Wednesday, 27 December 2017

1Up by Holly Black - Short Story Reviw

Oh!  This was terrific fun.

A trio of gammer friends, who have never met in real life, travel together to the funeral of another internet friend.

Proving that friendships can and do form online, the trio go on an adventure to unravel a mystery.  There are clues in the dead boy's room that lead them to a computer game that leads them out into the real world.

This could easily be made into a movie.  It reminded me very much of Ready Player One.

Holly Black's website -

Holly Black

Monday, 25 December 2017

More Fool Me by Stephen Fry - Book Report #213

I love Stephen Fry.  He is such an unusual person and a towering intellect with a complete gift of language.

The book was self-deprecating and read like a conversation with the man.  He played nicely with structure and kept my interest throughout.

But there was so much name-dropping that I was lost on many occasions.  But that is the nature of the business that he is in.  Success and longevity rely on contacts; meeting and knowing lots of people.  Where the book lost my interest was the Dear Diary portion - 143 pages of parties, openings, dinners, cocaine, late nights, writing, voice overs, drinking and plays.  It got to be a bit much.

But, the last few pages brought it all together and made me think, "This is why I love you so much Stephen!"

Sometimes I like an actor instinctively and just don't know why.  I have found that it is because their real character has a way of seeping through, colouring their work and it is that that I connect with.

I came away from reading the book a bigger fan.  No, I don't like that word, let's go with admirer.  He is much more than his acting, which is how he came to my attention in the first place.

Renaissance Man - that is what Stephen Fry is.  What a joy it is to be able to spend some time getting to know such a person, in his own words.

Yes, I admire Fry even more.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Nevertheless by Alec Baldwin - Book Report #212

I have a soft spot for Alec Baldwin.

He seems he could be a gruff person but there is something about him that I find interesting.

I loved that he started the book by stating that he did it for the money.

He then goes on to explain why that is.

Sure I was into the book because I am a fan and I wanted to hear about The Hunt for Red October.  But I also wanted to know what the business of being an actor is about.

What I got was a complex story about the man himself, what motivated him early on and what moves him now.  His struggles with drugs and his marriage to Kim Basinger played enormous roles in who he is today.

I came away from the book feeling that I had a pretty good measure of the man before I started it.  Say what you will about movie stars, their lives are not easy and a regular person can still learn a lot from those willing to lay themselves out there.

I was lucky enough to enjoy the audiobook, which was read by Baldwin himself.  That voice.  Honey and gravel. 

Loved it.

Alec Baldwin - like you needed me to tell you.

Monday, 11 December 2017

The Penguin History of Canada by Robert Bothwell - Book Report #211

The history of Canada?


All of it?

Yes.  A book like this needs to be looked at as a table of content.  By reading through it you can be pointed to further exploration.

There are periods in our history that capture my imagination more than others.  Through reading this book I have a better understanding of how events fit into our current time.  It also gives me a better insight into what to look for when I am trying to find other books that explore specific events in more detail.

I took a long time to get through the book.  I put it down for months at time but once I got into the last 150 years, my interest solidified and I gave the book the attention it needed.

To think that a nearly 600 page book as a good start, an index, a table of content can be a bit daunting.  But now I feel that I have done the hard part and I can dive into the subjects that stand out to me.

Great fun awaits.


Robert Bothwell -

Robert Bothwell

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Skull by Philip K Dick - Short Story Review

This was a cool time travel story.  One that plays with the grandfather paradox.

A prisoner, his name being Conger, with skills in hunting, tracking and killing is dispatched to the past to prevent the rise of a religion that upsets the status quo.

I liked how so many of the aspects of the story are now hardwired into storytelling today.  Messing with the timeline can have unexpected consequences.

It was well done and terrific to know that Dick helped to lay the foundation in this type of story.

You can read the story online here -

Philip K Dick

Monday, 4 December 2017

Dust to Dust by Chris Roberson & Robert Adler - Book Report #210

In anticipation of the new Blade Runner movie I dug into my old comic collection and read this two-volume story.

It is a prequel to the original movie, however the esthetics are the same.  The art was wonderful, it was dark, dirty, dusty, mouldy and just as wet as Ridley Scott's creation of 1982.

The main story is the same - six rogue androids are on a list to be retired.  Charlie Victor, a replicant himself with a terrific backstory, engages the help of  a "special" human, Malcolm Reed, who can discern humans from replicants.  This talent is a burden all it's own.

Together they navigate an intricate world of violence, morality and "human" rights.

I found the story to be a nice addition to the world of the original Blade Runner movie.