recently discovered Staffordshire Hoard.

I'm not pleased about this, they paid a coward king to convert his people by the sword, if this hoard is indeed that kings, Its blood money. It should be distributed amongst the English people as payment for having the Christian religion forced upon them. But failing that pipe dream, it should go in a museum.

Ratzinger's brain is clearly still living in the 3rd Reich, with this concept of just being able to waltz off with other peoples Gold.

I hope the English give the pope the finger, or rather, the two fingers.

Elfstones of Shannara Part 3

Alright, so I survived my second terry brooks novel, as I stated in my previous posts on this volume, I'd never heard anything about brooks that wasn't negative, and while I didn't find all of those to be accurate upon actually reading his works, quite a few were.

Its definitely a fun journey, taking you from Arborlon to Storlock and all the way south to the Hollows before back to Arborlon, for one doozey of a slap to the face ending for the characters of the book. Much like Brooks set up the character of Lauren as the apparent main character for the book, and then slaughtered the hapless elf 4 chapters in, He runs a grueling death toll on the characters in this volume. Where as in Sword, lots of characters were introduced but no one really died until the end, In Elfstones characters died left and right, and one character who you would feel almost certain would survive, marry the hero and go on to have like a bajillion babies with him.. well.. Its really cold but also adds a nice bit of depth to the world of Shananra, which if I were to say Middle Earth's History ran deep, Shannara's is only a few hundred yards away from being non existent. But its improving. As is Brook's writing ability.

I am a few chapters into the 3rd volume " The Wishsongs of Shannara " now, and the writing is definitely better.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


A bit Late I know,

But being as we are now on the 3rd Day of Yultide, December 22nd. Wanted to wish everyone a Joyous Jul. as it were.

Best time of the year really. Pork Products everywhere.

Nearly Finished Reading my current book, Foccault's Pendulum

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Ok, so I'm not what you might call the most balanced human being on the planet.. I'm really really opinionated and when your opinion doesn't jibe with my opinion, well then your just sol buddy cause I have no time for compromise.

Which brings me to the point of this post. This News Story courtesy of the AP, about a 4 year old in Texas who has been suspended cause their hair is long.. Whats this you ask.. Suspended because of having long hair? yes.. well had Taylor been born a girl, everyone would no doubt be fawning over Taylor's beautiful hair. But Nature decided to make him a him, which means hes not allowed personal choice in his hair styles, It's a mans life in the army, etc etc, High and Tight, Crew, Buzz, Bowl, anything so long as hair doesn't touch a males ears seems to be ok..

But this little boy has been suspended, can't spend time with his friends and is basically being subjected to what is nothing more than sexism. He's hardly oppressing anyone either, despite being a white male, so you can keep that crap to yourselves.

I want to know what the school district would do were a Sikh family to move in.. where the boys are not allowed by their religion to cut their hair.

Having myself been subjected to this for most of my life, and having been forced to get my share of haircuts when I didn't want them. I've been turned down for jobs and threatened with dismissal from jobs over the length of my hair. I keep it clean, I keep it pulled back, I keep it neat and tidy. But no doesn't matter. Men aren't allowed to have long hair by today's societal norms in the US. Even though if one takes a gander at our Founding Fathers.. they almost all have pony tails. The pillar of one of earths major religion and the religion of choice of at least 80% of Americans.. Jesus.. Has long hair.

so in honor of Taylor Pugh,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

All the Little Creatures I have Eaten. .. err. All the Fantasy Films and TV I watched in 2009

Needless to say not all of these were winners, And not all of the fantasy films I watched this year are on this, Notable exceptions are 'Dragonslayer' "the Sword and the Sorcerer" and the two Lord of the Rings Fan Films "The Hunt For Gollum" and "Born of Hope", I hope to do proper write ups of these four at a later date, I will probably re-watch some of the ones from this year during the next year and write up proper reviews of them as well.

Some of them were very good I thought, Some less so, The notable ones were Krull And the Long Ships, The ones I had the most miss givings going into also yeilded some Gems in the form of Blood of Beasts, The Long Ships and In the Name of The King. While others that I thought would be good turned out not to be. Specifically "The Name of the Rose" Which deserves some sort of award for ugliest cast ever.

The Total List for 2009 of Fantasy Films and Television is

1 . Hawk the Slayer **
2 . In the Name of the King ***
3 . Eric the Viking **
4 . Merlin and the War of the Dragons **
5 . The Long Ships ***
6 . The Sword of the Valiant *
7 . Legend of the Seeker Season 1 ***
8 . Throg *
9 . LadyHawke ****
10. Flesh+Blood **
11. The Name of the Rose ***
12. Clash of the Titans ***
13. Day of Wrath **
14. Blood of Beasts ***
15. Roar The Complete Series **
16. Robin Hood Prince of Thieves ***
17. Krull ****
18. Dragonlance **
19. Faerie tale Theatre Complete Series **
20. Robin Hood ***
21. Dragonquest **
22. The Golden Voyage of Sinbad ***
23. The Secret Kingdom **
24. Conan the Adventurer Complete Series ***
25. Prince Valiant ***
26. The Reckoning ****
27. Beastmaster **
28. Robin and Marion ***
29. First Knight ***
30. Dragonslayer *****
31. The Hunt for Gollum ****
32. Born of Hope ****
33. The Sword and the Sorcerer **
35. The Viking Sagas ***

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Elfstones of Shannara, Part Two

well I'm now halfway through the book, and I've noted several more instances of creeping Tolkien "Borrowing" in the book.. Mostly the Pykon's are a bland knock off of the Argonath scene in Fellowship..

I've got to stress again its pointless for Brooks to continue referring to the elves as elves.. as they seem to have nothing about them which differentiates them from humans. they are neither immortal, beautiful or excel at anything to a great degree due to having limitless time to study it. They seem to be nothing more than slightly more magical humans.. albeit who seem to have a gene for curly blond hair. I'd have named them Cherubs instead of Elves.. And it would have added new possibilities for their war with the Demons, both the one in the past and the looming one in this book.

The series is still not the worst Fantasy I've ever read.. but its very much the equivalent to epic fantasy that Lin Carter's Thongor is to Sword and Sorcery.. Well meaning, and love of subject, doesn't always equate to talent. But it sometimes is still fun.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Go! Team Venture!

Failure, This is the main recurring theme in The Venture Brothers..

If You've never seen this show you are missing out, Its filled with obscure references to literature and pop culture, Progressive and Space Rock, Films from James Bond to 2001: A Space odyssey, Cartoons, from Johnny Quest to Scooby doo... Simply put the first Three seasons are genius.. I'm not sure how I feel about season 4 yet.. I'm unnerved by the seemingly sympathetic light the writers continually cast the Pederast character Sgt. Hatred in, and the season so far has had a decided lack of Brock Sampson and a definite lack of Henchmen.

But Sunday, December 13th, We get Henchmen Vs Sampson, It's going to be epic.

From Blogger Pictures

Friday, December 11, 2009

Master of Horror

right, so, been watching a lot of John Carpenter movies lately. over the last week I've watched in no real order

The Thing
Prince of Darkness
the mouth of Madness
They Live
Big Trouble in Little China
And Both of the Escape movies..

From Blogger Pictures

I've not gotten a copy of Halloween yet, I'm not really much of a slasher movie fan.. but I am thinking about making an exception for this one because it is the original Slasher movie. And their are a few others I still need to find as well, The Fog, Starman and the Original Assault on Precinct 13, so when I acquire and view these will do mini reviews of them as well.

I liked the thing, it has some amazingly grotesque special effects and a good storyline. Prince of Darkness had some fairly bogus special effects but had a better storyline than The Thing did. But its cast wasn't as strong. The Mouth of Madness had a good cast and a good story, All three are very lovecraftian.. They Live has some great lines and some great moments of dark comedy.. and Big Trouble in little china is a fantastically funny movie. Vampires I didn't really like as much.. despite James Woods being great in it.. and the Escape movies are while not equally balanced in their goodness.. are both pretty darn good.. Snake is the perfect example of Antihero..

Another really good bit about John Carpenter films is.. John Carpenter Music!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Elfstones of Shannara

From Blogger Pictures

Having finished reading the first volume in this Trilogy, I can state safely that yes, the author " Borrowed " a considerable number of plot points and Monsters from Tolkien in a very unsubtle way. However, it was also his first book, and not everyone springs forth into this world fully formed as a good writer. It was rife with some very bizarre word choices, words like " Quadrant " and " Sector " and " Mechanically " bring to mind Sci-Fi, not Fantasy worlds. They are anachronistic, every bit as much as if he purposefully used words like Micle(much) or Weeds (woman's clothing) to give his writing a more Tolkien like feel.. Following the bizarre choices of words, is also his very strange naming conventions.. some of the character names like Allanon, Balinor, Padamon Creel, Menion Leah and even Hendel are pretty good fantasy novel names, Ohmsford is a decent enough name, but names like Shea, Flick, Palance, Buckhannah are very distracting.

My other major problem in the Sword of Shannara was the problem of conveying distance traveled, the main measurement of distances in the four lands seems to be the Yard, everything seems to be no more than several hundred yards away from wherever our main characters are.. This would make the cross map journey from Culhaven to Paranor no more than a few hours long at most.. which is of course ridiculous.. He might as well have measured the journey in Ells. Its distracting, but again I'd be willing to forgive it if he had not continued to do it in the second book which brings us to the point of this.

I started reading "Elfstones" almost immediately after finishing "Sword" the odd naming choices are also still prevalent.. naming a male main character Lauren, Shea at least is a Masculine name in the Gaelic-o-sphere but Lauren is strictly a feminine name. Its just an invitation for ass beatings. Its neither particularly exotic, nor fantastical.. and it just makes me think of the half dozen Laurens I went to school with.. The Pros of the book are that its got a better flow to the writing, showing that the author improved after his freshmen offering. Its got better villains in the form of The Dagda Mor( I'm guessing he read some Rollenston at some point.. But I'd have named the evil demon Balor rather than after Dagda the Good..) The Reaper and the Changling. I don't think Brona had a single line in Sword, he had no real motivation except " To be evil " .. at least the Dagda and his henchmen have the motivation of having been locked up for a really long time in a really sucky phantom zone like forbidding courtesy of the Ellcrys ( a talking tree, kinda cool.. not encountered one of those since Wizard of Oz and then later The Last Unicorn... So not something that gets used a whole lot.. the aspect of the tree picking the chosen also echoes through the ages into the Naming Hat from a certain Boy Wizard series..

So far the second book in the series is off to a better start than the first one, it seems to have the bonus of being written by a more confident Terry Brooks.