Read, Listen, Watch

I am compiling a list of films and TV series I have watched, books I have read, and audio books or plays I have listened to.

I will likely make some comments to a fair amount of the entries in the list, some information on how or when I found the titles, whether I watched the film in the cinema or on video/DVD, whether the audio/books are purchased as downloads or on paper/tape/CD etc.

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files

Before I did my removal I had started reading the Dresden Files books.

I like the writing, the books are page turners, but with an escalating story. I have finished book 9 “White Knight”, and I will continue, slowly over the months/years. I may, at some point, be in the same position as others who had read all the books out, waiting for more.
At least, Jim Butcher writes faster than some authors, so the waiting is not that long 😉

It has been good to see the growth of Harry Dresden’s character, from a “simple” detective wizard to a rather powerful one.

In the mean time I will read some other stuff, my list is quite long.

Dresden Files – Books and TV series.

A while ago I started to read the Dresden Files series of books by Jim Butcher.

At present I have read the first 3 books of the series, and enjoyed them thoroughly. I surely intend to read further in the series, and there is no lack of material. The series has, at present 16 books out, and the total series is expected to be around 25 books. Nor these books are not the massive tomes, such as the “Song of Ice and Fire” books, so reading a book at a time, mixed with other books, will be manageable. I have the first 12 books on the Kindle, so I don’t even need to buy them before I can read them 😉

Jim Butcher is the Guest of Honour at the Eastercon in Heathrow next year, and I am considering going there if time allows.

There is a TV series that ran for a single season, 12 episodes a few years ago. I found the DVD set and watched it the past week end.
Paul Blackthorne, also known from “Arrow” plays Harry Dresden, and I like his acting in this one, but I think he is better in “Arrow”.

I found the TV series quite entertaining, after a few episodes it started to find its feet. Harry Dresden is the only person in Chicago having his occupation in the phonebook stated as “Wizard”. He helps the local police out in the strangest cases that would normally have gone unsolved.
He is a rather powerful wizard, but has dabbled in black magic which was not too popular with “The Council”. He is under essentially constant surveillance and invariably accused of the worst of intentions.

The series follows him in a series of cases, the pilot episode “Storm Front” is relatively true to the first book in the series with the same title.

The TV series is “based on” the books, but after the pilot it deviates considerably from the books, so I should be relatively spoiler safe when I resume reading the book series.

I would rate the series at an enjoyable, slightly above average 7.5/10.

I rate the first 3 books a bit higher, at a solid above average 8/10

More Books I Intend to Read

I just started reading Dan Simmon’s book “Hyperion”, and I still have along way to go. I think it is interesting enough for me to read all the way through, though I am going at a slow and steady pace.

Listening to the podcast ‘Dragonpage Cover to Cover‘ I was listening to their Library segment. This is one of the few cases where I felt the enthusiasm for a book so contagious that I went to order it immediately.

The book in question is Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Galileo’s Dream”. The theme of Galileo having a peep into the future he, along with other great scientists created the basis for, is intriguing to me.

As a final note, here is a quote attributed to Galileo Galilei :

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

More Audio Books : Tolkien

During some more long rides to Denmark I started listening to “The Hobbit” and got through the first volume of The Lord of the Rings trilogy “The Fellowship of the Ring”.

All read by Rob Ingliss, I find him an excellent reader who renders voices and accents for the characters very nicely. I find his reading gives me the feeling of an epic story – well, I already know the epic scope of the story having read it several times. Very enjoyable, rendering the poetic parts as well as the terror parts of the story very well. Powerful reading.

Tolkiens reinvention of the mythical story is, of course, another part of the attraction for me. In my view he is one of the great story tellers of the 20th century.

On later travels, I look forward to listening to the two final volumes – again. Oh, the joys of having an MP3 player in the car, since I find the radio channels on the way either boring or unnerving.

After the Hugo’s, some updates

After reading what I could before the voting for the Hugo Awards I have been a bit away from the blog.

However, the scifi has not been dormant. This is the harvest of the last few months :

Been to a small Convention in Copenhagen, the “Fantasticon”

– reading a few of Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” books, good fun, but I think it is time for a break after the first three.

– on some long trips I have been listening to audio .
A. The Leviathan Chronicles (podcast audio play)
B. The audio books of the 6 “main series” books of Anne McCaffreys Dragonriders of Pern. I started reading the series when a friend recommended it some 7 years ago, and found them solid pieces of storytelling on an epic scale. The 6 books are :
1. Dragonflight
2. Dragonquest
3. The White Dragon (won the Hugo Award for best novel)
4. Renegades of Pern
5. All the Weyrs of Pern
6. The Skies of Pern
C. Lots of podcasts , Babylon Podcast, Slice of SciFi, Dragonpage cover to cover, Starship Sofa, Escape Pod, and several others.

– watching this years Hugo Award winner for best dramatic presentation, long form : The film “Moon”, very good

– watching the first season of Eureka : Quite enjoyable, not in the heavy weight category

– watching the second season of Fringe : I enjoyed it quite a bit, even if the mid season was a bit light on the story arc. This seems to conform my idea that shorter seasons generally work better than the +20 episode seasons.

– watching the mini series from Steven Moffat : “Sherlock” very enjoyable

I will be writing a bit more on some of the above stuff, so watch this space.

Hugo Awards Novellette : “It takes Two” by Nicola Griffith

A very well chosen title for a cautionary tale. Nicely ambiguous. Are we talking about Richard and Cody, or about Cody and Susana.

Going deep into the question of how reliable our memories are, and how we could be influenced to do things we would not otherwise do.

While the idea could be said to be lifted from the “Red Pill/Blue Pill” choice in “The Matrix”, this story has a quite different take on the concepts of memory and reality.

8/10

Hugo Awards Novellette : “Eros, Phillia, Agape” by Rachel Swirsky

Interesting take on the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence evolving into consciousness. In this case involving a robot, or should I say android.

I found the story a bit longer than I would prefer for this relatively simple plot, on the other hand I found the writing itself interesting and somewhat captivating.

Also the relationship between robots/androids takes an interesting turn when the robot is set free to evolve. Maybe a good example why most robot stories abide Asimov’s rules.

8/10

Hugo 2010 Novelette : “One of our Bastards is Missing” by Paul Cornell

I have mainly known Paul Cornell from his stories in the Doctor Who universe (“Father’s Day” and “Human Nature/Family of Blood”). his is my first Cornell story outside that.

Nice to see that he is nominated in two categories this story is best Novelette and also in the graphic story category – mor about the graphic story later.

This one starts nicely out, the protagonist, a security officer is confronted with a mystery at the wedding of the princess.

The story has a slight surreal feel, but at the end it is quite consistent. So we have got mystery, betrayal and a good wrap-up.

Two more novelettes to go, and for now my choice is between this one and the Eugie Foster one

8/10

Hugo2010 : Novellette : “Sinner, ….” by Eugie Foster

Full title :
“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest : Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast”

I listened to that one last year on the Escape Pod podcast.

The question is wether this is science Fiction, Fantasy or what . Genre really does not matter .

This is one of those wonderful small stories that I like.
The choices and consequences of people. Which mask should I wear today, in essence which identity do I choose for today, and the consequences of those choices.

On top of that, the question of your true identity (the “Who are You” question to which there is, it seems, no right answer.

This story has a chilling end when the protagonist reveals his true nature.

8/10