Friday, December 21, 2007

The Hobbit Director Rumours

After yesterday's news that Peter Jackson has signed on to produce The Hobbit rumours of possible directors abound including Sam Raimi, Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Peter Jackson to Executive Produce The Hobbit

Peter Jackson and New Line have resolved their feud which allows Jackson to step in and executive produce a two picture treatment of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.

All of the geeks who are fans of Tolkien, myself included, can now breath a sigh of relief. Most of us can't imagine anyone but Jackson overseeing this project. Imagine if New Line got Brett Ratner to produce?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Brandon Sanderson To Finish Wheel of Time

A flurry of postings today and confirmed by the author's own website, Brandon Sanderson has been tapped to finish up the Wheel of Time series by Tor. This is the series started by the late Robert Jordan.

All I can say is, Thank you Tor for not picking Kevin J Anderson.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cory Doctorow's Talk at Roboexotica

Cory Doctorow gives a really great talk at Roboexotica that delves into why science fiction isn't about predicting the future but rather examining the present.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Halting State

Halting State is the latest brilliantly conceived novel by uber writer Charles Stross.

The book description from the dust jacket reads as follows:

In the year 2018, Sergeant Sue Smith of the Edinburgh constabulary is called in on a special case. A daring bank robbery has taken place at Hayek Associates, a dot-com startup company that's just been floated on the London stock exchange. The suspects are a band of marauding orcs, with a dragon in tow for fire support, and the bank is located within the virtual reality land of Avalon Four. For Smith, the investigation seems pointless. But she soon realizes that the virtual world may have a devastating effect in the real one-and that someone is about to launch an attack upon both.

The kernel of the story is the virtual bank robbery which may seem far fetched to some is a very real problem. We now live in a society where virtual items have a very real value. Just check out the plethora of sites where you can buy items from World of Warcraft. Also recent news reports describe a vulnerability in Second Life where malicious hackers can steal your Linden bucks (Second Life curency). It's only a matter of time before someone goes for the big score.

The narrative continues on being told from three vantage points, Sergeant Sue Smith the initial responder to the crime scene, Elaine Barnaby a forensic accountant and Jack Reed a video game programmer who has been brought in to be a guide for Elaine in the world of Avalon Four.

Through these characters the story opens up to take on such heady topics as global economics, privacy, and terrorism in an entertaining and thought provoking manner. I can't recommend this book enough!

Additional Links:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Am Legend

So I finished reading I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. It is a rather quick read as the entire story checks in at 170 pages. In it we follow the protagonist, Robert Neville, through his daily life where he putters around the house, works in the garden and disposes of vampires. As you see Neville lives in a post-apocalyptic future in which a plague, to which Neville is immune to, has descended upon humanity turning everyone seemingly into mindless vampires.

Much of the novel deals with Neville's research into the cause of vampirism. The author gives you a scientific, not supernatural, explanation for the vampire infection. Some of these are biological and some of them are psychological. None of them make the bleak future in which Neville inhabits any less horrific.

All the while Neville is doing his research and doing his level best to stay alive the vampires are forming a society of their own.

Without giving too much away the novel really holds a mirror to the struggle between humans and vampires. Is Neville more or less of a monster than the vampires?

On December 14th the third movie based on I Am Legend will be released starring Will Smith.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Crooked Little Vein

To the best of my knowledge, Crooked Little Vein is the first novel by prolific comic book writer Warren Ellis. Let me see if I can sum up the plot.

A heroin addicted US chief of staff hires a Manhattan private investigator, Mike McGill, to find an alternate US constitution. The book was written by the founding fathers of America and details their true plans for the country. Richard Nixon lost the book in the 50's and since them American society has been getting progressively worse. The trail leads Mike on a cross country chase for the book where he encounters every sort of depravity you shouldn't be able to imagine.

I was constantly laughing out loud during while reading this book. The deviants and underground cults that Mike finds himself getting involved with are disturbingly funny. The message that is coming across is that the underground is now mainstream. Anything you can think of can now be found on-line. It's like the ultimate long tail example.

If you are unable to keep an open mind this book is probably not for you but if you can get passed the descriptions of sexual situations you will really enjoy this noirish detective novel.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Book of Fate

The Book of Fate is the latest novel by Brad Meltzer. The first time I was introduced to Meltzer was when my Dad boomed into town and wanted to pick up the new book by that author who's name started with an 'M'. After one trip to the local books store's mystery section and we found The Tenth Justice.

However, it wasn't until years later that I actually read anything by Meltzer when he started his Archer's Quest run on Green Arrow. Which was followed up by his incredible limited series Identity Crisis, a murder mystery set in the super hero community. With that in mind I borrowed Dad's copy of The Book of Fate to read.

From Booklist, Wes Holloway, a hotshot presidential aide, is wounded in an assassination attempt that kills the president's close friend. Eight years later, the dead man reappears, very much alive and apparently stalking the former president. Wes thinks he can figure out what's going on, but to do so he must decipher a two-century-old code and penetrate the secrets of Masonic history.

At least that's what you are led to believe from the dust jacket. But for those of us who are hoping for some DaVinci Code esque mystery will be disappointed. The Masonic history connection is used very sparsely and is not central to the plot.

The story moves along at a plodding pace for about 400 pages until the last third where things rush to a final conclusion. I can't say that this is one of the best books I've ever read but it is entertaining and the way in which it is structured allows you pick it up and put it down easily.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Supreme: The Story of the Year

Even if you've never read a book by Alan Moore you've probably seen a movie based on this graphic novels like From Hell staring Johnny Depp, V for Vendetta with Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman and the forgettable League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. That's not to say that the incredibly dense with literary references League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel wasn't amazing. Regardless, I digress.

In Supreme: The Story of the Year Moore takes over the writing duties of Supreme. A character who was created by Rob Liefeld as a blatant rip off of Superman. However, with the introduction of Moore to this title he was able to throw away all of the past continuity of the series and reboot the title to pay homage to the Silver Age Superman.

In this revision of the comic the character Supreme is aware that he is being revised, in an early story he even visits a reality where all of the former versions of Supreme live. He also comments on how his memory is full of holes which is due to the fact that his back story is not written yet. Moore uses this quest where Supreme is determined to fill in his memory as an opportunity to add to the Supreme mythos while advancing the plot of the series. This concept of a meta narrative is continued throughout the entire book.

If you enjoy a book in which the characters are constantly breaking the fourth wall or if you are just a fan of the silver age of comics, Supreme: The Story of the Year is the book for you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Sharing Knife: Legacy


Multiple award winning author Lois McMaster Bujold returns with the second installment of her latest fantasy series The Sharing Knife: Legacy.

The story picks up immediately after the events of The Sharing Knife: Beguilement as we join our heroic couple Dag Redwing and Fawn Bluefield a scant few hours after they are married. They now have to travel back to Dag's home to explain their forbidden marriage to Dag's kin.

While I did think that the characterization, which is a strength of all of McMaster Bujold's work, was great I still was a bit disappointed with this book. The main plot thread running through the entire novel was whether or not folk could learn to accept Dag and Fawn's marriage. I guess that doesn't really speak to me as it seems like such a foreign concept that it did not hold much drama for me at all.

It was a good read but it won't be going to the top of my stack anytime soon. For some great fantasy work by her check out the Chalion series.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Brasyl

Brasyl is the latest novel by Irish author Ian McDonald. It is not really of sequel of River of Gods but it does continue on in the same vein as he speculates on the future of a country's culture when faced with the daunting challenges of the Information Age.

However, unlike River of Gods which only takes place in a futuristic India, the narrative in Brasyl takes place in the 2032, 2006 and 1732.

While individually I enjoyed each of the individual stories I kept expecting them to tie together more tightly. When they eventually do it feels forced and it seems to be setting up for a sequel rather than concluding the story.

I can't say I recommend this book at this time. Perhaps if a sequel is introduced it will all make more sense. For an Ian McDonald book I do recommend please check out the previously mentioned River of Gods.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Spook Country

Spook Country is the latest novel from William GibsonFlag of Canada. I love the fact that this is a science fiction novel set in the past, in this case 2006. There is a wonderful follow up article where Mr. Gibson discusses that science fiction is not about predicting the future but a reflection of the present day. Which is something that I feel most people don't really get.

Spook Country is a double entendre which refers to the current state where the Spooks (CIA, FBI, DHS, etc.) seem to be running the country and GPS driven art where you can only see the Spooks if you have the GPS and a URL. You can really see from it's humble beginnings where the art could evolve into a number of channels that we could all tune into to overlay our own "reality". This concept is wonderfully expanded in John C Wright's The Golden Age trilogy.

The novel proceeds along telling the story from multiple points of view each one with their own plot threads that eventually begin to interweave their way to a satisfying conclusion.

Hollis Henry, former indie rocker now freelance journalist is writing a story on a new art form that exists only in virtual reality, Bobby Chombo, a GPS software specialist who provides the software that enables the virtual reality art, is tracking a mysterious cargo container that drops on and off the grid, Agent Brown is tracking a young criminal named Tito who he hopes will lead him to the cargo.

This was a real quick read for me and I highly recommend it. Especially if you are a fan of the afore mentioned Golden Age trilogy.

Misc:

Cory Doctorow reviews Spook Country.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Casanova Volume 1: Luxuria

I'm a huge fan of Matt Fraction's work with Ed Brubaker on The Immortal Iron Fist so I decided to pick up the first trade of Casanova Volume 1: Luxuria.

What a strange ride! Let me see if I can sum it up. The series introduces you to Casanova Quinn who is the quasi criminal son of the head of his world's top cop. Then a pan dimensional baddie kidnaps him to impersonate his counterpart on another world where Casanova Quinn is his father's right hand man in law enforcement. At this point this really got weird but wonderfully enjoyable as Fraction skewers spy novels and time travel.

I can't really do it justice so listen to the Around Comics guys interview Matt.

Gabriel Ba's art and muted colours are bang on for this title.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Terror

While I love the multiple award winning author Dan Simmons I was initially reluctant about picking up his latest novel The Terror. My reluctance stems from the fact that the cover of the book reminded me of reading a book by Cassie Brown in eighth grade English entitled Death on the Ice.

Death on the Ice recounts the 1914 Newfoundland sealing disaster in which two thirds of 132 men died as they were left alone on the ice for two days. While The Terror is the fictional recounting of the doomed expedition of Sir John Franklin to find the Northwest Passage.

Both books deal with the horrible trials encountered by men lost on the ice but The Terror brings things to a whole new level as the sailors are also being stalked by a super-natural entity which I can best describe as a Wendigo but is more accurately called a Tuurngait.

The story is told partially in flashbacks and from multiple points for view, most notably Captain Francis Crozier but remains quite easy to follow.

I highly recommend this novel even if you are not a fan of the setting as it is a well crafted suspenseful story with great characterization. I believe that most people would love to be as noble as Dr. Goodsir.

Update: Podcast interview on NPR.