The Veldt (read by Leonard Nimoy)

The Mind Parasites (Colin Wilson)

“The Mind Parasites” came about when Wilson criticized a bloke named H P Lovecraft in one of his works. August Derleth, Lovecraft’s posthumous publisher and apologist, made a challenge to Wilson – saying, essentially “If you think Lovecraft was such a lousy writer, why don’t you do better yourself?” Wilson relished the challenge and set out to do just that. This book is the result. In fact, it can’t really be regarded as part of the Lovecraftian cycle – it takes too many liberties with the canon for that – but in its own right it’s an amazing work. We are not the top of the food chain; we have an energy predator which is feeding off of us and also restructuring the world in its image — this is the new world order. [Read more…]

From The Earth To The Moon (Jules Verne)

What makes From the Earth to the Moon so enjoyable is it’s sheer earnestness. Entire chapters are filled with debates about figures and equations. Verne loves to write about all the details of his little thought experiment. This is very clearly his fantasy, and had he the money, I could imagine him attempting something like this. There are some charming details. For example, they launch from southern Florida, which at the time was a large swamp with forts to guard against the indians. Also, when packing their capsule for provisions, they load up 50 gallons of brandy, because that’s how a gentleman spaceman travels.  [Read more…]

Tau Zero (Paoul Anderson)

Author James Blish considered this book the ultimate hard science fiction novel. There is something to be said for that. Praise indeed… I have rarely read a novel with such rigorous scientific underpinnings. Anderson had a degree in physics and in other novels it is quite clear that he thought about the properties of fictional planets he created. Anderson had a degree in physics and in other novels it is quite clear that he thought about the properties of fictional planets he created. Anderson takes hard science fiction as far as it will go here.
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Dune (Frank Herbert)

In order to enjoy Dune you have to enjoy complexity. All authors create little worlds in their stories but Herbert created a world. He puts people on the planets, governments, conflicting cultures, conflicting religions & conflicting ways of life that are thought out to the Nth level above and beyond anything else I’ve ever read. You could write a sociology dissertation on the societal relations Herbert conceived for Dune. Most authors need more than one book in order to tell an epic coming-of-age story. Herbert did it in one. Part of his genius as an author was his ability to imply far more about his world than he actually showed.  [Read more…]

The McClane Apocalypse: Book One (Kate Morris)

I shouldn’t like this book. It’s like post apocalyptic chick lit. But for some reason I enjoyed this light hearted read. Maybe it’s because it reminds me a little of Little a House on the Prairie. The story is a family holed up together after the world goes to hell as a result of nukes, tsunamis and earthquakes. This take on PA fiction us more regarding the relationships of the characters rather than the world they live in. However there is plenty of action, just not as much of the gore filled section I am used to. It’s good to see a post apocalyptic storyline that still breathes a bit of hope optimism and plain old human decency. [Read more…]

The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad (Britain 1974)

golden-voyage-of-sinbadIf you are looking for an enjoyable adventure, full of swashbuckling heroics, colourful characters, and of course the battle of good versus evil, then you’ve found it. All aspects of the production contribute to a fantastic tale of conflict, destiny and glory. This is one of a series of Ray Harryhausen (animator/story) movies about Sinbad, the legendary sailor. In the first ten minutes this film shows its true colours as a fantasy. It will pull you in and keep you musing, wondering, and entertained mostly all the way through. [Read more…]

Across The Nightingale Floor (Lian Hearn)

acrossthenightingalefloorWhen I finished Lian Hearn’s first Tale of the Otori series (I won’t be going any further), I felt as though I’d been eating Hershey’s chocolate when I expected at least Lindt. Waiter, take this away and bring me some real food! Reading shouldn’t be hard work. Just skimming I struggled to stop my eyes from glazing over in utter boredom. The narrators each sound exactly the same. This is so lazy, research-wise too. Inserting Christianity into this mock up Japan was not wise either. Nor were the random earthquakes every ten pages or so. [Read more…]

The Picture Of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)

dorian-grayFrom Wilde’s shockingly outrageous preface to the fantastic conclusion there is a sense of beauty and exploration in this unique piece of prose. Touching on subjects that were taboo at the time of writing, he had to be subtle. Dorian’s exploration into the world of pleasure is filled with numerous metaphors for risqué acts. Both Dorian and the novel turn strange. You’d think the life of a young handsome sensualist would consist of orgies and opium, but Gray is more obsessed with perfumes, tapestries, jewels and world music. Don’t ask why. [Read more…]

Night Of The Eagle (1962 United Kingdom)

burnwitch_shot4lNight of the Eagle is a creepy and effective little thriller that benefits from a chilling atmosphere, some good scenes of suspense and some great acting and direction; but doesn’t quite make up for a lack of scope and ambition. The film is based on a novel by Fritz Leiber and is directed by Sidney Hayers. The film was obviously made on a low budget, and as such, is very small scale and mostly focuses on just the two characters, which means that the story lacks variation. But it is solid and knows where it is going throughout. [Read more…]

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