Archive: Reviews

Assassination, Explosions, and Clones! Oh My!

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

I recently finished listening to this podiobook, and I wanted to share my thoughts. But before I jump in, let’s get the “What is a podiobook?” thing out of the way. Podiobooks are audiobooks made available via a podcast feed. More simply, podiobooks are audiobooks available for download online, usually free of charge. They’re the audiobook equivalent to print on demand, in a way.

The book opens with the assassination of the President of the United States by a four year old boy. It’s a powerful scene. The story then shifts to tell the story of seven men, who are all abducted out of their lives by armed men. It’s not until they are all together in one place that it becomes clear that they are, in fact, clones. They’ve been collected together to help track down the person they were cloned from (referred to as John Alpha). Alpha is in some way behind the assassination of the President.

The seven men are the results of an experiment, not only in cloning human bodies, but in memory cloning as well. The scientists at 7th Son have developed a way to take a snapshot of a persons memories, and upload them into another persons mind, wiping it clean. This explains why the seven clones all have the same memories up to a certain point in their lives. As the book progresses we learn of further variations of this technology in use.

I really enjoyed listening to this. The story held my interest, and the author did a good job reading it. He’s obviously not a pro audiobook reader, but I never found his reading distracted from the story in any way. As someone who listens to audiobooks regularly I’m not the hugest fan of the serialized podcast audiobook, but thanks to Podiobooks.com I was able to subscribe to the book from the beginning and wait until it was complete before starting listening.

My only complaint is that although it’s obvious from the Book 1 in the title that the story is not complete, I expected a bit more of a solid ending to this “book”. But the first 19 chapters Book 2 are already available, and I’m excited to start listening to it soon. If any of this sounds even vaguely interesting, I recommend you give it a try. It’s free, so what do you have to loose? Still on the fence? Give this promo a listen.

Review: Appleseed (2004)

Sunday, June 26th, 2005
Product Image: Appleseed DVD

I read the Appleseed manga in the early 90’s and loved them. I don’t remember them too well now, but I knew I wanted to see this movie as soon as I heard it was being made. Then I saw the trailer. Wow. This is not your run of the mill anime. It’s completely CGI. Not “Toy Story” CGI. The backgrounds are fairly realistic looking, and the characters are cell shaded, CGI that is rendered to look like hand drawn cell animation.

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The End of an Era

Sunday, June 26th, 2005
Product Image: Doctor Who: The Gallifrey Chronicles (by Lance Parkin)

After the last book I read, I needed to read something a bit… shorter. This just so happened to show up at my door at just the right time. I have (almost) all of the BBC Doctor Who novels, but I haven’t read most of them. I hope to some day, but it’s mainly a collection at this point.

This one I really wanted to read, for a number of reasons. This book is the end of the block of continuity that started back in August 2000 with The Burning, where the Doctor has lost all of his past memories; I’ve had a renewed interest in Doctor Who due to the show finally coming back to BBC TV (warning, link contains spoilers for the 2005 season of Doctor Who); the book was supposed to make sense to people who have never read any of the 100s of previews Doctor Who novels; most importantly, for me, it was written by Lance Parkin.

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Scary Clown Stories

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005
Product Image: It (Stephen King)

I’ve been planning to read this book for years. In fact I did start reading it once back it Junior High, but it was on loan, and I had to give it back before I got to far. This was my only exposure to Stephen King’s writing until I listened to The Green Mile as it was serialized (yes, it was serialized on audio as well). Since then, I’ve read and listened to a lot of King’s work, and I finally found the time to get to It. I’m not going to do this work justice in such a short space, but I’ve collected some of my thoughts here. I’ve been failing to write reviews of things as I read them, so I’m going to try this to see how it goes.

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Stranger Than Life

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005
Product Image: Strangers In Paradise Pocket Book 1

My friend Dursin has been recommending Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise for quite some time now (not nearly as long as I’ve been trying to get him to read Cerebus, but that’s a different story). I figured I’d eventually give it a try, but the large number of slim collected volumes was keeping me from taking the plunge. Now I have no excuse. I’m a sucker for a large collected comic volume at a decent price, so when I saw this nice thick volume I knew I had to give it a try.

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Review: The Walking Dead Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

You may not know this, but I love a good zombie movie. The kind where the whole world is turning into zombies and small bands of isolated humans try to survive. I love them for the stories. Tales of people cracking under the pressure of seeing everything and everyone they know destroyed before their eyes. Happy stories, where you start to see the line between human and zombie blur. The greatest of these films is probably George Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead. I can’t avoid mentioning the greatness of Shaun of the Dead either, but I’ll save that for later.

The Walking Dead is an attempt to do a long form zombie story. The goal, as stated by writer Robert Kirkman in the introduction, is to keep the story going and not roll credits “as soon as it starts getting good”. Although The Walking Dead is listed as a horror book, it’s not designed to scare you. It’s about the characters, and that’s what makes it work.

The book opens with Officer Rick Grimes being shot in the line of duty. On the next page he wakes up in an empty hospital, having been in a comma for some time. This seemed right out of 28 Days Later (which is great, but is not a zombie movie) but I’m not really sure which was released first. Rick witnesses some zombies, freaks out and heads on home. He finds the house empty. He meets up with a father and son squatting in his neighbors house and they fill him in on what’s been going on. People had been ordered to evacuate to larger cities so they would be centralized for protection. Rick assumes his family will be there and heads on into Atlanta.

Rick finds the city over run with zombies, and is rescued for certain death by a young man who offers to take him back to a camp where he and some other survivors are living. This is where the story really starts going. Rick’s wife and son are at the camp, along with Shane, Rick’s partner. They weren’t able to get into the city, and met up with some others.

There’s a great cast of characters here, all learning to survive together. There is a large amount of tension between Rick and Shane. Rick wants to move away from the city, but Shane insists that the government or the army will come to save. Shane is also in love with Rick’s wife, and neither of them expected Rick to come back.

The artwork by Tony Moore is nicely done in toned black and white. The tones remind me of early Mirage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which I always found moody and evocative. Here it fits like a glove. It really helps focus the attention on the story, and not the gore. I don’t think I’d like this book nearly as much as I do if it was in color.

Overall I really enjoyed the first volume. It didn’t start out great, but it got there in the end. My only other complaint is that it moves a bit too fast. I wish there was more time taken to enjoy the character development. I’ve got the second one, and I’ll try to review that soon.

Movie Review: Happy Accidents (2000)

Friday, July 23rd, 2004

Happy Accidents
Since we recently purchased a new TiVo, it’s time to watch all the stuff that’s been collecting on the old one. This movie had been sitting there for some time. The Mrs. didn’t seem too interested in this one (The description really didn’t sound too promising), but I insisted that we had seen a clip from it and had both wanted to see it some time back (the scene I remembered was in the movie, so I wasn’t just making it up).

Anyhow, earlier tonight we finally sat down and pressed play. This movie is a little hard to explain. It’s a Dramatic Romantic Comedy with hint of Sci-Fi tossed in.

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