Reviews

Review: The Martian

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Review: The Martian

Andy Weir’s first novel, The Martian, has gotten a lot of attention lately, mostly because it’s nerve-wrackingly realistic. It’s about a man living in an environment that’s trying to kill him every second of his existence. And that’s on the good days, when his own mistakes don’t make things worse.

It’s very well-written, and it’s not a fluffy, easy read. It shows what a human would have to do to survive on the surface of Mars for years, when his air and food were only meant to last months. There’s a lot of math involved.

I saw a few eyes glaze over at that last sentence, but you have to trust me; if you’re not a math person you’ll still enjoy the book because Weir explains everything so clearly, even the complex chemistry. Plus his main character is likeable, interesting, and pretty hilarious. It’s worth getting through some of the trickier sections.

(Seriously you guys: lots of math.)

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Review: White as Snow

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Review: White as Snow

Tanith Lee is something of a guilty pleasure for me. I started with her – well I guess “sinful” is a pretty good description – vampire novel “Dark Dance”, and every now and then I just have to find another one of her books for more trashy fun. A couple, like Storm Lord and Days of Grass have been somewhat forgettable. Most are intricate, dark, entertaining stories. White as Snow is epic.

Part of a series created by Terri Windling, where different authors would write their own take on classic fairy tales, this book was inspired by versions of the Snow White story that are even older than the one written down by the Brothers Grimm. Most people know that the fairy tales we hear nowadays are sanitized versions of the Grimms Fairy Tales. What didn’t know before reading the introduction (don’t skip that, it’s definitely worth a read) is that the Grimms themselves cleaned up the versions they heard. In the original stories, the fathers were a lot less kind-hearted, evil didn’t always meet a bad end, and rather than a step-mother, it was usually the mother responsible for torturing her children.

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Review: The Wolf Gift: The Wolf Chronicles 1

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Review: The Wolf Gift: The Wolf Chronicles 1

In her career, Anne Rice has recreated the mythology of vampires, witches, ghosts, mummies, and whatever the main character was in Servant of the Bones. It was probably only a matter of time before she wrote a werewolf story.

Rice’s books are usually categorized as horror, and there are certainly a lot of horror elements in The Wolf Gift. But what stood out to me was the element of fantasy. I don’t mean fantasy as in dragons and unicorns and warrior elves, I mean fantasy as in daydream. The whole book felt like the result of many long sessions of staring out a window thinking, “Yeah, wouldn’t that be great…”

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Review: Infamous: Second Son

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Review: Infamous: Second Son

It has been three long years since we last stepped into the super-powered romp that is the inFAMOUS series. Seven years after the New Marais incident, inFAMOUS: Second Son puts you in control of Delsin Rowe, a small time vandal with ambitions to make a name for himself. However, like any super hero story, there are obstacles that stand in his way.

Second Son is the third game in the inFAMOUS series and may be the best in the series to date. However, there are a few problems here and there, but we’ll talk about those in a bit.

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Movie Issues: Captain America The Winter Soldier

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Movie Issues: Captain America The Winter Soldier

The first Marvel movie of 2014 has arrived, and not just with a bang, it comes in with a bang, boom, and pow! Captain America: The Winter Soldier is here. And not only did it deliver in every way a Marvel fan would want, it manages to make an already great movie universe even better and brighter. This is how you make a perfect comic book action movie.

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Review: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

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Review: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

After years of teaser trailers and the whole Moby Dick Studios thing, the first bit of Metal Gear Solid V has finally been released in the form of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (MGSV:GZ). Since its release, people have been scratching their heads trying to figure out what exactly to classify Ground Zeroes as. 

For all intents and purposes, MGSV:GZ is the prologue to the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. As such, MGS:GZ is a very short experience. Going from my own play-through of the game, it took me around two hours to complete the main story mission, while only achieving a 9% completion rate.

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Review: Megatokyo Omnibus Edition

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Review: Megatokyo Omnibus Edition

I stumbled across a beat-up, dog-eared copy of Megatokyo Volume 1 at the library ten years ago, and loved it so much I had to go buy my own copy, even though you can read it for free at megatokyo.com. Fred Gallagher’s art is so charming, with such a great story, it’s one of those comics I need to have a paper copy of, so it can sit on my shelf and I can look at it whenever I want, or just give the cover a pat as I walk by.

Seriously you guys, I’m in love with this comic.

How awesome, then, that on April 9th Dark Horse is releasing the first Omnibus edition of Megatokyo, collecting 576 beautiful pages of Fred’s comic and bonus artwork.

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Review: The Space Trilogy of C.S. Lewis

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Review: The Space Trilogy of C.S. Lewis

Humankind first ventured into space in 1961. More than twenty years earlier C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, wrote Out of the Silent Planet, the first book in a trilogy of stories linking space travel, alien minds, and a war within the solar system, to Lewis’s overarching view of a benevolent God. The results are strange, to say the least.

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Movie Issues: Sabotage

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Movie Issues: Sabotage

Schwarzenegger is back, again. You just can’t keep this legend down. This time he’s staring in Sabotage, the new film from director David Ayer (End of Watch). We find Arnold is the leader of an elite DEA task force who find themselves being taken down one by one after they bust a drug cartel safe house. Arnold must then find out who’s killing his team before it’s too late. Co-staring Sam Worthington, Olivia Williams, Joe Manganiello, Terrence Howard, and Josh Holloway.

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Review: Doctor Sleep

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Review: Doctor Sleep

In his afterwards, Stephen King points out that he almost didn’t write Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining. The trouble with sequels, he points out, is that no matter how brilliant it is, there will always be someone who’ll read it and say “Nope, nope, it’s just not as good.

And he’s right. You can’t help comparing Doctor Sleep to The Shining, and I do think The Shining is the better book by a long shot. But if you can read Doctor Sleep and try to see it on its own merits, as a fun, stand-alone horror story, it’s really enjoyable. And nicely chilling, as any halfway-decent Stephen King book ought to be.

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