Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Documentary Review: Going Clear

Literary Science Fiction fandom has long had a slightly wry and embarrased relationship with the Church of Scientology. After all, it's found L Ron Hubbard cut his teeth as a writer for the pulps, and when I was growing up it wasn't uncommon to find his books on the shelves of the local library's SF&F section. I even read a load of them - and yes, even then I knew they were pretty terrible. At University, the SF&F Society got a steady stream of leaflets and so on from them, although we never really worked out if some previous members are registered with them for real or for a joke. But certainly in the circles we moved in, it was a joke, and its still slightly strange to me that out  in the real world Scientology is a serious, and slightly sinister thing. The Church has a reputation for being extremely litigious and aggressive and controlling, and it's this side of the church that new documentary Going Clear aims to address. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

DVD(s) of the Week: Round Up! (Again!)

I  know I said I was done with catchup posts, but I guess that was a big lie! Well, it's partly due to some slackness at writing this stuff up, but also, truth be told, that none of these three movies have really fired me up, and all, for one reason or another, don't quite linger in the memory. It's strange that these sorts of films come in runs; the summer had a wave of excellent saturday night viewing as caught up with last years Oscar contenders, and now we seemto be getting the run-of-the-mill, fun, but forgettable filler. So with that glowing endorsement, lets get stuck in.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Box Set Blues: Orphan Black

Our current series of Dissecting Worlds is due to contain a couple of episodes looking at artificial people; ranging from droids and replicants to uplifted successor species, which has been a huge subgenre of Science Fiction since, oh that Frankenstein book that started it all. You may have heard of it. Along the way it's given me the push I needed to start on the often recommended Orphan Black, a Canadian show funded by BBC America, and it seems mostly ignored by the BBC over here, given that they're about to burn off it's third season in the middle of the night on a channel so few people watch they're talking about shutting it down. Seriously, what the hell, BBC? Anyway, thats a rant for another day. For now, the first two series are on Netflix, and here's why you should be watching it. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Book Review: The Martian

In conversation last week I realised that I've already sailed past my target of reading 20 books a year. In some ways thats not a challenging target, because I've always been a voracious and eclectic reader, but its hard to find the time these days - or rather reading time has to fight with everything else and often ends up losing. But it's only early September, and I've read 22 books so far this, even managing to plunge back to the Science Fiction genre; my first and greatest literary love that I've been neglecting as I've been distracted by "other genres". I hope it'll forgive me. At the far end of the Space Operatics I've been reading over the summer, there is the "Engineering in Space" genre, set tomorrow, with tomorrow's tech, and here I find The Martian, Andy Weir's self-published, and soon to be a major motion picture-ed, tale of isolation and survival on the edge of manned exploration. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Games Review: World of Warships

One of the lasting joys of being a predominantly PC game-player is that there is a lot of diversity out there and a lot of it is Free. Well, "Free", I guess, as the "play to win" model is ever-present in there, but there is also a lot of games you can get a lot of fair, and balanced enjoyment out of without paying a penny for. I tend to find that if I've got a certain amount of play out of a game I'll end up spending money anyway, partly as a thank you, and partly because the sort of shinies a lot of these games offer can indeed be pretty shiny. In the case of World of Warships, we're talking about shiny, shiny battleships.

Monday, September 7, 2015

TV Review: Round Up!

So, we reach the final entry in our short "Round Up!" series, where I turn by somewhat behind gaze on the TV we've been watching in the last few months, yet not got around to writing up. It's a bit of a mixed bag, both in quality and content, but I guess it's pretty reflective of our TV habits these days. There is, in fairness, a huge amount of shows we are simply letting pass us by, as you just can't keep up with everthing, meaning I can feel guilty about the more popcorn stuff, but at the same time comfort blanket TV is as valid as any other form, and ultimately I make no apology for watching it.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Book Review: Round Up!

So, we are still in "round up" mode and this time it's all the reading I've been doing. Somehow, I feel I'm making more time for reading this year (writing being a whole different story, sadly) and I'm making an effort to try new stuff that I've missed. I also want to make a bit of a return to the Science Fiction genre, which I've not been deep into for many years now, hence the prescene on this list of a couple of "classic" series that have been mentioned us as we've put out new episodes of Dissecting Worlds. So, with apologies for the brevity, lets get on with catching up.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

DVD(s) of the Week(s): Round-up!

So, the holidays have come and gone, and as we've been out and about and not sat in front of a computer screen, the blog has taken a week or so off. To bring us back up date, I'll do a few catch-up posts, for books and films and so on. First up will be Gone Girl, which we had started to watch a few weeks back only to discover that the disc was faulty, leading to a somewhat frustrating case of interuptted viewing! So if nothing else, it was good to get closure on that!